chapter  11
6 Pages

The Genroku Era: 1688 — 1703

ALTHOUGH THE RULE of T sunayoshi was in many ways a dark period, it was a time when Edo culture developed a striking splendour. Genroku is the name given to this era (1688-1703), -a time when the pursuit of the arts of Kyoto replaced the rough military character of the previous shogunates. A key person in this 'renaissance' period was Keishoin, the mother of the Shogun, to whom T sunayoshi left all freedom of action. She was of modest origin, having come from Kyoto as a bath-house girl with the wife of Iemitsu. She was superstitious and she was in part responsible for the madness of her son. Having acquired a certain amount of power, she used it to exalt her native town. She had everything she needed brought to her from the Imperial capital, for to her only things from Kyoto were worth looking at. The women of the Shogun's capital followed her example; the wives of rich daimyo refused to be left behind and those of the hatamoto and samurai did their best to imitate them. Finally, the women of the new middle class, having become wealthy, were trying, in spite of police regulations, to rival the aristocracy.