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Japan encyclopedia /

Main Author: Louis-Frédéric, 1923-
Other Authors: Roth, Käthe.
Format: Book
Language: English
French
Published: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2002
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Review by Choice Review

First published as Le Japon: dictionnaire et civilization (Paris: R. Laffont, 1996), Frederic's excellent, comprehensive, reasonably priced brief entry resource is intended for readers interested in virtually all aspects of Japanese studies. The index is minimal, serving primarily to take the reader from English terminology to the correct entries; for subject access it is woefully inadequate (e.g., there are only two index entries under "painting," meaning that such terms as "Nihonga" are not indexed). On the other hand, anyone looking for information under the Japanese term--the most likely use--will probably be successful (finding, for example, the long entry under "Painting"). The work includes a bibliography (divided into "General Works" and several broad subject areas); several line drawings, maps and tables; and a chronology of cultural and historical events. In breadth and depth it is far superior to Boye De Mente's similarly priced and titled Japan Encyclopedia (CH, Jan'96). More scholarly, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Japan (CH, Jan'94), in handbook format, is much less useful for reference work. An excellent complement would be the two-volume (and much more expensive) Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia (Kodansha, CH, Nov'93); either Kodansha or Frederic stands well on its own. All collections. K. W. Berger Duke University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.