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Kyoto: An Urban History of Japan’s Premodern Capital

 
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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:38 pm    Post subject: Kyoto: An Urban History of Japan’s Premodern Capital Reply with quote
Another very nice new book, this one via U of H press by Matthew Stavros (University of Sydney, currently heading up the PMJS list). Kyoto: An Urban History of Japan’s Premodern Capital looks at how Kyoto developed and was ravaged in turns from its founding up until about the start of the Edo period (not that it wasn't ravaged after that, but that's where the book cuts off). Loads of maps and pictures (many in color) that show how it used to be laid out quite a bit differently. I found the information on the Oda/Ashikaga version of Nijo Castle quite interesting. Stavros has some interesting theories, one of them being that the city was rarely if ever called Heian-kyo and that it was almost always just called the capital. People writing about it used differing kanji for the capital (including the modern kanji for Kyoto) but he claims there’s no way to tell how they were pronounced during the period he’s examining-whether it be Kyoto, Kyo, Miyako, etc and that there was no real change in the way the city was referred to. I would think Jesuit records would contradict the part about not knowing how the names were pronounced, at least for the 16th century. Stavros says the characters for Kyoto were very common in documents even early on, going against the idea that ‘Kyoto’ wasn’t used to describe the city until the Meiji period. My wife says that’s common knowledge around the city but that for some reason Westerners don’t want to believe it (I believe Timon Screech is a major proponent of that theory-but he is after all more of an art historian/Edo period guy). Stavros also believes there’s no evidence that Kyo, Miyako, Kyoto, etc were ever used as proper nouns like they are now. There’s also a companion site with extra material, www.kyotohistory.com.
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
As long as he stays away from military revolution topics, Stavros is pretty good Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Would love to read about Nobunaga and Yoshiaki on Nijo Castle. By the way, Nobunaga historian Taniguchi Katsuhiro has a new book out on the relationship between Nobunaga and Ashikaga Yoshiaki.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
owari no utsuke wrote:
Would love to read about Nobunaga and Yoshiaki on Nijo Castle. By the way, Nobunaga historian Taniguchi Katsuhiro has a new book out on the relationship between Nobunaga and Ashikaga Yoshiaki.
Doesn't it takes about how they shared a bottle of wine and a picnic lunch prepared by Ranmaru in a lovely spot in Higashiyama and discussed the future of the tenka before turning to fulfilling their own physical needs? Just Kidding
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bought the book today while in Little Tokyo. I highly recommend it.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
owari no utsuke wrote:
Bought the book today while in Little Tokyo. I highly recommend it.


Great to have lunch with you in Little Tokyo Les. Let's do it again sometime. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Completely missed this, earlier. I'm going to have to check this out.

I'm not surprised they called it "Kyoto", but I wonder if they thought of that as the "name"?

Example: The Capital of the US is Washington, DC.

Depending on whom you talk to it is:

Washington
DC
The District
The District of Columbia
The Capital
That place across the river

In addition, the entire area around it is often referred to as:
The Capital Area
The Greater Capital Area
The Washington Metropolitan Area
Inside the beltway
Etc.

So, even if people called it "KYOTO", did that have the same force of being the name, or was it just a noun to describe what it was (the capital district)? Likewise "Miyako", etc.?

It is good to know that they used Kyoto earlier, but I'm not sure it is surprising. I would think it would be more of a question of when did it become "KYOTO-SHI" vice just calling it "KYOTO"?

-Josh
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Great point. Also, just noticed you're also in DC, Josh.
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