Encounters with Japan

Richard Tames, Author St. Martin's Press $0 (158p) ISBN 978-0-312-07537-8
In the years between 1853, when Commodore Perry arrived in Japan, and 1922, when this attractively packaged collection of impressions ends its survey, much of our information about Japan came from Western missionaries, military men, diplomats, businessmen and travelers. Tames ( Servant of the Shogun ) offers excerpts from their journals and letters, as well as from books and documents of the time, and ties them together with a running commentary and numerous illustrations. The material is of historical interest, but there is a sense of deja vu about the collection: like the reproductions of women in kimonos doing their hair, photos of the Ainus and Mt. Fiji, and recipes for miso soup, these impressions of an earlier Japan echo oft-told tales. And, at a time when a spate of more entertaining or serious works on Japan has enlarged our sophistication about that country, this curio's appeal is modest. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Hardcover - 168 pages - 978-0-7509-0003-4
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