Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

A Concise History of Japan

$24.00 USD

Award Winner

Part of Cambridge Concise Histories

  • Date Published: April 2015
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316235911

$ 24.00 USD
Adobe eBook Reader

You will be taken to for this purchase
Buy eBook Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, Paperback

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available for inspection. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an inspection copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • To this day, Japan's modern ascendancy challenges many assumptions about world history, particularly theories regarding the rise of the west and why the modern world looks the way it does. In this engaging new history, Brett L. Walker tackles key themes regarding Japan's relationships with its minorities, state and economic development, and the uses of science and medicine. The book begins by tracing the country's early history through archaeological remains, before proceeding to explore life in the imperial court, the rise of the samurai, civil conflict, encounters with Europe, and the advent of modernity and empire. Integrating the pageantry of a unique nation's history with today's environmental concerns, Walker's vibrant and accessible new narrative then follows Japan's ascension from the ashes of World War II into the thriving nation of today. It is a history for our times, posing important questions regarding how we should situate a nation's history in an age of environmental and climatological uncertainties.

    • A concise, authoritative and vibrant introduction to Japanese history from earliest times to the present day
    • Addresses questions of national consciousness and identity
    • Threads environmental concerns through the course of Japanese history
    Read more


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2015

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is the best short survey of Japanese history available today: timely in its focus on environmental issues but timeless in its sound scholarship, rich in detail but thoroughly readable and eloquent in its interpretation of Japan's complex past.' William M. Tsutsui, Hendrix College, Washington

    'This is a textbook for our times from one of the leading scholars in the field. From humanity's deep history in the archipelago to the massive crisis of March 2011, Walker's history recasts the central themes of the Japanese past. Samurai scientists, wartime zealots, and the nation's vibrant post-war popular culture are placed in global context and enlivened through clear prose. Each chapter is concise, accessible and rooted in the latest scholarship. I can think of no finer text that covers the full range of Japan's past.' Ian Jared Miller, Harvard University, Massachusetts

    'In crisp, clear prose, Brett Walker's A Concise History of Japan provides a sweeping view of Japan's past distinctively framed by world history and, most crucially, by environmental challenges.' Julia Adeney Thomas, University of Notre Dame, Indiana

    'Brett Walker's A Concise History of Japan is a new national survey geared to the global Anthropocene. Alert to the many forces that threaten our planet's future, the author - a leading environmental historian in his own right - takes a critical look at the long sweep of the Japanese past. The result is a fast-paced account of the archipelago's development and its discontents, at once brisk and brooding.' Kären Wigen, Stanford University, California

    'A lucid exploration of the way that the peoples of the Japanese archipelago have shaped and been shaped by their environment, from the extinction of big game to the grave disaster and diseases that accompanied industrialization every step of the way.' Morgan Giles, The Times Literary Supplement

    'Walker's new history of Japan reflects a deep appreciation of the issues of concern to today's readers. This is a history of Japan unlike anything published so far in the attention given to the impact of disease, famine, deforestation, climate change, environmental pollution, and natural disasters on the story of the Japanese and their relationship with their country. In a clear, readable style, the author expertly narrates the course of Japanese history, reflecting the most recent scholarship available. Along the way, he discusses topics not included in previous histories of Japan, such as the introduction and impact of both disease and medical knowledge in the premodern era, the rise of the Japanese fishing 'pelagic empire' in the twentieth century, and the global impact of Japan's 'soft culture' in recent decades … Summing up: essential.' M. D. Ericson, Choice

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2015
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316235911
    • contains: 25 b/w illus. 5 maps
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. The birth of the Yamato state, 14,500 BCE–710 CE
    2. The courtly age, 710–1185
    3. The rise of Samurai rule, 1185–1336
    4. Medieval Japan and the warring states period, 1336–1573
    5. Japan's encounter with Europe, 1542–1640
    6. Unifying the realm, 1560–1603
    7. Early modern Japan, 1600–1800
    8. The rise of imperial nationalism, 1770–1854
    9. Meiji enlightenment, 1868–1912
    10. Meiji's discontents, 1868–1920
    11. The birth of Japan's imperial state, 1800–1910
    12. Empire and imperial democracy, 1905–31
    13. The Pacific War, 1931–45
    14. Japan's postwar history, 1945–present
    15. Natural disasters and the edge of history
    Further reading

  • Author

    Brett L. Walker, Montana State University
    Brett L. Walker is Regents Professor and Michael P. Malone Professor of History at Montana State University, Bozeman. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013 for his work on global environmental history. He studies environmental history, the history of human health, and the history of science, particularly as they relate to Japan. He investigates how nature has imposed its way onto the human past, as well as how humans have sliced, burned, extracted and engineered their needs and desires onto Earth and its living organisms. He is the author of The Conquest of Ainu Lands: Ecology and Culture in Japanese Expansion, 1590–1800, The Lost Wolves of Japan, and Toxic Archipelago: A History of Industrial Disease in Japan. Recently, he co-edited Japan at Nature's Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power.


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2015

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.