Jordan Sand

Jordan Sand is a professor of Japanese history at Georgetown University.

Megacity One: Life in Edo

Jordan Sand, 3 June 2021

For​ more than two hundred years there was a megacity in Japan that almost no one from outside the country had ever seen. Edo, capital of the Tokugawa shoguns, began as a minor castle town around 1600 but grew rapidly after the Tokugawa dynasty demanded that around 250 feudal leaders establish estates in the city. Commerce flourished thanks to their conspicuous consumption. By 1720, Edo had...

Diary: In Tokyo

Jordan Sand, 28 April 2011

On 11 November 1855, a massive earthquake and tsunami destroyed most of Japan’s capital city, Edo, the precursor of modern Tokyo. Roughly 7000 people were reported dead or injured, and the numbers rose in the days that followed. There were no newspapers published in the city – the shogun’s government forbade public comment on anything directly concerning the regime –...

Letter

The Sixth Taste

9 September 2021

There is some reason to doubt the story Daniel Soar tells about the origins of the controversy around monosodium glutamate (LRB, 9 September). Public concern over the adverse effects of MSG consumption began with a letter sent to the New England Journal of Medicine in 1968 signed by Dr Robert Ho Man Kwok. In 2018, Howard Steel, another doctor, claimed that he had invented Dr Kwok and written the...

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