Cover: Kenmu in HARDCOVER

Harvard East Asian Monographs 169


Go–Daigo's Revolution

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$52.50 • £42.95 • €47.50

ISBN 9780674502550

Publication Date: 11/01/1996


Andrew Edmund Goble has written an impressive study of a key event in medieval Japanese history… This is not an episode of merely antiquarian interest. In prewar Japan, Go-Daigo was glorified as a precursor of the Meiji emperor, and unorthodox interpretations of his achievements were risky. Today…his role as an instigator of a major political tradition makes him an object of scholarly debate… Goble bases his analysis on a careful reading of an extraordinarily wide range of sources, both primary and secondary… Japanese scholarship, which is apt to be quite narrowly focused, is skillfully placed in a larger analytical framework… Any reader of Goble’s book will come away with a new appreciation for this uncommonly vigorous emperor… Goble has put Go-Daigo in a new light as a man who, along with his policies, deserves to be take seriously.—Robert Borgen, American Historical Review

In the true historian’s spirit of questioning traditional opinion, Andrew Goble has undertaken to clear Go-Daigo’s name, particularly as a politician. He investigates his background, political maneuverings, method of winning allies, struggle against the Hojo, early administrative policies, and overall goals. He also explores how and why Takauji got the better of him. Goble’s research is solid and his style is highly readable. His methodology, endnotes, and bibliography are impeccable… In short, the book is of lasting value to the field of Japanese medieval studies… Should one read this book? Yes, definitely. Its analysis of primary sources alone is a monument of erudition, the theme is pioneering, and the style…is riveting… It is, above all, a good read.—Carl Steenstrup, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

Edmund Goble returns to the feudal period to develop a scholarly reinterpretation of a critical time in Japanese history. Was the role of Emperor Go-Daigo important in moving Japan on to a more advanced nation state? By demonstrating the fissiparous state of Japan at that time, Goble helps to illuminate the dual problems of emperor and state in recent times. Andrew Goble argues that the Kenmu regime, as interpreted by the Emperor Go-Daigo, who ruled from 1318–1339, despite apparently failing, led Japan into another age. From this perspective, the remarkable thing about Japan in the modern period, is its success, especially since 1945, in transforming the Emperor’s role into that of a constitutional monarch,in a modern democratic government.—Olive Checkland, Japan Society Proceedings

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