Japanese Samurai vs. the Chinese Dragon

In the introduction to You Don’t Know China, John Ross notes the plethora of books on China that have “dragon” in the title. Yup, “dragon” has become something of a cliché in books about China, as “samurai” tends to get overused in books about Japan — though at least in the case of samurai they really did exist, so not all those related titles are from authors trying to be poetic or dramatic.

But what are the numbers like in the Battle of the Book Titles? I checked Amazon for new books published in English each year since 2000 that had “dragon” in the title and “China” as a keyword, comparing the results with those for books with “samurai” in the title and “Japan” as a keyword.

As you can see in the chart below, at first the samurai took some blows but were still holding their own against the Chinese dragon. But almost every year since 2007 the Chinese dragon has kicked samurai butt, if an overload of clichés is anything to boast of.

Do you have a favorite awful “dragon” or “samurai” title? If so, please share.

uses of the word 'dragon' in titles of books about China compared with uses of the word 'samurai' in titles of books about Japan

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