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Mapping Early Modern Japan

Space, Place, and Culture in the Tokugawa Period, 1603-1868

Marcia Yonemoto (Author)

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This elegant history considers a fascinating array of texts, cultural practices, and intellectual processes—including maps and mapmaking, poetry, travel writing, popular fiction, and encyclopedias—to chart the emergence of a new geographical consciousness in early modern Japan. Marcia Yonemoto's wide-ranging history of ideas traces changing conceptions and representations of space by looking at the roles played by writers, artists, commercial publishers, and the Shogunal government in helping to fashion a new awareness of space and place in this period. Her impressively researched study shows how spatial and geographical knowledge confined to elites in early Japan became more generalized, flexible, and widespread in the Tokugawa period. In the broadest sense, her book grasps the elusive processes through which people came to name, to know, and to interpret their worlds in narrative and visual forms.
Marcia Yonemoto is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
“A provocative and original book.”—P.F. Kornicki Bltn Of The School Of Oriental & African Stds
“Intriguing interdisciplinary work. With her skillful integration of historical analysis . . . Yonemoto offers a fascinating view.”—Loren Siebert Journal Of Interdisciplinary History
“This book . . . [is a] wealth of insight.”—Constantine N. Vaporis Journal Of Japanese Studies
“Yonemoto’s use of primary and secondary sources in Japanese makes her book an invaluable sources for readers.”—Yakup Bektas Technology And Culture
"The early modern Japanese geographical archive is as distinctive and diverse as any in the world. Yet the very profusion of these texts, and their slippage across disparate genres (from maps and gazetteers to travel accounts and imaginative writings), have made it difficult to grasp Tokugawa spatial sensibilities as a whole. Mapping Early Modern Japan gives us our first comprehensive overview of this fluid field. Like the texts she so elegantly describes, Yonemoto's careful research 'cracks the geographic code' of literate Edo for English-language readers. A superb addition to the growing body of early modern geo-historical studies."—Kären Wigen, coauthor of The Myth of Continents

"A bold and ambitious work that traces the ways Japanese people have drawn maps and represented travel from ancient times through the mid-nineteenth century. It contains a novel juxtaposition of maps in all shapes and sizes, poetry, travel accounts, encyclopedias, satire and parodies, and demonstrates how these shared the same mental universe. In short, this is one of the best examples I have seen of the 'new' cultural history in a Japanese context."—Anne Walthall, author of The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration

"Fascinating! An unusual book on ‘geo-sophy’—wisdom on geography and maps—among the Japanese, before the global rationalization and standardization of modern cartography. Marcia Yonemoto tells the delightful life stories of places and maps, with their emotions, opinions, perspectives and more. A truly enjoyable history."—Thongchai Winichakul, author of Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation

Pacific Coast Branch Award, American Historical Association

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