Japan: Its History, Traditions and Religions – Edward J. Reed (1880) (1st ed.)


Japan: Its History, Traditions and Religions – Edward J. Reed (1880) (1st ed.)


Title: Japan: Its History, Traditions, and Religions, with the Narrative of a Visit in 1879.

Author: Sir Edward J. Reed.

Publisher: John Murray, London, 1880. First edition.

Condition: 1/4 leather with marbled boards, complete in 2 vols. Good. Spine badly rubbed, with noticeable wear to cover. Significant foxing to fly leaves on both volumes. Marbled endpapers. Inscription to blank fly leaves on both vols. Small previous bookseller’s sticker to endpapers. Interior in near fine condition. Very minor foxing to text, unmarked, text block tightly bound. Full-page wood and steel engravings. Vol 1 365pp., with 8 full page engravings and 1 fold-out coloured map. Map has a few small closed tears. Vol 2 356pp, with 8 full page engravings. A lovely set.

About the book:

2 vols. The first contains a detailed history of Japan, while the second is a travelogue containing the author’s experiences, and society and the arts in Japan. The contents are as follows:

Volume 1:

1. The Land and Its Inhabitants
2. The God-Period
3. The Shinto Religion
4. Buddhism in Japan
5. The Descent of the Crown
6. Early History, ending 1000 A.D.
7. The Taira and Minamoto
8. The Hojo Domination
9. The Simultaneous Dynasties
10. The Ashikaga Shoguns
11. Nobunaga and Hideyoshi
12. Iyeyasu, the First Tokugawa Shogun
13. The Tokugawa Period
14. The Revival of the Imperial Power
15. The Fall of the Shogun
16. The Imperial Restoration Completed
17. Foreign Relations of Japan
18. The Reforms of the Last Ten Years
19. The Satsuma Rebellion
20. The Emperor and Existing Government

Volume 2:

1. Our Arrival in Japan – First Impressions
2. A Month in the Eastern Capital
3. Language and Literature
4. Drawing and Painting
5. Proverbs and Phrases of the People
6. The Inland Sea and Nagasaki
7. The City of Osaka
8. The Sacred City of Nara
9. Kioto, or Saiko, The Western Capital
10. The Sacred Shines of Ise
11. Nagoya and the Shrine of the Sacred Sword
12. To Shidzuoka: The Home of the Tokugawas
13. Fuji-Yama and the Hakone Mountains
14. Appendices
15. Index

About the author (from Wikipedia):

Sir Edward James Reed (20 September 1830 – 30 November 1906), KCB, FRS, was a British naval architect, author, politician, and railroad magnate. He was the Chief Constructor of the Royal Navy from 1863 until 1870. He was a Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1874 to 1906.

Reed visited Japan in 1879 at the invitation of the Imperial Government. Ostensibly Reed was there to oversee the delivery of three new British built iron-clad warships, Fusō, Kongō, and Hiei for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Given the ostentatious entertainment provided by his Japanese hosts over a period of three months, there were also inevitable political considerations; Japan was actively seeking revision of unequal trade agreements and was eager to develop influence with prominent Liberal members of the House of Commons. On his return to London Reed wrote a sympathetic history of the country published to some success the following year.