Samurai and Silk is a rare treasure: a book of penetrating insight into the Japanese character and the forging of modern Japan from the feudal Tokugawa shoguns to its worldwide prestige in the twentieth century.
Only Haru Reischaeuer could have written this extraordinary account of ther two illustrious grandfathers; one, a provincial samurai who became a founding father of the Meiji government; the other, scion of a wealthy and enterprising peasant family who almost singlehandedly developed the silk trade with America. Their remarkable stories, and those of their notable descendants, form a saga of unbounded vision and determination that has much to tell us about Japan's legendary success. This is a book to be enjoyed, on one level, as the charming story of two energetic achievers and their many renowned descendants. Even more it offer a first-hand view of Japanese customs and mores and their profound effect during a period of unprecedented modernization. There is also much of interests to specialists: the story of the silk trade with America had never before been studied from this perspective. Copiously illustrated with photographs from the author's personal collection, Samurai and Silk is a unique contribution to our understanding of Japan and the art of biography.
Published by The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, 1986
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