Böcker om Japans historia

Professor Mikael Adolphson, Cambridge University, har skrivit och varit med och redigerat böckerna nedan.
Samtliga böcker är utgivna endast på engelska. Här finns recensioner av böcker om Japan som finns utgivna på svenska, samt boken Japans historia. Läs gärna om japanska buddisttempel eftersom tempel ofta berörs i olika böcker och japanerna går ofta till tempel.

Lovable Losers

Lovable Losers is the first substantial piece of English-language scholarship to examine the actions and the memorization of the Heike (Ise Taira), a family of aristocratic warriors whose resounding defeat at the hands of the Seiwa Genji in 1185 resulted in their iconic status as tragic losers.


The Tale of the Heike and the many other works derived from it set in place the depiction of the Heike as failed upstart aristocrats whose spectacular downfall was due to neglect of their warrior heritage and the villainy of the family head, Taira no Kiyomori. Lovable Losers aims to contextualize and deconstruct representations of the Heike not only to show how such representations were created in specific contexts in response to specific needs, but also to demonstrate that the representations themselves came to create and sustain a particular kind of culture.

Title: Lovable Losers - The Heike in Action and Memory
Edited by Mikael S. Adolphson and Anne Commons
University Of Hawai'i Press, 2015
ISBN 9780824846756

The Teeth and Claws of The Buddha

Japan’s monastic warriors have fared poorly in comparison to the samurai, both in terms of historical reputation and representations in popular culture. Often maligned and criticized for their involvement in politics and other secular matters, they have been seen as figures separate from the larger military class.


However, as Mikael Adolphson reveals in his comprehensive and authoritative examination of the social origins of the monastic forces, political conditions, and warfare practices of the Heian (794–1185) and Kamakura (1185–1333) eras, these “monk-warriors”(sōhei) were in reality inseparable from the warrior class. Their negative image, Adolphson argues, is a construct that grew out of artistic sources critical of the established temples from the fourteenth century on.


In deconstructing the sōhei image and looking for clues as to the characteristics, role, and meaning of the monastic forces, The Teeth and Claws of the Buddha highlights the importance of historical circumstances; it also points to the fallacies of allowing later, especially modern, notions of religion to exert undue influence on interpretations of the past. It further suggests that, rather than constituting a separate category of violence, religious violence needs to be understood in its political, social, military, and ideological contexts.


Title: The Teeth and Claws of The Buddha - Monastic Warriors and Sôhei in Japanese History

Author: Mikael S. Adolphson

University Of Hawai'i Press, 2007

ISBN 978-0-8248-3064-9

Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries

The first three centuries of the Heian period (794–1086) saw some of its most fertile innovations and epochal achievements in Japanese literature and the arts. It was also a time of important transitions in the spheres of religion and politics, as aristocratic authority was consolidated in Kyoto, powerful court factions and religious institutions emerged, and adjustments were made in the Chinese-style system of ruler-ship.


At the same time, the era’s leaders faced serious challenges from the provinces that called into question the primacy and efficiency of the governmental system and tested the social/cultural status quo. Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries, the first book of its kind to examine the early Heian from a wide variety of multidisciplinary perspectives, offers a fresh look at these seemingly contradictory trends.


Essays by fourteen leading American, European, and Japanese scholars of art history, history, literature, and religions take up core texts and iconic images, cultural achievements and social crises, and the ever-fascinating patterns and puzzles of the time. The authors tackle some of Heian Japan’s most enduring paradigms as well as hitherto unexplored problems in search of new ways of understanding the currents of change as well as the processes of institutionalization that shaped the Heian scene, defined the contours of its legacies, and make it one of the most intensely studied periods of the Japanese past.


Contributors: Ryûichi Abé, Mikael Adolphson, Bruce Batten, Robert Borgen, Wayne Farris, Karl Friday, G. Cameron Hurst III, Edward Kamens, D. Max Moerman, Samuel Morse, Joan R. Piggott, Fukutò Sanae, Ivo Smits, Charlotte von Verschuer.

About Heian Japan

"This exceptionally rich set of essays substantially advances our understanding of the Heian era, presenting the period as more fascinating, multi-faceted, and integrated than it has ever been before. This volume marks a turning point in the study of early Japanese culture and will be indispensable for future explorations of the era."
—Andrew Edmund Goble, University of Oregon


"As a Japanese historian, I enthusiastically recommend Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries, the first multi-author English-language academic work to offer a synthetic treatment of the Heian period. Japan's emperor system is the last remaining sovereignty of its kind in human history, and this volume is indispensable when considering what sovereignty itself means in the present. To that end, the classical patterns established in the Heian period are superbly analyzed in this volume through the dual approach of 'centers and peripheries."
—Hotate Michihisa, Historiographical Institute, University of Tokyo


Title: Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries
Edited by Mikael S. Adolphson, Edward Kamens and Stacie Matsumoto
University Of Hawai'i Press, 2007
ISBN 9780824830137

The Gates of Power

The political influence of temples in premodern Japan, most clearly manifested in divine demonstrations--where rowdy monks and shrine servants brought holy symbols to the capital to exert pressure on courtiers--has traditionally been condemned and is poorly understood. In an impressive examination of this intriguing aspect of medieval Japan, the author employs a wide range of previously neglected sources to argue that religious protest was a symptom of political factionalism in the capital rather than its cause.


It is his contention that religious violence can be traced primarily to attempts by secular leaders to rearrange religious and political hierarchies to their own advantage, thereby leaving disfavoured religious institutions to fend for their accustomed rights and status. In this context, divine demonstrations became the preferred negotiating tool for monastic complexes. For almost three centuries, such strategies allowed a handful of elite temples to maintain enough of an equilibrium to sustain and defend the old style of rulership even against the efforts of the Ashikaga Shogunate in the mid-fourteenth century.


By acknowledging temples and monks as legitimate co-rulers, The Gates of Power provides a new synthesis of Japanese rulership from the late Heian(794-1185) to the early Muromachi (1336-1573) eras, offering a unique and comprehensive analysis that brings together the spheres of art, religion, ideas, and politics in medieval Japan.

Titel: The Gates of Power - Monks, Courtiers and Warriors in Postmodern Japan
Author: Mikael S. Adolphson
University Of Hawai'i Press, 2000

ISBN 0-8248-2334-6

Professor vid Cambridge University

Mikael Adolphson arbetar vid universitetet i Cambridge. När tillfälle ges ger han föreläsningar även i Sverige. Kontakta oss gärna när ni önskar ett föredrag om Japan, eller kanske en diskussionsstund om Japans historia och nutid.

Bok på svenska om Japans historia

Japans historia är skriven av Ottosson och Ekholm. Läsvärd och lättläst sammanställning av Japans långa och brokiga utveckling.