Edo the Castle Town


- Edo 江戸 the Castle Town -

From 1603 to 1868, the city of Edo was the seat of power of the Tokugawa shogunate and the political center of Japan. In 1868 the city was renamed Tokyo and made the official capital of the nation.

. - - - Welcome to Edo 江戸 ! - - - the Edo Jidai Guidebook .


秋十とせ却て 江戸を指古郷
aki totose kaette Edo o sasu kokyoo

ten years ten autumns -
now I think of Edo
as my hometown

Tr. Gabi Greve

Basho has lived in Edo now for ten years and feels it is his home now.
He sets out on a trip to his hometown in Iga, Ueno.

. Nozarashi Kiko 野ざらし紀 .

totose 十歳 - an expression from the Genji Monogatari.

Hashi Hime, Hashihime 橋姫

sono hito mo kashiko ni te use haberi ni shi nochi,
totose amari nite

A pictorial subject based on "The Lady at the Bridge" Hashihime, Chapter 45 of GENJI MONOGATARI 源氏物語 (The Tale of Genji).

The last ten chapters of the Tale are known as UJI JUUJOU 宇治十帖 (The Ten Books of Uji). This chapter, the first of the ten, introduces the Eighth Prince Hachi no miya 八宮, a half-brother of Genji, and his two daughters, Ooigimi 大君 and Naka no kimi 中君, who live with him in his self-imposed retirement at Uji (south of Kyoto). The prince is known for his piety and wisdom. Kaoru 薫, whose serious character is engendered by deep misgivings about his paternity, begins to study under Hachi no miya.
Eventually he learns from Ben no kimi 弁君, the daughter of *Kashiwagi's 柏木 wet nurse, that he is not in fact Genji's son, but rather the illegitimate son of Kashiwagi. The scene most frequently chosen for illustration shows Ooigimi playing a lute biwa 琵琶 and Naka no kimi a harp koto 琴 under the moon and clouds while Kaoru secretly peers in through a break in the villa's bamboo fence.
This scene survives in a section of the earliest illustrated version (12c) in the Tokugawa 徳川 Art Museum.
source : Jaanus


. Fuji no kaze ya oogi ni nosete Edo miyage .
The wind from mount Fuji as a souvenir from Edo . . .


. Koishikawa 小石川養生所  Koishikawa Yojosho Hospital in Edo .

Katsushika Hokusai 礫川雪ノ旦/小石川雪ノ旦
snow at the tea house in Koishikawa

hito shigure tsubute ya futte Koishikawa

a winter drizzle
and now - some hailstones falling
at Koishikawa

Tr. Gabi Greve

Written in 1677 延宝5年, Basho age 34
The cut marker YA is in the middle of line 2.

The name Koishikawa used to be written with the Chinses characters 礫川.
礫 means small stones, Basho here uses a pun with the hailstones.

With a stone memorial
source : michiko328

Koishikawa (小石川) is a locality within Bunkyo, Tokyo.
It is located nearby with the same name are two well regarded gardens: the Koishikawa Botanical Garden (related to Tokyo University) in Hakusan, and the Koishikawa Korakuen Garden in Korakuen.

Koishikawa Garden
The construction was started in 1629 by Tokugawa Yorifusa, the daimyo (feudal lord) of Mito domain, and was completed by his successor, Tokugawa Mitsukuni.

Mitsukuni named this garden "Kōraku-en"
(Kōraku means "enjoying afterwards") after a Chinese teaching of "a governor should worry before people and enjoy after people". The garden shows strong Chinese character in its design, as it was influenced by the West Lake of Hangzhou.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Tokugawa Mitsukuni 徳川光圀
. Mito Komon 水戸黄門 .
(1628 - 1701)

In some jidaigeki Samurai movies in Japan, Mito Komon and Matsuo Basho can be seen travelling in Tohoku together.

Matsuo Basho was played by Sakai Masa-aki 堺正章.


nagamuru ya Edo ni wa mare na yama no tsuki

Let us write poetry!
the moon above the moutains
is hardly seen in Edo

Written in 延宝4年, Basho age 33

Basho had been back in Iga Ueno for the second time and compares the bright moon of his mountainous region with the usually clouded moon of Edo.
The town of Edo had already more than 1.000.000 inhabitants and its own environmental problems with all the wood and coal fires for cooking and heating.


During Basho’s youth, Edo city is in the process of rapid economic growth.
In 1672, Basho dared to move to Edo, ambitious to become a haiku master with great popularity. At this time, Basho wrote a haiku praising the prosperity of two Japanese capitals: Edo and Kyoto.

tenbin ya Kyō Edo kakete chiyo no haru

Kyoto and Edo,
Calmly balanced on a scale,
Forever in spring.

Tr. Yuasa

On the giant scales
Kyô and Edo balance
spring of one thousand years

Tr. Ban’ya Natsuishi

In Edo where Basho was residing, a Kabuki actor Danjuro Ichikawa (1660-1704) made his flashy debut in 1673. In 1677, “Edo Suzume”, a guidebook of Edo sites, illustrated by an ukiyo-e painter Moronobu Hishikawa (1618-1694) was published. Commercial wealth and a growing chônin (bourgeois) population gave birth to a lively and gorgeous culture in big cities: Osaka, Kyoto and Edo.
“Tenbin” (scales) in the above haiku suggests money changer’s prosperous activity. So, the haiku shows us that Basho, free from worry and hesitation, was sympathized with the urban atmosphere of Edo under economic and cultural development. Basho’s rhetoric is bold enough to make up “the giant scales” which weighs Kyoto and Edo.
His bold rhetoric was directly related to the expanding urbanism of Edo.

Modernity and anti-urbanism in Basho Matsuo
. Ban’ya Natsuishi .

Kyoto the aristocrat capital and
Edo the samurai capital

and now noodles -
Soba of Edo versus Udon of Kyoto

Matsuo Basho visiting
. - Kyooto 京都 Kyoto, Kyo - Miyako 都 / みやこ- .

. WKD : tenbin 天秤 scales and salesmen in Edo .


3 Paintings of Basho from the Basho Kinenkan in Tokyo
source : www.bashouan.com


Matsuo Basho in
. - Kyooto 京都 Kyoto, Kyo - Miyako 都 / みやこ- .

. - - - Welcome to Edo 江戸 ! .

. Cultural Keywords used by Basho .