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A Brief History of Japan


Jonathan Clements

Jonathan Clements is an author and TV presenter specialising in the history and cultures of the Far East. He speaks both Chinese and Japanese, and has been a consultant and talking head on numerous TV programmes, including New Secrets of the Terracotta Warriors (Channel 4), Koxinga: Sailing into History (National Geographic), China’s Jade Empire (Channel 4), and The Chinese Chariot Revealed (PBS). Since 2016, he has fronted the award-winning series Route Awakening (National Geographic Asia), an investigation into key Chinese cultural icons, broadcast in 31 countries. His most recent documentary as presenter is Shandong: Land of Confucius, also for National Geographic.

His publications include Confucius: A Biography (Albert Bridge, 2017), Christ’s Samurai: The True Story of the Shimabara Rebellion (Robinson, 2016), Coxinga and the Fall of the Ming Dynasty (Sutton, 2004) and Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy (Haus, 2009). He has written books on many famous figures, including Khubilai Khan, Marco Polo and Chairman Mao, as well as histories of Beijing and Tokyo. His work is available in over a dozen languages, and his biographies of Empress Wu and the First Emperor of China have both been translated into Chinese.

His book Anime: A History (British Film Institute, 2013) was a CHOICE selection as one of the year’s best scholarly titles, and was nominated for the Society of Animation Studies’ McLaren-Lambart Award for the Best Scholarly Book on Animation. His Brief History of the Samurai (Robinson, 2010) was included by the Japan Times in its list of Essential Reading for Japanophiles.

From 2013-19 he was a Visiting Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China.

Sunday Telegraph review of Rebel Island: How Taiwan fell prey to the wolves of China - and Japan (pdf)

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