...wow amazing, only one review. Seidensticker-Keene-Richie, the big three of Japan studies...hmm, if military history is a world of ten people, Japan studies is just five. Ruth Benedict + one other person I think round out the entire post-war Japan studies group, although there are a bunch of new names associated with post-modern lit / translations.
this is a portmanteau work, combining the 1990 and 1991 volumes of Low City, High City; and Tokyo Rising. it started sufficiently slowly (Japan in the 1867 - 1890 time period is just medieval rituals and absolutely rigid social codes), but then picked up, offering some tantalizing tidbits about the evolution of the metropolis Tokyo. as fate would have it, 1989 sort of marked the peak of Tokyo's physical and economic growth; since then, things have happened, but actually much of the physical city is the same.
in some passages, beats Yasunari Kawabata's [b:Scarlet Gang of Asakusa|14026|The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa|Yasunari Kawabata|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347623804s/14026.jpg|16116] in terms of characterization of Asakusa and Tokyo in the 1920s
some exciting coverage of modern Tokyo's 'zoku' or tribes; a little less coverage of unique Shimokitazawa / Shibuya than their current importance to the youth of Japan (Seidensticker too old to realize this...)