Voices of Early Modern Japan: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life during the Age of the Shoguns by Constantine Nomikos VaporisVoices of Early Modern Japan: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life during the Age of the Shoguns by Constantine Nomikos Vaporis

Voices of Early Modern Japan: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life during the Age of the Shoguns

byConstantine Nomikos Vaporis

Paperback | July 30, 2013

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Winner of the 2013 Franklin R. Buchanan Prize for Curricular Materials awarded by the Association for Asian Studies and the Committee for Teaching About Asia (CTA) Voices of Early Modern Japan offers an accessible and well-balanced view of an extraordinary period in Japanese history, ranging from the unification of the warring states under Tokugawa Ieyasu in the early seventeenth century through the overthrow of the shogunate just prior to the opening of Japan by the West in the mid-nineteenth century. Through a close examination of primary sources from "The Great Peace," this fascinating volume offers fresh insights into the Tokugawa era?its political institutions, rigid class hierarchy, artistic and material culture, religious life, and more. Sources from all levels of Japanese society, from government documents and household records to personal correspondence and diaries, are carefully translated and examined in light of the latest scholarship. Constantine Nomikos Vaporis ably demonstrates how historians use primary documents and what can be uncovered from the words of ordinary people who lived centuries earlier. With robust reader resources and comprehensive coverage, Voices of Early Modern Japan is the perfect addition for students and interested readers seeking a fuller understanding of the Tokugawa period.For updates on web materials mentioned in the book, supplemental materials, and to contact the author, please visit voicesofearlymodernjapan.wordpress.com.
Constantine Nomikos Vaporis is professor of history and founding director of the Asian Studies program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Vaporis is the author of Breaking Barriers: Travel and the State in Early Modern Japan; Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan; and Nihonj...
Title:Voices of Early Modern Japan: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life during the Age of the ShogunsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:354 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.69 inPublished:July 30, 2013Publisher:Taylor and FrancisLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0813349001

ISBN - 13:9780813349008

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Table of Contents


Introduction: The Shogun’s Japan
Evaluating and Interpreting Primary Documents
Timeline of Japanese History from the Mid-Sixteenth
Century through the Tokugawa Period, 1543–1868


1. Getting Married: “Agreement Regarding a Dowry” (1815)

2. Obtaining a Divorce: An Appeal for Assistance (1850) and Letters of Divorce (1857, Undated)

3. The Consequences of Adultery: “The Eavesdropper Whose Ears Were Burned” (1686)

4. A Woman’s Place: Onna Daigaku (The Greater Learning for Women, 1716) and Tadano Makuzu’s Hitori Kangae(Solitary Thoughts, 1818)


5. Fashion and Sumptuary Legislation: Ihara Saikaku’s The Japanese Family Storehouse (Nippon eitai gura, 1688); List of Clothing Prohibitions for Edo Townsmen (1719)

6. Samurai Dress and Grooming Standards: Prohibitions of 1615 and 1645

7. Lunisolar Calendar: Calendar for Seventh Year of Kaei (1854): Samurai in Armor

8. Japanese Foodways and Diet: The Accounts of Joao Rodrigues (1620–21), Yamakawa Kikue (1943), and Terakada Seiken (1832–36)

9. The Communal Bath: Shikitei Sanba’s “The Women’s Bath” (Ukiyoburo, 1810)

10. The Japanese Home: Carl Peter Thunberg’s Travels in Europe, Asia and Africa Made During the Years 1770 & 1779


11. A Foreigner’s View of the Battle of Osaka: Richard Cocks’s Account of the Fall of Osaka Castle (1615)

12. Forging Political Order: “Laws for the Military Houses” (1615, 1635)

13. The Emperor and the Kyoto Aristocracy: “Regulations for the Imperial Palace and the Court Nobility” (1615)

14. Weapons Control in Japanese Society: Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s “Sword Hunt” (1588) and “A Local Ordinance Regarding Swords” (1648)

15. Self-Governance in Villages: Goningumi (Five-Household Group) Laws (1640)

16. Regulating Townspeople in Two Cities: City Code from Kanazawa (1642) and Notice Board in Edo (1711)


17. Regulating Foreign Relations: The “Closed Country Edicts” (sakoku rei, 1635, 1639)

18. Tokugawa Japan and Choson Korea: Record of a Journey Across the Sea (1719)

19. Leaving a Window Open to the Western World: Letter from a Nagasaki Official to the Dutch Governor-General (1642)

20. A Dutch Audience with the Shogun: Englebert Kaempfer’s The History of Japan (1692)

21. Sizing Up the Foreign Threat: Aizawa Seishisai’s Shinron (New Theses, 1825)


22. The Social Estates: Yamaga Sokô on “The Way of the Samurai” (shidô)

23. Trying to Get by on a Fixed Income: The Economic Problems Facing the Samurai, as Seen in a Letter from Tani Tannai to Saitaniya Hachirôbei Naomasu
(1751) and a Statement from Three Village Leaders to a Tokugawa Bannerman (1856)

24. The Samurai and Death: An Account of Junshi from François Caron’s A True Description of the Mighty Kingdoms of Japan and Siam (1636)

25. Private Vengeance Among the Samurai: A Letter from a Daimyo’s Official in Echigo Province to an Official of the Tokugawa Shogunate and A Letter of
Authorization (1828)

26. Rules of Merchant Houses: “The Testament of Shima Sôshitsu” (1610) and “The Code of the Okaya House” (1836)

27. Dealing with Deviant Behavior: “A Letter of Apology” (1866)

28. Loans Among the Peasantry: “A Loan of Rice” (1702)

29. Unrest in the Countryside: A Song in Memory of a Protest (1786) and Petition to the Lord of Sendai from the Peasants of the Sanhei (1853)

30. Outcastes in Tokugawa Society: A Report from the Head of All Eta and Hinin (Undated) and an Inquiry by the Edo City Magistrates to the Tokugawa Council of State Regarding the Forfeiture of the Property of an Eta Who Assumed the Status of a Commoner (1799)


31. Advice to Travelers in the Edo Period: Ryokô Yôjinshû(Precautions for Travelers), 1810

32. Documentation for Travel: “Sekisho Transit Permit” (1706)and “A Passport” (1782)

33. Children and Their Amusements: The Japan Journal of Francis Hall (1859)

34. The Tea Ceremony: Chikamatsu Shigenori’s Stories from a Tearoom Window (1804)

35. Archery and the Martial Arts: Hinatsu Shirôzaemon Shigetaka’s Honchô Bugei Shôden (A Short Tale of the Martial Arts in Our Country), 1714

36. Courtesans and the Sex Trade: Ihara Saikaku’s The Life of an Amorous Man (Koshoku ichidai otoko, 1682)and Buyô Ishi’s An Account of Worldly Affairs(Seji kenmonroku, 1816)

37. A Hero for the Masses: The Kabuki Play Sukeroku: Flower of Edo (1713)


38. Preaching to the People: A Sermon by Hosoi Heishu (1783)

39. Anti-Christian Propaganda: Kirishitan monogatari (Tale of the Christians, 1639)

40. Controlling the Populace: Registers of Religious Affiliation (1804)

41. Religious Views of the Japanese: Sir Rutherford Alcock’s The Capital of the Tycoon (1863)

42. The Teachings of Zen Buddhism: Suzuki Shôsan’s Roankyô (Donkey-Saddle Bridge, 1648) and Hakuin Ekaku’s Sokkô-roku Kaien-fusetsu (Talks Given Introductory to Zen Lectures on the Records of Sokkô, 1740)

Appendix 1: Biographical Sketches of Important Individuals Mentioned in Text
Appendix 2: Glossary of Terms Mentioned in Text

Editorial Reviews

"The best source reader yet produced in this fieldVaporis' bold choice of sources accurately represents the broadness and plurality of Tokugawa society. His commentaries and explanations are written from the perspective of the latest historiography. The wide range of historical sources presented…makes this book far superior to Sources of Japanese Tradition, and should ensure that it replaces it as the standard source book for the undergraduate teaching of pre-1868 Japanese history."—Dr. Kiri Paramore, Leiden University"Filled with unusual and heretofore little known documents that bring us close to the lived experience of 17th through early 19th centuries Japan, this volume deserves to be widely used in the classroom to provide students with glimpses of another world."—Anne Walthall, University of California, Irvine