Books about Japan

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Books - Japan
Japanese Battleships 1897-1945 - A Photographic Archive, R A Burt . Looks at the battleships, battlecruisers and some of the heavy armoured cruisers that served with the Japanese navy between the purchase of the two Fuji class ships from Britain in the 1890s to its destruction in 1945. A splendid selection of photographs that trace the evolution of these warships, both from ship-to-ship and after the major reconstructions carried out on many First World War era Japanese ships. [read full review]
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Shanghai 1937 - Stalingrad on the Yangtze, Peter Harmsen. Looks at one of the first major urban battles of the Twentieth Century, a Chinese attempt to expel the Japanese from Shanghai and distract them from the fighting in northern China that expanding into a major battle and led to some of the first major atrocities of the conflict between Japan and China. [read full review]
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Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai, Romulus Hillsborough. This is a fascinating account of the period from the forced opening of Japan to the outside world in 1853, through the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate and on to the failure of the Satsuma rebellion against the restored Imperial Government and the end of the world of the Samurai. [read full review]
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A History of Japan, 1334-1615, Sir George Sansom. A classic history of Japan, covering the period from the fall of the Kamakura Shogunate in the 1330s to the battle of Sekigahara of 1615. A little dated now, but it still provides an excellent narrative history of this period, with more detail on the military events than in most more modern works.
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Taiheiki: A Chronicle of Medieval Japan, trans. Helen Craig McCullough. A modern English translation of the first twelve chapters of the Taiheiki, covering the period of the Genko War, a civil war that saw the Emperor Go-Daigo briefly overthrow the Shogunate and restore direct Imperial rule.
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Samurai Women, 1184-1877, Stephen Turnbull. A wide ranging book, looking at the role of women on the battlefields of Japan from the semi-legendary Empress Jingu of 170-260 AD to the Samurai women who fought against the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Mainly covers women's roles in sieges, but also includes some rare examples of involvement on the battlefield. [read full review]
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Katana, The Sword of the Samurai, Stephen Turnbull. This book in the new Osprey series on weapons traces the development, use and impact of one of the world’s most famous weapons, the Katana or Samurai sword.  Written by the leading western expert on the samurai and prolific osprey author Stephen Turnbull, the book is fascinating, well written and illustrated to Osprey's usual standards with colour plates, drawings and photographs. The book's subject is detailed and brought to life with the descriptions of some of the famous sword masters of Japan as well as challenging the myth of the Katana as the Samurai’s primary weapon. Well worth adding to your collection. [read full review]
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Hatamoto Samurai Horse and Foot Guards: 1540-1724, Stephen Turnbull. An excellent Osprey from the leading authority of this period of warfare in Japan Stephen Turnbull. Lavishly illustrated to Osprey's high standard, it covers the samurai guards who served under the flag protecting their lord in battle and serving as officers and emissaries in peace time for nearly 200 years. A fascinating book with many examples of duty, honour and loyalty. [read full review]
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The Mongol Invasion of Japan 1274 and 1281, Stephen Turnbull. A high quality and beautifully illustrated account of the two Mongol invasions of Japan, drawing on Japanese, Korean, Mongol and Chinese sources and modern archaeology, to paint a detailed picture of a key moment in Japanese history. [read full review]
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Pirate of the Far East: 941-1644, Stephen Turnbull, Osprey Warrior 125. This book covers a long period of time and a fascinating and often neglected subject. It shatters some of the myths about the pirates of this area and period and highlights the interaction and impact of the Wako on Japanese historical events.  It described several of the sea lords of the Japanese and works well as a companion book with other Ospreys covering the ships of the period and the Japanese invasion of Korea. [see more]
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Ashigaru 1467-1649 , Stephen Turnbull, A colourful study of the often over looked infantry man of medieval Japan. Good illustrations of a neglected area.
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Samurai Armies 1550-1615 , S.R.Turnbull, Richard Hook. A small but excellent book for this period especially for the wargamer with great colour plates and many illustrations including standard troop formations used during this period. An easy and enjoyable read.
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NagashinoNagashino 1575 , Stephen Turnbull. A well illustrated and detailed book covering this interesting Samurai battle. Includes a detailed section on wargaming this battle and campaign in a variety of ways. [see more]
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SekigaharaSekigahara 1600, Anthony Bryant. A detailed book but not as heavily illustrated as others in the series. This is for the more serious student of Japanese military history. The book does include a lovely political map of 1600 Japan and a brief section on war gaming the battle. [see more]
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A Book of Five Rings, Miyamoto Musashi. Translated by Victor Harris. An excellent and fascinating short book and a must have for any serious student of Samurai history. The book has an excellent historical introduction and the section on the life of the author is as good as the book itself. The focus of book is the way of the warrior, especially the swordsman and has much thought provoking text for the careful and diligent reader. Detailed footnotes add to the translation and the text is very interesting for any interested in Kendo or the martial arts, mixing philosophy with strategy, giving a real insight into the life and beliefs of a samurai.
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cover Ran [1985] , Another classic from this masterful director, Ran meaning Chaos is a reworking of King Lear with dutiful sons replacing the daughters. It tells the tale of a kingdom torn apart by the greed of a Lords sons and the scheming revenge of a woman. In colour with spectacular battles showing use of arquebus and cavalry and a stunning attack on a fortress it is a must for those interested in samurai warfare.
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cover Ran [1985] , Another classic from this masterful director, Ran meaning Chaos is a reworking of King Lear with dutiful sons replacing the daughters. It tells the tale of a kingdom torn apart by the greed of a Lords sons and the scheming revenge of a woman. In colour with spectacular battles showing use of arquebus and cavalry and a stunning attack on a fortress it is a must for those interested in samurai warfare.
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Turnbull, NinjaNinja AD 1460-1650, Stephen Turnbull, Osprey, 2003, 64 pages. A fascinating book from Osprey 64 pages long and full of interesting stuff on the real ninja, Japan's medieval Special Forces. Great colour plates in the middle of the book illustrate ninja in action, in training and equipment. [see more]
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Turnbull Eastern Siege 1Siege Weapons of the Far East: AD 612-1300 v. 1, Stephen Turnbull, Osprey, 2001, 48 pages. This is a lovely illustrated book which covers a mostly neglected area of Far Eastern warfare. Its colour plates and diagrams are dramatic and impressive [see more]
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Turnbull Siege 2Siege Weapons of the Far East: AD 960-1644 v. 2 , Stephen Turnbull, Osprey, 2002, 48 pages. The companion piece to volume 1, this work concentrated on gunpowder weapons and defensive items. [see more]
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