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21 -- Part 8: Continuity and Change in East Asia
Teahouses, theaters, restau rants, and houses of prostitution were all found in major cities.
kabuki is an art form that began in crude, together dialogue, dance, and bawdy skits dealing with love and romance.
There were elaborate costumes and music to tell stories.
The actors wear costumes that are colorful.
The makeup was made because actresses were thought to be corrupt.
They were banned from the stage in 1629.
Men played all the parts.
Commercial publishing was also done in cities.
In contemporary China, the reading public eagerly purchased fiction and plays.
Complex kabuki plays, which dealt with heroes, loyalty, and tragedy and which included music and dance, became the most popular form of entertainment in Tokugawa Japan for all classes.
The staging of storms, fires, and hurricanes was made possible by scenery and lighting effects.
During this time, the art of color woodblock printing was also perfomed.
The theater and women of the entertainment quarters are where many of the surviving prints were made.
Watching the long processions of daimyo, their retainers, and their luggage as they traveled back and forth to and from Edo twice a year was almost as entertaining.
The shogunate allowed commoners to take pilgrimages, visit rela tives, and seek the soothing waters of hot springs.
Setting out on foot, groups of villagers would often take detours from their authorized journey to visit Osaka or Edo to sightsee or attend the theater.
Farmers were deserving of respect according to Japanese tradition.
Peas ants were often treated well.
The peasant protests became chronic during the 18th century.
Eighty-four thousand farmers in the province of Iwaki revolted in 1739 because of oppressive taxation, but their demands for lower taxes were met after widespread burning and destruction.
The peasants' misery was caused by natural disasters.
In 1783 Mount Asama erupted, causing crop failures and leading to famine.
Commoners rioted for five days in Edo in 1787, smashing merchants' stores and pouring sake and rice into the streets.
Part of the story is told by this picture of peasant hardship.
The Tokugawa period saw an increase in agricultural productivity.
Peasants who improved their lands and increased their yields were able to pocket the sur plus as profit.
Peasants left in the countryside were able to improve their lives by moving to the cities.
More than half of the arable land was sown in cotton.
The peasants brought the cotton to the wholesalers in Osaka.
Many peasants worked in the production of silk, cotton, or vegetable oil in rural areas.
Even if they had no power, merchants had an easier life.
The Japanese mercantile class lived up to modern standards.
Many merchants lived in comfort, if not luxury.
Some families are able to get by, others are not.
The general came from the richest family, but he consulted a council of elders on important matters.
Women in better-off families are more likely to learn to read.
The daughters of wealthy peasants studied penmanship, the Chinese classics, poetry, and the proper forms of correspondence, and they traveled after finishing their education.
Girls from middle-level peasant families might have had two to five years of formal education, but their education focused on moral instruction intended to instill virtue.
Japan's family and marriage systems were more like China's by the 15th century and Japanese women lost their prominent role in high society during the Heian period.
Women used to move into their husbands' homes, where they lived with both their husbands and their mothers-in-law.
The elite families stopped dividing their property among their children and instead retained it for the sons alone or for a single son who would continue the family line.
Marriage was marked by greater ceremony and had a more public character.
This ivory figure is less than 3 inches tall and shows a parasol maker eating his lunch on the floor.
She brought with her a trousseau that provided her with clothes and other items she would need for daily life, but not with land, which would have given her economic independence.
Her position within her new family was more secure because it became more difficult for a husband to divorce his wife.
She was given authority within the family.
She was in charge of family affairs if her husband was away.
She was their legal mother if her husband fathered children with concubines.
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