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My sandbox Japanese Inn Japanese Inn by Oliver Statler, first published in 1967 and published by

About X kiometers east of Shunpu in Surugu province (now Shimizu in Shizuoka Prefecture) along the important Tokaido Highway lies the town of Okitsu興津, [1] dominated by Seikenji Temple 清見寺. This book tells the history of Japan from 1550-1953 as seen through the eyes of the people of an Okitsu inn, a waki-honjuku 脇本宿, [2] called the Minaguchi-ya. The highway system and the inns that supported it were an important feature of the Edo periol.

The Seiken-ji housed nobility who were passing through. Tokugawa Ieyasu stayed there as a child according to tradition, Hideyoshi stayed there on the eve of the siege of Odawara castle, as did his teamaster Sen no Rikyû. The shogun Tokugawa Iemochi on his way to Kyoto in XXXX, and Emperor Meij on his way to the new capital of Tokyo also spent the night there.

At the Minaguchi-ya itself , the XX family (founders of the YY department store) were regular guests by XXXX. Among other guests over the years were attendants of Kiranosuke, Shimazu XX of Satsuma province, who gave the inn permission to use the Shimazu crest, members of the suite of the genro Saionji Kinmochi, a member of the US occupation named Oliver Statler, and Emperor Hirohito (Shôwa). And of course among the many people passing along the Tokaido--samurai, daimyo, plotters, poets, artists, pilgrims, Dutch--many of them must have stopped at the inn.

This is written as a popular book.The bulk of the book could probably be subtitled "The Edo Period as the Japanese see it." It describes many of the famous events and cultural figures of the time as could have seen by the people at the inn. Though there is some fiction, it is not like historical fiction which primarily tells a story about people of a certain period. The amount of detail is almost incredible. Even someone who has lived decades in Japan can still come across things first known in that book. This is not a book for historians. Statler writes almost nothing about politics or the economics of the period, though the shogun-daimyo-han system is talked about. Furthermore he does not bother about specifying the calendar he is using, he avoids proper names as much as possible (probably a good idea for a popular book) and he uses popular versions of events. For instance, Takeda Shingen was killed listening to a flute. But it is usally easy to tell when he is actually fictionalizing, even without reading his discussion in the afterward. For example, when he gives his source, he is not.

I had long thought, "Some day (when I can afford it!) I would like to spend the night in that inn." Some time ago I was travelling by car along the Tokaido in Shizuoka and decided to at least try to see the inn. In Okitsu I kept my eyes open on the ocean side of the street, and soon found a gate with "Minaguchi-ya" written on it. However, alas, I will not be able to stay there. It has been bought up by an area corporation for their private use. According to the internet, this happened in >

  1. It has been recently incorporated into Shimizu.
  2. A regular inn that could be called upon to host daimyo or their retinue in case there was not enough room in the honjuku inns