The island nation of Japan has played an outsized role in world history since the mid-19th century. In this study group, we will consider the history of this stratovolcanic archipelago from its mythic origins to the rule of feudal shoguns and samurai that set the stage for the Meiji Restoration, formation of a militarist empire, defeat in World War II and rebirth as a global powerhouse. We will begin by reading A Brief History of Japan: Samurai, Shogun and Zen by Jonathan Clements (Tuttle Publishing, 2017). The book focuses on specific moments of transformation, taking into account archeological evidence, politics and myth, as well as changes to the climate and environment. We will follow with Ian Burumu's Inventing Japan, 1853-1964 (Modern Library, 2003). This book examines the key period between Commodore Perry's entry into Japan in 1853, ending 200 years of self-imposed isolation, to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, a celebration of Japan's peaceful, postwar democractic revival. The objective of the study group is to gain an understanding of the political and cultural history of Japan and its impact on the rest of the world. Please join us for this fascinating journey to the Land of the Rising Sun.