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Mirror of Modernity

Invented Traditions of Modern Japan

Stephen Vlastos (Editor)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 300 pages
ISBN: 9780520206373
May 1998
$33.95, £24.95
This collection of essays challenges the notion that Japan's present cultural identity is the simple legacy of Japan's premodern and insular past. Building on the pathbreaking historical analysis of British traditions, The Invention of Tradition, sixteen American and Japanese scholars examine "age-old" Japanese cultural practices, ranging from judo to labor management, and show these to be largely creations of the modern era.
Stephen Vlastos is Professor of History at the University of Iowa, and author of Peasant Protests and Uprisings in Tokugawa Japan (California, 1986).
"This book forces a rethinking of the contentional dichotomy between tradition and modernity. The authors argue provocatively that much of Japanese 'tradition' is a modern invention."—Gail Lee Bernstein, author of Haruko's World

"Sure to stimulate debate in the field of Japanese studies, this important work deftly historicizes the origins of such 'traditional practices' as judo or Japanese-style management."—Peter Duus, author of The Abacus and the Sword

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