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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 ladies mingled freely on the imperial palace, consuming saké and observing kabuki dancing within the presence of the emperor's relevant consort. between those noblewomen used to be an imperial concubine named Nakanoin Nakako, who in 1609 grew to become embroiled in a intercourse scandal concerning either courtiers and younger women within the emperor's provider. As punishment, Nakako was once banished to an island within the Pacific Ocean, yet she by no means reached her vacation spot. in its place, she was once shipwrecked and spent fourteen years in a distant village at the Izu Peninsula sooner than she used to be ultimately allowed to come to Kyoto. In 1641, Nakako begun a brand new event: she entered a convent and have become a Buddhist nun.

Recounting the outstanding tale of this resilient lady and her war-torn international, G. G. Rowley investigates aristocratic relatives data, 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 finds the little-known lives of samurai ladies who sacrificed themselves at the fringes of the nice battles that introduced an finish to greater than a century of civil struggle. Written with prepared perception and real affection, An Imperial Concubine's Tale tells the genuine tale of a woman's striking existence in seventeenth-century Japan.

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Extra info for An Imperial Concubine's Tale: Scandal, Shipwreck, and Salvation in Seventeenth-Century Japan

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Unfortunately, Takamochi died young, in his twenty-first year. Sen was remarried into the Ogasawara family of Hosokawa retainers, but her two sons by Takamochi belonged to the Hosokawa and remained with them. 46 Where the father had been reckless, the son would be careful. During the long and distinguished career Michimura later made for himself at court, he a Courtier’s life, in and out of the world • 33 demonstrated unfailing loyalty to the emperor he served, and he did his best to live down the taint of scandal that lingered in the wake of his sister’s subsequent disgrace.

Sen was remarried into the Ogasawara family of Hosokawa retainers, but her two sons by Takamochi belonged to the Hosokawa and remained with them. 46 Where the father had been reckless, the son would be careful. During the long and distinguished career Michimura later made for himself at court, he a Courtier’s life, in and out of the world • 33 demonstrated unfailing loyalty to the emperor he served, and he did his best to live down the taint of scandal that lingered in the wake of his sister’s subsequent disgrace.

But we are safe in assuming that it would have been she who taught her daughter to sew. Women of all social classes in premodern Japan sewed garments, for themselves, their menfolk, and their children. Bolts of cloth were bestowed as gifts and as payment for services rendered; their standard width made the cutting out and piecing together of kimono a skill that was easily mastered. 36 • a Courtier’s life, in and out of the world Her father, Michikatsu, would have been the only aristocrat Nakako knew in the first eight years of her life.

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