A Short History of Tokyo
Distributed for Haus Publishing
A Short History of Tokyo
In this compact history, Jonathan Clements traces Tokyo’s fascinating story from the first forest clearances and the samurai wars to the hedonistic “floating world” of the last years of the Shogunate. He illuminates the Tokyo of the twentieth century with its destruction and redevelopment, boom and bust without forgoing the thousand years of history that have led to the Eastern Capital as we know it. Tokyo is so entwined with the history of Japan that it can be hard to separate them, and A Short History of Tokyo tells both the story of the city itself and offers insight into Tokyo’s position at the nexus of power and people that has made the city crucial to the events of the whole country.
160 pages | 5 x 8 | © 2020
History: Asian History
"Jonathan Clements’s A Short History of Tokyo is a more recent paperback update that includes the impact of COVID-19 on Olympic planning, and summarises the history of Japan’s modern capital in a remarkably entertaining way. He wanders the streets in search of hidden ghosts and anime icons, places once trashed in model form by rubber monsters and the sites of old samurai vendettas."
All the Anime
"It is light in tone and fast in pace. For anyone who wants a quick introduction to the spirit of the city as it has developed over the centuries, then Clements provides a fine place to look."
Japanese Studies Journal
"Clements’ skillset—Asian specialist, linguist, historian and foodie—might have been designed specifically for his newly published Armchair Traveller’s History of Tokyo, combining as it does a history of the city from a time of myth, conjecture and hazy record to the current year 2018 with a gazetteer containing a selection of the sights and attractions of the city."
Helen McCarthy, author of All the Anime
"Concise, engaging history charmingly told by an expert on Japanese culture, who loves the city and knows its neighbourhoods well. Helpful guide to important leaders and notable places in Tokyo history that will delight both armchair travellers and visitors to the city."
Alisa Freedman, author of Introducing Japanese Popular Culture
"This is a fascinating historical tour of one of the world’s great cities, exploring Tokyo’s long past with an eye to its present form and its bustling contemporary population. Clements digs deep into place names, and into the wider context of Japan’s long history, to offer an account that visitors to Tokyo—whether first‑timers or old regulars—will no doubt find invaluable in helping them to make sense of a city that can sometimes feel overwhelming in its size and vibrant complexity."
Chris Harding, author of Japan Story: In Search of a Nation, 1850 to the Present