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Description - Ryukyu Studies Since 1854 by Patrick Beillevaire

The Ryukyu kingdom, today's Okinawa prefecture, occupies a singular place in the history of the contacts between Japan and the West. In the 1870s the Japanese empire made a swift entry on the international scene by absorbing the Ryukyu kingdom under the name of Okinawa prefecture. The ensuing process of forced Japanization was associated with discrimination and economic hardships. In 1945, the main island of Okinawa was ravaged by one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. In its wake, the Ryukyu Islands passed under US administration to be eventually restored to Japan in 1972 and disproportionately burdened with a legacy of military bases. The Ryukyu kingdom first drew the attention of Europeans in the early sixteenth century, when Japan was still inaccessible. But, strategic attempts to establish official relations between the Ryukyu government and Western powers during the 19th century caused grave concern in Japan where it was realized that a prolonged resistance to Western pressures was doomed to fail. In the first decades of the 19th century, the inhabitants of these islands enjoyed a reputation among Westerners for peacefulness, hospitality, honesty, and openmindedness that no other Asian people could rival. However, beneath all the ceremonials and unfeigned expressions of cordiality, less enviable political intricacies were found to lurk in that earthly paradise. This collection gathers all the primary texts, some rare or hitherto unpublished, written on Ryukyu by Western visitors, scholars, and missionaries from the 16th century to about the eve of World War II. The first set of five volumes covered the period up to the arrival of Commodore Perry in 1854. This second set covers the period from 1854 onwards. It will be of interest to historians and anthropologists, as well as to everyone who wishes to understand the background of Okinawa's persistent distinctiveness and of its complex relations with Japanese governments.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780700717156
ISBN-10: 0700717153
Format: Hardback
(216mm x 138mm x mm)
Pages: 1500
Imprint: RoutledgeCurzon
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publish Date: 7-Mar-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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