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    By: James L. Huffman

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    Japan in World History ranges from Japan's prehistoric interactions with Korea and China, to the Western challenge of the late 1500s, the partial isolation under the Tokugawa family (1600-1868), and the tumultuous interactions of more recent times, when Japan modernized ferociously, turned imperialist, lost a world war, then became the world's second largest economy--and its greatest foreign aid donor. Writing in a lively fashion, Huffman makes rich use of primary sources, illustrating events with comments by the people who lived through them: tellers of ancient myths, court women who dominated the early literary world, cynical priests who damned medieval materialism, travelers who marveled at "indecent" Western ballroom dancers in the mid-1800s, and the emperor who justified Pearl Harbor. Without ignoring standard political and military events, the book illuminates economic, social, and cultural factors; it also examines issues of gender as well as the roles of commoners, samurai, business leaders, novelists, and priests.

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