child’s play

How does Child’s Play shed light on community in the Edo period?

Throughout reading this story, I was struck by the introduction of so many characters and their complex relationships to eachother. I focused on Midori. Midori worked for the house, but received special favor because her sister was the Omaki of the house. Midori hears about all of her sister’s suitors. Her relationship with Nobu is strained because of her position in the pleasure quarters and his as a preist’s son. Midori is offended that Choshiki hit her with his shoe because of their class difference rather than the actual act, but befriends Shota, the other gang leader.

In general throughout the story, there’s a lot of gossip and knowing about other people’s lives and positions. The characters are very much interconnected, even though it focuses on children. I took this to mean that community played a larger role in the Tokugawa period than the Confucian order may have suggested. People of different class and social positions were aware of these positions, but still interacted with each other.

When Nobu decides to go to the seminary, he leaves the community. The last line, “the color of his robes would never be the same” gives the impression of something irreversible, which I thought was interesting. Ultimately, I thought the pleasure quarters created a community rather than being completely isolated from society. However, the community changed and transformed as people took on different positions.

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