The first half of the book is well documented description of Japan as it appeared to Americans a century ago-- a rigid, closed society not anxious for out-ide influences. The second half of the book is devoted to the Japan America knows today -- bustling, forward looking, eager for trade and capable in Asian and Western diplomacy. There are outstanding sections in each half that describe the multitude of oriental religious philosophies and the impact of, and various Japanese reactions to, Christianity. However, the book lacks a middle. Whatever happened to WW II? This is disposed of in a half dozen lines or so and a few oblique references. Contrast was certainly achieved with this approach, but the necessary transition is issed. After all, it was the war, what went before it and the occupation that helped produce the contrast. An unfortunate blind-spot in an otherwise thoughtful book.