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Servants of the DynastyPalace Women in World History$
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Anne Walthall

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520254435

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520254435.001.0001

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Servants of the Inner Quarters: The Women of the Shogun's Great Interior

Servants of the Inner Quarters: The Women of the Shogun's Great Interior

(p.172) 9 Servants of the Inner Quarters: The Women of the Shogun's Great Interior
Servants of the Dynasty

Hata Hisako

University of California Press

During the nineteenth century, a messenger named Fujinami made a career of working for the shogun; bringing this young woman into the palace was one way of recruiting new staff. In the common parlance of the time, they were called servants of the inner quarters or palace women. Fujinami lived and worked in women's quarters for the Tokugawa shoguns called the “Great Interior”. By the time Fujinami started working at the Edo Castle around 1837, the Tokugawa shogunate had ruled Japan for more than two hundred years. Founded in 1603, it developed administrative structures, including those for the Great Interior, by the middle of the seventeenth century. The eighth shogun Yoshimune oversaw their reform in the 1720s. One result was a diminution in the power of concubines, to the advantage of wives and administrators. This chapter focuses on the period after Yoshimune's reform, the Great Interior of Edo Castle, and the women who worked for the shogunate.

Keywords:   Fujinami, Japan, shoguns, servants of the inner quarters, Great Interior, Yoshimune, Edo Castle, concubines, shogunate

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