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See below for a selection of the latest books from Asian history category. Presented with a red border are the Asian history books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Asian history books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
Land of Plants in Motion is the first in any language to examine two companion stories: (1) the rise of an East Asian floristic zone and how the Japanese islands evolved an astonishing wealth of plant species, and (2) the growth of Japanese botanical sciences. The majority of plant species regarded as Japanese trace their origins to western China and the eastern Himalaya but are so indigenized that they often seem native today. Early modern scientists in Japan drew on knowledge of Chinese herbal medicine but achieved distinctive insights into plant life commensurate with but separate from their European counterparts. Scholars at the University of Tokyo pioneered Japanese plant biology in the late nineteenth century. They incorporated Western botanical methods but sought a degree of difference in taxonomy while also gaining international legitimacy through publications in English. Japan's age of empire (1895-1945) was less about plant exploration and more about plant collection, for both scientific and economic benefits. Displays of species from throughout the empire made Japan's sphere of colonization and conquest visible at home. The infrastructure for research and instruction expanded slowly after World War Two: new laboratories, botanical gardens, scholarly societies, and publications eventually allowed for great diversity of specialized study, especially with the growth of molecular biology in the 1970s and DNA research in the 1980s. Basic research was harmed by cuts in government funding during 2012-2017, but Japanese plant biologists continue to enjoy international esteem in many fields of scholarship.
Give and Take offers a new history of government in Tokugawa Japan (1600-1868), one that focuses on ordinary subjects: merchants, artisans, villagers, and people at the margins of society such as outcastes and itinerant entertainers. Most of these individuals are now forgotten and do not feature in general histories except as bystanders, protesters, or subjects of exploitation. Yet despite their subordinate status, they actively participated in the Tokugawa polity because the state was built on the principle of reciprocity between privilege-granting rulers and duty-performing status groups. All subjects were part of these local, self-governing associations whose members shared the same occupation. Tokugawa rulers imposed duties on each group and invested them with privileges, ranging from occupational monopolies and tax exemptions to external status markers. Such reciprocal exchanges created permanent ties between rulers and specific groups of subjects that could serve as conduits for future interactions. This book is the first to explore how high and low people negotiated and collaborated with each other in the context of these relationships. It takes up the case of one domain-Ono in central Japan-to investigate the interactions between the collective bodies in domain society as they addressed the problem of poverty.
The most significant debate in global economic history over the past twenty years has dealt with the Great Divergence, the economic gap between different parts of the world. Thus far, this debate has focused on China, India and north-western Europe, particularly Great Britain. This book shifts the focus to ask how Japan became the only non-western county that managed, at least partially, to modernize its economy and start to industrialize in the 19th century. Using a range of empirical data, Peer Vries analyses the role of the state in Japan's economic growth from the Meiji Restoration to World War II, and asks whether Japan's economic success can be attributed to the rise of state power. Asserting that the state's involvement was fundamental in Japan's economic 'catching up', he demonstrates how this was built on legacies from the previous Tokugawa period. In this book, Vries deepens our understanding of the Great Divergence in global history by re-examining how Japan developed and modernized against the odds.
Lion City Narratives: Singapore Through Western Eyes fulfils four aims. First, it is a study of subjective Western impressions of Singapore's 145 years (1819-1963) of colonial history. The study is not meant to be an in-depth historical analysis of Singapore, but rather to give the reader an impressionistic account of how Western residents viewed Singapore over the decades. Second, this study could be seen as a short biography of Singapore's evolution as a city. The chapters on the imageability of Singapore and its urban morphology provide a holistic perspective of Singapore's urban dynamics. Third, this book provides a cultural insight into Singapore's population, both White residents and transient visitors, as well as the locals or Asians. Fourth, it opens a window into Singapore's development at a time when the West was at its cultural zenith and when Great Britain was the principal superpower of the 19th century. Hence Singapore carried twin colonial legacies - it was the archetype trading emporium between East and West, and it became, for the British, the major point d'appui for defence. Finally, the Singapore colonial narrative is set in a broader academic discourse that allows the reader to see a wider picture of Singapore's colonial development.The book does not attempt to make a definitive statement about the Western involvement in Singapore; it deals more with an association of many subjective Western perspectives that add colour to the liveability of the tropics, perceptions of the exotic Orient, and the myriad views of ethnic groups. Without the Western writings, paintings, and maps, academia would have minimal records of Singapore's development. As a new colony in the early 19th century however, Singapore's growth has been extremely well documented.This book will appeal to Singaporeans interested in understanding Singapore's colonial past, Westerners interested in the Western cultural persona in the development of Singapore, researchers dealing with the urban development of less-developed countries and colonial development in the tropical world, and lastly, academics who are interested in Singapore and the region's political and economic development as a case study.
Two thousand years ago, the Qin/Han and Roman empires were the largest political entities of the ancient world, developing simultaneously yet independently at opposite ends of Eurasia. Although their territories constituted only a small percentage of the global land mass, these two Eurasian polities controlled up to half of the world population and endured longer than most pre-modern imperial states. Similarly, their eventual collapse occurred during the same time. The parallel nature of the Qin/Han and Roman empires has rarely been studied comparatively. Yet here is a collection of pioneering case studies, compiled by Walter Scheidel, that sheds new light on the prominent aspects of imperial state formation. This essential new volume builds on the foundation of Scheidel's Rome and China (2009), and opens up a comparative dialogue among distinguished scholars. They provide unique insights into the complexities of imperial rule, including the relationship between rulers and elite groups, the funding of state agents, the determinants of urban development, and the rise of bureaucracies. By bringing together experts in each civilization, State Power in Ancient China and Rome provides a unique forum to explore social evolution, helping us further understand government and power relations in the ancient world.
Reinventing Licentiousness navigates an overlooked history of representation during the transition from the Qing Empire to the Chinese Republic-a time when older, hierarchical notions of licentiousness were overlaid by a new, pornographic regime. Y. Yvon Wang draws on previously untapped archives-ranging from police archives and surveys to ephemeral texts and pictures-to argue that pornography in China represents a unique configuration of power and desire that both reflects and shapes historical processes. On the one hand, since the late imperial period, pornography has democratized pleasure in China and opened up new possibilities of imagining desire. On the other, ongoing controversies over its definition and control show how the regulatory ideas of premodern cultural politics and the popular products of early modern cultural markets have contoured the globalized world. Reinventing Licentiousness emphasizes the material factors, particularly at the grassroots level of consumption and trade, that governed proper sexual desire and led to ideological shifts around the definition of pornography. By linking the past to the present and beyond, Wang's social and intellectual history showcases circulated pornographic material as a motor for cultural change. The result is an astonishing foray into what historicizing pornography can mean for our understandings of desire, legitimacy, capitalism, and culture.
In Resurrecting Nagasaki, Chad R. Diehl explores the genesis of narratives surrounding the atomic bombing of August 9, 1945, by following the individuals and groups who contributed to the shaping of Nagasaki City's postwar identity. Municipal officials, survivor-activist groups, the Catholic community, and American occupation officials all interpreted the destruction and reconstruction of the city from different, sometimes disparate perspectives. Diehl's analysis reveals how these atomic narratives shaped both the way Nagasaki rebuilt and the ways in which popular discourse on the atomic bombings framed the city's experience for decades.
Sources in Chinese History, now in its second edition, has been updated to include re-translations of over a third of the documents. It also incorporates nearly 40 new sources that work to familiarize readers with the key events, personages, and themes of modern China. Organized thematically, the volume examines China's complex history from the rise of the Qing dynasty in the mid-seventeenth century through the formation of the People's Republic of China up to the present. Each chapter begins with an annotated visual source followed by a chapter introduction and analysis of textual sources, allowing students to explore different types of sources and topics. Sources in Chinese History contextualizes the issues, trends, and challenges of each particular period. Special attention has been made to incorporate a variety of viewpoints which challenge standard accounts. Non-traditional documents, such as movie dialogues, are also included which aim to encourage students to reconsider historical events and trends in Chinese history. This volume includes a variety of sources, such as maps, posters, film scripts, memorials, and political cartoons and advertisements, that make this book the perfect introductory aid for students of Chinese history, politics, and culture, as well as Chinese studies after 1600.