• Item #C539
  • ISBN: 0-938960-53-9
  • ISBN13: 978-0-938960-53-9
  • Copyright 2008
  • Form: Paperback, Trade paperback (US)
  • Also available in: Hardback, Sewn, $44.00
  • Price: $24.95

Through Japanese Eyes, 4th Edition

By Richard H. Minear


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Through Japanese Eyes shows us Japanese history and society through the eyes of a wide variety of Japanese (and a few non-Japanese) observers — male and female, young and old, novelists, poets, and journalists. With an emphasis on young people and their educations, this volume interweaves the historical and the contemporary, the laudatory and the critical, the domestic and the foreign. It demolishes all stereotypes of Japan and leaves students with a new appreciation of Japanese diversity. And it challenges students to ask the same questions of their own society that these Japanese are asking of Japan.

Sections with four to seven readings each treat "Japan before 1850," "The War Years," and "Japan Today." Sections with somewhat tighter focus treat "Textbooks and the Teaching of History," "Nature and Pollution," "Gender." A concluding section introduces the topic of "Japanese Americans." The text is accompanied by many boxes, photos, and charts. It is suitable for seventh grade and up. Varied, non-stereotyped; fascinating.

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What People are Saying...

A rich anthology of historical and literary writings by Japanese combined with a wealth of information about Japan today, this reader is intended for the American classroom, where it will be appreciated by students and teachers alike. There is nothing quite like it.

Carol Gluck, Expanding East Asian Studies, Columbia University

Through Japanese Eyes is a vivid introduction to Japanese history, culture, society, economics, politics, and the tumultuous US-Japan relationship — all this through the words and acts of diverse Japanese, past and present. Never again will students be tempted to say, "The Japanese are like that." Instead, they will ask: Which Japanese? When? Where? Why? And: How do we too confront the issues Japan confronts? This work demolishes stereotypes by introducing students to a stunning variety of Japanese writers, historians, leaders, war makers and atomic victims, patriots and internationalists, women and men, environmentalists and industrialists.

Mark Selden, Senior Fellow, East Asia Program, Cornell University

Through Japanese Eyes provides a wealth of fascinating readings, visuals, and statistics from Japan, past and present, that will captivate students' imagination. People in Japan, it turns out, wrestle with familiar issues — the stresses of school and work, changing gender roles, diversity and discrimination, youth culture, historical legacies, the environment — but they do so in different and often surprising ways. The teaching of history and the production of textbooks, for example, are sources of enduring debates, both for historical and institutional reasons. The editor's careful introduction to each piece assists both teachers and students to place it in its appropriate context.

Comparisons between Japan and the United States or other Asian countries, often presented in statistical form, provide great starting points for class discussions. This new edition is updated to incorporate some of the critical debates at the turn of the millennium and speak first-hand to Japan's social, cultural, economic, and political life.

Franziska Seraphim, Department of History, Boston College

This edition of what has long been the best pre-college reader on modern and contemporary Japan updates the collection and adds thought-provoking questions to guide students in learning about Japan and the Japanese, and about themselves and their own society. Here are the voices of real people: athletes, politicians, pollution victims, working women, and cell-phone using students, as well as Japanese Americans. Teachers will find this book helpful in their most difficult and important tasks in teaching about Japan: making it real and interesting rather than exotic, and fostering awareness of the common humanity with which we and the Japanese have responded to the promises and challenges of modernity.

Timothy S. George, Department of History, University of Rhode Island

Through Japanese Eyes offers an array of vivid vignettes of Japan's encounter with modernity. The diversity of Japanese voices selected challenges simple or singular explanations of the rapid social and economic transformations, and provides a peek at how varied, innovative and imaginative Japanese perspectives on this experience have been. The newly organized thematic structure of the readings makes this a valuable resource for a variety of courses on Japan. I particularly appreciate Minear's inclusion of texts that convey a sense of everyday life and expand our capacity for empathy as well as critical analysis. This edition's literary texts and photos provide a window into the lives of young people in Japan.

Joan Ericson, Asian Studies Department, Colorado College, President, Association of Teachers of Japanese

Japan Redux! Professor Minear has once again proven prescient in selecting readings that will provoke discussion. The practical, teacher-friendly volume offers students of East Asian, World, and U.S. history voices from Japan past and present: cell phone etiquette, debate over "Japanese Only" discrimination against foreigners, and a new World War II reading with Japan on the brink of defeat — a rich array that teachers will treasure.

Patience Berkman, Chair, History Department, Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, Newton, MA. 2002 Winner, Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award in the Humanities, U.S.-Japan Foundation

Japan is particularly difficult to teach about because it has such a strong image as exotic. Richard H. Minear has shrewdly chosen and introduced these selections with this problem in mind. The documents vividly convey a complicated but comprehensible place, while the introductions remind students to think about their own society using the same tools they use to understand Japan.

Laura Hein, History Department, Northwestern University