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Summary

Japan has always seemed a puzzle to most westerners - so modern, so industrialized, yet somehow so different. Japanese Society and History seeks to initiate westerners to the learning process of making Japan seem a little less mysterious and a little more understandable. This book walks readers through some of the important features of Japanese society to help readers begin slowly forming a more complete picture of Japan.

Japanese Society and History is a unique text and effective teaching tool designed for use in comparative sociology and political science courses, as well as courses in Asian Studies.

Japanese Society and History explores a variety a topics in Japanese society, including geography, language, history, cultural themes, family life, education, religion, politics and government, and the economy.

©2011 University Readers, Inc. (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Spoilt by robotic narration

Would you try another book written by Harold Kerbo and John McKinstry or narrated by Eva Wilhelm?

Never anything narrated by Eva Wilhelm

Would you ever listen to anything by Harold Kerbo and John McKinstry again?

Maybe. They are knowledgeable and interesting.

Would you be willing to try another one of Eva Wilhelm’s performances?

Never. I honestly thought it was being voiced by a robot until I checked. The intonation and emphasis were so flat and irritating that I was going to return the book.

Was Japanese Society and History worth the listening time?

Yes, after a boring start it was an interesting and thought provoking listen.

Any additional comments?

Clearly written for the American audience.

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Profile Image for Lexi
  • Lexi
  • 05-12-13

Lots of interesting information and easy to follow

Where does Japanese Society and History rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I'd say it's one of the better audio history books I've read. The reason I got this was because I really like listening to The Great Courses audio lectures on history, but they didn't have a course on Japanese history. Japanese is one of my favorite cultures, so I had to get this.

Who was your favorite character and why?

N/A

Which character – as performed by Eva Wilhelm – was your favorite?

N/A

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Probably the bits on history. I already know a lot of things about the culture, but the history is all new to me.

Any additional comments?

I'd just like to say that as a person who studies the language, some of the pronunciation for Japanese words was a bit off. For example, she was talking about Japanese Manga, and she pronounced it "Mane-ga" instead of "Mon-ga" like the Japanese would pronounce it. Other than that, I'm pretty sure this is accurate, because it follows everything I know about the culture, plus other bits of history.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Michael
  • Michael
  • 12-10-15

Excellent Overview

If you take Japan apart you will find each part very interesting but when it is all together then you see something quite amazing. Far from perfect, and changing so fast that you could say this book is already out of date it is a fascinating culture, history, society and almost way of life. This book is well worth the listen to. Eva Wilhelm isn't necessary the best narrator but good enough. Bite size chunks to swallow and only uses the language where necessary. Does get into some not so palatable bits of information but that is what makes this book so good. All the good bits with the not so easy bits to swallow making a beautiful all round book to digest.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Klas Mellbourn
  • Klas Mellbourn
  • 22-03-15

not so exciting

The narrator sounded uninterested in the subject.
The story was ok but hardly gripping. I would have preferred more on the history of Japan

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David P. Lee
  • David P. Lee
  • 28-01-15

An excellent read- highly recommended

This book was excellent. It was so interesting to listen and learn about Japan. My family will be visiting Japan for the first time soon and I feel so much better prepared for my first visit. The authors offer such interesting observations on so many diverse topics on such things as Japanese history, politics, popular culture, attitudes, and the future. I understand the other reviewers critiquing the pronunciation by the narrator of the Japanese terms, but I did not think that detracted from the book at all. I highly recommend this book. I may listen to it again

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Gregory
  • Gregory
  • 14-01-15

Good way to learn about Japan.

The narrator had a nice voice it was like being in class with a decent teacher. I never feel asleep but I could stop at anytime. I thought the information was good and relevant and some stuff I didn't know I wanted to know

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-14

Fantastic book for Japan-lovers!

What made the experience of listening to Japanese Society and History the most enjoyable?

the book is very informative. I like the different chapters on society, history, problems etc very well organised

What was one of the most memorable moments of Japanese Society and History?

the people and the problems

Did Eva Wilhelm do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

I wasn't particularly impressed with the narrator. Quite monotonous. If the book wasnt so interesting i wouldn't have kept listening

If you could give Japanese Society and History a new subtitle, what would it be?

Geeking out on Japan

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Anderson Godoy
  • Anderson Godoy
  • 28-05-14

Good book if you are interested in Japan

Would you consider the audio edition of Japanese Society and History to be better than the print version?

Just because it's easier to listen to it as you do other things (like washing the dishes). The print version seems to have some extra graphics and things that could have been useful.

What did you like best about this story?

It is up-to-date and with enough depth not to be superfluous or boring.

What does Eva Wilhelm bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Nice voice and speed, (I listened to her 1.25X speed). Next time she should practice Japanese pronunciation (is not nearly as bad as other reviewers say, but yeah... she could have done better).

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

There were many, this is a very informative book.

Any additional comments?

This seems to be the one and only good non-fictional book about Japan that is not concerned exclusively with war. Audible should improve their repertoire...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Peter Hanson
  • Peter Hanson
  • 29-03-15

Very American and academic

The audiance of this book should be American. nearly every point raised in the book is compared against the american way of life as well as measurements in miles and pounds. This takes up considerable time which could have been spent on the sorely needed analysis.

The voice is well voiced but again strongly American and far from nutural being very nasally. I found this hard to listen to without concentration due to my lack of experience with the tone.

This is a good book for someone who is traveling to Japan and wants a verbose, but not descriptive crash course.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Reinhard Izak Dekter
  • Reinhard Izak Dekter
  • 12-08-17

Informative

I went through this book twice as it gives a very good understanding of Japanese society.

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Profile Image for Stella Clemens
  • Stella Clemens
  • 19-11-16

日本語出来ませんね〜

They couldn't find a reader who had some command of Japanese? also, it's super weird to have a comparative history with the USA, and completely ignore the existence of the first nations. But a good coverage overall.