Routledge Handbook of Premodern Japanese History  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Premodern Japanese History

Edited By

Karl F. Friday

ISBN 9780367581237
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
432 Pages

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Book Description

Scholarship on premodern Japan has grown spectacularly over the past four decades, in terms of both sophistication and volume. A new approach has developed, marked by a higher reliance on primary documents, a shift away from the history of elites to broader explorations of social structures, and a re-examination of many key assumptions. As a result, the picture of the early Japanese past now taught by specialists differs radically from the one that was current in the mid-twentieth century.

This handbook offers a comprehensive historiographical review of Japanese history up until the 1500s. Featuring chapters by leading historians and covering the early Jōmon, Yayoi, Kofun, Nara, and Heian eras, as well as the later medieval periods, each section provides a foundational grasp of the major themes in premodern Japan. The sections will include:

  • Geography and the environment

  • Political events and institutions

  • Society and culture

  • Economy and technology

The Routledge Handbook of Premodern Japanese History is an essential reference work for students and scholars of Japanese, Asian, and World History.

Table of Contents


Part I. Geography & the Environment

1.Geography & History and Geography in History

2. Climate & Environment in History

3: Classical Japan & the Continent

Part II. Political Events & Institutions

4. The Jōmon & Yayoi Ages

5. The Kofun era & Early State Formation

6. The Ritsuryō State

7. From Classical to Medieval? Ōchō Kokka, Kenmon Taisei & the Heian Court

8. The Court and Its Provinces: Producing and Distributing Wealth in Classical Society, 700–1200

9. Court & Countryside 1200-1600: The Articulation of Local Autonomy

10. The Imperial Court in Medieval Japan

11. The 16th Century: Identifying a New Group of "Unifiers" & Reevaluating the Myth of "Reunification"

Part III. Society & Culture

12. Religion in Archaic Japan

13. Gender and Family in the Archaic & Classical Ages

14. Heian-kyō: from Royal Center to Metropole

15. Religion in Nara & Heian Japan

16. The Historical Demography of Japan to 1700

17. Village and Rural Life in Medieval Japan

18. Family, Women, and Gender in Medieval Society

19. Outcasts & Marginals In Medieval Japan

20. Medieval Warriors & Warfare

21. Religion in Medieval Japan

Part IV. Economy & Technology

22. Coins & Commerce in Classical Japan

23. Knowledge of Nature & Craft: Researching the History of Science, Mathematics & Technology in Japan before 1600

24. Agriculture & Food Production

25. Commerce & Towns in Medieval Japan



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Karl F. Friday is Professor in the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Saitama University and Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia, USA.