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An Imperial Concubine's Tale – Scandal, Shipwreck, and Salvation in Seventeenth-Century Japan - Columbia Scholarship Online
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An Imperial Concubine's Tale: Scandal, Shipwreck, and Salvation in Seventeenth-Century Japan

G. Rowley


Japan in the early seventeenth century was a wild place. Serial killers stalked the streets of Kyoto at night, while noblemen and women mingled freely at the imperial palace, drinking saké and watching kabuki dancing in the presence of the emperor’s principal consort. Among these noblewomen was an imperial concubine named Nakanoin Nakako, who in 1609 became embroiled in a sex scandal involving both courtiers and young women in the emperor’s service. As punishment, Nakako was exiled to an island in the Pacific Ocean, but she never reached her destination. Instead, she was shipwrecked and spent ... More

Keywords: imperial concubine, Japan, Nakanoin Nakako, sex scandal, exile, Buddhist nun, samurai women

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780231158541
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231158541.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

G. Rowley, author
Waseda University