Cover: Breaking Barriers: Travel and the State in Early Modern Japan, from Harvard University PressCover: Breaking Barriers in HARDCOVER

Harvard East Asian Monographs 163

Breaking Barriers

Travel and the State in Early Modern Japan

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$59.95 • £47.95 • €54.00

ISBN 9780674081079

Publication Date: 05/06/1995


[Vaporis’s] superbly documented study is distinguished by the rich texture of his narrative, which draws not only on official documents but also in innovative ways on travel diaries and guides, travel literature and even woodblock prints. Indeed, as a monograph on domestic travel and transport in seventeenth and eighteenth-century Japan, this book is excellent. Vaporis makes an exceptionally important contribution to our understanding of one of the most intriguing and understudied aspects of Tokugawa society.—Peter Nosco, American Historical Review

This well-researched account of the development of long-distance recreational travel throws some interesting new light upon one of the more neglected aspects of Japanese social history. By drawing upon a wide range of evidence—official reports, travellers’ diaries and journals, European eye-witness accounts, contemporary maps, wood-block prints and tourist guide-books—the author shows that the Tokugawa period, far from being static or inert, experienced a number of dynamic socio-cultural changes… This scholarly work, which is well-served by numerous maps, statistical tables and contemporary illustrations by various ukiyoe masters such as Hiroshige and Toyokuni, will be of considerable interest to all students of Japanese social history as well as to the wider community.—T. L. Richardson, Asian Affairs

Constantine Vaporis makes an important contribution to the study of Edo period travel, especially that undertaken by commoners, by examining the social realities of bakufu legal restrictions regarding the movement of people along the state-controlled Gokaido travel network.—Lane Earns, Journal of Asian Studies

This detailed study is…informative and highly readable. It thus serves both as a starting point for further analysis and as a useful source of information for those interested in the comparative history of transport.—Janet Hunter, Journal of Transport History

This [is a] fascinating book.—Hugh Cortazzi, The Japan Society

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