Top products from r/japan

We found 70 product mentions on r/japan. We ranked the 473 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top comments that mention products on r/japan:

u/LetsGetTea · 1 pointr/japan

I, too, was looking for some really good Japanese history books and in my searches I found that these are among the best: A History of Japan, by George Sansom.

They start with pre-history and go up to 1867. Sansom's stated reason for not continuing his history beyond this year is that he had lived too close to events of the Meiji Restoration (1868) for him to develop a perspective that only distance could supply. For later events, The Making of Modern Japan (Amazon), by Marius B. Jansen, another outstanding scholar of Japanese history, would be a good choice. Since this history begins at 1600, there are overlapping accounts of the Edo period, but from two quite different perspectives.

An alternative presented by t-o-k-u-m-e-i:
>The best overview text in terms of presentation and interpretation for 1600 to the present is Gordon's A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present.

>The Jansen book is also good, but I (and most of the profs I know) feel that Gordon's interpretation is better

In short, this set is a good buy and is likely to remain a standard text for decades to come.

I've only just recently started reading the first book of the series and I find it very insightful. It starts by describing the geography of Japan and how that shaped and molded the early Japanese and their sensibilities.

Amazon Links:
A History of Japan to 1334
A History of Japan, 1334-1615
A History of Japan, 1615-1867

Google Books Previews:
A History of Japan to 1334
A History of Japan, 1334-1615
A History of Japan, 1615-1867

Sir George Bailey Sansom

The author also has a shorter book published earlier which focuses primarily on culture.
Amazon - Japan: A Short Cultural History
Google Books - Japan: A Short Cultural History

Added an alternative suggestion for the history from 1800 onward given by t-o-k-u-m-e-i.

u/t-o-k-u-m-e-i · 8 pointsr/japan

Well, what era are you interested in?

Hands down, the best English overview of the modern era available is A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present by Andrew Gordon. If you want WWII and after, John Dower's War Without Mercy and Embracing Defeat are good places to start. Chalmers Johnson's MITI and the Japanese Miracle isn't fun reading but does a good job of explaining the post war economic boom.

I don't know of any single volume works that are good overviews of specifically the Edo/Tokugawa period. As far as more focused, intelectual histories go, I'm fond of Ooms' Tokugawa Ideology and Najita's Visions of Virtue in Tokugawa Japan

I have no recommendations for the Muromachi, Kamakura, Heian, Nara or Asuka periods. I don't study them and only know them in passing from survey courses.

Faris's Sacred Texts and Burried Treasures does a good job of teaching the controversy about ancient Japanese history, and the origins of the peoples on the islands.

I'm coming at this as someone who is working on a PhD in modern Japanese history right now, so some of these (Najita, Ooms, Faris, Johnson) might be heavier reading than you're looking for.

u/SuperFreddy · 6 pointsr/japan

Listen to me right now. Listen to me good.

Remembering the Kanji is probably one of the best ways to achieve what you're talking about. However, according to the introduction of the book, it will hurt you to read it alongside a Japanese course or in conjunction with other Kanji-memorizing methods. So just dedicate a few weeks to learning the 2,200 Kanji this books teaches. It claims that you can do it in 4-6 weeks if you're dedicated enough. Highly recommended.

Edit: Oh, and then there is a second and third volume which help with pronunciation of Kanji and introduce you to advanced Kanji, respectively. But even mastering the first volume puts you at a great advantage to learning Japanese.

u/ShinshinRenma · 1 pointr/japan

There are many great reasons for loving Japan. I love Japan, despite all of its flaws (and there are many). However, in regard to environmental awareness specifically, I recommend reading Dogs and Demons by Alex Kerr. It may disabuse you of the notion that Japan is truly environmentally aware.

u/syrup16g · 2 pointsr/japan

[Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850, edited by Karl Friday]

This is an excellent compilation of short but informative scholarly articles on various topics in premodern Japanese history. All the articles are written by scholars who are expert researchers on their field, and because the articles are modified for the format of the book, they never get too in-depth or tedious as many academic works do.

I read the whole thing cover to cover and ended up using some of the articles, and more importantly works cited in my senior graduation thesis on historical revisionism in protohistorical Japan and Korea. If you are interested in any of the topics it has references of where to go from there. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Japanese history up to the Meiji era. Check the table of contents on Amazon's Look Inside to see if they are what you are looking for.

u/lalapaloser · 1 pointr/japan

I'm about to graduate with a degree in Japanese History so I can recommend a lot of books on different topics, but I need to know something more specific. For a broad summarization of Japanese history, I recommend Andrew Gordon's A Modern History of Japan.
Since you're interested in Okinawa (which has been a big part of my focus), I'd recommend Okinawa: Cold War Island ed. by Chalmers Johnson, this book is more rooted in poli-sci. I found Christopher Nelson's Dancing with the Dead an extremely fascinating anthropological account of war memory and trauma in Okinawa. The first chapter of Norma Field's In the Realm of a Dying Emperor focuses on Chibana Shōichi, an Okinawan who burned Hi no Maru at a national sporting event (the rest of the book is really interesting and well written as well). I can plenty of other books depending on what you're interested in. Just let me know :)

u/hillsonn · 2 pointsr/japan

Wow, that is a huge topic.

A few books to look at:

u/derioderio · 2 pointsr/japan

Heh. Probably get downboated for this, but a friend of mine in Japan told me once, "Just by virtue of being a gaijin in Japan that speaks Japanese, you'll be able to qualify for a higher quality of girl than you could get back in the 'states." I still think it's pretty much true due to the tendency of Japanese women romanticize the West.

u/ignitionremix · 4 pointsr/japan

Congratulations! I visited Okinawa on a school trip in 2007, and it was absolutely beautiful. And the food mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

If you're interested in political history regarding Okinawa, both as a Japanese prefecture and as basically a giant US military base, I cannot recommend highly enough the Okinawa chapter of Norma Field's In The Realm of a Dying Emperor It's a little academic but gives voice to native Okinawans, who are often overlooked in most US-Japan conversations about the islands.

Safe travels!

u/RICHUNCLEPENNYBAGS · 21 pointsr/japan

You may as well take it as a given because it is true, but this book is quite good in explaining the relationship between the right wing and the Yakuza and how the US encouraged both as a measure to suppress communism.

u/amaxen · 2 pointsr/japan

A serious critique of Japanese culture, government and institutions is Dogs and Demons: The dark side of Japan, written by a long time ex-pat. Highly recommended. It's not the entire story of Japan, but there does tend to be a bias towards the positive by English writers on Japan, and this book is a useful corrective if you're serious about learning about Japanese culture.

u/Nelson_Mac · -1 pointsr/japan

My sources are all primary sources. I'm only pulling the primary sources out of wikipedia entry because it's easier to link.

But if you are interested in this, you can read Park Yuha's book in Korean The Empire's Comfort Women (this is her Facebook page in Japanese which has summarized her thoughts and where I got most of my ideas about going after the pimps)

and you can read C Sarah Soh which I have yet to read:

u/yuzaname · 1 pointr/japan

Needless to say, as scholarship progresses, Sansom is getting pretty dated. His coverage of pre-Asuka Japan can be downright incorrect (although, in his favor, the data didn't exist at the time).

For a brief coverage of Japan's premodern history, the latest work out there is Japan Emerging, edited by Karl Friday.

It is not as detailed as Sansom (as it moves much faster), but it incorporates the latest methodologies and scholarly consensus. I would consider it a good introduction.

u/parcivale · 2 pointsr/japan

It's called "Samurai William" by Giles Milton. It's actually quite readable. Ten pages of endnotes in the back but still reads like a novel.

u/daijobu · 2 pointsr/japan

Here are a few good ones that I have read and would definitely reccomend.

Speed Tribes: Days and Night's with Japan's Next Generation
by Karl Taro Greenfeld


Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West
by T.R. Reid


Black Passenger Yellow Cabs: Of Exile And Excess In Japan
by Stefhen F. D. Bryan


those should keep you busy for a while.

Jake Aldenstein (first non Japanese reporter for a major Japanese newspaper) wrote a book called Tokyo Vice, which has elements of what you are looking for. Its mostly about his life as a gaijin reporter, versus just being a gaijin.

u/dokool · 3 pointsr/japan

There's a couple decent reference books you could get him (Remembering the Kanji comes to mind) but don't worry about things that might be 'handy' because half the time they're not worth it. Tickets too - you don't want to give him anything time/date-specific, after all.

I say just take him out for dinner somewhere nice that he almost certainly won't get to enjoy while he's in Japan. Decent BBQ, for example.

u/Mametaro · 1 pointr/japan

Reads like a Dave Barry column.

Dave Barry Does Japan, "Maybe the problem was that the cicadas went off at about 4:30 A.M. and apparently had gotten hold of small but powerful amplifiers."

u/rhedwolf · 2 pointsr/japan

Speed Tribes is a fascinating book about the Japanese underworld.

u/Snakey1024 · 2 pointsr/japan

First, learn how to read these. I would recommend getting Genki, to teach you basic grammar and vocab. There is probably a downloadable version somewhere.

I use Anki for mostly vocab. You can download packs here. I also use Tae Kim's site and iOS app for advanced grammar.

u/Imgonnatakeurcds · 2 pointsr/japan

Jake Adelstein wrote a book about his experiences with yakuza called Tokyo Vice. It was a fascinating read.

u/SublethalDose · 9 pointsr/japan

Embracing Defeat is about social, cultural, and political change in Japan in the aftermath of World War II. It may be too narrow in its focus if you're trying to quickly get an overview of all of Japanese history, but it's a fascinating read.

u/o33o · 3 pointsr/japan

I think you meant you know some Hiragana instead of kanji. You'll need to know all 50 of them before you can read anything. Worry about kanji later. Learning with a textbook is more effective. I recommend the Genki textbook. You can also search for "beginner Japanese" videos on Youtube.

u/[deleted] · 1 pointr/japan

The one I'm using for the MA course I'm taking and is a pretty informative overview of SLA. Ortega (2009) Understanding Second Language Acquisition

u/jamesinjapan · 6 pointsr/japan

If you haven't read it, Samurai William by Giles Milton is a enthralling read. It was particularly good to have an insight into the early Edo period interactions between Westerners and East Asia.

u/ShawninOP · 3 pointsr/japan

This is actually a very good book that shows you all of the development stages for the "Official" Kanji (the ones most commonly used/expected to know when you get out of High School) if you're really interested/bored.

u/wolframite · 3 pointsr/japan
u/11421172 · 1 pointr/japan

Women on the Verge: Japanese Women, Western Dreams by Karen Kelsky, Duke Univ. Press

I wish I had read this years ago

u/Reinaryu · 3 pointsr/japan

I just got this series for Christmas and it seems awesome, about 20 pages in so far :D it's an older book, but still relevant.

u/morewood · 2 pointsr/japan

If you really want to learn Japanese for real you should buy Remembering the Kanji, Vol. 1 and use this site until you have learned enough kanjis. Then proceed with SRS'ing sentences. After a year or so doing it everyday you will be able to get around Japanese websites and such!
EDIT: my sentence didn't made sense.

u/Shmurk · 2 pointsr/japan

I hate them all too, let's create an "internet super secret club" where the requirement would be to read this book every day.

u/LittleHelperRobot · 9 pointsr/japan


^That's ^why ^I'm ^here, ^I ^don't ^judge ^you. ^PM ^/u/xl0 ^if ^I'm ^causing ^any ^trouble. ^WUT?

u/ikaruja · 5 pointsr/japan

This is what we studied in my upper level course:

Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present: Andrew Gordon

u/kejartho · 1 pointr/japan

Adding on to this if you wanted to read a book on the historical aspect of how integrated it all is, check out Tokyo Underworld. I had to read it for one of my seminar courses and boy was it a bit telling. The Yakuza are involved in so much.

u/fotoford · 1 pointr/japan

> I don't know what it is with Japanese always playing the victim and ignoring their own bloodstained hands.

You can blame the USA for this, AKA read a fucking book. Thanks, John Dower! Embracing Defeat

u/taro-topor · 8 pointsr/japan

>pride in cleanliness?


  • Trashed beaches

  • Sacred Mount Sewage (Mt. Fuji)

  • Concreted rivers and coasts (government sponsored littering)

  • Gray vistas of an endless urban fractal of grimy concrete

    Read Alex Kerr's Dogs and Demons
u/masamunecyrus · 2 pointsr/japan

If you're anything like me, I would wager that you're not focusing because your curriculum is painfully slow.

I got my Japanese degree from Indiana University, and in first-year Japanese (two semesters, 5 credit hours each) we went through the entire first Genki. By the second year, we were already on Genki II.

If you're still learning this level of Japanese at the 200 level in college, I'd really recommend you jump into something more intensive--provided you have enthusiasm about learning the language. I study my best when the curriculum is too difficult. I study hard, and I fail. But ultimately I learn more failing at difficult curriculum than I do exceeding at boring curriculum.

My absolute top recommendation for learning Japanese is the Kanzen Master series levels 2 and 3, but those seem to be out of print. It looks like you can purchase the "New Kanzen Master series", but they only publish starting from JLPT level 3 and lower, which is more difficult than the old JLPT level 3.

u/DeathMonkey6969 · 0 pointsr/japan

Read Tokyo Vice It's the story of the only America jounalist to be amitted to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Press Club. You'll find that the Yakuza and the TMP seem to have a very cozy relationship and that a lot of Japan's famed low crime rates should really should not be trusted.

u/George_E_Hale · 32 pointsr/japan

>Doesn't mean they aren't the most violent and hated syndicate in Japan, though.

This. The yakuza gumi and their "acts of kindness." These groups are very good at maintaining the image of public-conscious servants, all the while running extortion rackets, keeping a hand in human trafficking, loan sharking, and all manner of embezzlement, not to mention strongarm and intergang violence.

Recommended reading: Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld

I just hate to read articles like this where people view them through such rose-colored lenses. It's naive and plays right into their purpose.

Mind you, they do keep control of petty crime. Some of the most "crime free" areas are yakuza districts, but then this is often the case with any organized crime group.