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Everyday Life in Traditional Japan

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  128 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Everyday Life in Traditional Japan paints a vivid portrait of Tokugawa Japan, a time when contact with the outside world was deliberately avoided and the daily life of the different classes consolidated the traditions that shaped modern Japan. Authentic samurai, farmers, craftsmen, merchants, courtiers, priests, entertainers and outcasts come to life in this magnificently
Paperback, 208 pages
Published December 15th 1989 by Tuttle Publishing (first published January 1st 1969)
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Sep 20, 2009 Stef rated it really liked it
The "traditional" Japan of the title is the era of the shoguns, and Dunn describes the living conditions and daily life of people in a variety of roles, from samurai to monks to merchants to farmers.

I watch a lot of Japanese historical movies, and I had picked up a lot of what this book discusses, but it's nice to have some extra detail and context.

There are illustrations. In this edition, the illustrations are pretty small and it's hard to see detail, but I have seen a larger format edition of
Bernie Gourley
Jun 27, 2013 Bernie Gourley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This interesting little book is invaluable for anyone researching what life was like for people in Japan before the Meiji Restoration. While it's an essential volume for a writer of historical fiction, those interested in Japan more generally will find it readable and packed with interesting tidbits of information. For example, I would recommend it for those who study traditional Japanese martial arts (i.e. kobudō)to get a better insight into the art they study through knowing the society from w ...more
Jun 23, 2009 Adam rated it it was ok
Shelves: orient, truetales
what i learned from this book what i learned was that feudal japan was an interesting place w/ strict caste system in place that was defeat-able i learned that in the winter time the japanese enjoy snowballing whatever that means i learned that the merchants tho considered bottom of the caste barrel indeed rose to enormous heights by way of makin' hella skrill i hope i've used this slang correctly all in all the book was superficially informative but difficult to read in that the author constant ...more
Epoch Wolf
Nov 10, 2012 Epoch Wolf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a very broad book. It paints a picture of life in Edo-period Japan. There's a lot of little details but it doesn't go into great depths on any one topic, but the last page mentions the primary sources for the book as suggestions for what to read next.

It reads like a well written text book. It's well edited but it probably could have used another pass. There's a few words used incorrectly but no typos or really bad grammar issues like you'll find in a lot of textbooks. Definitely a quality
Phillip McCollum
Jun 01, 2013 Phillip McCollum rated it liked it
For an overall view of Tokugawa-era Japan, Everyday Life in Traditional Japan is a great start. The book packs quite a bit of information in its 182 pages. The chapters are broken out by social strata, beginning with the revered samurai down to the lowly hinin (untouchables). Numerous illustrations are included with the text, proving very helpful when trying to visualize day-to-day life during this time period.

To expand and fill in the knowledge gaps, Dunn provides a "Notes on Further Reading" s
Apr 18, 2012 Jasper rated it liked it
The book fails to refer to historic events that (should) serve as the context of the descriptions of everyday life. Also, references to present day life in Japan would be useful for things that are still more or less the same as they were in traditional Japan.

Nevertheless, if you are interested to know more about everyday life in traditional Japan, including things such as "what did a typical day look like?" "What did houses and cities look like?", then this is a useful book.

In other words: not
An interesting read, almost like a storybook. It described the different layers of classes in Japan during the Tokugawa era (the last of the Shoguns before the power was replaced to the Emperors) and how they conducted their lives. It was written in 1960s so some of the attitude might not be suitable but it was nonetheless a very good historical and cultural reference. The Tokugawa period, after all, left plenty of traditions even today.
This book certainly packs a lot of facts between its covers and would probably be good as a textbook for a class on Japanese history. There are also a lot of useful and detailed illustrations. That said, I thought the writing was very dry and though the book was quite short, less than 200 pages including illustrations, I struggled to finish it. I think I would only recommend it to Japanese history buffs or students of the subject.
Nov 05, 2016 Charlie rated it really liked it
An easy-to-read dive into the lifestyles of the pre-twentieth century Japanese (mainly Tokugawa-era), split into very digestible chapters that tackle each social level individually, from samurai to farmers to merchants to outcasts etc., with a bonus chapter on everyday life in Edo. A good read for anyone interested in social history and Japan, and it's full of wonderful illustrations, too.
Apr 11, 2008 Jose rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A classic. Well written account of historical Japan. Highly recommended to read before you travel to Japan. It's easily read and will quickly bring you much cultural background and perspective needed for your visit.
Jeremy Land
Aug 03, 2010 Jeremy Land rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book about the lives of the various social classes during the Edo period of Tokyo. The writer's penchant for actors and Japanese theatre take over at times, but it is generally an excellent look at an important time for Japanese history.
Oct 07, 2008 Marci rated it really liked it
I had this lying around the house. It relates to some of the tea books I've been reading as this is the time period (Tokugawa) when the way of tea was being refined. I picked it up, and it is pretty informative.
May 10, 2008 Djaz rated it liked it
Dunn uses an odd mixture of Japanese and English terms. I think the book would be a bit better, and certainly more uniform, had he used only the Japanese terms. A glossary would have alleviated any issues with comprehension.
J.B. Shearman
The book is informative but its a subject I'm not terribly interested in which made it a pretty boring read.
An exploration of the ways of life of the classes of traditional (Edo period) Japan: the nobility, the warriors, the farmers, artisans, merchants and outcasts.
Sep 05, 2012 Marcie rated it liked it

A little boring but informative.
PJ Ebbrell
Jul 31, 2014 PJ Ebbrell rated it really liked it
Excellent and concise view of traditional Japanese life in the Shogunte.
An enjoyable little book on life at all social strata.
Feb 09, 2009 Janel rated it really liked it
Another great book for Japanese history, very entertaining too
Aug 11, 2011 L.J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just picked this up on sale at Borders. First glance and I like the structure, illustrations, and it looks like it is very descriptive; looking forward to reading this one.
Mary rated it liked it
Jan 22, 2009
Ihsaan rated it really liked it
Jun 21, 2013
Rodrigo Novo
Rodrigo Novo rated it it was amazing
Mar 09, 2013
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Nov 07, 2014
Eve rated it it was amazing
Jun 27, 2011
Noran Miss Pumkin
Noran Miss Pumkin rated it really liked it
Apr 18, 2008
John Spiri
John Spiri rated it really liked it
Jul 05, 2014
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