Education About Asia: Online Archives

The Japanese Discovery of America: A Brief History with Documents

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Use of documents in college (and to a lesser extent, high school social studies programs) has not been much in vogue in non-American classes. The audience outside of the large survey classes is small enough so few publishers make an effort, and even when some collections of documents are available, my impression is that they are underutilized. This is, I think, especially the case in courses like Japanese history survey classes. Indeed, there are really only two collections aimed at undergraduates: Ryusaku Tsunoda’s Sources of Japanese Tradition, which was published first in the late 1950s as part of a larger enterprise under the guidance of Theodore de Bary, and David J. Lu’s Japan:
A Documentary History, a substantial revision of its 1974 predecessor. The former tends to stress intellectual and religiophilosophical developments; the latter gives a stronger weighting to elements of social history.