"The Tokaido Road" offers a comparative study of the Tokaido Road's representations during the Edo (1600-1868) and Meiji (1868-1912) eras. Throughout the Edo era, the Tokaido highway was the most important route of Japan and transportation was confined to foot travel. In 1889, the Tokaido Railway was established, at first paralleling and eventually almost eliminating the use of the highway. During both periods, the Tokaido was a popular topic of representation and was depicted in a variety of visual and literary media. After the installation of the railway in the Meiji era, the Tokaido was presented as a landscape of progress, modernity and westernization. Such representations were fundamental in shaping the Tokaido and the realm of travelling in the collective consciousness of the Japanese people.
Jilly Traganou currently teaches Architecture at the University of Texas. She has contributed to Japanese Capitals and Suburbanizing the Masses.