Episode 84 – A Day in the Life of Rural Edo Japan

This week, we go back to address a glaring flaw from episode 10: my total lack of discussion of the countryside. Rural life in the Edo Period involved a lot more than simply farming from dawn to sunset, and this week we’ll get into exactly what it meant to be a peasant in the golden age of the samurai.

Listen to the episode here.

A farmer and his wife in the late Edo Period.
A farmer and his wife in the late Edo Period.
Sake brewing was one of many side employments used by farmers to make some extra cash.
Sake brewing was one of many side employments used by farmers to make some extra cash.
Ninomiya Sontoku, moralist, economist, and the Edo period patron saint of thrift.
Ninomiya Sontoku, moralist, economist, and the Edo period patron saint of thrift.
A Terakoya (temple-run school). This image depicts an all girl's school. The terakoya provided  -- at relatively low cost -- the essential skill of basic literacy for young peasants during the Edo Period.
A Terakoya (temple-run school). This image depicts an all girl’s school. The terakoya provided — at relatively low cost — the essential skill of basic literacy for young peasants during the Edo Period.

Sources

Crawcour, Sydney, “Economic Change in the Nineteenth Century” in The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol 5. 

Hanley, Susan. Everyday Things in Premodern Japan.

Smith, Thomas C. Native Sources of Japanese Industrialization

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

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2 thoughts on “Episode 84 – A Day in the Life of Rural Edo Japan

  1. Excellent! Thank you! I am actually only on episode 17 or thereabouts, listened to episode 10 yesterday and maybe felt a bit offended 🙂 that you said rural farmer’s life was just boring and can be covered in a few minutes. I live and run tours in a small rural hamlet in Nagano, and there is so much that could fill way more than a few minutes. I came to the website to request that you do a show about rural life. Luckily I saw this before posting. Can’t wait to listen.

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