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  • Governing the Samurai Family in the Late Edo Period

    Luke Roberts

    Chapter from the book: Berry M. & Yonemoto M. 2019. What Is a Family?: Answers from Early Modern Japan.


    This chapter explores samurai family values through analysis of a legal case of the 1820’s in Tosa domain. The wife of the household murdered a former servant with whom she allegedly had an affair. Through analysis of an account of the initial coverup of the affair and the nature of the punishments subsequent to the murder incident, the chapter explores the internal dynamics of the household, finding them to be less paternalistic than encouraged by the samurai domain government. The government discursively and legally erased many of the responsibilities of samurai household women so as to contain them within the authority of the male family head. However, strategies of household self-preservation led samurai to give women greater agency and authority in their households.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Roberts, L. 2019. Governing the Samurai Family in the Late Edo Period. In: Berry M. & Yonemoto M (eds.), What Is a Family?. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.77.g

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    Published on Sept. 17, 2019


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