The first proper fortifications in Japan began to develop with the appearance of the first emperors around 250. Although initially fortifications were simply wooden constructions, as internal strife became a way of life in Japan, more and increasingly elaborate fortifications were built. By the mid-16th century elaborate and beautiful traditional stone castles were wide spread. At the same time, rivalries between different monastic orders led to the development of fortified Buddhist temples and monasteries until the suppression of the warrior monks under Tokugawa Ieyasu. The 19th century saw the development of European-style forts, and the strengthening of costial defences against incursions by the West.
This book not only studies the entire period of Japanese castle development from the very first fortifications, through to the sophisticated structures of the 16th and 17th century and beyond to the 19th century, but also covers the castles built to control Korea during the brief samurai invasion in the late 16th century and the development of fortified temples and monasteries in Japan. The text also explains how castles were adapted to accommodate the introduction of firearms in the 16th century, and explores life within Japanese fortifications. With photographs from the author's private collection and full-color artwork, including detailed cutaways, this is an essential guide to the fascinating development of Japanese fortifications.
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Stephen Turnbull took his first degree at Cambridge University, and received a PhD from Leeds University for his work on Japanese religious history. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the Far East and also runs a well-used picture library. His work has been recognised by the awarding of the Canon Prize of the British Association for Japanese Studies and a Japan Festival Literary Award. He currently divides his time between lecturing in Japanese Religion at the University of Leeds and writing.Review:
"Strongholds of the Samurai is an essential guide to the unique fortifications of Japanese castles... Author Stephen Turnbull looks at the styles and construction methods of each era, advances in military strategy and defense, and explores what life was like inside the walls of a Japanese castle.
"Stephen Turnbull is one of the best writers in the Fortress series, as well as an outstanding authority on Japanese fortifications." -Bolling Smith, The Coast Defense Journal (July 2009)
"Castle fortifications for Japan's military began appearing after the first emperors and quickly evolved from simple wooden barriers to complex and beautiful stone structures. This focus explores how these castles were adapted to accommodate firearms and changing military technology, and considers how they lent to Japanese military developments as a whole. Unpublished photos from the author's private collection and color artwork accompany a survey recommended for both military and Japanese history holdings." -California Bookwatch (June 2009)
"Overall, 'Strongholds of the Samurai' is an excellent compilation, giving a detailed overview of the development of Japanese fortifications throughout time, social classes, and different countries. At less than half the price of two of the original works, it's also a great value. An attractive volume, it's loaded with photos, prints, color plates, maps, and artwork. The majority of the information given in three of the four chapters has never been seen in English, and author Turnbull is still among the best when it comes to bringing the old legends and stories of Japan to life for the reader. It's a winner-an absolute no-brainer of a purchase." -http://shogun-yashiki.blogspot.com
"In all, it makes for an excellent primer on the subject and fully meets this reviewer's expectations of books in this series. If you want to learn about the subject, I know you will find it to be equally useful. Buy with confidence." -Scott Van Aken, www.modelingmadness.com (May 2009)
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