A Military History of Japan
From the Age of the Samurai to the 21st Century
by John T. Kuehn
January 2014, 299pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-0393-2
$95, £74, 83€, A131
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-0394-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

How do the ancient tradition of the samurai and the institution of the shogun relate to modern Japan’s military?

This comprehensive volume traces the evolution of Japanese military history—from 300 AD to present day foreign relations—and reveals how the country's cultural views of power, violence, and politics helped shape Japan's long and turbulent history of war.

The legacy of Japanese warfare is steeped in honor, duty, and valor. Yet, some of the more violent episodes in this country’s military history have tainted foreign attitudes toward Japan, oftentimes threatening the economic stability of the Pacific region. This book documents Japan’s long and stormy history of war and military action, provides a thorough analysis of the social and political changes that have contributed to the evolution of Japan’s foreign policy and security decisions, and reveals the truth behind the common myths and misconceptions of this nation’s iconic war symbols and events, including samurais, warlords, and kamikaze attacks.

Written by an author with military experience and insight into modern-day Japanese culture gained from living in Japan, A Military History of Japan: From the Age of the Samurai to the 21st Century examines how Japan’s history of having warrior-based leaderships, imperialist governments, and dictators has shaped the country’s concepts of war. It provides a complete military history of Japan—from the beginning of the Imperial institution to the post-Cold War era—in a single volume. This thoughtful resource also contains photos, maps, and a glossary of key Japanese terms to support learning.


  • Compiles Japan's complete military history in one volume
  • Reveals the strategic blunders and poor choices that led to Japan's surrender to the United States in 1945
  • Provides in-depth coverage of the popular and compelling Samurai, Imperial, and Shogun periods of history
John T. Kuehn, PhD, is professor of military history at the United States Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS; adjunct professor for the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI; and adjunct professor at Norwich University, Northfield, VT. In addition to numerous articles, his published works include Agents of Innovation and Eyewitness Pacific Theater. He earned his doctorate in history from Kansas State University, and was awarded a Moncado Prize from the Society for Military History in 2011.


"[P]rovides a useful summary for a general audience. . . . Recommended."—Choice, September 1, 2014

"A Military History of Japan is a timely work that will add studied moderation and critical analysis to the argument regarding the path on which the country is located now and down which it is likely to progress in the future. . . . For the casual reader, A Military History of Japan functions as a needed update. . . . For those with a professional interest in the country and its region, this book is a must-read, an enlightening facilitator in the current debate over Japan’s place in Asia and the world."—Naval War College Review, June 8, 2017
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.