Catalogue


Everyday things in premodern Japan [electronic resource] : the hidden legacy of material culture /
Susan B. Hanley.
imprint
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c1997.
description
xiv, 213 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520204700 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c1997.
isbn
0520204700 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
7914167
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"A wonderfully original, cogently argued, and very readable book. Hanley provides persuasive answers to some of the largest questions historians have been asking about the relationship of premodern social and economic conditions to the modern development of Japan."--Stephen Vlastos, author ofPeasant Protests and Uprisings in Tokugawa Japan
Flap Copy
"A wonderfully original, cogently argued, and very readable book. Hanley provides persuasive answers to some of the largest questions historians have been asking about the relationship of premodern social and economic conditions to the modern development of Japan."--Stephen Vlastos, author of Peasant Protests and Uprisings in Tokugawa Japan
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1997-10:
Hanley's credentials as an analyst of early modern Japanese life and institutions are already securely established with her more tightly focused work on Tokugawa period demographics and with her broader studies of East Asian families. This new book will only further confirm her authority. Beginning with doubts about the accuracy of economic historians' consensus concerning the low standard of living in Tokugawa Japan, Hanley defines the standard of living in terms of the general level of physical well-being in the society, and speaks in terms of material culture, which she describes as "physical objects that people use or consume in their everyday lives." Under this rubric, she focuses on food, clothing, shelter, hygiene, and sanitation, in an effort to reconstruct the actual material conditions of daily life and determine the relationship between standard of living and quality of life. She concludes that in fact the average person in Tokugawa Japan lived in surprising comfort, and that scholars need to refine their understanding of the overall quality of Tokugawa period life. A profoundly important work, dramatically broadening readers' horizons on early modern Japan. Upper-division undergraduates and above. C. L. Yates; Earlham College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 1997
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Summaries
Long Description
Japan was the only non-Western nation to industrialize before 1900 and its leap into the modern era has stimulated vigorous debates among historians and social scientists. In an innovative discussion that posits the importance of physical well-being as a key indicator of living standards, Susan B. Hanley considers daily life in the three centuries leading up to the modern era in Japan. She concludes that people lived much better than has been previously understood--at levels equal or superior to their Western contemporaries. She goes on to illustrate how this high level of physical well-being had important consequences for Japan's ability to industrialize rapidly and for the comparatively smooth transition to a modern, industrial society. While others have used income levels to conclude that the Japanese household was relatively poor in those centuries, Hanley examines the material culture--food, sanitation, housing, and transportation. How did ordinary people conserve the limited resources available in this small island country? What foods made up the daily diet and how were they prepared? How were human wastes disposed of? How long did people live? Hanley answers all these questions and more in an accessible style and with frequent comparisons with Western lifestyles. Her methods allow for cross-cultural comparisons between Japan and the West as well as Japan and the rest of Asia. They will be useful to anyone interested in the effects of modernization on daily life.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Preface
Note on Transliteration
The Level of Physical Well-Being in Tokugawa Japanp. 1
Housing and Furnishingsp. 25
A Resource-Efficient Culturep. 51
A Healthful Lifestylep. 77
Urban Sanitation and Physical Well-Beingp. 104
Demographic Patterns and Well-Beingp. 129
Stability in Transition: From the Tokugawa Period to the Meiji Periodp. 155
Physical Well-Being: A Comparative Perspectivep. 176
Glossaryp. 199
Indexp. 205
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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