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Thread: Edo Jidai Trivia

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Arrow Edo Jidai Trivia

    I've been reading a fascinating book on Japanese history since the Edo period till now : "A Modern History of Japan : from Tokugawa times to the present, by Andrew Gordon (Professor of History at Harvard University)". I have taken note of a few interesting facts.

    Did you know that during the Edo period...

    - Samurai, farmers and merchants had to wear different clothes.

    - Farmers were prohibited the "luxury" of drinking tea.

    - Samurai could not frequent entertainment (read "prostitutes") districts (but did anyway).

    - Priests and monks were at the margin of society together with outcastes, criminals and prostitutes. They all lived in the same quarter in the edge of the city of Edo, in Yoshiwara (now called Asakusa, and still filled with priests, prostitutes, yakuzas and ... foreigners ).

    - During more than 2 and a half centuries of peace of the Tokugawa rule, a great deal of samurai became bureaucratic government officials (not really the image conveyed by "The Last Samurai").

    - Confucianism was the official philosophy of the Shogunate and, like in China, officials had to pass exams to select the most talented. However, it didn't prevent lower rank samurai to be frequently discriminated.

    - 国 ("kuni") was a word applied to Daimyo domains in the Edo period. The concept of "nation" as the whole of Japan only appeared in the early 19th century, and was applied officially from the Meiji restoration. However, lots of Japanese nowadays still use the word "kuni" (and also "country" when they speak English) to refer to their region or prefecture, rather than all Japan.

    - Western knowledge was called "Dutch learning", because it came through Dutch traders in Nagasaki.

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  2. #2
    ¹“VŽg Eternal Wind's Avatar
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    A very fasinating history!!
    Yup,it's a very good improvement now to compare to the past.

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    Omnipotence personified Mandylion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    - Priests and monks were at the margin of society together with outcastes, criminals and prostitutes. They all lived in the same quarter in the edge of the city of Edo, in Yoshiwara (now called Asakusa, and still filled with priests, prostitutes, yakuzas and ... foreigners ).
    I find this quite interesting. Does the author go into why? Was this by choice or decree?

    (PS: great post Maciamo)

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    Regular Member senseiman's Avatar
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    Interesting stuff.

    Here is another interesting piece of trivia, not sure if it was just in the Edo era or not:

    Court ladies used to have attendants that would follow them around whenever they were in public. One of their most important responsibilities was to claim responsibility whenever their ladies farted audibly in front of people. After the noblewoman broke wind, the attendant would stand up and announce to everyone "Watakushi deshita, nani ka?" with a scowl to discourage any snickering.

    Learned that from one of those 'did you know' shows a little while ago. The re-enacment they did had me laughing myself silly.

  5. #5
    Regular Member kuchi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandylion
    I find this quite interesting. Does the author go into why? Was this by choice or decree?

    (PS: great post Maciamo)

    considering the loathing nobunaga had for the temples that defied him for so long, and hideyoshi's own feelings on the subject it is not supprising that ieyasu(sp? sry cant remember) would feel the same. im sure the subject goes much farther into depth and alludes too a particular incident(s) but the hostility was certainly there during the advent of the tokugawa shogunate.
    -wisdom is being able to entertain an idea without accepting it-

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    Dog Youkai playaa's Avatar
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    Very learning filled post Thanks Maciamo
    "Kanpeki to chau, jinsei no shuushi
    Puramai zero da nanteba honto ka na?
    Shinu made ni tsukaikiru, un no kazu
    Semete, jibun de dashiire wo sasete
    "

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    It seems all J kids are crazing for "mushi king", a sort of card game in the arcade.

    A person named Mushiya Seijiro started his bug business in the Edo. A cricket charp is not a noise for Japanese at all, though it is nearly impossible to hear it in Tokyo now.

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    - Samurai, farmers and merchants had to wear different clothes.
    In every country that has a status system, the government enacts the law of limiting the clothes. In 17~18 century, England and France had the same law .
    The shogunate forbade the common people to have on the silk clothes. But the rich people ordered the tailors to make the silk clothes that did not look silk at a glance, or the cotton clothes whose lining was silk.


    - Farmers were prohibited the "luxury" of drinking tea.

    Perhaps, this will be from the Article 6 : "You should not buy tea and liquor." of "Keian no Ohuregaki"ŒcˆÀŒäG‘(1649). "Keian no Ohuregaki"ŒcˆÀŒäG‘(1649) was not the law but the admonition. None of the farmers would be able to keep it. They had the right of self-government. But "Keian no Ohuregaki"ŒcˆÀŒäG‘(1649) gives us many interesting informations on the village society in the early Edo period.

    Article 14 : "However beautiful your wife is, if she drinks the high-priced tea much and often enjoys going on a jaunt without looking after you, you should divorce her. However plain your wife is, if she looks after you and your family, you should love her much."

    Article 23 : "You should not smoke tobacco. Smoking never fills your stomach and it will harm you. Moreover smoking takes you much money and time. It may cause a big fire. You will lose everything by smoking."

    The shogunate enacted the thrift ordinance several times. All that ordinance always lost effect after a few years.


    - Priests and monks were at the margin of society together with outcastes, criminals and prostitutes. They all lived in the same quarter in the edge of the city of Edo, in Yoshiwara (now called Asakusa, and still filled with priests, prostitutes, yakuzas and ... foreigners).
    There were countless temples and shrines in Edo. The most of them were located around Edo. Because in the center of the city the large residences of feudal lords"Daimyo" and the houses of Samurai were built.
    All the people had to be supporters of the temples by the religious policy of the shogunate. They were devout Buddhists. "Zojoji"‘ãŽ›, "Kan-eiji"Š°‰iŽ›, and "Toshogu"“ŒÆ‹{ were the very important temples and shrine for the Shogun. The Shogun visited there every month.
    Andrew Gordon seems to think that there was no temple except "Sensoji"ó‘Ž› in the Edo period.
    "Sensoji"ó‘Ž› stands at Asakusaó‘. Yoshiwara is different place from Asakusa. Asakusa has been called "Asakusa" since before the Edo period. Yoshiwara where prostitutes lived was in the north of Asakusa.


    A girl student of high school is more knowledgeable than a professor of Harvard !

  9. #9
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaerupop
    All the people had to be supporters of the temples by the religious policy of the shogunate. They were devout Buddhists. "Zojoji"‘ãŽ›, "Kan-eiji"Š°‰iŽ›, and "Toshogu"“ŒÆ‹{ were the very important temples and shrine for the Shogun. The Shogun visited there every month.
    Zojoji is in Shiba-koen, Toshogu is in Ueno-koen, but where is Kaneiji ? Has it changed name now, or has it disappeared ? Anyway, both Toshogu and Zojoji were outside Edo.

    Toshogu is a shrine rather than a temple. If we also count the shrines, then there is also Kanda Myojin within central Edo.

    I took the picture below in Nihombashi. It is a historical map of Edo in the 17th century. We see that Asakusa or Fukagawa were clearly outside the city itself.



    Btw, are you the high-school girl you mentioned ?

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    to Maciamo

    I advise you to read the reprint of the map which was printed in the Edo period.
    [ØŠG}EŒ»‘ã}‚Å•à‚­]ŒË“Œ‹žŽU•à]
    http://www.amazon.co.jp/exec/obidos/...584932-9832238

    I have this book. It is very interesting.
    Your map is too simple.

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    And...

    Edo is larger than yellow area of your map.
    The moat is not the border line of the city.
    Edo is different from European city.

  12. #12
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaerupop
    Edo is larger than yellow area of your map.
    The moat is not the border line of the city.
    Edo is different from European city.
    This is a map of 17th century Edo (about from 1600 to 1660), so it indeed got larger later on. But the yellow area is what is considered the center (as opposed to suburbs).

    In what way is Edo different from European cities ?

  13. #13
    Regular Member Tokis-Phoenix's Avatar
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    You mentioned earlier that depending on your social status and rank you were only allowed to wear certain types of cloths which i have known myself for a fair while but i was wondering what exactly were the consequences for wearing items of clothing above your social status- like if you were a farmer who decided it would be nice to wear a silk kimono, how exactly would you be punished for this action roughly?

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    Fugu, forbidden fish

    What the edo ordinary people did after the ban on luxury stuffs was not to agitate "liberty, democracy, human right or whatever", but to develop "48 brown and 100 gray colors" for your kimono.


    Fugu blowfish tastes really nice, though it is poisonous fish.
    Japanese have eaten it 2000yrs before. But up until the post-WWII, there was no lisence to cook Fugu, so many died after eating it.
    Once samurai died after eating the fish, it was such a greatest shame on them that their families would abolish. So they restrained themselves from eating it.

    The longing for the good taste of blowfish,
    but the fear of death
    It is the same expression as "Honey is sweet but the bee stings".

    After developing the fugu farming tech, you can find reasonable fugu restaurants now. Even nontoxic fugu tech is also available now, but the authority hesitates to approve it.
    What a bureaucracy...

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    Edo

    to Maciamo
    Japanese cities were not surrounded by a wall like European cities.
    In Europe both the ruling class and the common people lived inside a wall. The church was built inside a wall.

    The model of the Japanese castle town called "Joka machi"é‰º’¬ is the following figure.



    Samurai lived surrounding the castle. The common people lived along the wide street. The temple was often built in the northeast of the town. The northeast was thought to be the the direction from which demons came into the town. It is called "Kimon"‹S–å. People hoped that the temple would protect their town against the misfortune.

    About your map :
    The red area of your map is the Edo castle which was expanded by Ieyasu‰ÆN in about 1596.
    The Edo castle was built by a vassal of the feudal lord, Ota Dokan‘¾“c“¹Ÿó, in the Muromachi period. Since Ieyasu was moved by Toyotomi Hideyoshi–LbG‹g in 1590, he lived in the small and poor castle for 6 years. In about 1596 Ieyasu expanded the Edo castle.
    The purple area is the Edo castle which was expanded by HidetadaG’‰ in about 1615.
    The moat of the yellow area was built by Iemitsu‰ÆŒõ in about 1644. The moat called "Sotobori"ŠO–x was the defense line of the Edo castle not the border line of the Edo city. In a sense the yellow area of your map is the Edo castle.

    ------------------------------------------------


    the map made in about 1644
    The red area of this map was the Shogun zone. The purple area was the high-powered feudal lords zone. The yellow area is the Samurai zone(the average feudal lords and Tokugawa's samurai). Moreover outside a moat, the large residences of the feudal lords(including 3 families of Tokugawa called "Gosan-ke"ŒäŽO‰Æ) and many houses of samurai were built. The gray area is the common people zone. Many wide streets ran there.
    Kan-eijiŠ°‰iŽ›, the large temple for Shogun, was built to protect the Edo against the misfortune in the northeast of Edo in 1625. It was burned down at the war in 1868. Now, that place is the Ueno park. The very small Kan-eijiŠ°‰iŽ› was rebuilt in 1875 near the Ueno park.
    Sensojió‘Ž› is the oldest temple in Tokyo. In 7 century it was built. (At that time it was still the small temple.)
    Some of priests assisted the Shogun. Konchiin Suden‹à’n‰@’“` acted as an adviser to Ieyasu.
    Afterward the shogunate appointed the farmers(Ninomiya Kinjiro“ñ‹{‹àŽŸ˜Y) and the merchants(Senba tarobeå”g‘¾˜Y•º‰q) as the advisers of the government.


    the map published in 1849
    The countless temples were built around Edo. Most of them were smaller temples than you imagine.


    to pipokun
    pipokun wrote :
    A person named Mushiya Seijiro started his bug business in the Edo.


    the book published in 1720
    The woman(nanny ?) says "Please sell him the bug which has good voice."
    People enjoyed chirp of the bug(various crickets : Korogi, Suzumushi, Matsumushi, Kutsuwamushi).

    the book published in 1805

    the book published in 1836
    the bug peddler


    to Tokis-Phoenix

    The influential farmer like a village headman was permitted to wear the silk clothes"Kinutsumugi"Œ¦’Û at the ceremony.
    The shogunate exercised stricter control over the luxurious life of samurai than that of the common people, because "Simple and sturdy"Ž¿ŽÀ„Œ’ was the motto of Samurai.
    If they did not wear very flamboyant clothes, they were not punished.
    People knew that all thrift ordinances would lose effect after a few years.
    Though I have never read the historical record about the punishment, perhaps a offender against that law would be usually given a warning"shikari"™èÓ, I think.
    But once I have heard the story of the rare case.
    In the late 17 century"Genroku"Œ³˜\, in Edo, one woman was enthusiastic about the clothes. She was the wife of the very rich merchant, Ishikawa RokubeÎì˜Z•º‰q and boasted that she had the largest number of clothes in Japan. She travelled to Kyoto to participate in contest of the clothes.
    She had become the talk of Edo.
    One day, the Shogun, Tsunayoshij‹g passed by her house. He saw many high-priced clothes hung to incense them.
    At once the judicial officer arrested her for the thrift ordinance and confiscated all her property. And she and her family were banished from Edo.
    The truth about this story may be shrouded in the mists of legend.

    The repeated thrift ordinances influenced the mode.
    "showy" >>>>> "subdued"
    "large-patterned" >>>>> "small-patterned"

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    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the explanation, kaerupop.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaerupop
    to Maciamo
    Japanese cities were not surrounded by a wall like European cities.
    In Europe both the ruling class and the common people lived inside a wall. The church was built inside a wall.
    But we are not talking about the same period. City walls surrounded European cities in the late middle ages, from about the 12th century to the early 16th century (so from the Kamakura to the Muromachi period in Japan). However, there were no city walls in Europe during the Edo period, and the nobility (=samurai) usually lived in castles or palaces outside the city, usually surrounded by a big park. The nobles normally had their own chapel (small church) inside their castle/palace.

    Like in Japan, peasants lived in villages in the countryside, while merchants, artisans, artists, civil servants, government soldiers, etc. lived in cities. From the 16th century, European nobles became very different from the Japanese samurai class. They were landed lords that usually didn't fight but discussed the arts and politics, sponsored famous artists or enjoyed themselves. Wars were made by ordinary soldiers like nowadays. The officers were often from noble families but not always. Castles were not used in wars anymore. Most battles took place in open fields or at sea.

    So the main difference between Europe and Japan during the Edo period was that the castle was the center of the city in Japan, and that the soldiers protecting this castle were the priviledged samurai class, not ordinary people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Like in Japan, peasants lived in villages in the countryside, while merchants, artisans, artists, civil servants, government soldiers, etc. lived in cities. From the 16th century, European nobles became very different from the Japanese samurai class. They were landed lords that usually didn't fight but discussed the arts and politics, sponsored famous artists or enjoyed themselves. Wars were made by ordinary soldiers like nowadays. The officers were often from noble families but not always. Castles were not used in wars anymore. Most battles took place in open fields or at sea.

    So the main difference between Europe and Japan during the Edo period was that the castle was the center of the city in Japan, and that the soldiers protecting this castle were the priviledged samurai class, not ordinary people.
    Tell me who the samurai class protected their castles against... It seems to me that people enjoyed the pax tokugawana.

  18. #18
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipokun
    Tell me who the samurai class protected their castles against... It seems to me that people enjoyed the pax tokugawana.
    That was in fact more theoretical. I never quite understood why the samurai had to keep their sword and live around the lord's castle in such a prolonged time of peace if there was really no risk of rebellion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    That was in fact more theoretical. I never quite understood why the samurai had to keep their sword and live around the lord's castle in such a prolonged time of peace if there was really no risk of rebellion.
    yeah, i know you knew.
    I don't know if it was just a sort of noblesse oblige for the samurai class, esp. lower ranked samurai to stay poor.
    They should have exploited the people more like other countries...

    Engelbert Kämpfer, a German scientist and doctor, wrote "The history of Japan". I heard there are a lot of discrepancies between the original and the Eng translation.
    Interesting enough, the evaluation of his book completely changed before/after the Enlightment in Europe. And the Japanese read it and some encouraged the positive view on "sakoku"@in the early 19C and it might bring "Revere the Emperor, Expel the Barbarians" policy.

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    Food/sake bout in the Edo

    Some of you may know Takeru Kobayashi, the Nathan's champion. In the Edo period, stupid food eating bouts/sake drinking bouts also conducted.

    Sake bout
    I pick up female results.
    Miyo drank 0.7 gallons of sake without showing her drunken face.
    Sumi drank 1.1 gallons of sake.
    Oiku and Ofun also drank a lot of sake all days.

    •s‹–ˆ«‹qi‰ºŒËA—‹üj“üˆÁ–å
    This means no bad-mannered drinker, getting angry, sleep, crying after drinking incl. non-drinkers or people argumentative by nature in the bout.

    Food bout
    Kichizo, aged 74, ate 54 bowls of rice with 58 chilies.
    Kanemon ate 50 manju dumplings, 7 bars of Yokan sweet jellied adzuki-bean paste, 30 rice dumpling and 19 cups of tea

    I tried 1 kilo curry a while ago, but in fail. I was confident at first, but I left 2 or 3 more spoons of curry, and I had to pay a 2000yen fine in the end.

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    Who's the best shogun in the Edo era would be a tough question, I suppose.

    8th shogun Yoshimune ordered to plant lots of sakura trees in the city for Edo people to enjoy sakura viewing party.
    A classic rakugo comedy story, Nagaya no Hanami, or poor tenants' sakura viewing party is my favorite story which enables me to imagine what the Edo people though or laughed at. It would be hard to tranlate the last part of the story, but really a funny story, so try to read it when you study Japanese.

    11th shogun Ienari kept 40 concubines and 55 kids! Under his influence, the Kasei culure was also in full bloom. His favrite food was dairy products.
    Do I drink more milk for another 39 partners? One partner is ok for me...

  22. #22
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Pipokun, did your sources provide any example of culinary specialities made with cow milk of other dairy products made from cow milk ? I personally haven't heard of any "traditional" (pre-Meiji) Japanese dishes including cow milk.

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    I suppose the J-milk association site is one of the most well-organized and written in easiest Japanese.

    Then what was a sort of obsolete dairy culture between Heian and Edo?
    Buddhism, esp. Zen school affected a lots.
    The Buddha, or oshakasama drank milk.

    If the veggie activists controled our life, people in 25th century would probably forget the history in which many enjoy our current food culture...

    Or you're just interested in some recipes, try ”ò’¹“ç, it is a local feast in Nara.

  24. #24
    TAN Hiroyuki Nagashima's Avatar
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    ”ò’¹“ç
    [Asuka pan] it is a pan of a rare milk base.
    The cooking that a priest of the visit person that came from “‚ in the Asuka era made
    The priest made food served in a pot with milk of a goat to get over cold
    http://asukakyo.jp/minsyuku/nabe.html

    recipe(Web Translation)
    http://infoseek.amikai.com/amiweb/br...&c_id=infoseek

    http://infoseek.amikai.com/amiweb/br...&c_id=infoseek

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    Thanks, Nagashimasan.

    Then, noble people started drinking milk, And the code of taiho/yoro stipulated taxation on milk, of course cow milk.

    I skipped other milk story in Sengoku, but the Buddhism and Shitoism influence prevented, or even scared Japanese to drink milk till Meiji.

    I assume this thead is about Edo, not milk or other era in Japanese history, so I don't tell it here more.

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