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Breaking Barriers: Travel and the State in Early Modern Japan (Harvard East Asian Monographs) Hardcover – June 5, 1995

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Breaking Barriers: Travel and the State in Early Modern Japan (Harvard East Asian Monographs) + Voices of Early Modern Japan: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life during the Age of the Shoguns
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Product Details

  • Series: Harvard East Asian Monographs (Book 163)
  • Hardcover: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Asia Center (June 5, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674081072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674081079
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,064,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


[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)

This [is a] fascinating book. (Hugh Cortazzi The Japan Society)

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)

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)

About the Author

Constantine Nomikos Vaporis is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John L. Piper on January 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Firstly a couple of negative comments; a slightly expensive book and printed on what feels to be cheap paper stock allowing a little 'bleed' of the print.
Everything else is positive - after reading the authors excellent "Tour of Duty" I decided to treat myself to this book as a Christmas present, it appears to be the only work in English describing and discussing the 'barrier' structure of Edo period road travel and does so very thoroughly. The subject actually was much more involved than I had dreamt of especially the detailed regulations concerning travel by women, it must have been a nightmare for the fair sex to travel during this time period. Anyone who enjoys Japanese jidai cinema will find this book allows a better understanding of the historical background of many period films and it also opened my eyes to just how much the common people actually travelled being brought up with the notion that people rarely travelled far from their home area. Worth a place on any enthusiasts bookshelf despite its hefty price tag
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Breaking Barriers: Travel and the State in Early Modern Japan (Harvard East Asian Monographs)
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