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Best Books Countries of the World History Japan Nonfiction

The Best Japanese History And Nonfiction Books Of All-Time

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“What are the best books about Japanese History?” We looked at 311 of the top books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 46 titles, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Nonfiction & History” Japan book lists, are ranked below by how many lists they appear on. The remaining 250+ titles, as well as the lists we used are in alphabetical order at the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 46 Japan Nonfiction & History Books



46 .) A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present by Andrew Gordon

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • Japan Visitor

“In The Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present, Andrew Gordon paints a richly nuanced and strikingly original portrait of the last two centuries of Japanese history. He takes students from the days of the shogunate–the feudal overlordship of the Tokugawa family–through the modernizing revolution launched by midlevel samurai in the late nineteenth century; the adoption of Western hairstyles, clothing, and military organization; and the nation’s first experiments with mass democracy after World War I. Gordon offers the finest synthesis to date of Japan’s passage through militarism, World War II, the American occupation, and the subsequent economic rollercoaster. But the true ingenuity and value of Gordon’s approach lies in his close attention to the non-elite layers of society. Here students will see the influence of outside ideas, products, and culture on home life, labor unions, political parties, gender relations, and popular entertainment. The book examines Japan’s struggles to define the meaning of its modernization, from villages and urban neighborhoods, to factory floors and middle managers’ offices, to the imperial court. Most importantly, it illuminates the interconnectedness of Japanese developments with world history, demonstrating how Japan’s historical passage represents a variation of a process experienced by many nations and showing how the Japanese narrative forms one part of the interwoven fabric of modern history.
With a sustained focus on setting modern Japan in a comparative and global context, The Modern History of Japan is ideal for undergraduate courses in modern Japanese history, Japanese politics, Japanese society, or Japanese culture.”

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45 .) Anthology of Japanese Literature: From the Earliest Era to the Mid-Nineteenth Century by Donald Keene

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • NPR

The sweep of Japanese literature in all its great variety was made available to Western readers for the first time in this anthology. Every genre and style, from the celebrated No plays to the poetry and novels of the seventeenth century, find a place in this book. An introduction by Donald Keene places the selections in their proper historical context, allowing the readers to enjoy the book both as literature and as a guide to the cultural history of Japan. Selections include “Man’yoshu” or “Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves” from the ancient period; “Kokinshu” or “Collection of Ancient and Modern Poetry,” “The Tosa Diary” of Ki No Tsurayuki, “Yugao” from “Tales of Genji” of Murasaki Shikibu, and “The Pillow Book” of Sei Shonagon from the Heian Period; “The Tale of the Heike” from the Kamakura Period; Plan of the No Stage, “Birds of Sorrow” of Seami Motokiyo, and “Three Poets at Minase” from the Muromachi Period; and Sections from Basho, including “The Narrow Road of Oku,” “The Love Suicides at Sonezaki” by Chikamatsu Monzaemon, and Waka and haiku of the Tokugawa Period.

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44 .) Bushido: The Soul of Japan. A Classic Essay on Samurai Ethics by Inazo Nitobe

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • The Nippon Foundation

A century ago, when Japan was transforming itself from an isolated feudal society into a modern nation, a Japanese educator queried about the ethos of his people composed this seminal work, which with his numerous other writings in English made him the best, known Japanese writer in the West during his lifetime.

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43 .) Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back by Janice P. Nimura

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Japan Visitor

“In 1871, five young girls were sent by the Japanese government to the United States. Their mission: learn Western ways and return to help nurture a new generation of enlightened men to lead Japan.

Raised in traditional samurai households during the turmoil of civil war, three of these unusual ambassadors―Sutematsu Yamakawa, Shige Nagai, and Ume Tsuda―grew up as typical American schoolgirls. Upon their arrival in San Francisco they became celebrities, their travels and traditional clothing exclaimed over by newspapers across the nation. As they learned English and Western customs, their American friends grew to love them for their high spirits and intellectual brilliance.”

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42 .) Essays in Idleness: The Tsurezuregusa of Kenko by Donald Keene

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • NPR

Despite the turbulent times in which he lived, the Buddhist priest Kenkō met the world with a measured eye. As Emperor Go-Daigo fended off a challenge from the usurping Hojo family, and Japan stood at the brink of a dark political era, Kenkō held fast to his Buddhist beliefs and took refuge in the pleasures of solitude. Written between 1330 and 1332, Essays in Idleness reflects the congenial priest’s thoughts on a variety of subjects. His brief writings, some no more than a few sentences long and ranging in focus from politics and ethics to nature and mythology, mark the crystallization of a distinct Japanese principle: that beauty is to be celebrated, though it will ultimately perish. Through his appreciation of the world around him and his keen understanding of historical events, Kenkō conveys the essence of Buddhist philosophy and its subtle teachings for all readers. Insisting on the uncertainty of this world, Kenkō asks that we waste no time in following the way of Buddha.

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41 .) Geisha, a Life by Mineko Iwasaki

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2

“Many say I was the best geisha of my generation,” writes Mineko Iwasaki. “And yet, it was a life that I found too constricting to continue. And one that I ultimately had to leave.” Trained to become a geisha from the age of five, Iwasaki would live among the other “women of art” in Kyoto’s Gion Kobu district and practice the ancient customs of Japanese entertainment. She was loved by kings, princes, military heroes, and wealthy statesmen alike. But even though she became one of the most prized geishas in Japan’s history, Iwasaki wanted more: her own life. And by the time she retired at age twenty-nine, Iwasaki was finally on her way toward a new beginning.

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40 .) Hokkaido Highway Blues: Hitchhiking Japan by Will Ferguson

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Wanderlust

It had never been done before. Not in 4000 years of Japanese recorded history had anyone followed the Cherry Blossom Front from one end of the country to the other. Nor had anyone hitchhiked the length of Japan. But, heady on sakura and sake, Will Ferguson bet he could do both.

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39 .) In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki

Lists It Appears On:

  • Departures
  • The Nippon Foundation

An essay on aesthetics by the Japanese novelist, this book explores architecture, jade, food, and even toilets, combining an acute sense of the use of space in buildings. The book also includes descriptions of laquerware under candlelight and women in the darkness of the house of pleasure.

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38 .) Japan at War: An Oral History by Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Goodreads 2

“Following the release of Clint Eastwood’s epic film Letters from Iwo Jima, which was nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture, there has been a renewed fascination and interest in the Japanese perspective on World War II. This pathbreaking work of oral history is the first book ever to capture—in either Japanese or English—the experience of ordinary Japanese people during the war.

In a sweeping panorama, Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook take us from the Japanese attacks on China in the 1930s to the Japanese home front during the inhuman raids on Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, offering the first glimpses of how the twentieth century’s most deadly conflict affected the lives of the Japanese population.”

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37 .) Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose by Kenneth B. Pyle

Lists It Appears On:

  • GaijinPot
  • The Nippon Foundation

“Japan is on the verge of a sea change. After more than fifty years of national pacifism and isolation including the “”lost decade”” of the 1990s, Japan is quietly, stealthily awakening. As Japan prepares to become a major player in the strategic struggles of the 21st century, critical questions arise about its motivations. What are the driving forces that influence how Japan will act in the international system? Are there recurrent patterns that will help explain how Japan will respond to the emerging environment of world politics?
American understanding of Japanese character and purpose has been tenuous at best. We have repeatedly underestimated Japan in the realm of foreign policy. Now as Japan shows signs of vitality and international engagement, it is more important than ever that we understand the forces that drive Japan. In Japan Rising, renowned expert Kenneth Pyle identities the common threads that bind the divergent strategies of modern Japan, providing essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how Japan arrived at this moment—and what to expect in the future.”

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36 .) Kafu the Scribbler: The Life and Writings of Nagai Kafu, 1879-1959 by Edward Seidensticker

Lists It Appears On:

  • Five Books
  • The Nippon Foundation

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35 .) Kyoto: Seven Paths to The Heart of The City by Diane Durston

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Japan Visitor

What better way to see Kyoto than at dawn, when the back streets and alleys of this 1,200-year-old city are still under the spell of the past? Old folks fuss about with their bonsai and laundry poles, pausing to chat on their way to the neighborhood shrine with flowers and morning prayers. Knock-kneed white egrets stalk the stream beds for breakfast, and the giant bronze temple bells awaken the former capital of Japan every morning as they have done for centuries.

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34 .) Lost Japan: Last Glimpse of Beautiful Japan by Alex Kerr

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Smart Japan Hacks

Originally written in Japanese, this passionate, vividly personal book draws on the author’s experiences in Japan over thirty years. Alex Kerr takes us on a backstage tour, as he explores the ritualized world of Kabuki, retraces his initiation into Tokyo’s boardrooms during the heady Bubble Years, tells how he stumbled on a hidden valley that became his home…and exposes the environmental and cultural destruction that is the other face of contemporary Japan.

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33 .) Musui’s Story: Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai by Katsu Kokichi

Lists It Appears On:

  • Japan Visitor
  • ST Booking

A series of picaresque adventures set against the backdrop of a Japan still closed off from the rest of the world, Musui’s Story recounts the escapades of samurai Katsu Kokichi. As it depicts Katsu stealing, brawling, indulging in the pleasure quarters, and getting the better of authorities, it also provides a refreshing perspective on Japanese society, customs, economy, and human relationships.

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32 .) Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Departures

“This stunning and elegiac novel by the author of the internationally acclaimed Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has sold over 4 million copies in Japan and is now available to American audiences for the first time. It is sure to be a literary event.

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.”

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30 .) Postwar Japan as History by Andrew Gordon (Editor)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • The Nippon Foundation

Japan’s catapult to world economic power has inspired many studies by social scientists, but few have looked at the 45 years of postwar Japan through the lens of history. The contributors to this book seek to offer such a view. As they examine three related themes of postwar history, the authors describe an ongoing historical process marked by unexpected changes, such as Japan’s extraordinary economic growth, and unanticipated continuities, such as the endurance of conservative rule. A provocative set of interpretative essays by eminent scholars, this book will appeal to anyone interested in the history of twentieth-century Japan and the dilemmas facing Japan today.

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29 .) Shōgun by James Clavell

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Goodreads 2

“Here is the world-famous novel of Japan that is the earliest book in James Clavell’s masterly Asian saga. Set in the year 1600, it tells the story of a bold English pilot whose ship was blown ashore in Japan, where he encountered two people who were to change his life: a warlord with his own quest for power, and a beautiful interpreter torn between two ways of life and two ways of love.

The principal figures are John Blackthorne, whose dream it is to be the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe, to wrest control of the trade between Japan and China from Portuguese, and to return home a man of wealth and position; Toranaga, the most powerful feudal lord in Japan, who strives and schemes to seize ultimate power by becoming Shogun—the Supreme Military Dictator—and to unite the warring samurai fiefdoms under his own masterly and farsighted leadership; and the Lady Mariko, a Catholic convert whose conflicting loyalties to the Church and her country are compounded when she falls in love with Blackthorne, the barbarian intruder.”

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28 .) Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Ieyasu by A.L. Sadler

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2

“Since its initial appearance, A.L.Sadler’s imposing biography of the Japanese Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu has been recognized as an outstanding contribution to the knowledge of Japanese history. It is also considered the standard reference work on the period that saw the entrenchment of feudalism in Japan and the opening of some two and a half centuries of rigid isolation from the rest of the world.

In the course of Japanese history, there have been five great military leaders who by common consent stand out above the others of their type. Of these, two lived in the twelfth century, while the other three, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, were contemporary in the latter half of the sixteenth century. The last of these three, with whose life Mr. Sadler deals, may well be described as having perfected the shogunate system. Not only did Ieyasu found a dynasty of rulers and organize a powerful system of government, but also he rounded off his achievements by contriving before his death to arrange for his deification afterward. “

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27 .) The Anatomy of Dependence by Takeo Doi

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • The Nippon Foundation

The discovery that a major concept of human feeling-easily expressed in everyday Japanese- totally resisted translation into a Western language led Dr. Takeo Doi to explore and define an area of the psyche which has previously received little attention. The resulting essay, The Anatomy of Dependence, is one of the most penetrating analyses of the Japanese mind ever written, as well as an important original contribution to psychology which transcends the boundaries of cultures and nations.

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26 .) The Diary of Lady Murasaki by Murasaki Shikibu

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2

The Diary recorded by Lady Murasaki (c. 973-c. 1020), author of The Tale of Genji, is an intimate picture of her life as tutor and companion to the young Empress Shoshi. Told in a series of vignettes, it offers revealing glimpses of the Japanese imperial palace – the auspicious birth of a prince, rivalries between the Emperor’s consorts, with sharp criticism of Murasaki’s fellow ladies-in-waiting and drunken courtiers, and telling remarks about the timid Empress and her powerful father, Michinaga. The Diary is also a work of great subtlety and intense personal reflection, as Murasaki makes penetrating insights into human psychology – her pragmatic observations always balanced by an exquisite and pensive melancholy.

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25 .) The Emergence of Meiji Japan by Marius B. Jansen

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • Japan Visitor

This new edition brings together selected chapters from Volume 5 of The Cambridge History of Japan. Japan underwent momentous changes during the nineteenth century. This book chronicles the transition from Tokugawa rule, and the political process that finally ended centuries of warrior rule. It goes on to discuss the samurai rebellions against the Meiji Restoration, national movements for constitutional government that indirectly resulted in the Meiji Constitution of 1889, and Japan’s twentieth-century drive to Great Power status.

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24 .) The Japan Journals: 1947-2004 by Donald Richie

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Goodreads

Donald Richie has been observing and writing about Japan from the moment he arrived on New Year’s Eve, 1946. Detailing his life, his lovers, and his ideas on matters high and low, The Japan Journals is a record of both a nation and an evolving expatriate sensibility. As Japan modernizes and as the author ages, the tone grows elegiac, and The Japan Journals—now in paperback after the critically acclaimed hardcover edition—becomes a bittersweet chronicle of a complicated life well lived and captivatingly told.

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23 .) The Japanese Mind: Understanding Contemporary Japanese Culture by Roger J. Davies and Osamu Ikeno

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Smart Japan Hacks

Readers of this book will gain a clear understanding of what makes the Japanese, and their society, tick. Among the topics explored: aimai (ambiguity), amae (dependence upon others’ benevolence), amakudari (the nation’s descent from heaven), chinmoku (silence in communication), gambari(perseverance), giri (social obligation), haragei (literally, “belly art”; implicit, unspoken communication), kenkyo (the appearance of modesty), sempai-kohai (seniority), wabi-sabi (simplicity and elegance), and zoto (gift giving), as well as discussions of child-rearing, personal space, and the roles of women in Japanese society. It includes discussion topics and questions after each chapter.

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22 .) The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • NPR

“Junichirō Tanizaki’s magisterial evocation of a proud Osaka family in decline during the years immediately before World War II is arguably the greatest Japanese novel of the twentieth century and a classic of international literature.

Tsuruko, the eldest sister of the once-wealthy Makioka family, clings obstinately to the prestige of her family name even as her husband prepares to move their household to Tokyo, where that name means nothing. Sachiko compromises valiantly to secure the future of her younger sisters. The shy, unmarried Yukiko is a hostage to her family’s exacting standards, while the spirited Taeko rebels by flinging herself into scandalous romantic alliances and dreaming of studying fashion design in France. Filled with vignettes of a vanishing way of life, The Makioka Sisters is a poignant yet unsparing portrait of a family—and an entire society—sliding into the abyss of modernity. It possesses in abundance the keen social insight and unabashed sensuality that distinguish Tanizaki as a master novelist.”

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21 .) The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Matsuo Basho and Nobuyuki Yuasa

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • The Nippon Foundation

In his perfectly crafted haiku poems, Basho described the natural world with great simplicity and delicacy of feeling. When he composed The Narrow Road to the Deep North, he was an ardent student of Zen Buddhism, setting off on a series of travels designed to strip away the trappings of the material world and bring spiritual enlightenment. He wrote of the seasons changin, of the smells of the rain, the brightness of the moon, and beauty of the waterfall, through which he sense mysteries of the universe. There’s seventeenth-century travel writing not only chronicle Basho’s perilous journeys through Japan, but they also capture his vision of eternity in the transient world around him.

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20 .) The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon by Ivan Morris

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • NPR

The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon is a fascinating, detailed account of Japanese court life in the eleventh century. Written by a lady of the court at the height of Heian culture, this book enthralls with its lively gossip, witty observations, and subtle impressions. Lady Shonagon was an erstwhile rival of Lady Murasaki, whose novel, The Tale of Genji, fictionalized the elite world Lady Shonagon so eloquently relates. Featuring reflections on royal and religious ceremonies, nature, conversation, poetry, and many other subjects, The Pillow Book is an intimate look at the experiences and outlook of the Heian upper class, further enriched by Ivan Morris’s extensive notes and critical contextualization.

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19 .) The Pleasures of Japanese Literature by Donald Keene

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • The Nippon Foundation

Perhaps no one is more qualified to write about Japanese culture than Donald Keene, considered the leading interpreter of that nation’s literature to the Western world. The author, editor, or translator of nearly three dozen books of criticism and works of literature, Keene now offers an enjoyable and beautifully written introduction to traditional Japanese culture for the general reader.

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18 .) The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang

Lists It Appears On:

  • GaijinPot
  • Goodreads 2

In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking. Within weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians were systematically raped, tortured, and murdered—a death toll exceeding that of the atomic blasts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Using extensive interviews with survivors and newly discovered documents, Iris Chang has written what will surely be the definitive history of this horrifying episode. The Rape of Nanking tells the story from three perspectives: of the Japanese soldiers who performed it, of the Chinese civilians who endured it, and of a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon the city and were able to create a safety zone that saved almost 300,000 Chinese. Among these was the Nazi John Rabe, an unlikely hero whom Chang calls the “Oskar Schindler of China” and who worked tirelessly to protect the innocent and publicize the horror. More than just narrating the details of an orgy of violence, The Rape of Nanking analyzes the militaristic culture that fostered in the Japanese soldiers a total disregard for human life.

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17 .) The Rising Sun: The Decline & Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-45 by John Toland

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2

“This Pulitzer Prize–winning history of World War II chronicles the dramatic rise and fall of the Japanese empire, from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Told from the Japanese perspective, The Rising Sun is, in the author’s words, “a factual saga of people caught up in the flood of the most overwhelming war of mankind, told as it happened—muddled, ennobling, disgraceful, frustrating, full of paradox.”

In weaving together the historical facts and human drama leading up to and culminating in the war in the Pacific, Toland crafts a riveting and unbiased narrative history. In his Foreword, Toland says that if we are to draw any conclusion from The Rising Sun, it is “that there are no simple lessons in history, that it is human nature that repeats itself, not history.””

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16 .) The Roads to Sata: A 2000-Mile Walk Through Japan by Alan Booth

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Goodreads

“Traveling only along small back roads, Alan Booth traversed Japan’s entire length on foot, from Soya at the country’s northernmost tip, to Cape Sata in the extreme south, across three islands and some 2,000 miles of rural Japan. The Roads to Sata is his wry, witty, inimitable account of that prodigious trek.

Although he was a city person—he was brought up in London and spent most of his adult life in Tokyo—Booth had an extraordinary ability to capture the feel of rural Japan in his writing. Throughout his long and arduous trek, he encountered a variety of people who inhabit the Japanese countryside—from fishermen and soldiers, to bar hostesses and school teachers, to hermits, drunks, and tramps. His wonderful and often hilarious descriptions of these encounters are the highlights of these pages, painting a multifaceted picture of Japan from the perspective of an outsider, but with the knowledge of an insider.”

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15 .) The Tales of the Heike by Burton Watson (Trans.)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • The Nippon Foundation

The Tales of the Heike provides a dramatic window onto the emerging world of the medieval samurai and recounts in absorbing detail the chaos of the battlefield, the intrigue of the imperial court, and the gradual loss of a courtly tradition. The book is also highly religious and Buddhist in its orientation, taking up such issues as impermanence, karmic retribution, attachment, and renunciation, which dominated the Japanese imagination in the medieval period.

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14 .) War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War by John W. Dower

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • The Nippon Foundation

Drawing on American and Japanese songs, slogans, cartoons, propaganda films, secret reports, and a wealth of other documents of the time, Dower opens up a whole new way of looking at that bitter struggle of four and a half decades ago and its ramifications in our lives today. As Edwin O. Reischauer, former ambassador to Japan, has pointed out, this book offers “a lesson that the postwar generations need most…with eloquence, crushing detail, and power.”

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13 .) Zen and Japanese Culture by Daisetz T. Suzuki

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Matcha Tea

One of this century’s leading works on Zen, this book is a valuable source for those wishing to understand its concepts in the context of Japanese life and art. In simple, often poetic, language, Daisetz Suzuki describes what Zen is, how it evolved, and how its emphasis on primitive simplicity and self-effacement have helped to shape an aesthetics found throughout Japanese culture. He explores the surprising role of Zen in the philosophy of the samurai, and subtly portrays the relationship between Zen and swordsmanship, haiku, tea ceremonies, and the Japanese love of nature. Suzuki’s contemplative discussion is enhanced by anecdotes, poetry, and illustrations showing silk screens, calligraphy, and examples of architecture.

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12 .) A Geek in Japan by Hector Garcia

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Matcha Tea
  • Wanderlust

Comprehensive and well informed, it covers a wide array of topics in short articles accompanied by sidebars and numerous photographs, providing a lively digest of the society and culture of Japan. Designed to appeal to the generations of Westerners who grew up on Pokemon, manga and video games, A Geek in Japan reinvents the culture guide for readers in the Internet age.

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11 .) Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival by David Pilling

Lists It Appears On:

  • GaijinPot
  • Goodreads
  • ST Booking

Pilling’s exploration begins with the 2011 triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. His deep reporting reveals both Japan’s vulnerabilities and its resilience and pushes him to understand the country’s past through cycles of crisis and reconstruction. Japan’s survivalist mentality has carried it through tremendous hardship, but is also the source of great destruction: It was the nineteenth-century struggle to ward off colonial intent that resulted in Japan’s own imperial endeavor, culminating in the devastation of World War II. Even the postwar economic miracle—the manufacturing and commerce explosion that brought unprecedented economic growth and earned Japan international clout might have been a less pure victory than it seemed. In Bending Adversity Pilling questions what was lost in the country’s blind, aborted climb to #1. With the same rigor, he revisits 1990—the year the economic bubble burst, and the beginning of Japan’s “lost decades”—to ask if the turning point might be viewed differently. While financial struggle and national debt are a reality, post-growth Japan has also successfully maintained a stable standard of living and social cohesion. And while life has become less certain, opportunities—in particular for the young and for women—have diversified.

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10 .) Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912 by Donald Keene

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • Japan Visitor
  • The Nippon Foundation

“When Emperor Meiji began his rule, in 1867, Japan was a splintered empire, dominated by the shogun and the daimyos, who ruled over the country’s more than 250 decentralized domains and who were, in the main, cut off from the outside world, staunchly antiforeign, and committed to the traditions of the past. Before long, the shogun surrendered to the emperor, a new constitution was adopted, and Japan emerged as a modern, industrialized state.

Despite the length of his reign, little has been written about the strangely obscured figure of Meiji himself, the first emperor ever to meet a European. Most historians discuss the period that takes his name while barely mentioning the man, assuming that he had no real involvement in affairs of state. Even Japanese who believe Meiji to have been their nation’s greatest ruler may have trouble recalling a single personal accomplishment that might account for such a glorious reputation. Renowned Japan scholar Donald Keene sifts the available evidence to present a rich portrait not only of Meiji but also of rapid and sometimes violent change during this pivotal period in Japan’s history.

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9 .) Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan by Herbert P. Bix

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2

Supported by a vast array of previously untapped primary documents, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan is perhaps most illuminating in lifting the veil on the mythology surrounding the emperor’s impact on the world stage. Focusing closely on Hirohito’s interactions with his advisers and successive Japanese governments, Bix sheds new light on the causes of the China War in 1937 and the start of the Asia-Pacific War in 1941. And while conventional wisdom has had it that the nation’s increasing foreign aggression was driven and maintained not by the emperor but by an elite group of Japanese militarists, the reality, as witnessed here, is quite different. Bix documents in detail the strong, decisive role Hirohito played in wartime operations, from the takeover of Manchuria in 1931 through the attack on Pearl Harbor and ultimately the fateful decision in 1945 to accede to an unconditional surrender. In fact, the emperor stubbornly prolonged the war effort and then used the horrifying bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, together with the Soviet entrance into the war, as his exit strategy from a no-win situation. From the moment of capitulation, we see how American and Japanese leaders moved to justify the retention of Hirohito as emperor by whitewashing his wartime role and reshaping the historical consciousness of the Japanese people. The key to this strategy was Hirohito’s alliance with General MacArthur, who helped him maintain his stature and shed his militaristic image, while MacArthur used the emperor as a figurehead to assist him in converting Japan into a peaceful nation. Their partnership ensured that the emperor’s image would loom large over the postwar years and later decades, as Japan began to make its way in the modern age and struggled — as it still does — to come to terms with its past.

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8 .) Japanese Society by Chie Nakane

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Matcha Tea
  • The Nippon Foundation

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7 .) Kokoro by Natsume Soseki

Lists It Appears On:

  • Departures
  • The Culture Trip
  • The Nippon Foundation

I always called him “Sensei.” I shall therefore refer to him simply as “Sensei,” and not by his real name. It is not because I consider it more discreet, but it is because I find it more natural that I do so. Whenever the memory of him comes back to me now, I find that I think of him as “Sensei” still. And with pen in hand, I cannot bring myself to write of him in any other way. It was at Kamakura, during the summer holidays, that I first met Sensei. I was then a very young student. I went there at the insistence of a friend of mine, who had gone to Kamakura to swim. We were not together for long. It had taken me a few days to get together enough money to cover the necessary expenses, and it was only three days after my arrival that my friend received a telegram from home demanding his return. His mother, the telegram explained, was ill. My friend, however, did not believe this. For some time his parents had been trying to persuade him, much against his will, to marry a certain girl. According to our modern outlook, he was really too young to marry. Moreover, he was not in the least fond of the girl. It was in order to avoid an unpleasant situation that instead of going home, as he normally would have done, he had gone to the resort near Tokyo to spend his holidays. He showed me the telegram, and asked me what he should do. I did not know what to tell him. It was, however, clear that if his mother was truly ill, he should go home. And so he decided to leave after all. I, who had taken so much trouble to join my friend, was left alone.

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6 .) Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Departures
  • The Culture Trip

At an isolated mountain hot spring, with snow blanketing every surface, Shimamura, a wealthy dilettante meets Komako, a lowly geisha. She gives herself to him fully and without remorse, despite knowing that their passion cannot last and that the affair can have only one outcome. In chronicling the course of this doomed romance, Kawabata has created a story for the ages — a stunning novel dense in implication and exalting in its sadness.

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5 .) The Making of Modern Japan by Marius B. Jansen

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • ST Booking
  • The Nippon Foundation

“Magisterial in vision, sweeping in scope, this monumental work presents a seamless account of Japanese society during the modern era, from 1600 to the present. A distillation of more than fifty years’ engagement with Japan and its history, it is the crowning work of our leading interpreter of the modern Japanese experience.

Since 1600 Japan has undergone three periods of wrenching social and institutional change, following the imposition of hegemonic order on feudal society by the Tokugawa shogun; the opening of Japan’s ports by Commodore Perry; and defeat in World War II. The Making of Modern Japan charts these changes: the social engineering begun with the founding of the shogunate in 1600, the emergence of village and castle towns with consumer populations, and the diffusion of samurai values in the culture.”

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4 .) Hiroshima by John Hersey

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2
  • Wanderlust

Almost four decades after the original publication of this celebrated book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search of the people whose stories he had told. His account of what he discovered about them is now the eloquent and moving final chapter of Hiroshima.

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3 .) The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan by Ivan Morris

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2
  • Smart Japan Hacks

The World of the Shining Prince, Ivan Morris’s widely acclaimed portrait of the ceremonious, inbred, melancholy world of ancient Japan, has been a standard in cultural studies for nearly thirty years. Using as a frame of reference The Tale of Genji and other major literary works from Japan’s Heian period, Morris recreates an era when woman set the cultural tone. Focusing on the world of the emperor’s court-the world so admired by Virginia Woolf and others-he describes the politics, society, religious life, and superstitions of the times, providing detailed portrayals of the daily life of courtiers, the cult of beauty they espoused, and the intricate relations between the men and women of this milieu.

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2 .) Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II by John W. Dower

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Five Books
  • GaijinPot
  • Goodreads
  • Goodreads 2

Drawing on a vast range of Japanese sources and illustrated with dozens of astonishing documentary photographs, Embracing Defeat is the fullest and most important history of the more than six years of American occupation, which affected every level of Japanese society, often in ways neither side could anticipate. Dower, whom Stephen E. Ambrose has called “America’s foremost historian of the Second World War in the Pacific,” gives us the rich and turbulent interplay between West and East, the victor and the vanquished, in a way never before attempted, from top-level manipulations concerning the fate of Emperor Hirohito to the hopes and fears of men and women in every walk of life. Already regarded as the benchmark in its field, Embracing Defeat is a work of colossal scholarship and history of the very first order. John W. Dower is the Elting E. Morison Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for War Without Mercy. 75 illustrations and map

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1 .) The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

Lists It Appears On:

  • Boutique Japan
  • Goodreads 2
  • NPR
  • The Culture Trip
  • Departures
  • The Nippon Foundation

Written in the eleventh century, this exquisite portrait of courtly life in medieval Japan is widely celebrated as the world’s first novel. Genji, the Shining Prince, is the son of an emperor. He is a passionate character whose tempestuous nature, family circumstances, love affairs, alliances, and shifting political fortunes form the core of this magnificent epic. Royall Tyler’s superior translation is detailed, poetic, and superbly true to the Japanese original while allowing the modern reader to appreciate it as a contemporary treasure. Supplemented with detailed notes, glossaries, character lists, and chronologies to help the reader navigate the multigenerational narrative, this comprehensive edition presents this ancient tale in the grand style that it deserves.

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The 250+ Additional Nonfiction Japan Books



 

#BooksAuthorsLists
(Titles Appear On 1 List Each)
4712 người lập ra nước NhậtTaichi SakaiyaGoodreads
4821st-Century Japanese Management: New Systems, Lasting ValuesJames C. Abegglen
The Nippon Foundation
4947 Ronin a Samurai Story from JapanJennifer BassettGoodreads
50
A Brief History of Japan Samurai, Shogun and Zen: The Extraordinary Story of the Land of the Rising Sun
Japan Visitor
51A Brief History of the Samurai: The Way of Japan’s Elite WarriorsJonathan Clements
Goodreads 2
52A Cultural History of Translation in Early Modern JapanRebekah ClementsGoodreads
53A Diary of Darkness: The Wartime Diary of Kiyosawa KiyoshiKiyoshi Kiyosawa
The Nippon Foundation
54A Diplomat in JapanSir Ernest SatowGaijinPot
55A Discourse By Three Drunkards On GovernmentNakae Chomin
The Nippon Foundation
56A History of JapanGeorge SansomGaijinPot
57A History of JapanR.H.P. Mason
Goodreads 2
58A History of Japan to 1334George Bailey Sansom
Goodreads 2
59A History of Japan, 1334-1615George Bailey Sansom
Goodreads 2
60A History of Japan, 1615-1867George Bailey Sansom
Goodreads 2
61A History of Japan: From Stone Age to SuperpowerKenneth Henshall
Smart Japan Hacks
62A Personal MatterKenzaburo Oe
The Nippon Foundation
63
A Special Fate: Chiune Sugihara: Hero of the Holocaust
Japan Visitor
64A Tale for the Time BeingRuth OzekiWanderlust
65A Year in JapanKate T. WilliamsonGoodreads
66Abandoned JapanJordy MeowWanderlust
67Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque: The Living, Dead, and Undead in Japan’s Imperialism, 1895-1945Mark Driscoll
Goodreads 2
68
Across the Perilous Sea: Japanese Trade with China & Korea from the 7th to the 16th Centuries
Japan Visitor
69Almost Transparent Blue (1976)Ryu Murakami
The Culture Trip
70America’s Geisha Ally: Reimagining the Japanese EnemyNaoko Shibusawa
Goodreads 2
71An Anticlassical Political-Economic Analysis: A Vision for the Next CenturyYasusuke Murakami
The Nippon Foundation
72An Introduction to Zen BuddhismD.T. SuzukiDepartures
73Anime: From Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese AnimationSusan J. Napier
The Nippon Foundation
74Autobiography of Yukichi FukuzawaYukichi FukuzawaGoodreads
75Behind the Mask: On Sexual Demons, Sacred Mothers, Transvestites, Gangsters, Drifters and other Japanese Cultural HeroesIan BurumaGoodreads
76
Beyond Death and Dishonour: One Japanese at War in New Zealand
Japan Visitor
77Bonds of Civility: Aesthetic Networks and the Political Origins of Japanese CultureEiko IkegamiGoodreads
78British Factory – Japanese Factory: The Origins of National Diversity in Industrial RelationsRonald Dore
The Nippon Foundation
79Broadcasting Politics in Japan: NHK and Television NewsEllis S. Krauss
The Nippon Foundation
80
Censoring History: Citizenship and Memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States
Japan Visitor
81
Christ’s Samurai: The True Story of the Shimabara Rebellion
Japan Visitor
82Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of JapanDonald Keene
Boutique Japan
83ChushinguraNPR
84CITYx60 TokyoWanderlust
85
Civilization and Monsters: Spirits of Modernity in Meiji Japan
Japan Visitor
86Code of the Samurai: A Modern Translation of the Bushido Shoshinshu of Taira ShigesukeDaidōji Yūzan
Goodreads 2
87Coin Locker BabiesRyu MurakamiDepartures
88Confessions of a YakuzaJunichi Saga
Boutique Japan
89Confucian Values and Popular Zen: Sekimon Shingaku in Eighteenth Century JapanJanine Anderson SawadaGoodreads
90Constructing Civil Society in Japan: Voices of Environmental MovementsKoichi Hasegawa
The Nippon Foundation
91Contemporary Japanese FilmMark Schilling
The Nippon Foundation
92Contemporary Japanese Literature: An Anthology of Fiction, Film, and Other Writing Since 1945Howard Hibbett (Ed.)
The Nippon Foundation
93
Court & Bakufu in Japan: Essays in Kamakura History
Japan Visitor
94Cultural Norms and National Security: Police and Military in Postwar JapanPeter J. Katzenstein
The Nippon Foundation
95Dance Dance DanceHaruki MurakamiWanderlust
96Dave Barry Does JapanDave Barry
Boutique Japan
97Death in Midsummer and Other Stories (1953)Yukio Mishima
The Culture Trip
98Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Modern JapanAlex Kerr
Smart Japan Hacks
99
Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In: Lessons From An Extraordinary Life
Japan Visitor
100Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern MangaFrederik L. Schodt
The Nippon Foundation
101
Drifting Toward The Southeast: The Story of Five Japanese Castaways
Japan Visitor
102Drinking Japan: A Guide to Japan’s Best Drinks and Drinking EstablishmentsChris Bunting
Boutique Japan
103Early Modern JapanConrad D. Totman
Goodreads 2
104Edo Culture: Daily Life and Diversions in Urban Japan, 1600-1868Matsunosuke Nishiyama
The Nippon Foundation
105
Edo, The City That Became Tokyo: An Illustrated History
Japan Visitor
106Empire of SignsRoland BarthesFive Books
107Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern TimesMiriam Silverberg
The Nippon Foundation
108Etiquette Guide to Japan: Know the Rules that Make the Difference!Boye Lafayette De Mente:Matcha Tea
109Everyday Things in Premodern Japan: The Hidden Legacy of Material CultureSusan B. HanleyGoodreads
110Family and Social Policy in Japan: Anthropological ApproachesRoger Goodman (Ed.)
The Nippon Foundation
111Farewell To Manzanar
Japan Visitor
112Five Modern Japanese NovelistsDonald Keene
The Nippon Foundation
113Food Sake TokyoYukari Sakamoto
Boutique Japan
114
For That One Day: The Memoirs of Mitsuo Fuchida, the Commander of the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Japan Visitor
115Four Major Plays of ChikamatsuChikamatsu Monzaemon
Boutique Japan
116Four Practical Revolutions in Management: Systems for Creating Unique Organizational CapabilityShoji Shiba and David Walden
The Nippon Foundation
117From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy and the United StatesSadao Asada
The Nippon Foundation
118From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor: Who Was Responsible?The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Nippon Foundation
119Geisha of Gion: The Memoir of Mineko IwasakiMineko IwasakiST Booking
120Geisha, 25th Anniversary EditionLiza Dalby
Boutique Japan
121Gender and Development: The Japanese Experience in Comparative PerspectiveMayumi Murayama (Ed.)
The Nippon Foundation
122Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese MinimalismFumio SasakiGoodreads
123Governing Japan: Divided Politics in a Major EconomyJ. A. A. Stockwin
The Nippon Foundation
124Granta JapanWanderlust
125Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern JapanWilliam E. DealGoodreads
126HideyoshiMary Elizabeth Berry
Goodreads 2
127
Himiko and Japan’s Elusive Chiefdom of Yamatai: Archaeology, History, and Mythology
Japan Visitor
128Houses and Gardens of KyotoThomas Daniell
Boutique Japan
129I Am a CatSoseki Natsume
Boutique Japan
130I Haven’t Dreamed of Flying for a WhileTaichi Yamada
The Nippon Foundation
131
In Search of Japan’s Hidden Christians: A Story of Suppression, Secrecy and Survival
Japan Visitor
132In the Japanese GardenElizabeth Bibb (Text)Goodreads
133In the Realm of a Dying EmperorNorma FieldGoodreads
134Introduction to Japanese ArchitectureDavid E. YoungGoodreads
135Introduction to Japanese CultureDaniel Sosnoski:Matcha Tea
136Inventing Japan: 1853-1964Ian Buruma
Goodreads 2
137Izakaya: The Japanese Pub CookbookMark Robinson
Boutique Japan
138Japan Extolled and Decried
Japan Visitor
139Japan from Tokugawa Times to the PresentAndrew GordonGaijinPot
140Japan in the 21st Century: Environment, Economy, and SocietyPradyumna P. Karan
The Nippon Foundation
141Japan Remodeled: How Government and Industry are Reforming Japanese CapitalismSteven K. Vogel
The Nippon Foundation
142Japan, China, and the Growth of the Asian International Economy, 1850-1949Kaoru Sugihara (Ed.)
The Nippon Foundation
143Japan: Its History and CultureW. Scott Morton
Goodreads 2
144Japan’s Financial Crisis: Institutional Rigidity and Reluctant ChangeJennifer A. Amyx
The Nippon Foundation
145Japan’s High SchoolsThomas P. Rohlen
The Nippon Foundation
146Japan’s Longest Day
Japan Visitor
147Japan’s Lost DecadeHiroshi Yoshikawa
The Nippon Foundation
148Japan’s Love-Hate Relationship with the WestSukehiro Hirakawa
The Nippon Foundation
149Japan’s Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji PeriodCarol Gluck
Goodreads 2
150Japan’s Quest for a Permanent Security Council Seat: A Matter of Pride or Justice?Reinhard Drifte
The Nippon Foundation
151Japan’s Longest DayThe Pacific War Research SocietyGaijinPot
152Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S.Roland Kelts
The Nippon Foundation
153Japanese accents in Western interiorsPeggy Landers RaoGoodreads
154
Japanese Assimilation Policies in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945
Japan Visitor
155Japanese CulturePaul Varley:Matcha Tea
156Japanese Foreign Policy at the Crossroads: Challenges and Options for the Twenty-First CenturyYutaka Kawashima
The Nippon Foundation
157Japanese Gardens: Tranquility, Simplicity, HarmonyGeeta K. Mehta and Kimie Tada
Boutique Japan
158
Japanese Historians & The National Myths, 1600-1945The Age of the Gods & Emperor Jinmu
Japan Visitor
159Japanese Imperialism, 1894-1945William G. Beasley
The Nippon Foundation
160Japanese Intelligence in World War II
Japan Visitor
161Japanese Poetic DiariesNPR
162Japanese Science: From the InsideSamuel J. Coleman
The Nippon Foundation
163Japanese TattoosBrian Ashcraft
Boutique Japan
164Japanese Women Writers: Twentieth Century Short FictionNoriko Mizuta Lippit and Kyoko Iriye Selden (Eds.)
The Nippon Foundation
165Japanese Zen GardensYoko Kawaguchi
Boutique Japan
166Kabuki Heroes on the Osaka Stage, 1780-1830Andrew C. Gerstle
The Nippon Foundation
167Kabuki: Baroque Fusion of the ArtsToshio Kawatake
The Nippon Foundation
168Kafka on the Shore (2002)Haruki Murakami
The Culture Trip
169Kansha: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan and Vegetarian TraditionsElizabeth Andoh
Boutique Japan
170Kimono Design: An Introduction to Textiles and PatternsKeiko Nitanai
Boutique Japan
171KitchenBanana Yoshimoto
Boutique Japan
172Kwaidan: Stories & Studies of Strange Things
Japan Visitor
173Kyoto Gardens: Masterworks of the Japanese Gardener’s ArtJudith Clancy
Boutique Japan
174Kyushu: Gateway to Japan: A Concise HistoryAndrew CobbingGoodreads
175
Language, Ideology and Japanese History Textbooks
Japan Visitor
176Lectures on Modern Japanese Economic History, 1926-1994Takafusa Nakamura
The Nippon Foundation
177Living in JapanAlex Kerr and Kathy Arlyn Sokol
Boutique Japan
178Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese RobotsTimothy N. Hornyak
The Nippon Foundation
179Machiavelli’s Children: Leaders and Their Legacies in Italy and JapanRichard J. Samuels
The Nippon Foundation
180Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa JapanGary P. Leupp
Goodreads 2
181Man’yoshuNPR
182Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese ComicsPaul Gravett
The Nippon Foundation
183Manufacturing Ideology: Scientific Management in Twentieth-Century JapanWilliam M. Tsutsui
The Nippon Foundation
184Media and Politics in JapanSusan J. Pharr and Ellis S. Kraus (Eds.)
The Nippon Foundation
185Memoirs of a GeishaArthur Golden
Goodreads 2
186Memories of Silk and Straw: A Self-Portrait of Small-Town JapanJunichi SagaGoodreads
187Minka: My Farmhouse in JapanJohn Roderick
Boutique Japan
188MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy, 1925-1975Chalmers Johnson
The Nippon Foundation
189Modern JapanPeter Duus
The Nippon Foundation
190
Modern Japanese Literature: From 1868 to the Present Day
NPR
191My Brother, My Sister & I
Japan Visitor
192Myth and Deity in JapanKamata TojiGoodreads
193
Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the Opening of Japan
Japan Visitor
194Native Sources of Japanese Industrialization, 1750-1920Thomas C. Smith
The Nippon Foundation
195Neighborhood TokyoTheodore C. Bestor
The Nippon Foundation
196Network Power: Japan and AsiaPeter J. Katzenstein and Takashi Shiraishi (Eds.)
The Nippon Foundation
197Nip the Buds, Shoot the KidsKenzaburo Oe
Boutique Japan
198No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War
Japan Visitor
199Oe and Beyond: Fiction in Contemporary JapanStephen Snyder and Philip Gabriel (Eds.)
The Nippon Foundation
200Origins of Modern Japanese LiteratureKaratani Kojin
The Nippon Foundation
201OzuDonald RichieFive Books
202Peasants, Rebels, and Outcastes: The Underside of Modern JapanMikiso Hane
Goodreads 2
203Practical Bonsai for BeginnersKenji MurataGoodreads
204Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe
Japan Visitor
205Race for the Exits: The Unraveling of Japan’s System of Social ProtectionLeonard J. Schoppa
The Nippon Foundation
206Reflections on the Way to the Gallows: Rebel Women in Prewar JapanMikiso Hane
Goodreads 2
207Regime Shift: Comparative Dynamics of the Japanese Political EconomyT. J. Pempel
The Nippon Foundation
208Reimagining Japan: The Quest for a Future That Works editedMcKinsey & Company
Smart Japan Hacks
209Rice, Noodle, FishMatt Goulding
Boutique Japan
210
Sacred Texts and Buried Treasures: Issues in the Historical Archaeology of Ancient Japan
Japan Visitor
211Sakamoto Ryōma and the Meiji RestorationMarius B. Jansen
The Nippon Foundation
212Samurai and Silk: A Japanese and American HeritageHaru Matsukata Reischauer
The Nippon Foundation
213Samurai William: The Englishman Who Opened JapanGiles Milton
Goodreads 2
214Samurai: The World of the WarriorStephen Turnbull
Goodreads 2
215Samurai!
Japan Visitor
216Schoolgirl Milky Crisis: Adventures in the Anime and Manga TradeJonathan ClementsGoodreads
217Science, Technology and Society in Contemporary JapanMorris Low, Shigeru Nakayama, and Hitoshi Yoshioka
The Nippon Foundation
218
Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822
Japan Visitor
219Securing Japan: Tokyo’s Grand Strategy and the Future of East AsiaRichard J. Samuels
The Nippon Foundation
220
Selling Songs And Smiles: The Sex Trade in Heian and Kamakura Japan
Japan Visitor
221Seven Japanese Tales (1963)Jun’ichirō Tanizaki
The Culture Trip
222Shank’s Mare: Japan’s Great Comic Novel of Travel & RibaldryIkku JippenshaGoodreads
223Shinsengumi: The Shogun’s Last Samurai CorpsRomulus Hillsborough
Goodreads 2
224Shinto: The Way HomeThomas P. KasulisGoodreads
225Shockwave: Countdown to HiroshimaStephen Walker
Boutique Japan
226So Far From The Bamboo Grove
Japan Visitor
227Soetsu Yanagi: Selected Essays on Japanese Folk CraftsSoetsu YanagiGoodreads
228Splendid Monarchy: Power and Pageantry in Modern JapanTakashi Fujitani
Goodreads 2
229State and Diplomacy in Early Modern Japan: Asia in the Development of the Tokugawa BakufuRonald P. Toby
The Nippon Foundation
230Stock Market Capitalism: Welfare Capitalism: Japan and Germany versus the Anglo-SaxonsRonald Dore
The Nippon Foundation
231Studio Ghibli: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao TakahataColin OdellGoodreads
232SushiKazuo Nagayama
Boutique Japan
233Taiko: An Epic Novel of War and Glory in Feudal JapanEiji Yoshikawa
Goodreads 2
234The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895-1910Peter Duus
The Nippon Foundation
235The Agrarian Origins of Modern JapanThomas C. SmithGoodreads
236The Anatomy of SelfTakeo DoiGoodreads
237The Atomic Bomb: Voices from Hiroshima and NagasakiKyoko and Mark Selden (Eds.)
The Nippon Foundation
238The Autobiography of Yukichi FukuzawaYukichi Fukuzawa
The Nippon Foundation
239The Burma Road
Japan Visitor
240The Cambridge History of Japan, Volume 1: Ancient JapanDelmer M. Brown
Goodreads 2
241The Cambridge History of Japan, Volume 2: Heian JapanJohn E. Hall
Goodreads 2
242The Cambridge History of Japan, Volume 3: Medieval JapanKozo Yamamura
Goodreads 2
243The Cambridge History of Japan, Volume 4: Early Modern JapanJohn W. Hall
Goodreads 2
244The Cambridge History of Japan, Volume 5: the Nineteenth CenturyMarius B. Jansen
Goodreads 2
245The Cambridge History of Japan, Volume 6: the Twentieth CenturyPeter Duus
Goodreads 2
246The Cape and Other Stories from the Japanese GhettoKenji Nakagami
The Nippon Foundation
247The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature: From 1945 to the PresentThomas J. Rimer and Gessel Van (Eds.)
The Nippon Foundation
248The Conquest of Ainu Lands: Ecology and Culture in Japanese Expansion, 1590-1800Brett L.Walker
The Nippon Foundation
249The Diving Pool (1990)Yoko Ogawa
The Culture Trip
250The Economics of Work in JapanKazuo Koike
The Nippon Foundation
251
The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa, Translated by Robert Hass
Boutique Japan
252The Evolution of a Manufacturing System at ToyotaTakahiro Fujimoto
The Nippon Foundation
253The Inland SeaDonald Richie
Boutique Japan
254The Iwakura Mission in America and Europe: A New AssessmentIan Nish (Ed.)
The Nippon Foundation
255The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945Ramon H. Myers and Mark R. Peattie (Eds.)
The Nippon Foundation
256The Japanese CompanyRodney Clark
The Nippon Foundation
257The Japanese Economic System and Its Historical OriginsTetsuji Okazaki & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara (Eds.)
The Nippon Foundation
258The Japanese Firm: The Sources of Competitive StrengthMasahiko Aoki and Ronald Dore (Eds.)
The Nippon Foundation
259The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in KyotoPico Iyer
Boutique Japan
260The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo TakamoriMark J. Ravina
Goodreads 2
261The Last Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa YoshinobuRyōtarō Shiba
Goodreads 2
262The Life of an Amorous Woman and Other WritingsIhara Saikaku
The Nippon Foundation
263The Logic of Japanese Politics: Leaders, Institutions, and the Limits of ChangeGerald L. Curtis
The Nippon Foundation
264The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miyamoto MusashiWilliam Scott Wilson
Boutique Japan
265The Lotus and the RobotArthur KoestlerFive Books
266The Masters´ Book Of BonsaiThe Japan Bonsai AssociationGoodreads
267The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese FilmTom Mes and Jasper Sharp
The Nippon Foundation
268The Narrow Roads to OkuNPR
269
The Only Woman in the Room: A Memoir of Japan, Human Rights, and the Arts
Japan Visitor
270The Politics of Nanjing: An Impartial Investigation
Japan Visitor
271The Power to CompeteHiroshi Mikitani and Ryoichi MikitaniDepartures
272The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the SeaYukio Mishima
Boutique Japan
273The Samurai SourcebookStephen Turnbull
Goodreads 2
274The Sound of WavesYukio Mishima
Boutique Japan
275The Sun Also Sets: The Limits to Japan’s Economic PowerBill Emmott
The Nippon Foundation
276The Temple of the Golden PavilionYukio MishimaDepartures
277The Turbulent Decade: Confronting the Refugee Crises of the 1990sSadako Ogata
The Nippon Foundation
278The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Past, Present, and FutureMichael J. Green & Patrick M. Cronin (Eds.)
The Nippon Foundation
279The Wages of GuiltIan BurumaGaijinPot
280The Waiting Years (1957)Fumiko Enchi
The Culture Trip
281The Wars for Asia, 1911-1949
Japan Visitor
282The Wild GooseOgai Mori
The Nippon Foundation
283The Wind-Up Bird ChronicleHaruki Murakami
Boutique Japan
284
The Yamato Dynasty: The secret history of Japan’s imperial family
Japan Visitor
285Thought and Behavior in Modern Japanese PoliticsMasao Maruyama
The Nippon Foundation
286Tokugawa Religion: The Cultural Roots of Modern JapanRobert N. Bellah
The Nippon Foundation
287Tokyo Cult RecipesMaori Murota
Boutique Japan
288Tokyo Fashion City: A Detailed Guide to Tokyo’s Trendiest Fashion DistrictsPhilomena Keet
Boutique Japan
289Tokyo Geek’s Guide: The Ultimate Guide to Japan’s Otaku CultureGianni Simone
Boutique Japan
290Tokyo Rising – The City since the Great Earthquake
Japan Visitor
291Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in JapanJake Adelstein
Boutique Japan
292Travelers of a Hundred Ages: The Japanese as Revealed Through 1,000 Years of DiariesDonald KeeneGoodreads
293Truth About Japan
Japan Visitor
294Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the WorldTheodore C. Bestor
The Nippon Foundation
295
Two Dreams in One Bed: empire, social life, and the origins of the North Korean revolution in Manchuria
Japan Visitor
296U.S.-Japan Relations in a Changing WorldSteven K. Vogel (Ed.)
The Nippon Foundation
297Unbeaten Tracks In Japan
Japan Visitor
298Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese PsycheHaruki MurakamiGoodreads
299Unsung Heroes of Old Japan
Japan Visitor
300Vanishing Japan: Traditions, Crafts & CultureElizabeth KiritaniGoodreads
301Victors’ Justice: The Tokyo War Crimes TrialRichard R. Minear
The Nippon Foundation
302Video Night in KathmanduPico Iyer:Matcha Tea
303Visions of Ryukyu: Identity and Ideology in Early-Modern Thought and PoliticsGregory Smits
The Nippon Foundation
304Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home KitchenElizabeth Andoh
Boutique Japan
305Woman in the DunesKobo AbeDepartures
306World Within Walls: Japanese Literature of the Premodern Era – 1600-1867Donald KeeneGoodreads
307Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster’s DaughterShoko Tendo
Boutique Japan
308
Yasukuni, The War Dead and the Struggle for Japan’s Past
Japan Visitor
309Yoko’s Diary
Japan Visitor
310Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion: The Creation of the Soul of JapanDonald Keene
Boutique Japan
311Yoshiwara: The Glittering World of the Japanese CourtesanCecilia Segawa Seigle
Goodreads 2


14 Best Japanese History Book Sources/Lists



SourceArticle
Boutique Japan Recommended Reading for Japan: Books to Read Before Your Trip
Departures The Essential Japanese Reading List
Five Books The best books on Japan
GaijinPot 9 MUST-READ BOOKS ON JAPANESE HISTORY
Goodreads Popular Japan Nonfiction Books
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Matcha Tea The Seven Best Books on Japanese Culture
NPR Reading List: Books To Help You Understand Japan
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