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A list of key readings about Japan.
Please sort and annotate in a user-friendly manner. For formatting, consider using automated reference wikification.
  • Huffman, James L., ed. Modern Japan: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Nationalism. Garland, 1998. 316 pp.
  • Itasaka, Gen, ed. Japan Encyclopedia, 9 vols. Tokyo: Kodansha, 19 83.
  • Perkins, Dorothy. Encyclopedia of Japan: Japanese History and Culture, from Abacus to Zori. Facts on File, 1991. 410 pp.

Geography and guides

  • Cressey George B. Asia's Lands and Peoples. 1963.
  • DK, Japan (Eyewitness Travel Guides) (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Reiber, Beth, and Janie Spencer. Frommer's Japan (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Rowthorn, Chris et al. Lonely Planet Japan (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Trewartha Glenn T. Japan: A Physical, Cultural and Regional Geography. 1965.


  • Grimes, William W. Unmaking the Japanese Miracle: Macroeconomic Politics, 1985-2000 (2002) excerpt and text search
  • Ito, Takatoshi, Hugh Patrick, and David E. Weinstein. Reviving Japan's Economy: Problems and Prescriptions (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Karan, Pradyumna P., and Dick Gilbreath. Japan in the 21st Century: Environment, Economy, and Society (2005)
  • Lincoln, James R., and Michael L. Gerlach. Japan's Network Economy: Structure, Persistence, and Change (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Ohtsu, Makoto. Inside Japanese Business: A Narrative History, 1960-2000. East Gate, 2002. 459 pp.
  • Wood, Christopher. The Bubble Economy: Japan's Extraordinary Speculative Boom of the '80s And the Dramatic Bust of the '90s (2005)

Government and current affairs

  • Curtis, Gerald L. The Logic of Japanese Politics (2000) excerpt and text search
  • Hayes, Louis D. Introduction To Japanese Politics (2004) excerpt and text search
  • Hughes, Christopher W. Japan's Re-emergence as a 'Normal' Military Power (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Kawabata, Eiji. Contemporary Government Reform in Japan: The Dual State in Flux (2006) excerpt and text search
  • LaFeber, Walter. The Clash: A History of U.S.-Japan Relations. W. W. Norton, 1997. 544 pp.
  • Samuels, Richard J. Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Stockwin, J. A.A. Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Japan. Routledge. 2003. 291pp online edition
  • Sudo, Sueo The International Relations of Japan and South East Asia: Forging a New Regionalism Routledge, 2002 online edition
  • Vogel, Steven Kent. Japan Remodeled: How Government And Industry Are Reforming Japanese Capitalism (2006) excerpt and text search


For a more detailed bibliography see history of Japan


Specialized studies

  • Dower, John W. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. W. W. Norton, 1999. 688 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Dower, John W. War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. Pantheon, 1986. 398 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Edgerton, Robert B. Warriors of the Rising Sun: A History of the Japanese Military. W. W. Norton, 1999. 384 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Ericson, Steven J. The Sound of the Whistle: Railroads and the State in Meiji Japan. Harvard U. Press, 1996. 506 pp.
  • Iriye, Akira. Power and Culture: The Japanese-American War, 1941-1945 (1981),
  • LaFeber, Walter. The Clash: A History of U.S.-Japan Relations. W. W. Norton, 1997. 544 pp.
  • Mosk, Carl. Japanese Industrial History: Technology, Urbanization, and Economic Growth. M. E. Sharpe, 2001. 293 pp.
  • Ohtsu, Makoto. Inside Japanese Business: A Narrative History, 1960-2000. East Gate, 2002. 459 pp.
  • Sumiya, Mikio, ed. A History of Japanese Trade and Industry Policy. Oxford U. Press, 2000. 662 pp.
  • Umesao, Tadao. An Ecological View of History: Japanese Civilization in the World Context. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press, 2003. 208 pp.

Cultural history

  • Dumoulin, Heinrich. Zen Buddhism: A History. Vol. 2. Japan. Macmillan, 1989. 509 pp.
  • Guttmann, Allen and Thompson, Lee. Japanese Sports: A History. U. of Hawai`i Press, 2001. 368 pp.
  • Kitagawa Joseph M. Religion in Japanese History. 1966.
  • Kuitert, Wybe. Themes in the History of Japanese Garden Art U. of Hawai`i Pr., 2002. 283 pp.
  • Leiter, Samuel L. A Kabuki Reader: History and Performance. M. E. Sharpe, 2002. 430 pp.
  • Mason, Penelope. History of Japanese Art. Abrams, 1993. 431 pp.
  • Morris-Suzuki, Tessa. A History of Japanese Economic Thought Routledge, 1991 online edition
  • Roberts, Laurance P. A. Dictionary of Japanese Artists. Tokyo: 1976.
  • Sansom, Sir George B. Japan, A Short Cultural History. 1978. online edition
  • Standish, Isolde. A New History of Japanese Cinema: A Century of Narrative Film. New York: Continuum, 2005. 452 pp.
  • Wakabayashi, Bob Tadashi. Modern Japanese Thought. Cambridge U. Press, 1998. 403 pp.

Primary sources

  • Huffman, James L. ed. Modern Japan: A History in Documents (2004)
  • Tsunoda, Ryusaku, W. T. de Bary, and Donald Keene, eds. Sources of Japanese Tradition. 1958.