This week, we’ll be discussing the life of your average city-dweller in Edo Japan. This is a huge topic, and a fun one as well. Among the exciting things we will be discussing today:
- Schooling in the Edo Period (mostly just for samurai, but since it was based mostly on rote memorization you wouldn’t be missing out on much)
- The life of merchant families (often boiled down to ‘make money and damn the rest’)
- Entertainment of the period, from kabuki to the seedy world of prostitution (not that there was much of a distinction between the two)
- And other forms of flagrant immorality!
I had a lot of fun writing this episode, and I hope you enjoy listening to it!
Direct link to the show is available here.
Jansen, The Making of Modern Japan
Hanley, Everyday Things in Premodern Japan.
Iwasaki, Mineko. Geisha: A Life. New York: Washington Square Press, 2003.
Takeda, Izumo; Miyoshi, Shoraku, and Senryu, Namiki. Chushingura. Trans. Donald Keene. New York: Columbia University Press, 1971.
Media (Courtesy Wikimedia Foundation unless otherwise specified)
The above video was put together by UNESCO, and contains a description of the history of kabuki as well as recordings of modern performances.
Also from UNESCO, this video should give you an idea of how Bunraku shows are performed. Pay special attention to the way the puppets are manipulated; it’s all very impressive!