Episode 410 – A Man of His Times

This week: Isaac spends 30 minutes unpacking the 400+ page ramblings of a cranky retiree who died about 200 years ago, but whose polemics against his own society have a remarkable amount to teach us about one of the most important moments in Japanese history.


Teeuwen, Mark, and Kate Wildman Nakai. Lust, Commerce and Corruption: An Account of What I have Seen and Heard.

O’Brien, Suzanne G. “Splitting Hairs: History and the Politics of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century Japan.” The Journal of Asian Studies 67, No 4 (Nov, 2008).


A map of the Yoshiwara pleasure district in 1846. You can see much the same layout if you look at the place today. The walls were intended to both contain the sex trade (not very successful) and allow the government to regulate and make money off it (more successful).
A reconstructed home of a wealthy townsman from the Edo period–this is from the Fukagawa Edo Museum. The wealth of townsmen families relative to samurai was a major sticking point for Buyo Inshi.
The home of a gokenin retainer in the Edo period. This lower class of shogunal retainers is probably the group Buyo Inshi belonged to.

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