By G. G. Rowley
Japan within the early 17th century was once a wild position. Serial killers stalked the streets of Kyoto at evening, whereas noblemen and girls mingled freely on the imperial palace, ingesting saké and gazing kabuki dancing within the presence of the emperor's significant consort. between those noblewomen used to be an imperial concubine named Nakanoin Nakako, who in 1609 grew to become embroiled in a intercourse scandal regarding either courtiers and younger women within the emperor's carrier. As punishment, Nakako used to be banished to an island within the Pacific Ocean, yet she by no means reached her vacation spot. as a substitute, she used to be shipwrecked and spent fourteen years in a distant village at the Izu Peninsula prior to she used to be eventually allowed to come back to Kyoto. In 1641, Nakako all started a brand new experience: she entered a convent and have become a Buddhist nun.
Recounting the outstanding tale of this resilient lady and her war-torn global, G. G. Rowley investigates aristocratic relations information, village storehouses, and the files of imperial convents. She follows the banished concubine as she endures rural exile, gets an unforeseen reprieve, and rediscovers herself because the abbess of a nunnery. whereas unraveling Nakako's strange story, Rowley additionally unearths the little-known lives of samurai girls who sacrificed themselves at the fringes of the nice battles that introduced an finish to greater than a century of civil conflict. Written with willing perception and actual affection, An Imperial Concubine's Tale tells the real tale of a woman's notable existence in seventeenth-century Japan.
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Additional resources for An Imperial Concubine's Tale: Scandal, Shipwreck, and Salvation in Seventeenth-Century Japan
A peaceful scene—but for the gloom enveloping Michikatsu, seeming to darken even the lamplight on the paper window shade. 13, Michikatsu, despairing of reinstatement at court, took vows as a lay monk. Like his mentor Yūsai, he was politically rather than religiously motivated. Michikatsu did not enter a temple, nor did he renounce women or drink. But taking vows and shaving his head a Courtier’s life, in and out of the world • 31 indicated that he had abandoned any hope he might still have had for reinstatement to court office and further promotion in court rank.
He also took part in archery competitions and kickball matches. Michikatsu seems to have been fond of kickball and often joined in formal matches at the palace as well as informal gatherings in the gardens of his friends’ residences. 11 He is mentioned too as a fine flute player who was frequently called upon to perform in concerts at the palace. In accordance with custom, Michikatsu was awarded court rank for the first time as a baby and regularly promoted thereafter. His first real official assignment would appear to be his appointment, in 1569, to the position of major in the Palace Guards.
The economies of all aristocratic families were precarious, as their hereditary rights to income from agricultural estates were encroached upon and eroded by provincial strongmen. The Nakanoin were no exception: in order to secure receipt of at least a modicum of income, Michikatsu’s father had to spend long periods of time away from the capital, overseeing the family estates in the province of Kaga, northeast of Kyoto. His principal wife, from an aristocratic family of identical ministerial rank, remained in Kyoto with their children.
An Imperial Concubine's Tale: Scandal, Shipwreck, and Salvation in Seventeenth-Century Japan by G. G. Rowley