The Tokaido Road: A Novel of Feudal Japan

The Tokaido Road A Novel of Feudal Japan So lonely am IMy soul is a floating weedSevered at the rootsThis is how Lady Asano has felt since the forced suicide execution of her father Adrift in a dangerous world Lady Asano vows to avenge her

  • Title: The Tokaido Road: A Novel of Feudal Japan
  • Author: Lucia St. Clair Robson
  • ISBN: 9780345370266
  • Page: 457
  • Format: Hardcover
  • So lonely am IMy soul is a floating weedSevered at the rootsThis is how Lady Asano has felt since the forced suicide execution of her father Adrift in a dangerous world, Lady Asano vows to avenge her father s death and restore his name to honor to do so, she will have to travel the Tokaido Road.Lucia St Clair Robson is renowned for her beautifully written and carefullySo lonely am IMy soul is a floating weedSevered at the rootsThis is how Lady Asano has felt since the forced suicide execution of her father Adrift in a dangerous world, Lady Asano vows to avenge her father s death and restore his name to honor to do so, she will have to travel the Tokaido Road.Lucia St Clair Robson is renowned for her beautifully written and carefully researched historical novels about the American Indian The Washington Post proclaimed Walk in My Soul a richly detailed, rousingly good story and The Kirkus Reviews praised Light a Distant Fire for its brilliant word portraits of memorable characters Now, Robson has turned her remarkable storytelling gifts and her passion for historical accuracy to a place and time that have been long close to her heart, feudal Japan.As the novel opens, Lady Asano has transformed herself into Cat, a high ranking courtesan, to support her widowed mother Yet Cat s career is temporary the powerful Lord Kira s campaign against her family is continuing and she must find Oishi, leader of the samurai of the Asano clan, weapons master, philosopher and Cat s teacher Cat believes he is three hundred miles to the southwest in the imperial city of Kyoto.Disguising her loveliness in the humble garments of a traveling priest, Cat begins her quest All she has is her samurai training in Haiku and Tanka poetry, in the use of the deadly six foot weapon, the naginata, and in Japanese Zen thought And she will need them all, for a ronin has been hired to trail her.The ronin, a lordless samurai, is Tosa no Hanshiro His weapon is the traditional longsword, a two hundred year old Kanesada blade But he will find cunning adversaries in cat and her faithful traveling companion Kasane A peasant girl, Kasane is simple, her poetry a little crude But her devotion to cat runs deep.Both picturesque and tragic, filled with the grand poetry, chivalrous love, and rollicking goings on of the era, The Tokaido Road is a stunning achivement by a novelist writing at the peak of her considerable powers.

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    About "Lucia St. Clair Robson"

    1. Lucia St. Clair Robson

      Lucia St Clair Robson has been a Peace Corps Volunteer, a teacher and a librarian Her first historical novel, RIDE THE WIND, appeared on the New York Times best seller list, and in 1983 received the Golden Spur Award from the Western Writers of America Since then she has written seven novels set in a variety of times and places Kirkus Reviews wrote, Few novelists working today have a better grasp of early American history than Robson.

    589 thoughts on “The Tokaido Road: A Novel of Feudal Japan”

    1. This was a very pleasant surprise for me, I loved this book and I have reread it several times. I might have to add it to my list of need to read again books now that I've brought it out of the dust. I have always loved Japan and this was a very colorful and detailed book about feudal Japan. I love history lessons any time they are interesting to read, this one was. The love story between the two main characters was beautiful. Danger, adventure, revenge, swords, true love, what more could you as [...]

    2. Ever been so down on your luck after your father was politically assassinated that you went and sold yourself to a brothel as a high-class courtesan to hide from his enemies? Me neither (my dad is just just fine, thanks!), but Lady Asano, otherwise known as Cat, has recently fallen from grace in those exact circumstances and figures she doesn't have anywhere else to go.A dish of poisoned blowfish and a dead client shatter her life as a courtesan at the House of the Carp. Once again, Cat is on th [...]

    3. This is a great book to read if you are interested in learning about Japan during the Edo period. The author actually lived in Japan, carefully researched the time, and traveled the Tokaido Road itself. The story is filled with fascinating details about how the ordinary people of the time lived - their day-to-day activities, food, traveling, method of worship and many others. The blurb on this copy read like a Harlequin romance, but the story is very far from it. It is actually based on a true s [...]

    4. Hard to put down - and, my goodness, I can hardly wrap my head around the complicated rules of 17th century Japan! Thoroughly researched, gripping, and very interesting.

    5. "The Tokaido Road" is, at first glance, a road trip wrapped around a tale of revenge . . . and a beautiful one, at that.Lady Asano, nicknamed "Cat," is a gorgeous, refined daughter of a samurai lord who was betrayed and forced to commit suicide. We first meet Cat, who has been forced to work as a courtesan thanks to her family's disgrace, as she stares at a dead "client," who died eating a poisoned dish meant for her. Within moments, Cat uses her ingenuity to escape her brothel and begin her jou [...]

    6. The Tokaido Roadby Lucia St. Clair RobsonThe Tokaido Road is a break for Lucia St Clair Robson from her adventures in the American Revolution, and the American tragedy of the Trail of Tears. The Tokaido Road is a dynamic story showing the ideology of Feudal Japan. The complex characters and use of imagery, poetry, and art bring to life the noble Japanese spirit. I will add this as another in my collection to be placed with Memoires of a Geisha, Life of a Geisha, and the tale of Genji, the tale o [...]

    7. This proves that while I might teach Asian history and quite enjoy reading about history (in real life), novels about East Asia are not for me. For a story based on a real life event (and one that has been represented in song/theatre/film multiple times), this novel had nothing much that was new to add. Maybe it was revolutionary in its time (1991) but, 20 years later, it's not aged well. The first 100 pages or so plod along, much like Lady Asano (or Cat). The last part picks up a bit but, by th [...]

    8. Wonderful book. I learned about it because it received a high rating on Smart Bitches smartbitchestrashybooks but it took until almost the end for me to determine why it might be considered a romance novel. Lady Asano, aka Cat, escapes her life as a courtesan and takes to the Tokaido road to travel to find her Sensei and seek his help in avenging her father's death. She is chased by her father's enemies and a ronin (former samarai) sent be the house where she worked. Along the way she pick up a [...]

    9. Not sure what my fascination is with feudal or just slightly post-feudal Japan, but the Floating World is fascinating. In this story, the heroine Cat does more than float. She's well-trained in swordsmanship and in the duties of the daughter of a disgraced father. She undertakes her own vendetta and hurries along the Tokaido road in pursuit of Lord Kira who is responsible for her father's death. As in any road story, from Chaucer onward, the fellow travelers become the story. Some aim to prevent [...]

    10. I gave up on this half way through honestly it all started rather fascinating and stayed like that until page 120 and then I began to skim the pages. I think the main problem was my lack of general knowledge concering the history of feudal Japan. Also after reading some of the reviews on I found that I wasn't the only one struggling with the unwarranted length of this novel. One benefit came out of this: I will start reading some more books about this era in Japan. I really found it interesting [...]

    11. This book was rich, lush, and well researched. It pulled you into a complicated family drama, but was action packed. The romance was beautiful, but not soppy. It was a long read, but I hardly noticed and when I finished it I wanted more! I suggest it for anyone who likes historical fiction and intricate detail. A must read for new adult women, because it was both empowering and sexy!

    12. After reading The Tale of Genji i have become fascinated by historical Japan with it's customs and Samurai culture. This takes you for a tour of Japan as the main female character follows the Tokaido Road with such descriptive narrative that you feel each battle she fights in order to find justice for her family. You won't be disappointed.

    13. This has been sitting around for ages but I finally read it and enjoyed it a lot; it’s a retelling of the famous 47 ronin tale of old Japan. It has clearly been meticulously researched for realism so it’s a nice look into Japanese customs as well as an epic tale. I wonder if they made it into a film.

    14. Things this book made me do: 1. Order a copy of Musashi's Five Rings. 2. Read poetry. 3. Not get any sleep until I finished.This is an absolute joy to read neither too thick, nor too thin. Well paced, in a wonderful setting.

    15. Picked this up off the bargain table. Sat around for agesExcellent, Well written, based on the 47 Ronin tale.

    16. So many random things to say. In no particular orderI was a little intimidated when I saw how long this book was (I listened to it, and the audiobook was 20 hours and change), and I went in wondering if it would drag. That was not the case. There are many suspenseful and interesting adventures going on, and one or another of these kept bringing me back. There was one place, about 70% through, where I got a little bored with their extended adventures on the road, but I also think I was a little a [...]

    17. I've had this paperback for several years now and have read this novel numerous times; I really enjoy the mixture of drama, poetry, adventure and the learning of the everyday life of people in feudal Japan in the early 18th century. Although it is historic fiction, it is based on the true story of the 47 master-less samurai that successfully avenged the death of their lord, and then were arrested and committed ritual suicide.

    18. one of my most prized and favorite books ever. A story about an upper class girl who is sold into prostitution. When she finds out that her father was wrongly killed, she disguises herself as a man, escapes from the geisha house and seeks retribution for his death. In order to do this, she must travel from Tokyo to Kyoto along the Tokaido Road. And she must do this penniless and disguised as a man. If you are in the mood for true adventure, choose this book. It will not let you down.

    19. This is one of the best books historical novels I have read in a long time. Lucia St. Clair Robson has successfully pulled me into this novel . it seems well researched and I would hope it could be made into a movie someday. the characters are rich and the narrative is smooth . I had a hard time putting this one down and am saddened that it is concluded .

    20. An interesting story about Japan in 1700. A bit long as the author wishes to describe many aspects of Japanese life and culture and works it all into the story, even when it doesn’t particularly advance the plot. Still it was written well enough to keep my interest through the end.

    21. This historical novel was a mixed bag. It had the best sense of place of any Westerner-penned novel about feudal Japan I've read and the characters were appealing, but its length and incredibly slow pace as well as the relatively unexciting plot hurt an otherwise appealing book.This book was incredibly well-researched. I'm fairly well-versed in the Edo period and fluent in Japanese, and I could find very few nits to pick. The author demonstrated such a broad grasp of Japanese history that I was [...]

    22. Interesting book and a fascinating look at 17th-century Japan, but too bloody long by half.I loved the beginning: to avenge her father, Lady Asano (aka Cat) goes on a journey along the Tokaido. She's alone, she wears a bunch of different disguises, she fights off hirelings, she meets lots of interesting people. At some point she picks up a country girl who becomes her servant and/or friend. Yay, roadtrip! The description of Japan and its customs is very detailed and I enjoyed all the attention t [...]

    23. A little over ficitonalised in parts - if you know a little about feudal Japanese tradition some aspects will make you roll your eyes, but still enjoyable as a story.

    24. As you can tell, it took me forever to finish this one. Why? I have three good reasons. 1)It was a pretty big book with 544 pages of small print. 2)The small print gave me headaches. And 3) The first300 pages kept putting me to sleep. I'm not kidding, which is the sad thing.When I heard about this book I was really excited and I couldn't wait to read it! Many people compared it to 'The Snow Fox' and said so many good things about it! It's never good to go into a book with expectations and unfort [...]

    25. This book really just made me want to go to Japan. I know it's set hundreds of years ago, but still. It painted such a rich picture of the Japanese culture and customs of the time. I could practically taste the food and smell the crisp mountain air. The author spared no detail in describing everything. It made for such a beautiful book. The story of Cat's thirst for justice and revenge and the journey she takes along the Tokaido Road was an interesting one. While the basic premise of the story w [...]

    26. The Tokaido Road is meant to take place alongside the tale of the 47 Ronin. If you aren't familiar with the tale of the 47 Ronin, it's a supposedly true story, and there are plenty of book and movie adaptations to check out. (but don't waste your time with the Keanu Reeves version) It is a popular and well-known story, so readers are expected to know the outcome before reading Tokaido Road. This book isn't about the destination, it's about the journey. Admittedly, the journey takes quite a while [...]

    27. The Tokaido Road is a vividly written slice of life in feudal Japan, with a heaping dose of suspense and action mixed in, topped with a sprinkling of romance. Although the book is long and the writing can be dense, the story was never predictable and was packed with enough action to keep me wanting to know what would happen next. Plus I left the book feeling like I'd been treated to a master class on 18th century Japanese culture and society. After the treachery of Lord Kira causes the execution [...]

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