Towards the close of the 19th century, Japan was adding Okinawa and small islands to the southwest to its territory, followed by the not-so-small island of Taiwan. Then, at the dawn of the 20th century, the unthinkable happened. Japan engaged the mighty European empire of Russia in war and won convincingly. The infallibility of the white man to the yellow man had been challenged.
Daily our headlines give us horror stories of more species sent to extinction by the destructive activities of our species. But did you know that one tree species at least, the Ginko, has enjoyed the reverse experience?
Snow melt from Mt Fuji seeps down through porous volcanic rock to resurface here as crystal clear springwater, feeding the river.
Hodogaya was established in 1601 as the 4th stop westward of Edo (now called Tokyo) for weary Tokaido walkers to rest for the night
Hojo's territories falling into Toyotomi's hands also completes the unification of Japan under one ruler for the first time in centuries, ending the Warring States Period
the territory between the old capitals of Kyoto and Osaka, and the new capital in Edo, played a pivotal role in this part of Japanese history. This is not lost on Clavell, who strategically places his story on the Izu Peninsula
Hiroshige's Yui (19C ukiyoe or woodblock print). Note the three travellers top left ascending Satta Pass. The two customers, presumably travellers from the big city of Edo (now called Tokyo, with a population of 1 million during the Edo Period, 17C~mid 19C) stand in awe of the stunning vista across Suruga Bay (Japan's deepest bay) to Mt Fuji (Japan's highest mountain).