Samurai/Edo Book recommendations

Posted in: History

wagonunion

Mar 16, 2016 at 7:54 PM

Does anyone know of any good books to learn about the history of the Samurai or the Edo period in general? Thanks~~ :)

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Henry

Mar 24, 2016 at 9:08 PM

Hi Wagounion. I’ve got a couple recommendations for you on those topics:

Samurai

Weapons and Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior, 1200-1877 AD by Thomas Conlan
Warriors of Japan as Portrayed in the War Tales by Paul Varley
Samurai, Warfare and the State in Early Medieval Japan by Karl Friday
Heavenly Warriors: The Evolution of Japan’s Military, 500-1300 by William Wayne Farris
War and State Building in Medieval Japan Edited by John Ferejohn and Frances Rosenbluth
State of War: The Violent Order of 14th Century Japan by Thomas Conlan
Hired Swords: The Rise of Private Warrior Power in Early Japan by Karl Friday

Edo Period
Edo Culture by Nishiyama Matsunosuke trans. by Gerald Groemer
Treasures Among Men: The Fudai Daimyo in Tokugawa Japan by Harold Bolitho
The Taming of the Samurai; Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan by Eiko Ikegami
Early Modern Japan by Conrad Totman
Japan In Print: Information and Nation in the Early Modern Period by Mary Elizabeth Berry
A History of Japan, 1615-1867 by George Sansom
Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan by Constantine Vaporis
State and Diplomacy in Early Modern Japan by Ronald Toby
Peasant Prtests and Uprising in Tokugawa Japan by Stephen Vlastos
Peasants, Rebels and Outcastes: The Underside of Modern Japan by Mikiso Hane
Everyday Life in Traditional Japan by Charles Dunn
Musui’s Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai by Kokichi Katsu Trans by Teruko Craig

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wagonunion

Mar 25, 2016 at 6:35 PM

Wow thank you so much!! I’ll definitely try and check some of those out!

Do you happen to have recommendations for other periods of history too? Such as Meiji, Taisho or early Showa? I’ve seen a few titles here and there but would also like to read up on Japan’s interactions with the west after my Edo reading. :)

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Henry

Mar 25, 2016 at 9:22 PM

I don’t really have too much on the Taisho Period other than books on the Russo-Japanese War. Likewise, all of my books concerning the Showa period deal with WWII. If you’re interested in those conflicts, I can certainly give you some recommendations.

As for Meiji,if you’re interested in Japan’s interactions with the West, you can check out Townsend Harris’ journal. It’s called The Complete Journal of Townsend Harris. First American Consul and Minister to Japan.

Some other titles you may be interested in:

The Emergence of Meiji Japan by Marius Jansen
The Meiji Restoration by W.G. Beasley
The Cambridge History of Japan, Volume 5 edited by Marius Jansen
Choshu in the Meiji Restoration, 1853-1863 by Albert Craig
The Japanese Informal Empire In China, 1895-1937 by Peter Duus
The Economic Development of Japan, 1868-1941 by W.J. MacPherson
Japanese Imperialism, 1894-1945 by W.G. Beasley
The Making of a Japanese Periphery, 1750-1920 by Karen Wigen
The Culture of the Meiji Period by Marius Jansen

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wagonunion

Mar 28, 2016 at 6:33 PM

Thanks so much for replying again. I appreciate it so much!

Those recommendations looks great too! I’m basically interested in all of the history from Edo up through the end of WWII, so that topic is totally welcome as well. Definitely looking forward to checking these books out.

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Henry

Mar 30, 2016 at 8:50 PM

Alright. Below are some books I have on WWII and post-WWII. Some of the topics are pretty specific, though.

Kempeitai: Japan’s Dreaded Military Policy by Raymond Lamont Brown
Judgment at Tokyo by Tim Maga
A Glorious Way To Die: The Kamikaze Mission of the Battleship Yamato by Russell Spurr
So Sad To Fall In Battle: An Account of War Based on Tadamichi Kuribayashi’s Letters From Iwo Jima by Kumiko Kakehashi
The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb: And the Architecture of An American Myth by Gar Alperovitz
Retribution: The Battle For Japan, 1944-45 by Max Hastings
Hiroshima’s Shadow edited by Kai Bird and Lawrence Lifschultz
Kamikaze: Japan’s Suicide Samurai by Raymond Lamont Brown
Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb by Ronald Takaki
The Case of General Yamashita by A. Frank Reel
The Kamikazes by Edwin Hoyt
American Shogun: General Macarthur, Emperor Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan
Hirohito and His Times: A Japanese Perspective by Toshiaki Kawahara
Japan’s War: The Great Pacific Conflict by Edwin Hoyt
The Anguish of Surrender: Japanese POWs of World War II by Ulrich Straus

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wagonunion

Mar 31, 2016 at 6:42 PM

Specific topics are totally fine too. Thank you so much again for the recommendations! :)

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