A Positivist Approach to Reading Sources on Modern Japan

Evaluating Evidence: A Positivist Approach to Reading Sources on Modern Japan by George Akita, is based on the grueling lessons learned by a senior scholar during three decades of tutoring by, and collaboration with, Japanese historians. George Akita persisted in the difficult task of reading documentary sources in Japanese, most written in calligraphic style (sosho), out of the conviction of their centrality to the historian’s craft and his commitment to a positivist methodology to research and scholarship. He argues forcefully in this volume for an inductive process in which the scholar seeks out facts on a subject and, through observation and examination of an extensive body of data, is able to discern patterns until it is possible to formulate certain propositions. ,

“In Evaluating Evidence, George Akita reasserts unabashedly the centrality of the written document in the work of the historian. At a time when postmodernism and deconstructionism have come to occupy the summit of methodological fashion in many disciplines, this distinguished chronicler of modern Japanese history insists that the positivistic tradition of research and scholarship remains crucial to any meaningful rendition of the past.” —Gordon Berger, University of Southern California

May 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-2560-7 / $58.00 (CLOTH)