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The Historical Writing of the Mongol Invasions in Japan

The Historical Writing of the Mongol Invasions in Japan

Judith Vitale

ISBN 9780674295841

Publication date: 05/07/2024

The myth that kamikaze, or divine winds, protected Japan against the Mongol invasions of 1274 and 1281 is linked to a belief in absolute victory in the Pacific War in the twentieth century. But what was the representation of a historical past in Japan, and what role did it play as a repertoire of cultural identity before the rise of hyper-nationalism?

The Historical Writing of the Mongol Invasions in Japan is about the names for Japan and the Mongols, the commemoration of battle sites and ancestors, and the antiquarian exchanges within confined circles in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the Tokugawa culture of appearances, historical writing and related genres affirmed status identity. In the first two-thirds of the nineteenth century, the exploits of thirteenth-century warriors served as a model for propagating revolutionary change in Japanese cities, whereas in the 1880s and 1890s, conservative associations appropriated the defense against the Mongol invasions as a symbol of patriotism. The Historical Writing of the Mongol Invasions in Japan thus points to the continuities and ruptures that marked the emergence of a national culture after the Meiji Restoration of 1868.

Author

  • Judith Vitale is Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Zurich.

Book Details

  • 320 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Harvard University Asia Center

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