Blog Post for “Child’s Play”

Question: How does the story of “Child’s Play”, based in the Meiji period, portray the outcomes of control of Tokugawa during the Edo Period?

Throughout this course, we have done many readings that have discussed or showed the underlying control of Tokugawa. In “Child’s Play”, we are able to see this control within the quarters and through the interactions with the outside world. During the control of the Tokugawa, there was a sharp divide between the noble and the working poor. However, class divide did not limit who could come into the quarters. In the quarters, men of nobility would get the best women, whilst someone of peasantry would be given someone of lower social standing within the quarters. Although this is a story that shows us the life of someone of youth within the pleasure quarters transitioning from youth to adulthood, we can still sense the control and a social hierarchy between the characters and their occupations. While the workers in the quarters have to succumb to the control of the government officials and maintain their social standing within the quarters in order to be treated with the slightest bit of respect, the government officials still decide everything in the end. We can see this through the petitioning to ostracize the pleasure quarters and to keep prostitution isolated from the city life.

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