The World Turned Upside Down: Medieval Japanese Society

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9780712605458: The World Turned Upside Down: Medieval Japanese Society
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In the late twelfth century, Japanese people called the transitional period in which they were living the 'age of warriors'. Feudal clans fought civil wars, and warriors from the Kanto Plain rose up to restore the military regime of their shogun, Yoritomo. The whole of this intermediary period came to represent a gap between two stable societies: the ancient period, dominated by the imperial court in Heian (today's Kyoto), and the modern period, dominated by the Tokugawa bakufu based in Edo (today's Tokyo). In this remarkable portrait of a complex period in the evolution of Japan, Pierre F. Souyri uses a wide variety of sources - ranging from legal and historical texts to artistic and literary examples - to form a magisterial overview of medieval Japanese society. As much at home discussing the implications of the morality and mentality of The Tale of the Heike as he is describing local disputes among minor vassals or the economic implications of the pirate trade, Souyri brilliantly illustrates the interconnected nature of medieval Japanese culture. The Middle Ages was a decisive time in Japan's history because it confirmed the country's national identity. New forms of cultural expression, such as poetry, theatre, garden design, the tea ceremony, flower arranging and illustrated scrolls, conveyed a unique sensibility - sometimes in opposition to the earlier Chinese models followed by the old nobility. The World Turned Upside Down provides an animated account of the religious, intellectual and literary practices of medieval Japan in order to reveal the era's own notable cultural creativity and enormous economic potential.

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Review:

A masterful synthesis of current scholarship... brilliant... excellent.--Herman Ooms "Journal of Asian Studies "

A solid social history filling a void in the present English literature on social history in the Japanese Middle Ages.--James Guthrie "Sixteenth Century Journal "

Pierre Souyri does not burden the reader with detail that a new student will simply be unable to absorb, but tells interesting stories that will linger in the memory...I am pleased that Professor Souyri has produced this book and I believe it will be a useful aid to undergraduate teaching...--Tom Nelson "School of Oriental & African Studies "

Thought provoking.... Whoever wants to get a broad picture of the current state of the art in the field of Japanese medieval history should read this book.--Reinhard Zöllner (of the French edition) "Monumenta Nipponica "

From the Publisher:

A veritable reinvention of Japan’s middle ages.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780231118439: The World Turned Upside Down: Medieval Japanese Society (Asia Perspectives: History, Society, and Culture)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0231118430 ISBN 13:  9780231118439
Publisher: Columbia University Press, 2003
Softcover

9780231118422: The World Turned Upside Down: Medieval Japanese Society (Asia Perspectives: History, Society, and Culture)

Columb..., 2001
Hardcover

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