The Edo Period (1603-1868), a time known for samurai and feudal warlords, has served as the setting for countless films, television dramas and even anime. Fictional characters like the blind swordsman Zatoichi and historical figures like the forty-seven ronin have long since captured the public’s imagination with their fights for honor and virtue.
But of course fantasy is often far from reality. A recent survey was published that asked people to imagine what difficulties they would face if they were transported back in time to the Edo Period. Among 500 participants, the lack of modern conveniences like running water or electricity ranked fairly high. On 2ch, Internet users also offered up a wide variety of interesting responses to the question.
From GOO Ranking:
“Things You Think Would Be Unpleasant If You Time-Traveled Back to the Edo Period
“Nobunaga Concerto” is a drama starring Oguri Shun which is known for having the parts of Oda Nobunaga and Akechi Mitsuhide played as a dual role. The story focuses on the main protagonist who travels back in time to the Sengoku Age and has gained a following as a work that comically depicts the present and future. So we tried asking everyone about what sort things they’d find unpleasant if they traveled back in time to the Edo Period.
List of the Top Things You’d Find Unpleasant If You Time-Traveled Back To The Edo Period
#1 No running water 45.8%
#2 Harsh class discrimination 39.6%
#3 Clean-up of waste would be difficult 38%
#4 Can’t take showers 37.4 %
#5 No Internet 37 %
#6 No Western-style toilets 30.8 %
#7 No toothpaste or toothbrushes 27.2 %
#8 Sewage isn’t fully equipped so the whole town would stink 24.2 %
#9 No TV 23.8 %
#10 Can’t travel easily (Moving is difficult) 23%
#11 No cellphones 21.8 %
#12 Warriors would be frightening 20.6 %
#13 Without streetlights the nights would be dark 20.2 %
#14 Traditional Japanese clothing seems like a hassle 20%
#15 Can’t drink coffee 19.8 %
#16 Lots of fires 18.8%
#17 Married women would have blackened teeth
#18 Have to get a sakayaki haircut [Note: A traditional men’s haircut with the hair shaved up from the forehead to the top of the head] 17 %
#19 Hard to obtain information 16.4%
#20 Would have to tie up your hair 16%
#21 Pillows are too expensive 14%
#22 You wouldn’t know the exact time 14.4 %
#23 No washlet (shower room toilet) 13.4%
#24 The lamps would smell (like oil) 13.2 %
#25 No video game consoles 10.4 %
#26 Japanese food everyday 9.6 %
#27 Contact lenses couldn’t be made 9%
#28 Can’t drink soda 8.6 %
#29 Can’t drink beer 8.4%
#30 No adult videos 7.4 %
Temporary peace came during the Edo Period when the Sengoku Period ended. Yet when compared to the modern age it seems like there would be unavoidable drawbacks. Ranking in at number one was “No running water”. Essential utilities like electricity and gas are closely linked to one’s life, so naturally people would be opposed to not having a well-maintained water supply. Continuing on, many people responded with “The class discrimination would be strict”. During the Edo Period, social classes– scholars, farmers, craftsmen and merchants—were fixed in place, and it was seen as only natural that one received different treatment depending on one’s status.
Being treated as a member of the upper class would have been nice, but living as someone of low class seems like it would be pretty rough. Answers that showed concern about the inconveniences of life entered at #3 (“Cleanup of waste seems would be difficult”) and #4 (“Wouldn’t be able to take showers”). Additionally, responses relating to food like #15 (“Can’t drink coffee”) or #28 (“Can’t drink carbonated beverages”) also measured high up in the list.
Although we’ve all thought we’d like to time-travel back to the Edo Period at one time, we’ve become so accommodated to modern conveniences that there might be a lot we wouldn’t be able to stand. It’s the kind of thing that makes us appreciate all that we have around us in a whole new light.
Survey Method: A survey which was sponsored by the iBRIDGE Corporation was conducted through Research Plus and the results were counted.
Survey Period: December 24th, 2014 to January 7th, 2015
Number of Responses: 500 (250 male, 250 female)
Comments from 2ch:
Things would be unsanitary
I can’t bear the thought of being without my washlet.
No snack foods
The average life expectancy in the Edo Period was 45.
(In response to the above post) What the hell, so I’m already dead?
Girls can’t wear bikinis to the beach.
Well for starters I’m guessing I wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone……
Out of all of these, the most troubling one is that there’s no Western-style toilet.
After a day of wearing those wooden sandals,
the skin on your feet would be ready to peel off.
If you contracted syphilis, that’d be the end of you.
Even in modern times, wouldn’t all of you guys rank as members of the lowest class?
Traveling any distance would be hard.
Of course walking is tough,
and even if you rode in a kago it’s not like you’d get very far so it would take a lot of time.
Medical treatment would be unsafe.
I’ll have to bring along a dozen or so Seirogan tablets…
It would probably be extremely frustrating not to be able to tell everyone what’s going to happen in the future.
No doctors or dentists…scary stuff.
Forget Edo, even going back in time to the Showa Period (1926-1989) would be out of the question.