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Aug 14, 2006
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I have read a few books about Japanese history. However, these deal with the Sengoku Jidai in a rather abstract manner; "warlords were fighting for control..."

Has anyone read a good book specifically about Sengoku Jidai that he or she can recommend?

Dag Stålhandske
 

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I had a detailed hunt trough amazon, and settled on "Sengokujidai" by Michael Lorimer. I've just started it, and it seems quite comprehensive, but the writing style is a bit cumbersome... so I don't know that I would recommend it... but I couldn't find better.
 

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Well, if you are not seeking something academic or precisely historical, James Clavell's Shogun is always a fun option.

There is also a fine book by Perry Anderson about Feudalism and Absolutism (Lineages of the Absolutist State) which has a nice historical analysis about Japan - but it does not focus Sengoku Jidai specifically.
 

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If you are also interested in the European middle ages, I recommend Marc Bloch's Feudal Society. In the last capital he try to compare the European feudal system with the Japanese. Of course this book is not contemporary reseach and may have some misunderstandings or bad interpretations about the Japanese history, but it is still worth reading.
 
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If you are also interested in the European middle ages, I recommend Marc Broch's Feudal Society. In the last capital he try to compare the European feudal system with the Japanese. Of course this book is not contemporary reseach and may have some misunderstandings or bad interpretations about the Japanese history, but it is still worth reading.

I think the historian you mentioned was Marc Bloch.
 

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It's not Sengoku Jidai era, but the Heike Monogatari (Tale of the Heike) is a classic that captures perfectly the clan dynamics.

Very short version : Taira clan almost wipe out Minamoto clan, Minamoto stage a come back (different branch), Minamoto backstab each other for clan leadership before getting their act together and wiping out the Taira and Bam Kamakura shogunate. :)
 

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There are lots of books focused on the Sengoku in Japanese. Sengoku Chronik is my favorite all-purpose source, giving detailed year by year descriptions of what was going in from 1454-1615. Loads of maps, diagrams, photos, artifacts, etc.

In English, though, you're all correct-there really isn't a reliable general work that focuses on the period. Even the ubiquitous Stephen Turnbull hasn't churned out a book that focuses on the era.

As regards Bloch, his was an interesting work for its day and still useful for historiography purposes. Virtually all historians now agree that Japan was not a feudal society (at least as how the concept is understood in the West).
 

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The Onin War by Paul Varley is a good introduction in English of the period.
 

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There are lots of books focused on the Sengoku in Japanese. Sengoku Chronik is my favorite all-purpose source, giving detailed year by year descriptions of what was going in from 1454-1615. Loads of maps, diagrams, photos, artifacts, etc.
I've been tempted by this for a while... but it sure isn't cheap.
 

Tatsunoshi

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It's worth every penny, though (of course, I just blew $200 on "The Chronicle of Lord Nobunaga" so I've been know to be a bit loose with history books).

You might be able to find a copy in a Book-Off branch for around ¥2000.
 

chatnoir17

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I have not read this book, but it seems interesting. Some reviews at the bottom of that page also suggest alternative books.
 

Tatsunoshi

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Sansom's history is indeed one of the benchmarks of Japanese history scholarship in the West. It's outdated in places (for example, it states the Mouri clan of western Japan were Christians) and is also written in a somewhat dry style-but it's affordable and is still used in college classrooms.
 
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There are lots of books focused on the Sengoku in Japanese. Sengoku Chronik is my favorite all-purpose source, giving detailed year by year descriptions of what was going in from 1454-1615. Loads of maps, diagrams, photos, artifacts, etc.

My Japanese is very rudimentary. I can say things like: "Taburu no ue ni pen ga arimasu". Absolutely not enough to read a real Japanese book -I could possible stumble through a children's book in kana.

Dag Stålhandske
 
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Lamers' Japonius Tyrannus, about the rise and fall of Oda Nobunaga, is a must read.