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The Tokaido Road

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Tokaido Road (1991) Lucia St. Clair Robson

Set in Japan in Genroku 15, the Year of the Horse (1702)

This story is based upon the real-life events of the revenge of the forty-seven ronin, expanded to follow the daughter of Lord Kiro’s outside wife, who has become a courtesan after her father’s forced suicide.

The story is full of fascinating historical details.

The collars of her robes were set far back to reveal the most alluring part of a woman’s body, the sensuous, vulnerable curve of spine and nape.

As roadside privies went, it was exceptional. Some enterprising farmer had made additions to lure travelers into passing up other privies in favor of his, thus providing more fertilizer for his fields.

The scarf covered the top of his head and dipped onto his brow. It hid the fact that a large circle on the crown of his head was shaved as the government required of actors who impersonated women.

I loved being immersed in all those details.

And the bits that were timeless:

As Hanshiro watched the bright crowds swirl past, he wondered what made people mad for the latest nuance of sash knot or sleeve length. The zeal with which people pursued such absurdities mystified him. Fashions changed, but the mania for being fashionable endured the ages.

I swear I’ve read something very similar to this in an historical British story.

The priests said bathing symbolized the scrubbing away of evil. It cleansed the soul as well as the body.

I feel that way myself.

It’s a lovely story, to be read slowly and savored.
Rating: 8/10

Published by Forge Books

Categories: 8/10, Asian, Historical, Re-Read, Romance     Comments (0)    



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