Tsunayoshi (1646â€“1709), the fifth Tokugawa shogun, is one of the most notorious figures in Japanese history. Viewed by many as a tyrant, his policies were deemed eccentric, extreme, and unorthodox. His Laws of Compassion, which made the maltreatment of dogs an offense punishable by death, earned him the nickname Dog Shogun, by which he is still popularly known today. However, Tsunayoshiâ€™s rule coincides with the famed Genroku era, a period of unprecedented cultural growth and prosperity that Japan would not experience again until the mid-twentieth century. It was under Tsunayoshi that for the first time in Japanese history considerable numbers of ordinary townspeople were in a financial position to acquire an education and enjoy many of the amusements previously reserved for the ruling elite. Based on a re-examination of primary sources, the author maintains that Tsunayoshiâ€™s notoriety stems largely from the work of samurai historians and officials who saw their privileges challenged by a ruler sympathetic to commoners. ã€ŽçŠ¬å°†è»ã€ (The Dog Shogun) is a thoroughly revisionist work of Japanese political history that touches on many social, intellectual, and economic developments as well.
|Published - 2015