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Punishment and Power in the Making of Modern Japan
Daniel V. Botsman

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"The penal system and methods of punishment employed by any government have less to do with suppressing crime than with bolstering its authority and enhancing its vision of itself, as Daniel V. Botsman ably demonstrates in this path-breaking study."--Anne Walthall, The Historian

"This is a superb book on a subject of enormous importance--namely, prisons and punishment in Japan from the Tokugawa period (1600-1867) through the beginning of the twentieth century. . . . [The book has] sweeping scope, ambition, conceptual sophistication, and intellectual force. . . . [A]lthough the book is erudite and theoretically sophisticated, it is written in a very clear and accessible manner, ensuring that it can be read with much profit by advanced undergraduates as well as scholars and graduate students inside and outside of Japanese studies."--Takashi Fujitani, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies


"This book is an important, systematic account of punishment and prisons in Japan from the Tokugawa period through the nineteenth century. Botsman shows quite well the ways that punishment has transformed over almost three centuries, and connects this to political power. The richness of detail--images of beheadings with a saw, severed heads, crucified bodies, crowded jails, and Benthamlike prisons--will no doubt stay with readers."--Stefan Tanaka, University of California, San Diego, author of New Times in Modern Japan

"I enjoyed reading this book, and learned a lot from it. Botsman avoids both the trap of attributing the rise of a modern penal complex in Japan to some authoritarian essence from time immemorial and the folly of placing all the causative weight on Western imperialism and Western ideas of crime and punishment. Further, he offers an explanation for the methods of colonization that Japanese colonialism adopted when it expanded into Asia. His clearly written work adds the significant experience of Japan to the literature on the emergence of modern systems of punishment and contributes to the comparative understanding of non-Western modernities."--Gyan Prakash, Princeton University, author of Another Reason

"A scholarly tour de force. This book is a unique contribution to a field of historical study that has, in the past, been marked either by a concern for central political institutions or intellectual history. Until now, there has been no serious work on Tokugawa and Meiji penal practices. But Botsman, by weaving the discursive strands of thinking about punishment into the fabric of institutional practice, has managed to give us an exemplary cultural history that exceeds both its temporal and spatial location."--Harry Harootunian, New York University, author of Overcome by Modernity: History, Culture, and Community in Interwar Japan

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File created: 4/21/2017

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