What is a shogun? Who were the samurai and what is the warrior code? What lies behind the Japanese work ethic? From the ancient tea ceremony to the boom and subsequent downturn of its economic prosperity, this uniquely concise introduction to Japan and its history surveys nearly 10,000 years of society, culture, economics and politics. Balancing economic and political information with new insights into the twin spheres of art and religion, Mikiso Hane offers authoritative coverage of all aspects of Japanese life. With a particular focus on the key events of the last 200 years, the author also pays special attention to the changing conditions of those whose history has been so frequently neglected - the women, the peasants, and the lowest order of untouchables. Well-rounded and enlightening, this informative account of Japan and its people will be greatly appreciated by historians, students and all those with an interest in this diverse and enigmatic country.