By Takeshi Moriyama
Crossing obstacles in Tokugawa Society offers a brilliant picure of the lifetime of Suzuki Bokushi (1770-1842), an elite villager in a snowy province of Japan, concentrating on his interplay with the altering social and cultural setting of the overdue Tokugawa interval (1603-1868).
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Additional info for Crossing boundaries in Tokugawa society: Suzuki Bokushi, a rural elite commoner
54 ‘Eitai kōshinchō’, in SBZ2, pp. 116–17. 55 See ‘Eisei kirokushū’, in SBZ2, pp. 64–65, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73–74, 78, 82, 85, 87, 90, 95, 97–98, and ‘Shūgetsuan hokkushū’, in SBZ1, pp. 804–06. 34 chapter one The following day [after I received the commendation], upon consulting with [the headman and an elder of Shiozawa], I secretly (‘hisokani’) offered a gift of a nanryō silver (an eighth ryō) each to the superintendent and the intendant through their assistant. Bokushi’s meetings with officers of the Muramatsu and Nagaoka domains took place when the Suzuki family offered overnight accommodation or lunch to the daimyo’s doctors or secretaries ( yōnin) on their journey for ‘alternate attendance’.
32 These developments can be summarized as follows: the building of post-stations and highways (ca 1590–1610), improvement of river lanes and jetties (ca 1620–50), a silver rush at a mine known as Ueda (ca 1655-), and the first chijimi-weaving boom (ca 1660–80). See NKS-T, vol. 3, pp. 674–75. 33 See Tanaka, Kinsei zaigōmachi no kenkyū, pp. 2–17. 34 See NKS-T, vol. 3, pp. 700–06. 35 The Aizu-han administration placed its local offices at Ojiya (head office), Koidejima and Shiozawa (branch offices) in order to administer Uonuma county, whose putative rice yield was approximately 70,000 koku.
18 In 1606, however, the family was deprived of samurai status during the political turmoil after the Uesugi corps had been defeated by the Tokugawa-led allied forces. In 1609, the only remaining member of the Suzuki family, an orphaned son, moved to Shiozawa, where he lived under the care of a village headman and a local temple. It seems that the Suzuki family gradually grew in assets; however, the family lost nearly all its property in the abovementioned cadastral survey of 1682, probably because the land was not cultivated by family members themselves, as the family head and his wife had died at young ages, just before the land reform.
Crossing boundaries in Tokugawa society: Suzuki Bokushi, a rural elite commoner by Takeshi Moriyama