Terakado Seiken

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Terakado Seiken
Portrait of an elderly man wearing a green kimono and black haori
Portrait of Terakado Seiken
Mito Domain
DiedApril 16, 1868

Terakado Seiken (寺門静軒) (1796 – April 16, 1868) was a Confucian scholar. He lived in Japan during the Edo period. He is popular for his writings on Tokyo. He is also known as Yagozaemon.[1]

Early life[change | change source]

Terakado was born in Mito Domain in 1796. His father was a minor government official. When Terakado was 13 years old, his father died. After his father's death he lived an unpleasant lifestyle. In his late twenties, he turned to Confucianism and opened a school.[2] Like his father, he held a minor position as a samurai.[2] He studied Chinese poetry under Ryokuin Yamamoto.[1]

Career[change | change source]

In 1831 he wrote a series of essays titled "An Account of the Prosperity of Edo" (江戸繁昌記, Edo Hanjoki). The essays were compiled as a book and published in 1838. His essays got fame as well as scrutiny from Edo officials.[2] The essays were banned by Edo officials in 1835. After publication the woodblocks were confiscated in 1842. At the same time Terakado was also banned from being an official. After losing his position as a samurai, Terakado wandered Japan. He worked as a schoolteacher and writer.[2] He died on 16 April 1868.

Edo Hanjoki was a very critical social satire of the Tokugawa government.[3] He wrote most of the essays in literary kanbun. Kanbun was mostly used in government documents. This brought an additional seriousness to his writings. Whenever he wrote about wealthier districts like Honjo, he usually focused on unpleasant places such as brothels.[2] He compared the upper and lower classes to expose economic inequalities within the Tokugawa government.[3][2] The Edo Hanjoki influenced upcoming generations of social critics and writers.[4] His other works include "Niigata Hanjoki" and "Essay of Seiken".[1]

Terakado's work was mostly written by the scholar Andrew L. Markus.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Seiken Terakado". prabook.com. Retrieved 2021-11-30.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Jones, Sumie; Watanabe, Kenji (2013-02-28). An Edo Anthology: Literature from Japan's Mega-City, 1750-1850. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-3629-0.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Johnson, Jeffrey (1998). "In Memoriam: Andrew L. Markus, 1954-1995 History and Biography in a Time of Literary Theory". The Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese. 32 (1): 39–53. ISSN 0885-9884. JSTOR 489599.
  4. Modern Japanese literature. Frank Jacob ([First edition] ed.). Ipswich, Massachusetts. 2017. ISBN 978-1-68217-259-9. OCLC 984744723.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: others (link)