Thursday, November 22, 2018

Ten top books about Japan

Christopher Harding is a cultural historian of modern Japan, India, and the UK, based at the University of Edinburgh and working also as a journalist for the BBC and a number of newspapers and magazines.

Harding's new book is Japan Story: In Search of a Nation, 1850 - the Present.

One entry on the author's list of the top ten books about Japan, as shared at the Guardian:
Shogun by James Clavell and The Shogun’s Queen by Lesley Downer

Two fabulous examples of a notoriously difficult genre, featuring as a joint entry here because they tell the story of Japan’s first Shogun and one of its last. Clavell traces the journey of an English sailor in late 16th-century Japan as he becomes part of a feudal lord’s bid for control of the whole country. It is based on the friendship of William Adams with Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first of the Tokugawa Shoguns. Downer explores the power of women in shaping the final years of the Shogunate, with her take on the story – enormously popular in Japan – of Atsuhime: a young samurai girl from south-western Japan who ends up at the very centre of the action in Edo (modern-day Tokyo) in the 1850s, as foreigners start to crowd around and the world begins to fall in.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue