The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai
From childhood, Katsu was given to mischief. He ran away from home, once at thirteen, making his way as a beggar on the great trunk road between Edo and Kyoto, and again at twenty, posing as the emissary of a feudal lord. He eventually married and had children but never obtained official preferment and was forced to supplement a meager stipend by dealing in swords, selling protection to shopkeepers, and generally using his muscle and wits.
Katsu's descriptions of loyalty and kindness, greed and deception, vanity and superstition offer an intimate view of daily life in nineteenth-century Japan unavailable in standard history books. Musui's Story will delight not only students of Japan's past but also general readers who will be entranced by Katsu's candor and boundless zest for life.
"Tells the life of Katsu Kokichi, a samurai on the lower fringe of his class who gave up the aspirations expected of him to mix with the scruffier elements of the Edo streets. . . . Teruko Craig has my applause for selecting what may be a unique document, translating it so gracefully, and supplying it with an informative introduction and annotation. . . . Enjoyable reading."—Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese
"This valuable translation provides many insights into Japanese life. . . . Teruko Craig is to be commended on the vivid picture of this slice of Tokugawa life."—Journal of Royal Asiatic Society
"A delightful little book. . . . one of those one sit, cover-to-cover reads."—American Asian Review
"A colorful, involving glimpse of the gritty side of a distinctly foreign culture."—Kirkus Reviews