The Life of Ancient Japan: Selected Contemporary Texts Illustrating Social Life and Ideals Before the Era of Seclusion
First published in 1939, this Singer tour de force offering some fifty carefully chosen classic texts from Yamato to the Momoyama period and fully annotated, remains as significant a point of reference today as it did sixty years ago. It is both a primer for the student of Japanese social history as well as a delightful guided tour through a thousand years of Japanese culture, customs and etiquette. 'Some of these pages are chosen as they throw light on ways in which the Japanese in remoter periods felt, thought and behaved,' writes Singer. 'Some may illuminate details of social organization, economic conditions and administration. The most beautiful, however, may be taken as definitive formulations of standards, norms, moral, religious, aesthetic and sentimental; expressions of the innermost life of a nation which give significance to its existence and justify its greatest aspirations.'