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Japan is arguably today's most successful industrial economy, combining almost unprecedented affluence with social stability and apparent harmony. Japanese goods and cultural products are consumed all over the world, ranging from animated movies and computer games all the way through to cars, semiconductors, and management techniques. In many ways, Japan is an icon of the modern world, and yet it remains something of an enigma to many, who see it as a confusing montage of the alien and the familiar, the ancient and modern. The aim of this Very Short Introduction is to explode the myths and explore the reality of modern Japan - by taking a concise look at its history, economy, politics, and culture. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
China today is never out of the news: from international finance to human rights controversies, global coverage of its rising international presence, and the Chinese 'economic miracle'. It seems to be a country of contradictions: a peasant society with some of the world's most futuristic cities, heir to an ancient civilization that is still trying to find a modern identity. This Very Short Introduction offers the reader an entry to understanding the world's most populous nation, giving an integrated picture of modern Chinese society, culture, economy, politics, and art. In this new edition, Rana Mitter addresses China's current global position, accounting for the country's growth in global significance over the past decade. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
China today is never out of the news: from human rights controversies and the continued legacy of Tiananmen Square, to global coverage of the Beijing Olympics, and the Chinese 'economic miracle'. It seems a country of contradictions: a peasant society with some of the world's most futuristic cities, heir to an ancient civilization that is still trying to find a modern identity. This Very Short Introduction offers the reader with no previous knowledge of China a variety of ways to understand the world's most populous nation, giving a short, integrated picture of modern Chinese society, culture, economy, politics and art. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Focus: Music in Contemporary Japan explores a diversity of musics performed in Japan today, ranging from folk song to classical music, the songs of geisha to the screaming of underground rock, with a specific look at the increasingly popular world of taiko (ensemble drumming). Discussion of contemporary musical practice is situated within broader frames of musical and sociopolitical history, processes of globalization and cosmopolitanism, and the continued search for Japanese identity through artistic expression. It explores how the Japanese have long negotiated cultural identity through musical practice in three parts: Part I, "Japanese Music and Culture," provides an overview of the key characteristics of Japanese culture that inform musical performance, such as the attitude towards the natural environment, changes in ruling powers, dominant religious forms, and historical processes of cultural exchange. Part II, "Sounding Japan," describes the elements that distinguish traditional Japanese music and then explores how music has changed in the modern era under the influence of Western music and ideology. Part III, "Focusing In: Identity, Meaning and Japanese Drumming in Kyoto," is based on fieldwork with musicians and explores the position of Japanese drumming within Kyoto. It focuses on four case studies that paint a vivid picture of each respective site, the music that is practiced, and the pedagogy and creative processes of each group. The accompanying CD includes examples of Japanese music that illustrate specific elements and key genres introduced in the text. A companion website includes additional audio-visual sources discussed in detail in the text. Jennifer Milioto Matsue is an Associate Professor at Union College and specializes in modern Japanese music and culture.
Jonathan Clements charts the rise of Japan since the end of World War Two. Presenting the country as the Japanese themselves see it, he explains key issues in national reconstruction, the often-overlooked US Occupation, the influence of the Cold War, student unrest, political scandals, and the meteoric rise and sudden fall of the Japanese economy in the late 20th century. He chronicles changes in women's rights and consumer habits, developments in politics, education and health today, and the shadow of nuclear issues from Hiroshima to Fukushima. He also raises topics rarely covered by the foreign media - Japan's ethnic minorities and burakumin underclass, the influence of organised crime and the hard sell behind "soft" power. A final chapter examines the price Japan has paid for its meteoric rise, the problems of a greying population and a declining countryside, and the long-term implications of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. All That Matters about modern Japan. All That Matters books are a fast way to get right to the heart of key issues.
"Presents pilgrimage in a global and historical context. Using a wide range of examples, Reader explores how people take part in and experience their pilgrimages, and what they take back from their journeys, He concludes by examining why pilgrimages appear to be so popular in our increasingly secular age."--Front flap
Perhaps nowhere else has literature been as conscious a collective endeavor as in China, and China's survival over three thousand years may owe more to its literary traditions than to its political history. This Very Short Introduction tells the story of Chinese literature from antiquity to the present, focusing on the key role literary culture played in supporting social and political concerns. Embracing traditional Chinese understandings of literature as encompassing history and philosophy as well as poetry and poetics, storytelling, drama, and the novel, Sabina Knight discusses the philosophical foundations of literary culture as well as literature's power to address historical trauma and cultivate moral and sensual passions. From ancient historical records through the modernization and globalization of Chinese literature, Knight draws on lively examples to underscore the close relationship between ethics and aesthetics, as well as the diversity of Chinese thought. Knight also illuminates the role of elite patronage; the ways literature has served the interests of specific groups; and questions of canonization, language, nationalism, and cross-cultural understanding. The book includes Chinese characters for names, titles, and key terms.

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