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Modern Japanese Diaries - Donald Keene


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    Henry Holt and Company
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    Gekartonneerd met stofomslag
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Modern Japanese Diaries

Donald Keene

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Modern Japanese Diaries is a collection of journals written by Japanese who journeyed to America, Europe, and China between 1860 and 1920. It begins with entries by the first Japanese to be sent abroad when the country was opened after more than two hundred years of isolation. They had little idea of what they would encounter, and their impressions of the West possess a fresh innocence that can never be recaptured in today's interconnected world. Faithfully kept, the diaries record personal yet overarching views of the countries and their cultures, and sentiments that range from delight to disillusionment. These narratives provide insight into Japanese society through the diarists' reactions to alien customs, their distaste of the "barbarian music" played in Europe, their admiration for American democracy, and their curiosity about the philosophy of Christianity. Even those who never left Japan were affected by the Western influences infiltrating their country, changing the attitudes of the nation and opening a new era in Japanese history.
The diaries are written by a range of individuals, including samurai and other government officials, several novelists and poets, a pioneer in education for women, a painter, and an anarchist who recorded his impressions of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Any of the diaries can be read independently, but various themes link them and impart a unity to these personal accounts by men and women who wrote under strikingly different circumstances. Donald Keene treats each voice intimately, inviting the reader to partake of the memories of the diarists while experiencing the world in which they lived.

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