It’s pretty easy to get swept up in an image of Tokyo as the city of the future that works. It’s all modern and sparkling with a few old shrines to highlight the past.
But there is so much more under the surface — and that surprising history of Tokyo is on full display in Tokyo: A Cultural History. Though writer Stephen Mansfield touches on the major political players and the development of the city, his work is really a literary and cultural biography of the city.
The snippets of various novels, short stories, and histories really bring the past to life. They also shatter some of the myths about the Japanese people.
Anyone planning to visit would be well served immersing themselves in the origins of Tokyo's today.