By George Sansom
Taken as a complete, the projected historical past represents the fruits of the existence paintings of probably the main exclusive historian now writing on Japan. in contrast to the well known Short Cultural History, it really is involved commonly with political and social phenomena and basically by the way touches on faith, literature, and the humanities. The remedy is essentially descriptive and authentic, however the writer deals a few pragmatic interpretations and indicates comparisons with the historical past of alternative peoples.
A historical past of Japan to 1334 describes the expansion from tribal origins of an equipped country on a chinese language version, offers an image of the lifetime of the Royal court docket, and examines the clash among a refined city the Aristocracy and a warlike rural gentry. It lines the evolution of a good method of feudal govt which disadvantaged the sovereign of all yet his ritual services and the status of his ancestry. The constitution of jap feudal society is depicted in a few element and defined by way of its inner stresses and its habit in peace and warfare, specifically through the interval of the Mongol assaults within the final many years of the 13th century. the amount ends with the cave in of the feudal govt at Kamakura below the assault of bold rivals.
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Extra resources for A History of Japan to 1334
8 Therefore we shall not be far out if we suppose that the customs were of a kind common to most settled agrarian people, whose worship is largely concerned with fertility and the preservation of crops and therefore with propitiation of the powers of nature. Such a supposition is amply borne out by a study of native beliefs and practices which sur vived the introduction of powerful foreign ideas. The fact that they so survived goes far to prove that they were ancient and strong and deeply rooted, so that a description of early Japanese society depending in part upon inference from later conditions, though it may be at fault in particulars, should be in general trustworthy as a guide to the history of ideas and institutions.
But Japanese imagination does not seem to have been stirred in the same way, although the material is there in their national scriptures. Yet there is some resemblance between the attitude of the Japanese towards their native legends and that of Western European peoples towards theirs. Greek and Roman mythology was carried to the West by Christianity, as a by-product of knowledge of classical languages, and THE PEOPLE 31 among educated people it displaced or thrust into the background the simpler and less artificial beliefs of an earlier age.
It is not a religion whose principles demonstrably arise from historical events. It it not the product of a revolution in ideas. Unlike Buddhism or Christianity or Islam, it has no founder, no inspired sacred book, no teachers, no martyrs, and no saints. It may be described as a form of nature worship, based upon a feel ing that all things are animate and in their degree partake of sentient existence. Thus the manifestations of nature, great and small, are thought of, perceived, as harbouring a kind of divine presence and wor shipped accordingly.
A History of Japan to 1334 by George Sansom