Tuesday, 1 April 2008


Edo, as any Japanophile will know, is the old name for the city of Tokyo. Founded in the mid-15th century, when Edo Castle (now part of the Imperial Palace) was built, the original name lasted until 1868. And just to add a little more spice, it also gave its name to the Edo Period, which lasted from 1603 to 1868, and equated to the lifespan of the Edo or Tokugawa Shogunate.

To many this represents a great Golden Age of Japanese Art and Culture. Indeed, most of the Japanese artworks, bladed weaponry and literature we know in the West come from this period, including the work of one my favourite artists, Utagawa Hiroshige.

Edo (and environs) has now been recreated in Second Life, across 12 sims. The purpose is to provide a commercial and residential rental area for Japanese residents of Second Life, and there is certainly nothing unusual in that. What is unusual however, is the attention to detail and the sheer size of the site. With the exception of an anachronistic tower on the Shinagawa sim, everything seems to be in keeping with Edo Period. I also recognised a few of the temple buildings in the Asakusa sims from my own trip to Japan last year. At the heart of the sim cluster is the castle itself, spanning more than 4 sims.

But I don't plan to tell you any more. I have a HUGE number of pictures that I would urge you to flick thru - then I would urge you to go along for a look - and just sink yourself into the detail.

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