It’s no surprise that Puneet Datta should have an expert knowledge on Japanese history and culture. After all, he has been with the Japanese multinational Canon (where now he is now the director, sales and marketing, Canon India) for the last 13 years. When we asked him for recommendations on books on Japan, he picks two acclaimed classics. What surprises us, however, is that both the books are by American scholars. It may just be a coincidence or maybe his previous stint as regional manager at Emerson Network power, which is an American company based in Columbus, Ohio, had something to do with it. Be what it may, we do think these are great choices.
Here are the two books Datta recommended PrintWeek India:
1. Japan: The Story of a Nation by Edwin Reischauer: In its 4th edition, the book chronicles the evolution of pre-modern (early AD to 1850), modern (1850-1945), and post-war (1945-1989) Japanese civilization from imperial rule through the death of Emperor Hirohito. Reischauer, a former US ambassador to Japan, explores the roots and development of the military dictatorship that brought Japan into World War II, the dubious leadership of its emperor, and the effects of the post-war American occupation.
2. The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture by Ruth Fulton Benedict: Essential reading for anyone interested in Japanese culture, this unsurpassed masterwork opens an intriguing window on Japan. Benedict’s World War II era study paints an illuminating contrast between the culture of Japan and that of the United States. The Chrysanthemum and the Sword is a revealing look at how and why these two cultures differ, making it the perfect introduction to Japanese history and customs.