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Japan's Renaissance: The Politics of the Muromachi Bakufu

108 Japan's Renaissance
Kenneth Alan GROSSBERG
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1981, Reprint Edition 2001 First published in 1981, Japan's Renaissance is a detailed and exhaustively researched account of the regime of Japan's second shogunate, and also an agile comparative analysis of the political economy of the period with other Renaissance systems. The book argues that the development of shogunal power in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Japan was similar to the evolution of monarchic power in France and England during the same period. Contrary to the received wisdom that the government of the Ashikaga shoguns was the low point of premodern Japan, this book demonstrates that it was the incubator for many developments and the administrative technology which reached their maturity in the Tokugawa period. Applying the ideas of political economy to medieval Japanese history makes this book an essential companion for all Japan and East Asia specialists, students of comparative feudalism and monarchical development, as well as educated generalists who are interested in premodern Japan. The book is illustrated with antique maps and Japanese paintings of the period which add to the reader's understanding of this dramatic age in Japan's history. | 224 pages


  1. The Muromachi Period in Japanese History
  2. The Ashikaga Shogun in Muromachi Japan
  3. Muromachi Economy and Bakufu Income
  4. The Bakufu System: Bureaucracy and Administration
  5. The Bakufu System: Military Organization
  6. The Muromachi Bakufu in Comparative Perspective
  7. A Concluding Note on Feudalism and Decentralization

  • "Probably the most important book on the subject of premodern Japanese history in the Western language since Conrad Totman's Politics of the Tokugawa Bakufu (Harvard, 1967). No recent book-length monograph on Japanese political history can approach this work in quality." —Cornelius J. Kiley
  • "Deserves to be read and pondered by all those interested in the development of Japanese society as a vigorous statement of one possible view of Muromachi-period political development." — Monumenta Nipponica
  • "Grossberg is to be commended for writing clearly and readably, and thus producing a work accessible to nonspecialists. ... [The book includes] in concise form much information unavailable elsewhere in English. As an introductory study of the Muromachi bakufu, it beneficial and a contribution to the field."— Journal of Asian Studies


  • Kenneth Alan GROSSBERG did the research for this work while at Princeton and Tokyo Universities, and completed it while a Harvard Junior Fellow. He has since been involved in international banking, management consulting, and is currently a professor at the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of Waseda University in Tokyo.

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