This introductory chapter describes the alternate attendance also knows as the sankin kōtai—the back and forth journey of samurais from their domain's castle town to Edo through early modern Japan's highways. The place was the political capital of the realm and the center from which the Tokugawa family governed its domain. This journey was so emblematic of the Tokugawa or early modern period, and Japanese culture in general, that when the Englishman Algernon Mitford visited Japan in 1906 to deliver the Order of the Garter from King Edward VII to the Meiji emperor, a representation of a daimyo's procession was recreated as entertainment for distinguished foreign and Japanese guests.
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