Voices of Early Modern Japan

Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life during the Age of the Shoguns

Constantine Nomikos Vaporis

First Edition • July 30, 2013 • 352 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813349008 • $40.00 USD$63.99 CAN

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Winner of the 2013 Franklin R. Buchanan Prize for Curricular Materials awarded by the Association for Asian Studies and the Committee for Teaching About Asia (CTA) 

Voices of Early Modern Japan offers an accessible and well-balanced view of an extraordinary period in Japanese history, ranging from the unification of the warring states under Tokugawa Ieyasu in the early seventeenth century through the overthrow of the shogunate just prior to the opening of Japan by the West in the mid-nineteenth century. Through a close examination of primary sources from “The Great Peace,” this fascinating volume offers fresh insights into the Tokugawa era—its political institutions, rigid class hierarchy, artistic and material culture, religious life, and more. Sources from all levels of Japanese society, from government documents and household records to personal correspondence and diaries, are carefully translated and examined in light of the latest scholarship. Constantine Nomikos Vaporis ably demonstrates how historians use primary documents and what can be uncovered from the words of ordinary people who lived centuries earlier. With robust reader resources and comprehensive coverage, Voices of Early Modern Japan is the perfect addition for students and interested readers seeking a fuller understanding of the Tokugawa period.

Constantine Nomikos Vaporis is professor of history and founding director of the Asian Studies program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Vaporis is the author of Breaking Barriers: Travel and the State in Early Modern Japan; Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan; and Nihonjin to sankin kôtai [The Japanese and Alternate Attendance].

Introduction: The Shogun’s Japan
Evaluating and Interpreting Primary Documents
Timeline of Japanese History from the Mid-Sixteenth Century through the Tokugawa Period, 1543-1868

Part I: The Domestic Sphere
Part II: Material Life
Part III: The Political Sphere
Part IV: Foreign Relations
Part V:Social and Economic Life
Part VI: Recreational Life
Part VII: Religion and Morality

Appendix 1: Biographical Sketches of Important Individuals Mentioned in Text
Appendix 2: Glossary of Terms Mentioned in Text

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