Description : Focuses on Japanese literacy in the rural farming class. This book draws on: signatures on apostasy oaths, diaries, agricultural manuals, home encyclopedias, rural poetry-contest entries, village election ballots, literacy surveys, and family account books.
Description : Early modern Japan was a military-bureaucratic state governed by patriarchal and patrilineal principles and laws. During this time, however, women had considerable power to directly affect social structure, political practice, and economic production. This apparent contradiction between official norms and experienced realities lies at the heart of The Problem of Women in Early Modern Japan. Examining prescriptive literature and instructional manuals for women—as well as diaries, memoirs, and letters written by and about individual women from the late seventeenth century to the early nineteenth century—Marcia Yonemoto explores the dynamic nature of Japanese women’s lives during the early modern era.
Description : Two of the most commonly alleged features of Japanese society are its homogeneity and its encouragement of conformity, as represented by the saying that the nail that sticks up gets pounded. This volume’s primary goal is to challenge these and a number of other long-standing assumptions regarding Tokugawa (1600-1868) society, and thereby to open a dialogue regarding the relationship between the Japan of two centuries ago and the present. The volume’s central chapters concentrate on six aspects of Tokugawa society: the construction of individual identity, aggressive pursuit of self-interest, defiant practice of forbidden religious traditions, interest in self-cultivation and personal betterment, understandings of happiness and well-being, and embrace of "neglected" counter-ideological values. The author argues that when taken together, these point to far higher degrees of individuality in early modern Japan than has heretofore been acknowledged, and in an Afterword the author briefly examines how these indicators of individuality in early modern Japan are faring in contemporary Japan at the time of writing.
Description : Draws on primary sources to chronicle Japan's Tokugawa period, a time of the unification of warring states and the origin of Kabuki theater and sushi.
Description : Michigan Monograph Series in Japanese Studies No. 70 The Female as Subject reveals the rich and lively world of literate women in Japan from 1600 through the early twentieth century. Eleven essays by an international group of scholars from Europe, Japan, and North America examine what women of different social classes read, what books were produced specifically for women, and the genres in which women themselves chose to write. The authors explore the different types of education women obtained and the levels of literacy they achieved, and they uncover women’s participation in the production of books, magazines, and speeches. The resulting depiction of women as readers and writers is also enhanced by thirty black-and-white illustrations. For too long, women have been largely absent from accounts of cultural production in early modern Japan. By foregrounding women, the essays in this book enable us to rethink what we know about Japanese society during these centuries. The result is a new history of women as readers, writers, and culturally active agents. The Female as Subject is essential reading for all students and teachers of Japan during the Edo and Meiji periods. It also provides valuable comparative data for scholars of the history of literacy and the book in East Asia.
Description : This abridged edition of Haruo Shirane's popular anthology, Early Modern Japanese Literature, retains the essential texts that have made the original volume such a valuable resource. The book introduces English-speaking readers to prose fiction genres, including dangibon, kibyoshi (satiric picture books), sharebon (books of wit and fashion), yomihon, kokkeibon (books of humor), gokan (bound books), and ninjobon (books of romance and sentiment). It also features poetic genres such as waka, haiku, senryu, and kyoka, and plays ranging from Chikamatsu's puppet plays to nineteenth-century kabuki. Readers will continue to benefit from the anthology's selection of significant essays, treatises, literary criticism, folk stories, and other noncanonical works, as well as the numerous prints that accompanied these works. They will also find Shirane's introductions and critical commentary, which guide the reader through the allusive and often elliptical nature of these incredible selections.
Description : A groundbreaking look at Western and Eastern social development from the end of the ice age to today In the past thirty years, there have been fierce debates over how civilizations develop and why the West became so powerful. The Measure of Civilization presents a brand-new way of investigating these questions and provides new tools for assessing the long-term growth of societies. Using a groundbreaking numerical index of social development that compares societies in different times and places, award-winning author Ian Morris sets forth a sweeping examination of Eastern and Western development across 15,000 years since the end of the last ice age. He offers surprising conclusions about when and why the West came to dominate the world and fresh perspectives for thinking about the twenty-first century. Adapting the United Nations' approach for measuring human development, Morris's index breaks social development into four traits—energy capture per capita, organization, information technology, and war-making capacity—and he uses archaeological, historical, and current government data to quantify patterns. Morris reveals that for 90 percent of the time since the last ice age, the world's most advanced region has been at the western end of Eurasia, but contrary to what many historians once believed, there were roughly 1,200 years—from about 550 to 1750 CE—when an East Asian region was more advanced. Only in the late eighteenth century CE, when northwest Europeans tapped into the energy trapped in fossil fuels, did the West leap ahead. Resolving some of the biggest debates in global history, The Measure of Civilization puts forth innovative tools for determining past, present, and future economic and social trends.
Description : Considering the social processes that drove the information explosion of the 1600s, this is an account of the conversion of the public from an object of state surveillance into a subject of self-knowledge. It shows that public texts projected a national collectivity characterized by access to markets, mobility, sociability, and self-fashioning.
Description : This book explains in fascinating detail how economic and social transformations in pre-1600 Japan led to an industrious revolution in the early modern period and how the fruits of the Industrious Revolution are what have supported Japan since the eighteenth century, improving living standards and leading to the formation of the work ethic of modern Japan. The arrival of the Sengoku Period in the sixteenth century saw the emergence and domination of government by the warrior class. It was Tokugawa Ieyasu who unified the realm. Yet this unity did not give rise to an autocratic state, as the shogun was recognized merely as a main pillar of the warrior class. Economically, however, from the fourteenth century, currency payments for shōen nengu (taxes paid to the proprietor) became standard, and currency circulation began, primarily in the central region. Under Tokugawa rule, organized domestic coinage of currency began, opening the way to establishing a national economic society. Also, agricultural land was surveyed through cadastral surveys known as kenchi. Land values were converted in terms of rice, so the expected rice yields for each village were assessed, and the lords used this as a benchmark for imposing taxes. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Japan experienced a “great transition,” and conditions for peasants, agriculture, and farming villages underwent great changes. Inefficient traditional agriculture using peasants in a state of servitude was transformed into highly efficient small-sized farming operations which relied on family labor. As production yields increased due to labor-intensive agriculture, the profits obtained by the peasants improved their living standards. The stem-family system became the norm through which work ethics and even literacy were transmitted. This very change was the result of the “industrious revolution” in Japan. The book thus presents the framework of the facts of pre-industrial Japanese history and depicts pre-modern Japan from a macroscopic point of view, showing how the industrious revolution came about. It is certain to be of great interest to economists and historians alike.
Description : This concise volume surveys three hundred years in the history of the lumber industry in early modern (Tokugawa) Japan. In earlier works, Conrad Totman examined environmental aspects of Japan's early modern forest history; here he guides readers through the inner workings of lumber provision for urban construction, providing a wealth of detail on commercial and technological systems of provision while focusing on the convoluted commercial arrangements that moved timber from forest to city despite exceptionally severe environmental and financial obstacles. Based on scrupulous scholarship in the vast Japanese secondary literature on forest history, The Lumber Industry in Early Modern Japan brings to light materials previously unavailable in English and synthesizes these within a thoughtful ecological framework. Its penetrating examination of the patterns of cooperation and conflict throughout the industry adds significantly to the scholarly corpus that challenges the stock image of Tokugawa rulers and merchants as social enemies. Instead it supports the view of those who have noted the interdependent character of political and economic elites and the long-term strengthening of rural sectors of society vis-a-vis urban sectors.