Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation


Read by Julia Niedermaier

(4.8 stars; 10 reviews)

Greece-born Lafcadio Hearn (1850 - 1904) spent decades of his life in Japan, even marrying a Japanese woman, thus becoming a Japanese citizen by the name of Koizumi Yakumo (小泉 八雲). He wrote many books on Japan, especially about its folklore. In this posthumously published book, he takes a closer look at Japan's religious history: How it developed from ancient beliefs into Shintoism, resisted suppression attempts by both Buddhism and Christianity and how – despite efforts to westernise Japan during the era known as Meiji Restoration – it remained the basis for Japanese society. Even today, over 100 years after this book was written, some of the described traditions and fundamental ideas still exist. (Summary by Julia Niedermaier) (13 hr 58 min)

Chapters

Difficulties 5:45 Read by Julia Niedermaier
Strangeness and charm 23:43 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The ancient cult 21:45 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The religion of the home 35:36 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The Japanese family 43:28 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The communal cult 46:56 Read by Julia Niedermaier
Developments of Shinto 45:22 Read by Julia Niedermaier
Worship and purification 38:42 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The rule of the dead 46:10 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The introduction of Buddhism 40:03 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The higher Buddhism 42:21 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The social organization 57:52 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The rise of the military power 40:10 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The religion of loyalty 35:24 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The Jesuit peril - Part 1 32:43 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The Jesuit peril - Part 2 37:41 Read by Julia Niedermaier
Feudal integration 41:06 Read by Julia Niedermaier
The Shinto revival 22:11 Read by Julia Niedermaier
Survivals 20:48 Read by Julia Niedermaier
Modern restraints 41:06 Read by Julia Niedermaier
Official education 41:43 Read by Julia Niedermaier
Industrial danger 22:47 Read by Julia Niedermaier
Reflections 41:12 Read by Julia Niedermaier
Appendix: Herbert Spencer's advice to Japan 13:44 Read by Julia Niedermaier

Reviews

Japan -- A Thorough Impretation

(4.5 stars)

This book was a major diversion from my usual listening routine. The mind of this sociologist combines with a historian and person deep philosophical understanding of a society that drew upon old Greek and Roman knowledge of gods and society as well modern German, English, and American writers. The book is written by a true scholar. Julia N's reading was unblinkingly professional and her Japanese and English language skills are commendable. Julia's native language was not English and sometimes I didn't recognize some pronunciations for a split second. The book, subject and reader are to be commended and recommended.

Remarkable book

(5 stars)

I came back from a recent trip to Japan fascinated by its culture and history. This excellent book goes into considerable detail on the history, culture and religions of the Japanese. It certainly gave me a much better understanding of this unique society. The author is a deep thinker whose ideas and knowledge on Japan stem from his many years lived in Japan. I highly recommend it and give especial thanks to Julia for her clear and precise reading.