Essay Sample on Culture During the Tokugawa Period

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  976 Words
Date:  2022-12-05


Culture is a noble attribute that unites all aspects of a given society. All societies are bound to honor and respect the stipulated code of conduct that brings its useful characteristics to significant stability. Social and cultural activities play a vital role in distinguishing the do and don'ts that society must embrace (Hefner 132). However, in Asia, different cultures have been put to practice to create a real society which defines the position and role of its members regardless of their gender identity. For instance, during the Tokugawa period, Chonin culture was nothing more than indulgence in sensual pleasures of a leisured class. The culture was used to satisfy people physical desire in a more distinct manner without interfering with the role others play in making it cohesive. Therefore, this paper examines the truth about the use of Chonin culture in the indulgence in a leisured class for sensual pleasure during the Tokugawa period.

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Chonin Culture During the Tokugawa Period

Chonin was a known social class in Japan which emerged during the early years of the Tokugawa period. Its vast majority included the merchants, artisans, as well as the farmers. Notably, the socioeconomic ascendance of chonin culture during this period portrays mild similarities of the contemporary middle-class rise in the West (Hefner 246). However, by the late 17th century the growth and prosperity of Edo had started producing unforeseen changes in the social order of the Tokugawa. For instance, the chonin, who were believed to be theoretically at the last position of the Edo hierarchy flourished economically and socially at the expense of the samurai and daimyos.

Mainly, in Chikamatsu and the Puppet Theater; the play Love Suicides at Amijima, reveals a consistent correlation which shows sensual pleasure indulgence among the leisured class. The play introduces a kind of 'giri' which indicates that the relationship between women can only be broken on well-outlined obligations (Saltzman-Li 314). Chikamatsu also creates a complex conflict of emotions and responsibility in deducing the outcome of a sensual necessity between people. The play also reflects a world of passion, desires, and individual between two lovers. Additionally, the double movement in play is symbolically mapped to awaken the profound crisis that might be realized due to the change of culture. Overall, the double suicides in the final scene of the play which add functionality to the importance of prayers to the spirit imply a world of ghosts which is common evidence during the Tokugawa period.

Similarly, in Matsuo Basho's Poetry and Prose the art of Haikai portrays a series of genres which are closely related. The kinds of visual images which enhance language and subculture interactions especially between the poetic tradition and the new popular culture. Similarly, haikai has a spirit for taking sensual pleasure in reconceptualization to establish an extensive recasting for culture and language celebrations. As a result, Chonin culture played a crucial role in the Japanese cultural products development which rakugo and handicrafts as well as aesthetic ideals such as tsu, iki and inase developed to qualify the Chonin was a mere indulgence of sensual pleasure among the leisured class.

Additionally, haikai reveals a complicated interest in refiguring cultural memory. According to Basho, classical and medieval poems which were used during the Tokugawa period resulted to imitate culture; seeing by comparison. This moved across China and Japan to create a new popular drama and literature with urban men and women being at the center position in changing the perception that had existed in Chonin culture. Some of the modern literature and drama which regarded for use in sensual pleasure includes Osaka, Edo, and Kyoto (Bassoe 445). Notably, the composition also portrays a significant combination of topics and words which are not hard to trace but also has mild sensation in the life of people who interact with the piece of art.

Moreover, most of Basho's poetry and prose are fulfilled socioreligious functions are dialogic. They are used to express gratitude as well as bid farewell among others. As a result, this creates a passive environment for real celebration of culture during leisure periods (Arimitsu 231). The addition of verses in the original work makes them embrace humorous fashion and create a new meaning which arouses emotional feeling among people. The ever-changing and unchanging verses used in poems and verses during the Tokugawa period reveals aspects which are truthful and profoundly moving in the hearts of leisured persons.

Furthermore, in the history, romance and supernatural of early Yomihon, Ueda Akinari created a psychological dimension to culture through beautiful writing which captures historical and literary associations in the work of art. The structure of his actions portrays medieval drama with similar effects which arouse sensual pleasure. The Chrysanthemum Vow is also spinning affluence which creates cultural appreciation, especially among the religious bodies.


In conclusion, the Tokugawa period qualifies as a proposition that chonin culture was nothing more than indulgence in sensual pleasures of a leisured class. For instance, the Tokugawa system reveals that their cultural names determine every family, especially from the federal lords. This unites people to a common goal as well as the socio-cultural activities. However, in Chikamatsu and Basho's genres, the revelations and the characters' action portrayed mild attraction that upon detachment may lead to suicide and eventual death.

Works Cited

Arimitsu, Yasue. "Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Matsuo Basho's Oku no Hosomichi." Coolabah 21 (2017): 6-23.

Bassoe, Pedro Thiago Ramos. Eyes of the Heart: Illustration and the Visual Imagination in Modern Japanese Literature. Diss. UC Berkeley, 2018.

Hefner, Robert W. "Introduction: society and morality in the new Asian capitalisms." Market Cultures. Routledge, 2018. 1-38.

Saltzman-Li, Katherine. "The Bunraku Puppet Theatre of Japan: Honor, Vengeance, and Love in Four Plays of the 18 th and 19 th Centuries by Stanleigh H. Jones, and: Wondrous Brutal Fictions: Eight Buddhist Tales from the Early Japanese Puppet Theater by R. Keller Kimbrough." Monumenta Nipponica 70.1 (2015): 146-151.

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