A SHORT HISTORY OF JAPAN by Ian Nish

A SHORT HISTORY OF JAPAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It is impossible to do justice to almost twenty-five centuries of Japanese history in a mere two hundred pages of text. Yet, Mr. Nish's purpose has not been to ""do justice"" in the scholar's understanding of the term, but to make available to the general reader a concise summary of the development of the country which is presently the third-ranking--and which will, in the opinion of some, be the first--industrial power in the world. In order to do that, a great deal of history had necessarily to be eliminated, and a great deal more had to be mercilessly telescoped. The period from the sixth century B.C. to the ""opening up"" of Japan in the mid-nineteenth century, for example, is covered with extreme brevity, and even in the modern period such epoch-making events as the Russo-Japanese War are treated so summarily that they seem to be relegated to a secondary level of importance. Similarly, the coverage of World War II is largely a matter of categorizing dates, places, events, and personalities, which, while they are the fabric of history, are hardly its reality. Still, despite the shortcomings here, it would be an injustice to the author to suggest that his book does not serve a useful purpose inasmuch as it does convey to the general reader an adequate synopsis of Japanese history--adequate, that is, for the purposes of the layman with an interest in the Far East. For that reason, and because there is no better survey of Japanese history on the market, this may be useful.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1968
Publisher: Praeger