A lavishly illustrated book which focuses on the daily lives of common people during the Edo period (1603-1868). At that time, the shogunate seized power in the country, Japan was largely isolated from the rest of the world, the roads were full of samurai armed with katanas, a period inspiring to many fans of Japanese culture. Everyday Life in Traditional Japan is a great source of knowledge about this period, because unlike most history textbooks, it does not focus on important events and breakthrough moments, but on everything that happened in the background.
The book is divided into chapters devoted to different social strata – samurai, peasants, merchants, craftsmen, court elites and clergy, or actors and social outcasts. Indeed, the everyday life of representatives of particular groups differed so much from each other that it would be difficult to lump them all into one bag. The author perfectly balances between an engagingly spun popular science narrative and academic work – he does not go into such meticulous details that he can alienate readers who simply want to spend time with an interesting book, which is nevertheless full of structured knowledge that you can’t find on Wikipedia pages.
If you’ve ever secretly dreamed of what it would be like to wear wide hakama pants and roam bamboo groves as a stray master swordsman, this book will transport you to the streets of old Tokyo.