K.J. Charles's Reviews > Stranger in the Shogun's City: A Japanese Woman and Her World

Stranger in the Shogun's City by Amy Stanley
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bookshelves: japan, history

Fantastic. The author has dug the story of a Japanese woman living through the end of the shogunate and determined to leave her provincial life behind for Edo out of the archives, and it is absolutely brilliant. This is ground level history, about life as a woman of no importance, daily struggles, hardships, friendships, debts, little joys. But it also shows the ways the power struggles of the 'important ' impact the little people, including the devastation wrought on Edo by the puritan dictates of a particularly unpleasant and hypocritical minister.

Fascinating, compelling, reads like a novel, and about the most genuinely enlightening work of Japanese history I've read. Plus a powerful assertion about the importance of 'unimportant' people at the end that nearly brought me to tears. Strong recommend.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 23, 2020 – Shelved
August 23, 2020 – Shelved as: japan
August 23, 2020 – Shelved as: history
August 23, 2020 – Finished Reading

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