My new book is out on 1st August on Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Stretching for 3000 kilometres and encompassing almost 7000 islands, Japan has the fourth largest GDP and the tenth largest population in the world. Japan is a country of paradoxes, a modern nation steeped in ancient traditions; a democracy with an emperor as head of state; a famously safe society built on 108 volcanoes and an active earthquake zone. Despite a reputation for sprawling cities and cutting-edge technology, 73% of its land comprises uninhabited mountains and forests.
First revealed to the West in the Travels of Marco Polo, Japan was the legendary faraway land defended by the fearsome Kamikaze storm, and ruled by a divine sovereign. It was the terminus of the Silk Road and the edge of the known world, a fictional construct for European arts and crafts, and an enduring symbol of the mysterious east. In recent times, it became the powerhouse of global industry, a nexus of pop culture and a harbinger of post-industrial decline. This fascinating book tells the story of the people of Japan, from ancient teenage priest-queens to teeming hordes of salarymen, a nation that once sought to conquer China, yet also shut itself away for two centuries in self-imposed seclusion.
Advance praise for A Brief History of Japan:
“Writing a brief history of a land as ancient and complicated as Japan is no easy task. It requires not only superb language and research skills, but the ability to synthesize and organize vast amounts of information, and to make cross-cultural comparisons from a truly global perspective. It also requires a certain intellectual fearlessness. Luckily, with Jonathan Clements, readers are in the hands of a master. His crackling prose, sharp wit, and learned insights make Japan’s history truly come alive.” – Frederik L. Schodt, author of America and the Four Japans: Friend, Foe, Model, Mirror
“Perfect for travelers or students new to Japan. A wonderfully fun, interesting, and informative introduction to Japanese history. Clements blends culture, politics, military, economics… all with wit and humor that both carry you forward and make the topic real.” – Mark Zachary Taylor, author of The Politics of Innovation
“With a lightness of touch but seriousness of purpose, Clements negotiates the complexities of Japanese history in this compact book. The result is an accessible, persuasive and reliable introduction.” – Ellis Tinios, Honorary Lecturer in East Asian History, University of Leeds