Kyushu: Gateway to Japan
Andrew Cobbing, University of Nottingham
In this first major study of the region in English, the author examines the key themes of Kyushu’s history from earliest times – the cultural interaction with the continental mainland, settlement, location and infrastructure as well as trade and commerce, – arguing that it was the principal stepping-stone in terms of Japan’s cultural, social and economic advance through history up to the present day. Although an integral part of Japan, Kyushu is culturally distinct in that its location on the East China Sea has exposed the region to an unusually high degree of influence from overseas. There was diplomatic exchange between this island and China, for example, even before the political entity of Japan came into existence. Kyushu, in fact, has been the setting for many of the major cultural encounters in Japan’s history, from the introduction of Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity to gunpowder, coffee and tea. The volume also includes a colour plate section containing 60 images which support the text and provide the reader/researcher with invaluable pictorial references to Kyushu’s history from earliest times to the present day.