Of Thoughts and Swords

A blog about Science, Philosophy, Wargaming, Literature and other things, in three or more languages.

Readings: Japanese History

Baring the afterword I just finished reading The Culture of Civil War in Kyoto by Mary Elizabeth Berry.


It is not the newest book, but it really has a good angle on the subject. Through the extensive use of original sources Berry is able to reconstruct many facets of social organisations of wartime Kyôtô. Wartime here being the times from the Ônin war (応仁之乱 1467) to the time of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. She tries to get a grip on the life of the normal citizens and how they dealt with an instable government during that time. What emerges is a (by necessity incomplete) picture of a emerging culture of mediation and self-rule. Berry also gives an account of how the fighting in the capital presented itself and comes, through the way of the few casualties of these engagements, to the conclusion that presentation as such was a means to an end in this time. Of course this now was very cursory, but it is definitely a recommended read.

For myself it was of course nice to see that Berry arrives at a similar conclusion about the culture of presentation, that I came to in my M.A. Thesis. Nice to obviously have worked well.

Another nice book I kinda read, kinda because it is more for looking than reading is: Living in Japan by Reto Guntli, Alex Kerr and Kathy Arlyn Sokol.


It shows different modern or traditional houses in Japan and really stirs your longing for elsewhere.

Due to my intention of reading at least one scientific book on the side, no matter what else I am doing. Everyday Things in Premodern Japan. The Hidden Legacy of Material Culture by Susan B. Hanley, is my next one. I am very curious how it turns out.


Till then.


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This entry was posted on February 21, 2015 by in Japan, Scientific and tagged , , , , .
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