In chapter 1 of volume 2 of Strange Parallels, Victor Lieberman urges the reader to understand that: “The excitement of Eurasian comparisons derives not from a spurious superficial identity, but from the juxtaposition of overarching similarities with idiosyncratic local outcomes” (Lieberman 2009, 119). In “Creating Japan,” Chapter 4 of the same volume, Lieberman convincingly shows that Eurasian comparisons offer a valuable, and truly exciting, lens to explore Japan from circa 800 to 1830. He identifies numerous and provocative parallels with other states that present not only fresh ways to consider Japan within world history, but also to locate and assess idiosyncratic elements of the Japanese experience.

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