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Lust, Commerce, and CorruptionAn Account of What I Have Seen and Heard, by an Edo Samurai$
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Mark Teeuwen and Kate Wildman Nakai

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166447

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166447.001.0001

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Chapter 5

Chapter 5

(p.232) Chapter 5
Lust, Commerce, and Corruption
Mark Teeuwen, Kate Wildman Nakai, Miyazaki Fumiko, Anne Walthall, John Breen, Mark Teeuwen, Kate Wildman Nakai
Columbia University Press

This chapter laments how the townspeople in Japan during the Edo period grew conceited, with particular emphasis on two tendencies among them, one that inspires abhorrence and another that arouses pity; the latter is the imbalance between the poor and the rich. It begins with a rough description of the matters that are to be abhorred by focusing on shogunal purveyors and wholesalers, domainal purveyors and storehouse agents, profligates and hoarders. It then takes a look at the wealth and arrogance of the Kuramae rice agents in Asakusa, the extravagance of Edo merchants, the townspeople's custom of having many concubines and kept women, and the practice of wives and concubines as well as clerks of townsmen to move around in palanquins. It also describes townspeople's ceremonies and the advantages enjoyed by townspeople, and how the pricing of goods gave rise to loss and gain, wealth and poverty. Finally, it discusses townspeople's freedom as compared with warriors and farmers, along with their money lending activities and other problems such as city crime and serious riots.

Keywords:   townspeople, Japan, Edo period, poor, rich, merchants, concubines, palanquins, money lending, crime

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