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Illegal Border Crossing: The Experience of Edo Period Travelers

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Travel diaries of the Edo period contain records about border posts and descriptions of illegal border crossing. Travelers resorted to paying bribes, changing clothes, and going around border posts if they did not have a tegata document, or for other reasons. For example, Kobayashi Kuzufuru (1793-1880) in his diary Gochi Mōde describes how he and his wife, with the help of a guide, went around the Sekigawa border post twice because his wife did not have a tegata. Furukawa Koshoken (1726-1807) writes in his work Saiyū Zakki (1783) how, in order to travel the Satsuma province, he pretended to be a pilgrim. Sakata Kisen’o mentions in his diary of a journey from Edo to Izu, Izu-no Kuni Futokoro Nikki (1835), that he asked his friend who worked at the Hakone border post to let him through without making him wait in line. Diaries by female authors do not contain detailed descriptions of going around border posts, but they do mention hardships suffered during checks at border posts and the expenses caused by this. Despite the fact that one needs to consider the documents and diaries preserved at border posts, as well as documents of court proceedings in order to create the full picture of border crossings, the travel diaries of the Edo period give the general idea of the difficulties of travel and of how the travelers dealt with them.

About the Author

A. A. Dudko
Kyoto University
Russian Federation


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For citations:

Dudko A.A. Illegal Border Crossing: The Experience of Edo Period Travelers. Russian Japanology Review. 2021;4(1):81-94. (In Russ.)

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