Chris Harding's enormously enjoyable new book distils Japan's long, complex and fascinating history into the stories of twenty remarkable individuals. These vivid and entertaining portraits take the reader from the earliest written accounts of Japan right through to the life of the current empress, Masako. We encounter shamans and warlords, poets and revolutionaries, scientists, artists and adventurers - each offering insights of their own into this extraordinary place.
For anyone new to Japan, this book is the ideal introduction. For anyone already deeply involved with it, this is a book filled with surprises and pleasures.