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soc.culture.japan FAQ [Monthly Posting] [1/3]
Section - (4.0) Bibliography

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There is a lot of material written about many aspects of Japanese
culture, and available from many more authoritative sources than a
computer news group. This bibliography lists a few widely available
titles that are aimed toward general readers, not sociologists.  Some
of the books listed have their own bibliographies for further study. A
search of any good library's catalog will list many more.

Note: for sake of consistency, all Japanese names in this FAQ are written
given names first.

Japanese Society and Culture:

The Japanese Mind; Robert C. Christopher
    A general introduction to Japanese society. Widely available. Includes
    a bibliography.

Learning to Bow; Bruce Feiler
    An American teaching English at public jr. high schools in rural
    Japan. Describes the educational system, relations between Japanese
    and foreigners, and other aspects of current culture.

Japanese Things; Basil Hall Chamberlain
    Describes Japan at the beginning of the Meiji era (from 1868). Some
    parts are dated, and therefore more of a historical reference, others
    still apply.

The Book of Tea; Kakuzo (Tenshin) Okakura
    The book that made tea ceremony famous around the world. The book 
    itself is rather old, but it is an overview of the tea culture that 
    is insightful even to native Japanese. 


Japan; Edwin O. Reischauer
    A brief introduction to the long history of Japan. Not great, but
    widely available.

  History of Japan; Sir George B. Sansom
    A considerably more extensive history. 3 volumes.


Yasunari Kawabata
    Snow Country
    Thousand Cranes
        _Snow_Country_ is one of the most famous novels in Japan. It
        describes the relationship of a teacher from Tokyo and a geisha
        at a small hot spring resort.

Soseki Natsume
    Sorekara (published in English as _And Then_)
        Soseki is considered by many to be Japan's greatest author, and
        _Kokoro_ is often considered his most important novel.  Botchan
        is earlier in his career, a much more lighthearted story.

Yukio Mishima
    Temple of the Golden Pavillion
        Mishima is perhaps, as famous for his 1970 storming of the Japan Self
        Defense Forces headquarters and subsequent suicide as for his writing.
        Many of his novels have been translated to English. Mishima is probably
        more popular outside Japan than at home.

Junichiro Tanizaki
    The Makioka Sisters
    The Key
    Some Prefer Nettles
        Tanizaki lived through approximately the same time as Mishima, but
        was much more popular in Japan than Mishima.  "The Makioka Sisters"
        and "Some Prefer Nettles" have the transition from traditional to
        modern (westernized) Japan.  Widely available in English.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa
    The Hell Screen (Jigokuhen)
    Words of a Fool (Shuju no Kotoba)
        Akutagawa was active in the early 1900's. His short stories
        are often inspired by _Konjaku Monogatari_, a collection of
        stories from the Heian era. Akira Kurosawa's movie _Rashomon_
        was inspired by his short story of the same name. His stories
	are available in English in the collections "Kappa," "Tales
	Grotesque and Curious," and "Rashomon and other stories."

The following authors and collections represent modern Japan. They may
never reach the stature as the authors listed above, but some are popular
and all represent to some degree what's happening in Japan now.

Kobo Abe
    The Woman of the Dunes
    Beyond the Curve (short stories)
        Abe is sometimes called the Edgar Allen Poe of Japan. Similar
        macabre or twisted type stories. Died in January 1993.

Kenzaburo Oe
    Man-en Gannen no Futtoboru (English title: The Silent Cry)
    Kojinteki na Taiken (English title: A Personal Matter)
        Winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in literature, Oe is said to 
        be heavily influenced by Western writings; his bold style contrasts
        with the sensitive style pursued by Kawabata and others.

Haruki Murakami
    A Wild Sheep Chase
    The Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
        Murakami is a current best selling author in Japan. These
        two novels are (sometimes wild) fantasy adventures.

Shuusaku Endo
    The Sea and the Poison
        Endo passed away in 1996. A devout Roman Catholic, Endo explored
        the problem of morality (and lack thereof) in contemporary
        Japanese society. He was also an excellent humorist, although
        few--if any--of his humorous works have been translated into English.

The Showa Anthology;  Van C. Gessel * Tomone Matsumoto Ed.
        Includes stories by some of Japan's most 
        respected authors.

New Japanese Voices;  Helen Mistios Ed.
        More recent than _The_Showa_Anthology_.

Monkey Brain Sushi;  Alfred Birnhaum, Ed.
        Also very recent. 11 short stories by authors including
        Murakami, Masahiko Shimada, and Amy Yamada.

Banana Yoshimoto
        A popular female author.

Economics and Business:

Made In Japan ; Akio Morita
    Widely available in the U.S. Morita is the founder of Sony. Describes
    where Japan went right, and others.

The Political Economy of Japan; K. Yamamura and A. Y. Yasuba, eds.
    Covers many aspects of Japanese economics and Politics, easy for
    non-specialists to read.


On Understanding Japanese Religion; Joseph M. Kitagawa
    A collection of essays, on topics ranging from prehistoric background
    of Japanese religion, cross-cultural influences, folk religion,
    Shinto, Buddhism and Kobo Daishi, Confusiansim, and New Religions.
H. Byron Earhart
   _Japanese Religion: Unity and Diversity_, 1982

H. Byron Earhart
   _Religions of Japan: Many Traditions within One Sacred Way_, 1984 

Ichiro Hori
   _Folk Religion in Japan: Continuity and Change_, 1968

Ian Reader
   _Religion in Contemporary Japan_, 1991

The following are OK, but not great references.

Shinto, The Kami Way
    Tuttle publishing. A brief overview of Shinto organization and practices.

Japanese Pilgrimage; Oliver Statler
    Partly historical fiction, partly Statler's writing about walking a
    pilgrimage to 88 temples in Shikoku.


Understanding Japanese Information Processing; Ken Lunde
    The author has been a frequent SCJ contributer in the area of Japanese
    text processing.  It comes highly recommended from several sources.

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