The chapters in this volume variously challenge a number of long-standing assumptions regarding eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Japanese society, and especially that society's values, structure and hierarchy; the practical limits of state authority; and the emergence of individual and collective identity. By interrogating the concept of equality on both sides of the 1868 divide, the volume extends this discussion beyond the late-Tokugawa period into the early-Meiji and even into the present. An Epilogue examines some of the historiographical issues that form a background to this enquiry. Taken together, the chapters offer answers and perspectives that are highly original and should prove stimulating to all those interested in early modern Japanese cultural, intellectual, and social history
Contributors include: Daniel Botsman, W. Puck Brecher, Gideon Fujiwara, Eiko Ikegami, Jun'ichi Isomae, James E. Ketelaar, Yasunori Kojima, Peter Nosco, Naoki Sakai, Gregory Smits, M. William Steele, and Anne Walthall.