The memoir of a low-ranking samurai in the late Tokugawa era of Japan (1600-1860something), translated and annotated by Teruko Craig, this book is an excellent portrayal of everyday life in Edo, the city that would become Tokyo.

It also rather brutally shatters the stereotype of the pristine honor of the samurai, since Katsu Kokichi (1802-1850), the samurai in question, engages in all sorts of nastiness, from extortion to organized crime to outright robbery. Still, he has good moments as well, and it's oddly not difficult to start liking Kokichi, his boorish approach to life notwithstanding.

This book is an excellent reference for anybody interested in Edo culture, and would probably make good reading for anybody running a Japan-themed RPG.

Confidence Index: 5

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