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Books or websites about Classical Japan's lifestyles?

 
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Kenitai
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:17 am    Post subject: Books or websites about Classical Japan's lifestyles? Reply with quote
Hello everyone,

I am looking for the types of historic books, concerning lifestyle in Classical Japan. What do I mean by that? Lifestyles that involve the commoners & high-up people, BEFORE the appearance of the samurai.

What I'm looking for:

-Asuka, Nara, Heian period related.
-Commoners, what they did, how they did things, etc...
-Customs, etc of that time that's somewhat different
from Edo-style period.


Or if possible, although I'm trying my best already, is there an extensive information on "Japanese" websites, maybe a samurai-archives equivalent, concerning the information that I'm after?
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
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The problem you might have is that most people who write about elites don't write about commoners, and vice versa. There's a gajillion books out there that talk about Heian period court culture. For commoners, perhaps check out William Wayne Farris, he's big on that. (he also happens to be my professor at the moment, so I know that's his focus).
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lordameth
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yeah. Seconding the suggestion of Farris as a source on pre-modern peasants.

"The World of the Shining Prince" could be a good source. I haven't read it... it seems like it's more about attitudes and beliefs than about material culture, just judging from the table of contents, but it might be a good place to start.

Material culture, if that's what you're looking for, is a tough thing to find. (meaning what they wore, what objects they used, everything from dishes and trays to footwear to brushes and paper to architecture). I wish more scholars had published more about it, but it really does seem sort of scattered. There are a few good books on that for later periods - including "Everyday Things in Premodern Japan" (which is actually about early modern Japan i.e. Edo pd), and the "Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan." Surely, there must be at least one or two good books on the Heian period, but I'm afraid I'm not aware of any.
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shikisoku
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Commoners in Asuka period was not so different than Yayoi period.
Farming, hunting, living in pit-house.
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