Roman Kodet, Samurai Wars. The Conflicts of Old Japan, 1156–1877
The Samurai were a military caste, which ruled Japan in the years 1192–1868 and considerably shaped its history. The leaders of the samurai noble families led furious wars against each other since the second half of the 12th century. Japan therefore experienced periodical eruptions of warfare followed by periods of peace and relative stability. However the country plunged into a war of one warlord against another and complete anarchy at the end of the 15th century. After a century of bloody conflict there emerged three great warriors – Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu – who reunited the whole country. Japan experienced a peaceful epoch in the next two centuries, which contrasted with the period of constant warfare. During this time Japan went through considerable economic development and a rise of urbanization and urban culture. This was however at the expense of its foreign relations, because the Land of the Rising Sun isolated itself willingly from the outside world. When the Great Powers – United Sates, Great Britain, Russia and France – forced the opening of the country, its political system was shattered. The following internal conflict led to the fall of the house of Tokugawa and the collapse of the shogunate. The profane rule of the Japanese Emperors was reestablished and reforms of the new government ended the era of the samurai, whose privileges were abolished. After almost 700 years the power of this military class was broken and its wars were only a history. During this period Japan experienced a rise and fall of powerful military families, many battles and sieges, stories not only of courage and loyalty, but also of treason and incompetence. These tales are up to this day an important part of the Japanese culture and historic memory and have their irreplaceable place in Japanese and world cinematography and literature. The inheritance of the samurai wars is therefore alive even today.
Veronika Krištofová, Under the Rising Sun. The Japanese-Korean Relations During the 19th and 20th Century
This publication maps the variability of Korean-Japanese relations from the 19th century to the present day. It concentrates on the era of modern history, when Japanese-Korean relations have changed considerably in connection with the Meiji Restoration in Japan. Japanese modernization led to a change of Japanese attitude towards Korea. The subsequent Japanese expansive policy led to the annexation of the Korean Peninsula and its incorporation into the Japanese Empire. During 1910-1945 the Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula significantly influenced Korean life and predicted future relations between Japan and Korea.