Understanding Japan great courses

Japan’s extraordinary culture is like no other in the world. The 2,000-year-old civilization grew through periods of seclusion and assimilation to cultivate a society responsible for immeasurable influences on the rest of the world. What makes Japan so distinctive? The answer is more than just spiritual beliefs or culinary tastes. It’s the ongoing clash between…

The islands of Japan

Around 300 or 400 B.C.E., life on the islands began to change with the introduction of two striking new technologies: wet-rice agriculture and basic metallurgy. These were probably introduced by migrants from the Korean peninsula. Given that there were no longer Ice Age land bridges, we might ask how continental people reached Japan. Japan is…

The Jomon period

  The first inhabitants of the islands of Japan migrated down from Siberia along land bridges during the Ice Age. A few scholars argue that a migration also took place up from Southeast Asia. The exact dates of these migrations are the subject of intense debate, but there is a rough consensus that humans arrived…

Japanese Culture: The Religious and Philosophical Foundations

Japanese Culture: The Religious and Philosophical Foundations by the Author Roger Davies takes readers on a thoroughly researched and extremely readable journey through Japan’s cultural history. This much-anticipated sequel to Roger Davies’s best-selling The Japanese Mind provides a comprehensive overview of the religion and philosophy of Japan. This cultural history of Japan explains the diverse…

Japan in Colour from Albert Kahn’s Archive of the World

In 1908, the French banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn launched one of the most ambitious projects in the history of photography. A pacifist, internationalist and utopian idealist, Kahn decided to use his private fortune to improve understanding between the nations of the world. To this end, he created what he called his Archive of the…

Memoirs of a Secret Empire

Commanding shoguns and fierce samurai warriors, exotic geisha and exquisite artisans – all were part of a Japanese renaissance between the 16th and 19th centuries when Japan went from chaos and violence to a land of ritual refinement and peace. But stability came at a price: for nearly 250 years, Japan was a land closed…