By Constantine Nomikos Vaporis
Trade attendance (sankin kotai) used to be one of many valuable associations of Edo-period (1603-1868) Japan and the most strange examples of a method of enforced elite mobility in global historical past. It required the daimyo to divide their time among their domain names and the town of Edo, the place they waited upon the Tokugawa shogun. in keeping with a prodigious volume of analysis in either released and archival fundamental assets, journey of accountability renders exchange attendance as a lived adventure, for not just the daimyo but additionally the samurai retainers who followed them. past exploring the character of trip to and from the capital in addition to the interval of enforced bachelorhood there, Constantine Vaporis elucidates--for the 1st time--the importance of exchange attendance as an engine of cultural, highbrow, fabric, and technological alternate. Vaporis argues opposed to the view that cultural swap easily emanated from the heart (Edo) and divulges extra complicated styles of cultural circulate and construction happening among the domain names and Edo and between far away components of Japan. what's commonly known as "Edo tradition" in truth included components from the localities. sometimes, Edo acted as a nexus for trade; at different instances, tradition traveled from one region to a different with out passing throughout the capital. therefore, even those that didn't at once perform trade attendance skilled a global a lot greater than their very own. Vaporis starts off via detailing the character of the journey to and from the capital for one specific large-scale area, Tosa, and its males and is going directly to study the political and cultural meanings of the processions of the daimyo and their broad entourages up and down the highways. those parade-like activities have been replete with symbolic import for the character of early sleek governance. Later chapters are considering the actual and social setting skilled by means of the daimyo's retainers in Edo; in addition they tackle the query of who went to Edo and why, the community of actual areas within which the domainal samurai lived, the difficulty of staffing, political strength, and the day-by-day lives and intake behavior of retainers. eventually, Vaporis examines retainers as providers of tradition, either in a literal and a figurative feel. In doing so, he finds the importance of commute for retainers and their identification as shoppers and manufacturers of tradition, hence providing a multivalent version of cultural switch.
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Extra resources for Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan
Labor contractors supplied porters, palanquin bearers, and other laborers for daimyo processions. Yoneya Kyūemon was one such contractor, and he handled the labor needs of eight domains, including Numazu and Kuwana, in the late 1850s. In 1859, for example, he supplied 103 laborers — 57 percent of the total number of men in the procession — to carry baggage for the retinue of Kuwana domain on the trip to Edo. For Kaga domain’s procession in 1827, 35 percent of the personnel were hired laborers. 91 For the various expenses incurred on the road, for transport services, lodging, river crossings, rest and lunch breaks, and miscellaneous purchases, cash was required.
At other times the procession would stop for lunch at other post station inns. 72 In contrast, most of the men in the Sendai retinue in 1863 had a more substantial lunch of white rice, miso soup with potato and tofu, and pickled eggplant. 73 The official and auxiliary official inns where the daimyo and his highestranking retainers ate were also the largest and most impressive buildings in the post towns. Befitting the status of their guests, they were centrally located in 29 30 tou r of du t y the station and the only buildings allowed to have gatehouses marking their entrances.
The trip was also physically taxing. The discomfort involved in such a long journey is intimated in Kobayashi Issa’s poem: “Even the lord / Soaked to the bone / I sit by the hearth” (Daimyō mo nurete tōru o kotatsu ka na). One can easily imagine Issa sitting in front of a charcoal brazier at a roadside teahouse sipping a warm beverage while observing a daimyo procession passing by, its members drenched by the rain. In some years unseasonable weather certainly must have made the trip seem even longer.
Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan by Constantine Nomikos Vaporis