Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture presents a Workshop on

Networks in Early Modern Japan

This is the third workshop of the ICC research group "Network Studies."
Date: June 11, 2011
Location: Sophia University, Bldg. 10, 3F, Room 301
Time: 13:30 until 17:00
Coordinator: Network Study Research Group (Sophia University)

The workshop will be conducted in English.
No prior registration required.
Free of charge

Paper Abstracts

Ochiai Kō (Shudo University, Hiroshima):
A village headman’s network and the ideology of “national interest”
The ideology of “national interest” became established not as an abstract ideal of government, but rather as a practical mindset based on the idea of systematically enriching the state. Ikegami Tarōzaemon (1718–1798), the headman (nanushi) of a village in the vicinity of Edo, is one such practitioner. Tarōzaemon dedicated his whole life to spreading sugar cultivation and production in order to stop the outflow of bullion for sugar imports. Crucial to his success was Tarōzaemon’s exploitation of his influential social network. His far-reaching connections included people he knew through his position as the village head of Daishikawaramura as well as people whom he had met through their common interest in haikai poetry. His network further extended to the shogunate’s most powerful politician, Tanuma Okitsugu, whose support for the sugar project was crucial. The thread linking individuals within this network to Tarōzaemon’s sugar-related efforts was a shared commitment to an ideology of “national interest.”

Bettina Gramlich-Oka (Sophia University, Tokyo):
Following one’s father’s aspiration: “Know the Way”
Rai Shunsui (1746-1816), the oldest son from a reasonably well-off family of dyers in Takehara in Aki province, left Takehara for the Kansai region in 1764 at the young age of nineteen. Nominally undertaken to cure a chronic disease, the trip in fact bespoke Shunsui’s determination to distinguish himself. With him he carried a list of over one hundred names of prominent men in Sakai, Osaka, and Kyoto. Before his return four months later he had made contact with seventy-four scholars, intellectuals, and other influential men. Focusing on two records kept by Shunsui, Tōyūzakki (Record of my trip east, 1764) and Zaishinkiji (Record of my stay in Osaka, undated), the paper will investigate Shunsui’s formation of a personal network that would ultimately bring him employment at the Hiroshima domain school and help him establish a reputation as one of the most influential and respected scholars of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Takeshi Moriyama (Murdoch University, Perth):
Between a Snowy Village and the Edo Bunjin Salon
Apart from his book Hokuetsu seppu, pub. 1837-1842, Suzuki Bokushi (1770-1842) is famous for his extensive communication network, notwithstanding his location in a remote rural town in Echigo province and his modest lifestyle as a farmer-merchant. One of his address books, ‘Kumoino kari’, contains hundreds of entries listing people from whom he received letters. These correspondents were geographically spread from Mutsu to Higo, and ranged socially from famous authors and kabuki actors to rural intellectuals and samurai officials. Examples of illustrious figures in the address book are Kyōden, Bakin, Ikku, Hokusai, Bōsai, Nampo, Danjūrō and Ebizō. Several courtesans in the pleasure quarter of Yoshiwara, including the celebrated beauty Hanaōgi, are also named. This paper examines the cultural and social mechanisms which enabled Bokushi to make contact with such celebrities in Edo, and the extent to which Bokushi was able to participate in the urban bunjin salon.

Those who are interested in their previous workshops, check out the following URLs.
The first workshop: Click here for paper abstracts and speaker bios
The second workshop: Click here for paper abstracts and speaker bios

And videos of those previous workshops are uploaded HERE!