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Bakumatsu era/Boshin War/Meiji Restoration

Posted: Fri December 30th, 2011, 3:27 am
by Psychoblue
Has anyone noticed that there is a dire lack of literature for this particular era of history? This era usually gets lost in the shuffle as a lot of other things were going on in the world during the 1850s-1860s, but I find this to be a really fascinating era in the 19th century. This was also one of the United States' first major overseas campaigns for political relations with countries outside of Europe, and was a very rapid shift in culture for Japan.

I have my own piece of literature I wrote on this that I'll share later, but in the meantime can anyone recommend literature set in this era? Right now it seems the only format to foray into this is a handful of manga (Rurouni Kenshin being the most popular).

Posted: Fri December 30th, 2011, 4:13 pm
by annis
Lian Hearn's Blossoms and Shadows is set around around the Meiji Revolution There's a useful bibliography associated with the book on Gillian Rubenstein's website -Lian Hearn is the pseudonym she uses for her adult fiction. Although semi-fantasy, her Tales of the Otori series is also very well done.

Posted: Fri December 30th, 2011, 4:18 pm
by Psychoblue
[quote=""annis""]Lian Hearn's Blossoms and Shadows is set around around the Meiji Revolution There's a useful bibliography associated with the book on Gillian Rubenstein's website -Lian Hearn is the pseudonym she uses for her adult fiction. Although semi-fantasy, her Tales of the Otori series is also very well done.[/quote]
I will check this out! My own story has a lot of fantasy elements in it, as well, so I'm eager to compare what other people before me did. Thank you!

Posted: Sat May 26th, 2012, 7:18 pm
by Rhunt
I highly recommend "Shades of the Past: Or, Indiscreet Tales of Japan" by Harold S. Williams.

This is a collection of accounts about Americans and others first coming to Japan at the end of the Tokugawa era -- it's not a continuous historical narrative, but it is centered on the period you're interested in, and it gives an excellent view of Japanese culture and the Japanese reaction to foreigners (and vice versa) at the time.

History on a human scale, you might say. And, despite the rather curious title, it isn't centered on anything prurient (it's an unfortunate choice of title, actually). It's mostly swords, politics, trade, culture shock on both sides (sometimes violent), and even popular legends of the time caused by the meeting of the closed Japanese society and the outside world.

Edit: I realized that this is non-fiction, but it's still a useful resource, in my opinion, if you're interested in the period or writing about it.