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Japanese Culture

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  417 ratings  ·  20 reviews
For nearly three decades Japanese Culture has garnered high praise as an accurate and well-written introduction to Japanese history and culture. This widely used undergraduate text is now available in a new edition. Thoroughly updated, the fourth edition includes expanded sections on numerous topics, among which are samurai values, Zen Buddhism, the tea ceremony, Confucian ...more
Paperback, Updated and Expanded Fourth Edition, 400 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by University of Hawaii Press (first published 1973)
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Jovi Ene
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una dintre cele mai cuprinzătoare lucrări pe acest subiect, cartea lui Paul Varley studiază în amănunt felul în care principalele forme de artă japoneze au evoluat de-a lungul istoriei. Chestiunile istorice sunt amintite pe larg, pentru ca autorul să se concentreze pe cultură, în toate formele ei: arhitectură, pictură, poezie, teatrul no sau kabuki, religie, cinematografie, roman, primele forme de critică literară, olărit, gheișe sau organizarea caselor.
Mi-ar plăcea să am în bibliotecă volume a
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book is not your ordinary book, is huge, is hard to read, is using your brains at 100% and still wants some more of them. took me a long time to read it considering the huge amount of info in it and the additional readings I've need or the additional research needed in order to understand some more specific aspects from this book. after finished it I've had the urge to re-read it, this time taking written notes on some topics in order to further study them ( by reading about them on wiki or ...more
May 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. I found it concise yet comprehensive, readable while still fairly rigorous. Far from being the last word about anything, this is the kind of book that sorts out all those things you've heard/learned about Japanese culture and helps you understand how they fit together. My only complaint is the excessively detailed treatment of the modern era--the block quotes (which otherwise had been used quite judiciously) were too long and the narrative seemed to lack the focus that ...more
☃️ Quirk
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was a solid overview of Japanese culture, it leaned more heavily on theater, art, and literature than I expected but that makes a lot of sense for a book about culture ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think the parts about the 47 Ronin, the Chinese art, and pre-WW2 reactionary shift were what I learned the most from
Mircea Poeana
Jun 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Japonia apare in ochii europenilor ca un haiku sau ca un puzzle sudoku.
Japonezul iubeste cultura, dar cand e vorba sa lupte e aprig.
Cand te nasti si traiesti in Tara Soarelui Rasare te raportezi la valori solare.
Munca, demnitate, simplitate, tenacitate, curaj, creativitate, loialitate...
Iar frumusetea detaliului, desi trecatoare, te poate ridica la zenit in orice clipa.
Atunci viata se caligrafiaza in cea mai subtila si fermecatoare ideograma.
Świetnie wyważone podsumowanie ogromu japońskiej kultury. Bardzo dobrze zachowany balans pomiędzy historią, polityką a zmianami w sztuce w kolejnych epokach. Polecam każdemu miłośnikowi kultury japońskiej!
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese-history
Reads like a textbook - a great textbook. Covers an enormous amount of material (culture and history) briefly and lucidly. Often I wanted more . . . but it's a textbook. Highly recommended. ...more
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
There’s a reason why so many universities place this book on their reading lists for pupils of Japanese Studies. Varley gives a good overview of Japanese culture (with phenomena such as the traditional tea ceremony or religions like Buddhism and Shinto) and arts including literature, architecture and performing arts such as kabuki or noh. He also gives a strong historical base, describing the most important events of each era in Japan’s history, giving context which is needed to fully understand ...more
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was ok
Varley's Japanese culture does have some educational value as far as explaining things like art history and basic aspects of Shinto. However author sometimes writes in extensive detail about art periods and styles, while neglecting other aspects of history. Example: Varley explains the general pattern, style, and set up of a Buddhist temple, but provides no possible factor, reason, or theory on why the Soga clan would suddenly oppose reform after years pursuing it under Prince Shotoku, and simpl ...more
Stanley Levine
Very readable, wide-ranging discussion of Japanese culture in all its forms with consideration of external influences and internal development. Includes 62 illustrations in the form of good quality photographic plates.
Aug 27, 2019 rated it liked it
It's a textbook. Not the most exciting, page-turning read, but I learned a LOT. There's probably a newer edition..? This one was published in 2000 and pretty much stops at 1990, which is a shame because I found the last chapter on modern culture in Japan to be the most interesting. ...more
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
i read this for class and it was really interesting. kind of dry at times but full of really great information. real good for writing essays about japan.
Oct 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Continually updated, this is a must-read for students of Japanese history.
Adam Smith
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
As textbooks goes this is one of the best ones I've ever come across. In general my knowledge of history is incredibly limited; I'm not even sure if any of the things I learnt in school were even relevant. Over the past few years, I have been studying Japanese as a personal hobby and have since fallen in love with the country.

This book has been vastly helpful in expanding my understanding of the country as a whole; meticulously examining the development of the country and its culture over the ye
Kevin Stan
Apr 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-japan
This is an excellent survey of Japan's history written by today's most celebrated American professor of Japanese Studies . Varley has since retired from Teaching, but when I took his lectures at the University of Hawaii, he was most engaging and informative. ...more
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
It didn't feel like I was reading a study book most of the time. Small details help to keep it interesting, and some in-between remarks that made me snicker. It doesn't really feel like a big essay, but more like an interesting informative book. ...more
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese-shelf
A must read for all the Japan addicts out there!
Andrea Evans
The author was pretty offensive and should not be writing about another culture.
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A complete and wonderful written book about japanese culture. Adviced for beginners and non
Randolph Camp
I read this book on the Japanese people and their culture back in Junior High School. It gave me a great insight into their world.
forest nymph
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