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The Agrarian Origins of Modern Japan

4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  19 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Paperback, 260 pages
Published December 12th 1959 by Stanford University Press (first published June 1959)
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morning Os
A classic. I should have read it before entering a grad school.
Sure and beautiful writing; very technical at times, but the overall argument is very convincing because of that.

After studying a bit about Tohoku, it also strikes me as waaaay too heavy on Kinai examples. He himself admits that there was a great regional and local variety, but in one sentence he says "this was common by the end of the 17th century" and in another "it was observed in 1925"-- a bit more sensitivity to the regional p
...more
Chelsea Szendi
How often does a historical monograph age this well? Smith's arguments about change over time in agrarian areas in early modern Japan remain the go-to source. His ending note - that all these changes somehow produced a high caliber of men to lead the Meiji Restoration - was perhaps a bit too...celebratory? Enthusiastic? It does mark him as a modernization paradigm man.
Sean Callaghan
Amazing read for anyone interested in the Edo Period. Such beautiful attention to detail. And it changed the field.
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