Japanese Art and Culture

This guide represents English language resources for the study of Japanese culture, art and architecture with focused texts on Samurai and Bushidō culture and Ukiyo-e, the genre of woodblock prints and painting which often referenced the ruling and warrior classes. Resources are available in the Reference Library or online as indicated.

Introductory Texts

These texts (both print and online) introduce the reader to major events in Japanese history and Samurai culture and broad cultural or artistic movements.

Print Resources

Art of Edo Japan : the artist and the city 1615-1868
Guth, Christine.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010.
N7353.5 .G88 2010

The art and architecture of Japan
Paine, Robert Treat.
Baltimore : Penguin Books, 1955, 1960 reprint.
xviii, 316 p. : ill., plans ; 27 cm.
N7350 .P35 1960

Japan: the shaping of Daimyo culture, 1185 – 1868
Shimizu, Yoshiaki
Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1938
xi, 402 p. : col. ill. ; 30 cm.
DS827 .D34 J37 1988

Japan: a history in Art
New York, Simon and Schuster, 1964.
N7350 .S65 OV

Online Resources

Asia for Educators
Search by keyword or navigate by theme, region, time-period or audience. Includes a section “Online Museum Resources on Asian Art.”

Historical Maps of Asia

Japanese History Timeline:

Focused Texts

Samurai, Warfare and the State in Early Medieval Japan
Friday, Karl F.
On order

The Taming of the Samurai: Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan
Ikegami, Eiko
On order

Art of the samurai : Japanese arms and armor, 1156-1868
Morihiro Ogawa ed. ; with contributions from Kazutoshi Harada … [et al.].
New York : Metropolitan Museum of Art, c2009.
344 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 31 cm
NK6684 .A1 A79 2009

The artist and the warrior: military history through the eyes of the masters
Rabb, Theodore K.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.
N8260 .R33 2011

The Peabody museum collection of japanese sword guards: with selected pieces of sword furniture
Sexton, Mark
Salem, Mass. : The Museum, 1975
NK6784.A1 P4 1975

Samurai : the world of the warrior
Turnbull, Stephen R.
Oxford : Osprey, 2006.
224 p. : ill. (some col.), maps ; 25cm.
DS827 .S3 T8765 2006

The Samurai : a military history
Turnbull, Stephen R.
[Richmond, Surrey] : Japan Library, 1996.
xviii, 285 p., [12] p. de pl. : ill., cartes ; 23 cm.
DS836 .T87 1996

Lords of the samurai: the legacy of a daimyo family.
Woodson, Yoko, Melissa M. Rinne, Junʼichi Takeuchi, Thomas F. Cleary, Deborah Clearwaters, and Junko Abe.
[San Francisco]: Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture. 2009.
On order.

Additional Resources

Bibliography of Japanese History Coverage ends at 1912. Bibliography is updated regularly

The Samurai Archives Japanese History Page:

Scrolls of the Mongol Invasions of Japan


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