The Tokaido Road
An account of Japan’s most famous revenge story set in 1702.
“So lonely am I
My soul is a floating weed
Severed at the roots”
This is how Lady Asano has felt since the forced suicide of her father. Adrift in a dangerous world, she vows to avenge her father’s death and restore his name to honor. To do so, she will have to travel the Tokaido Road.
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, a lordless samurai—Tosa no Hanshiro, has been hired to trail her.
San Francisco Chronicle
The Washington Post
Boston Sunday Herald
Jane Kohut Bartels
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There are many places along The Tokaido Road that have not changed much since the early 1700s. Lucia lived in Japan in 1970 and made three more trips in the late 1980s to research this book.