Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo and the Culture of Early Modern Japan, by Constantine Vaporis, professor of history, was published in 2008 and translated to Japanese this May. The Japanese edition, which is translated as The Japanese and Alternate Attendance, was recently reviewed in two prominent Japanese dailies: the Nikkei shimbun, popularly known as the “Japanese Wall Street Journal,” and the Asahi shimbun. The book examines the cultural impact of the Samurais’ tours of duty while in the employ of Japanese war lords.
The Nikkei shimbun review was written by Tanaka Yuko, a professor of history at Hosei University in Tokyo. The review, as translated by Vaporis, said that “this is the first book that explains to us, in detail, how people’s lives were affected by alternate attendance and thereby excites our imagination.”
Japanese philosopher and literary critic Kojin Karatani wrote the review for the Asahi shimbun. He said that “the author finds great historical significance in the unique features of the Japanese system of alternate attendance… Culture flowed back and forth between the center and the peripheries, and sometimes from periphery to periphery via the center. In this way, a unified, national culture was formed. ’’
Both reviews were published on July 18.