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Edo, the City that Became Tokyo: An Illustrated History [Hardcover]

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Item description for Edo, the City that Became Tokyo: An Illustrated History by Kazuo Hozumi Akira Naito...

From 1603 to 1868, the city of Edo was the seat of power of the Tokugawa shogunate and the political center of Japan. In 1868 the city was renamed Tokyo and made the official capital of the nation. Both literally and figuratively, present-day Tokyo rests upon the foundations of Edo, and much of what is now thought of as traditional Japanese culture (woodblock prints, kabuki, sumo, haiku poets) found its final form in Edo. In this book, through over 200 black and white drawings and insightful text, old Edo is brought vividly to life--its planning, its construction, and the cultural energy that made it one of the most exciting, and populous, cities on the face of the earth.

Edo was nothing more than a village on the edge of Edo Bay when Ieyasu Tokugawa chose it as the site for a castle from which he, as shogun, could administer the country. The castle was of utmost importance because Japan had just emerged from a hundred years of civil war, and Ieyasu was determined that the power he had gained should not be wrested from him by antagonistic warlords. The castle, of course, had to be supplied with the necessities of everyday life, and thus a town had to be build where merchants and artisans could live. It is the planning and construction of Edo Castle and the town that would support it that lie at the core of this book. In fact, the construction of the city would be an ongoing process throughout its 260-year history, in the wake of repeated devastation by fire and earthquake and under the pressure of an ever-expanding population.
Another aspect of the book concerns Edo's cultural life, which moved over time from classical modes dominated by the samurai to the more popular and lively forms favored by the merchants and artisans. Featured here are temples and shrines, festivals, bath houses, pleasure quarters, kabuki theaters, street gangs, the poet Basho, sumo wrestling, side shows, ukiyo-e prints, barbers, and much more.

Each page of the main text of the book is illustrated, and it is this combination that makes the book both a reading and a visual delight.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   212
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 10.6" Width: 7.86" Height: 0.93"
Weight:   2.1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 4, 2003
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  4770027575  
ISBN13  9784770027573  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > History > Asia
2Books > Subjects > History > Asia > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Asia > Japan
4Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > General
5Books > Subjects > Travel > Asia > Japan > General
6Books > Subjects > Travel > Asia > Japan > Tokyo

Reviews - What do customers think about Edo, the City that Became Tokyo: An Illustrated History?

Visual Feast  Apr 10, 2005
Originally published in Japanese in 1982, Naito's book attempts to outline the early rise of Edo, from 1603-1867, the period when the city served as the capital of the Shogun. These were the military leaders who in theory served the Emperor in Kyoto, but who in practice ran the country. This period gave birth to much of what is now considered to be the core of Japanese culture: kabuki, ukiyoe, geisha, sumo, and the haiku poets. When Japan was finally forced to open to the outside world by Admiral Perry and his Black ships, at the very end of the book, Tokyo was the largest city in the world.
Naito has organized his text chronologically, with much commentary on the construction of the Imperial Palace and land reclamation projections on and around Tokyo Bay. He also provides simple primers on the class system in effect-warriors, farmers, artisans, and merchants-and the slow rise of the commoners.
Perhaps inevitably, the text has a Greatest Hits feel to it. 250 years of history of one of the world's great cities cannot possible be conveyed with much depth in 200-odd pages. Also, the omission of some of the more unsavory aspects of Tokyo's history-organized crime, the untouchable class, etc.-leaves the reader with a rather sanitized version of the city. However, the book has something for everyone: the opening sections on urban design, kabuki, riots, storms, artisans, festivals, gangs, etc.-and all packaged in short, delectable bite-size bits.

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