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An Ecological View of History
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This is the first English version of Tadao Umesao's classic, published first in Japanese in 1957, with a full description of his ecological theory of civilizations of Eurasia. Dividing the Eurasian continent into three major ecological zones consisting of Western Europe, Japan, and the region between them, he shows how the first two are basically similar and demonstrates fundamental differences between Japan and China. In 1964 a jury of ten intellectuals chose this treatise as one of the 18 most influential treatises since 1945 from among more than a hundred which were considered. In 1998, when an influential monthly, Bungei Shunju, solicited the ten most impactful books in the twentieth century from more than 170 intellectuals in Japan, this book won the third highest vote among 67 books that were nominated.
About Editors and Authors
UMESAO Tadao was a pioneer in the fields of cultural anthropology and civilization studies in Japan. He obtained a PhD in Science from Kyoto University in 1961, and held many positions over his career, including Director General at the National Museum of Ethnology, Professor at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies and Professor at Kyoto University. He passed away in July 2010.
BEFU Harumi was born in Los Angeles, USA, in 1930. He spent his youth in Japan and returned to the United States after World War II. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and received a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin. He retired after teaching at Stanford University for 30 years and became Emeritus Professor at that institution. From 1996 to 2000, he was also Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kyoto Bunkyo University in Japan. He is an internationally renowned pioneer in the field of Japanese studies.
Table of contents
Introduction to the English language edition
Note on conventions
1 Between East and West
2 Culture of the East, Culture of the West
3 An Ecological View of History: Japanese Civilization in the World Context
4 A New World Map of Civilization: A Search for a Comparative Theory of Civilization
5 Japan in Ecological History
6 Travels in Southeast Asia: An Ecological View of History, Continued
7 The Fate of the Arab People
8 Traces of India in Southeast Asia
9 The Countries of the ‘Mediant’
10 From Thailand to Nepal: Scholarship, Arts, Religion
11 Methodological Notes on Comparative Religion
12 The Ocean and Japanese Civilization