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An influential interpretation of premodern Japanese political and institutional history.


This important study of Japan in premodern times, embracing a span of nearly thirteen centuries, is directed toward the illumination of some important elements of continuity in Japanese history. It is an effort to explain through the detailed analysis of a microcosm--the small province of Bizen--the fundamental institutions of political organization and social and economic structure upon which Japanese government has rested. It seeks historical depth both by limiting the study in terms of its geographical scope and by restricting the number of variables to which it gives attention. This book deals chiefly with the combination of traditions and techniques by which the Japanese organized power and exercised authority and the connections between the holders of power and the sources of wealth, mainly land. Thus, Government and Local Power in Japan deals with such subjects as theories of legitimacy and practices of administration, concepts of social stratification and social rights, and practices of land tenure and taxation. It seeks to gain a sufficient intimacy with Japanese life to find meaning in the historic continuities and changes in the way premodern Japanese governed themselves.  

The late John Whitney Hall, author of numerous books on Japanese history, including Japan: From Prehistory to Modern Times, was A. Whitney Griswold Professor Emeritus of History, Yale University.

"The sociologist and social historian, the economist and economic historian, as well as the political scientist and the legal historian will find much of interest, relevance, and importance."
--Minoru Shinoda, Journal of Asian Studies

- Minoru Shinoda

"Makes the pre-1700 political life of Japan not merely colorful and interesting but more comprehensible."
--Delmer M. Brown, Asia and the East

- Delmer M. Brown