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Nineteenth-century Japan was pristine, inviolate and feudal, ruled by the legendary Shogun and the sacred puppet-Emperor, the Mikado. Foreigners were despised and feared as ‘hairy barbarians’; for more than two hundred years Dutch merchants had been the only settlers, interned on the tiny island of Decima.
The advent of a US naval force in 1853 heralded a new era of drama and upheaval as foreign consuls, merchants and travellers established a risky presence on Japan’s shores, opening up a new frontier for both East and West. Pat Barr’s sparkling and vivid narrative spans these twenty years and captures the excitement and wonder, beauty and adventure of Japan at its moment of entry into the modern world.
Pat Barr continues the story of Japan in an age of transition in The Deer Cry Pavilion, also reissued by Faber Finds.
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