Study in Edo: Shibata Shūzō (1820–59) and Student Life in Late-Tokugawa Japan

Takeshi Moriyama

Going to the city to study often changes people’s lives. In mid-nineteenth century Japan, dramatic changes took place in the lives of a great many people who went away to study, at a time when Japan’s political and social structure was changing rapidly as a result of the nation’s encounter with Western powers. The capital city of Edo, or Tokyo, as it was renamed in 1868, was one of the most popular destinations for ambitious young people seeking to obtain new knowledge or skills that might enable them to escape their hereditary status and occupation. Shibata Shūzō 柴田収蔵 (or 新発田収蔵, 1820–59) was one such person. Shibata travelled from the remote island of Sado to the capital city in order to undertake specialist training in medicine and other fields. Study in Edo led Shibata, the son of a fisherman, to become a doctor in his home village, and later to be a map-maker in Edo, working for the Shogunal Institute for Western Studies (Bansho Shirabesho 蕃書調所) until his early death. For the change in Shibata’s life course, education was clearly a decisive factor.

This essay analyses notebooks detailing daily expenses, diaries, and letters produced by Shibata during his stay in the capital city.[1] Despite the large number of students who came from the provinces to the capital for study, and despite the widespread practice among literate people of keeping diaries and writing letters, few sources survive that contain on-the-spot records of their lives as students in Edo. Even in relation to other study destinations, such as Osaka, Kyoto, or Nagasaki, sources are limited to recollections by established figures of their earlier days at private academies — most famously the remarks by Fukuzawa Yukichi (福澤諭吉 1835–1901) about Tekijuku 適塾 in Osaka.[2] Existing studies have thus relied on relatively formal and structured records relating to Tokugawa education, such as school rules, student registries, and profiles of teachers, in addition to Meiji leaders’ memoirs of their school days. Classic works such as Ronald Dore’s Education in Tokugawa Japan and Richard Rubinger’s Private Academies of Tokugawa Japan have set out a general understanding of the variety in and structures governing education, as well as the spread of education in Tokugawa Japan.[3] By contrast, I focus here on Shibata Shūzō’s writings as a rare opportunity to examine one individual’s firsthand and informal records, produced during his student life rather than in later years. Shibata offers rich and vivid information about student life at private academies in Edo in the 1840s and 1850s, describing everyday life including learning activities, socialisation, communication, accommodation, consumption and finance. This research paints a picture of a young rural intellectual’s intellectual, social and material life as a student in Edo, at a time when educational opportunities were about to reach their highest point under the early modern social system.

I also aim to contribute to our understanding of the social mechanisms and historical circumstances that enabled Shibata, who came from a remote island, to play a notable role in the Tokugawa academic community of the 1850s. The scholar Tsukamoto Manabu 塚本学, in Chihō bunjin 地方文人 (1977), first pointed out Shibata’s historical importance as an example of rural intellectuals whose lives provide evidence of vigorous communication between the centre and peripheries in the arts and education in the Tokugawa period.[4] The subheading in Tsukamoto’s section on Shibata, ‘Squid and World Maps’ (Ika to chikyūzu), clearly indicates why Tsukamoto thinks Shibata is important. While engaging in the family business of fishing for squid from a remote island, Shibata studied world geography — even making his own version of world maps. The coexistence of interest in both worldly business and artistic or academic activities within one individual has been a common theme among historians who deal with rural intellectuals in the Tokugawa period. It is an established view among historians that the availability of educational opportunities and the liveliness of intellectual circles were key factors in the nationwide emergence of a large number of amateur scholars and practitioners of the arts.[5] However, the literature about educational opportunities is fairly scant, and is especially lacking in information on individual lived experiences.

The four sections that follow present a picture of the young Shibata’s life in Edo against the backdrop of intellectuals’ growing interest in Western studies. In the first section, I discuss Shibata’s first two trips to Edo, which transformed the young fisherman into a doctor practising in his home village. I focus on the process that he went through to receive training in Edo. The next section reveals the academic environment of Shibata’s student life in Edo in 1850 — the first year of his third and prolonged stay in the capital city. His school, the Shōsendō 象先堂 academy, run by Itō Genboku 伊東玄朴 (1801–71), has been discussed in many works as one of the most popular institutions for Dutch Studies in Edo. However, apart from the school rules and demographic data about the enrolled students, not much information has been uncovered. Analysing Shibata’s diaries, I show what he was reading and studying, how, and with whom. In the third section, I look further into Shibata’s daily life in non-academic areas such as meals, outings, and drinking. Student life at private academies was different to the way of life presumably envisaged by those who made school rules, as other studies have demonstrated, such as in the case of samurai life.[6] Lastly, I analyse Shibata’s Edo life from a financial perspective. As now, finance was a critical problem for those who wished to study in a city away from home. Shibata left very useful records of money matters, so we are able to see how much he spent, and what he spent it on, during his stay in Edo.

From the Island to the Capital

Shibata Shūzō was born in 1820 in Sado island in the Sea of Japan. His home was geographically remote from the nation’s centres, but not necessarily remote in terms of Tokugawa politics and economy. Throughout the Tokugawa period, Sado was a territory of the shogunate, which considered the island’s gold and silver mines as a critical financial resource. The mining town of Aikawa 相川 was the island’s centre, from which the shogunate’s Magistrate Office (Sado Bugyōsho 佐渡奉行所) administered mining production and all sorts of civil affairs.[7] About forty kilometres away from Aikawa was Shibata’s home village, Shukunegi 宿根木 — a small community of 120 households gathered in a narrow cove. The village was situated in a relatively advantageous area for economic activities and transport, because of its closeness to Ogi 小木 — a key port on the northern route of coastal ships, called kitamae-bune 北前船, travelling between Matsumae in Ezochi and the port of Osaka. Ogi was also the main port for travel to and from Edo via Echigo province. Shukunegi village alone had ten families who owned ships for coastal transport.[8] The Shibata family was probably placed after those wealthy households in terms of the village hierarchy, being engaged in producing dried seafood (aimono 四十物). The family was not at all poor but the family business still directly depended on the physical labour of Shibata and his father and brother in fishing for squid and small fish.[9] Shibata’s father participated in village administration, so it was natural that Shibata received basic literacy training from local intellectuals before starting to assist his father in his work.

Shibata’s travels to the outside world began in 1839, when he was twenty. He embarked on a voyage to Shikoku, stopping over at Osaka and elsewhere, soon followed by his first trip to the capital city of Edo.[10] Although no diaries by Shibata are available for this period, his biographers believe that the purpose of this trip was for him to learn calligraphy and seal-making (tenkoku 篆刻) from Nakane Hansen 中根半仙 (1798–1849), a Chinese scholar in the employ of the lord (daimyo 大名 ) of Takada domain (Echigo province). It is also understood that the trip resulted from a recommendation by Ishii Natsumi 石井夏海 (1783–1848), a painter and map-maker assigned to the magistrate office of Sado, who had acknowledged Shibata’s artistic talent in the arts after Shibata had helped his father draw maps for the village to submit to the magistrate.[11] It is apparent in Shibata’s diaries of later years that Ishii had a strong interest in seals, but it is not clear why Shibata and his family, and perhaps Ishii too, chose seal-making for Shibata’s training in Edo.[12] We do know, however, that seal-making was a respectable profession, possibly with prospects of providing good money. An 1836 version of the Edo genzai kōeki shoka jinmeiroku 江戸現在廣益諸家人名録, for example, contains 22 seal-makers, including Nakane, in its list of 473 famous figures in the capital city.[13] This fact indicates the status of the seal-making profession, and suggests there was probably a good level of demand for artistic seals from wealthy and literate people at that time.[14] Unfortunately, no details are known about Shibata’s study experience in Edo during this trip, except the fact that after nearly two years of learning under Nakane, he returned home in 1841.

Detailed accounts are available in the surviving dairies for the second trip to Edo, starting from late 1843. The purpose of this journey was clearly stated: it was ‘to receive medical training’ (igaku shugyō 医学修行) for ‘change of occupation’ (kaigyō 改業).[15] We can see here the manner in which Shibata went through the necessary procedures for inter-provincial study in the Tokugawa period: namely, gaining support from family and community, being granted a travel permit, making travel arrangements, receiving advice on travel and study, preparing luggage and money.

According to his diary, Shibata first told his father of his wish to engage in medical study in Edo on the sixth of the eighth month in 1843. What this meant for his father was his son’s absence from the family business for a while at least, and possibly forever. Secondly, it meant a financial burden to support his son’s study. In addition, there was an issue of family succession. As a biographer of Shibata suggests, it is likely that his decision at this point to change his career was related to his recent divorce, which had resulted from his wife’s illicit love affair with her eye doctor.[16] His parents would probably have liked to arrange a second marriage, rather than sending him to Edo again, even if they were sympathetic to their son’s desire to change his life. Some days later, however, the parents decided to support Shibata in his new plan, in consultation with a relative who, apparently, became one of his important sponsors.

From the following day, Shibata visited the village headman and other members of the community’s elite to find out about a ‘travel permit’ (ide gohan 出御判), ‘things to bring’ (jisanhin 持参品), ‘travel money’ (royōkin 路用金), and ‘previous cases of inter-provincial study for medical training’.[17] He learnt that he would have to become a disciple of a local doctor who was willing to submit an application for a travel permit on his behalf. He first made an agreement with a local doctor in Ogi but was later advised that politically, the best person for this purpose was the head doctor assigned to the Sado magistrate. At Aikawa, with practical help from the master of the inn at which he was staying, Shibata eventually succeeded in obtaining this doctor’s endorsement. Upon submission of an application for a five-year travel permit on Shibata’s behalf, the head doctor did not forget to demand a letter of indemnification from his father to avoid any responsibilities in relation to Shibata’s travel to Edo.[18] This stringent process perhaps reflects Sado’s particular status as the shogunate’s mining island, where strict border control was imperative to maintain both the productivity and the security of the territory.

Shibata wrote in his diary the ‘travel advice’ given to him by Ishii Natsumi, who had himself studied in Edo and had good contacts with central figures in the arts there.[19] Ishii warned him first about the poor quality of water in Edo, and second of the danger of contracting beriberi (kakke 脚気), a notorious Edo disease. His third point was about medical studies. Ishii advised that Shibata should study widely before deciding which style of medical practice to pursue. He suggested that Shibata should first study Dutch-style medicine, which was ‘currently popular’ in Edo and other places, and then Chinese medicine, either in the kohō-style 古方 or another style, as Sado had had no practitioners of kohō style medicine for a while.[20] ‘Once you have learnt those’, Ishii continued, ‘it is up to you how you further your career.’ This seems like sensible advice for a young man aspiring to become a doctor at a point when Dutch-style medicine had not yet gained people’s trust, especially in the provinces, but when informed people like Ishii were paying increasing attention to the Dutch style. Shibata did study both, but the other way around: first the Chinese, then the Dutch.

The 1843 diary also provides information about pre-modern travel, which was severely constrained by natural conditions, especially in the case of coastal transport. Carrying substantial luggage of ten kan (37.5 kilograms), Shibata departed from home on the twenty-second of the ninth month of 1843 with his travel partner, a priest returning to Edo. The pair expected to board at the port of Ogi the following morning; however, the weather prevented them from crossing the sea for as long as 33 days. They were instructed to get aboard on six different days, on two of which the ship sailed to the middle of the channel before giving up the attempt to cross the sea. Such unpredictable delays in sailing and the necessity of waiting at the port meant that the entertainment business flourished in the town of Ogi. Shibata’s diary entries reveal that not only he, but also the priest, enjoyed drinking sake with hostesses (meshiuri onna 飯売妓, geigi 芸妓, or baigi 売妓) almost daily. The diary contains at least nineteen names of women hired from six hostess houses. Apparently, Shibata had an intimate relationship, probably sexual, with a girl called Aoi.[21]

Once they had crossed from Sado to Echigo, Shibata and the priest travelled another fourteen days, often riding on horseback, before finally arriving in Edo. The diary then describes how Shibata began his medical studies in the metropolis. His teacher was again Nakane Hansen. Despite his previous lessons with Nakane, Shibata had to follow a formal procedure to become a student of this Chinese scholar, which confirms the importance of proper introduction when students sought a teacher and lodgings in Edo.[22] He first needed a guarantor (ukenin 請人) in Edo, who asked the teacher for admission on behalf of the student. Shibata’s guarantor was a close friend from Sado who was in Edo serving a former Sado magistrate. The friend’s status as a retainer, even though temporary, of a high-ranking bannerman hatamoto 旗本 may have been important in balancing the status of the teacher, who, was a retainer of a daimyo. The day after hearing that the teacher had accepted him, Shibata visited Nakane’s residence to greet the teacher and his family. Several days later, he settled in the teacher’s house in the daimyo’s compound near the Shinobazu pond (see Figure 7).[23]

It was not uncommon for Confucian scholars to practise Chinese medicine.[24] It seems, however, that Nakane only offered lectures on Chinese medical classics, with no practical training. By the end of 1843, Shibata had heard him lecture (kōshaku 講釈) thirteen times on Ihō taiseiron 医方大成論 — a fourteenth-century reference book from China and one of the major textbooks for the kohō-style Chinese medicine (see Figure 1).[25] Shibata showed, however, his interest in Dutch-style medicine at the same time. The 1843 diary records that he read Dutch-style medical books such as Kaitai shinsho 解体新書and Oranda iji mondō 和蘭医事問答.[26] We do not know what Shibata thought of his lessons in Chinese medicine at the Nakane house, or how he developed his interest in Dutch-style medicine, as his diaries for the next two years are not extant. Other materials merely suggest that Shibata moved out from the Nakane house in autumn 1844, then enrolled in the academy of Dutch-medicine doctor Itō Genboku in the spring of 1845.[27] Despite his move to a new teacher, and notwithstanding the fact that he had a five-year permit to study in Edo, Shibata stayed at Genboku’s school only for a short period, returning home in late 1845.[28] Lack of money, amongst other possible reasons, may have been a motive.[29]

Figure 1 Ihō taiseiron (Edo: Yorozuya seibē, 1722). Waseda University Library kotenseki sōgō database.

Figure 1
Ihō taiseiron (Edo: Yorozuya seibē, 1722). Waseda University Library kotenseki sōgō database.

Shibata opened a clinic at a temple near his home, probably soon after his return. The surviving 1846 diary presents a picture of the busy days of this young rural doctor.[30] He treated villagers for all sorts of illnesses, ranging from headache to colds, eye disease to syphilis. He was eager to extend his medical knowledge by reading reference books, many of which he presumably brought from Edo. Here, it is interesting to compare his day-to-day medical practice with his study of books from the viewpoint of the division between the Chinese style of medicine and the Dutch style. Shibata’s practice seems to have been largely based on conventional Chinese medicine; he used, for example, acupuncture as well as herbal remedies. A variety of factors probably determined his style of treatment, including local people’s trust in conventional medicine, his own confidence and skills in treatment, and availability of medical supplies on the island. However, his academic studies took a different direction. He read more extensively on Dutch-style medicine than in Chinese. Among 59 book titles in the 1846 diary, sixteen refer to Dutch-style medicine, including nine Japanese translations, six Japanese works on Western medicine, and one in the Dutch language. On the other hand, only six titles are on conventional Chinese medicine, and another three books concern both the Chinese style and the Dutch. The range of book titles in this diary also indicates that Shibata was increasingly interested in Western studies more generally, particularly the field of world geography. He had certainly realised that knowledge of the Dutch language was a key to extending his understanding of the world. His diary entries began to include Dutch words written in Katakana, such asウエイン for wijin (wine),フロー for vrouw (woman), andトート for dood (death).[31]

It does not seem that Shibata was very politically conscious. Even so, during his study in Edo this second time, he experienced, along with other intellectuals, the increasing tension in international affairs around Japan. The Opium War broke out in 1839, and it is believed that the shogunate was informed of the start of the conflict within eight months, through reports sent from the Nagasaki Magistrate’s Office, including the ‘Dutch reporting of world news’ (Oranda fūsetsugaki 和蘭風説書) and ‘Accounts from Chinese boats’ (Karafune fūsetsugaki 唐船風説書). The shogunal cabinet tried to keep such information confidential.[32] However, a scholar at the Shogunal School (Shōheikō 昌平黌) wrote] a booklet entitled ‘An Account of the Opium War’ (Ahen shimatsuki 鴉片始末記) in 1843, which was copied and recopied among intellectuals and sent from centre to peripheries.[33] In fact, Shibata was included in the chain of transmission of that information. His 1846 diary reveals that at home in Sado he produced a hand-copy of the booklet, which he had, presumably, already copied during his stay at Edo, and sent the new copy to his supplier of medicine, probably receiving money for his work. He also lent his copy to an elder of his village.[34] Moreover, on the twentieth of the ninth month in 1846, Shibata received a letter from a former classmate at the Itō academy, which told him about recent arrivals of French, British, and American ‘war vessels’ at Ryukyu, Nagasaki and Uraga ports. Copying the letter into the diary, he wrote: ‘these are truly significant incidents, which should cause us concern’.[35]

Shibata spent four years in his home village before going on a third trip to Edo in 1850. We do not know the reasons or situation that led to this trip, as his diary for 1849 is not extant.[36] Presumably, however, his thirst for knowledge in Dutch-style medicine, world geography, and international affairs, perhaps along with a desire to seek further opportunities for career development, constituted the main reasons for his travel to Edo again. On twentieth of the fourth month in 1850, the 31-year-old Shibata re-enrolled in Itō Genboku’s Shōsendō academy. Shibata’s ‘1850 Diary’, (Kōjutsu nikki 庚戌日記), and his notebooks recording various expenses in that year, ‘1850 Account Book’ (Kaei san-nen shozappi 嘉永三年諸雑費) and ‘Memorandum’ (Tōsei no oboe 当生之覚), contain valuable information about student life in the capital city.[37]

School and Studies

At the time of Shibata’s re-entry to his academy, the headmaster, Genboku, was one of the most famous doctors in Edo. Despite his humble origin in a Kyushu village, he had received medical training — first in the Chinese style, and then in the Dutch style, which he was lucky enough to have learnt from Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796–1866) in Nagasaki. After he gained fame in Edo, Genboku was granted samurai status by the daimyo of Saga domain in 1831, and achieved the signal honour of promotion to the position of doctor to the daimyo (osaji-i 御匙医) in 1843. It was this connection that enabled Genboku to become one of the first doctors in Edo to use cowpox vaccination, in 1849. The vaccine had been sent by Genboku’s counterpart in Saga domain, who had successfully administered the vaccination for the first time in Japan, using vaccine imported from Batavia by a Dutch doctor.[38]

Genboku’s clinic and academy, Shōsendō, was established in 1833. However, people’s increasing attention to Dutch-style medicine around this time strengthened interference from the conservative shogunate authority. Such interference was reinforced by lobbying from the shogun’s doctors, who naturally disapproved of the new wave in medicine. The shogunate banned the Dutch style in their doctors’ practice except for surgery and ophthalmology, and, in 1849, implemented stricter control of publications of Japanese translations of Western books.[39] Such pressure notwithstanding, Genboku’s academy began attracting more students than before. The trend is clear from 1849, when its admission registry recorded seventeen names, followed by ten in 1850 and another seventeen in 1851 — in contrast with two and four admissions in 1847 and 1848 respectively.[40]

Shōsendō was located on the Izumibashi-dōri 和泉橋通 street in Shitaya, an area mainly occupied by residences of the shogun’s retainers (see Figure 7).[41] The property was on land 36 metres wide by 54 metres long. Facing the main street, there was a large, two-storey building with a gate at the centre (nagayamon-zukuri 長屋門造).[42] Students resided upstairs, on each side of the front building. When Shibata arrived this time, thirteen students occupied the north side of the front building (hokurō 北楼) and another fifteen the south side (nanrō 南楼).[43] Behind the front building was the main house, which had a clinic and pharmacy, as well as other rooms in the front, and the headmaster’s residence (oku 奥) at the back.

Shibata’s classmates were both samurai and commoners, and came from various places. The demography of Shōsendō students highlights both the development of educational opportunities and their limitations under the Tokugawa system. The status boundary between samurai and commoners was increasingly relaxed in terms of who received education. Among 35 of Shibata’s classmates who were recorded in the 1850 diary, fifteen can be identified as retainers of daimyo, and seventeen as commoners, leaving three unknown. They were from twelve provinces, including Hizen with fourteen students, Musashi with five (including one from the city of Edo), Iyo with four, Sanuki with two, and Awa in Shikoku with two students.[44] The samurai–commoner ratio of Shibata’s classmates roughly corresponds to that of the entire alumni of Shōsendō, which has been identified in previous studies as 44:56 for the 406 students it enrolled from 1833 to 1870. The geographical spread of the origins of the total number of students is much greater than that of 1850, covering 61 provinces and islands.[45]

There was no set curriculum or fixed timetable in the Shōsendō academy. Students’ daily activities seem to have been flexible and based on their individual interests, with the common objective of learning the Dutch language. A typical day of Shibata’s at the academy was as follows:

The nineteenth day [of the seventh month, 1850], sunny
I received Grammatica tuition. Then helped Miyata Rosai and others in their preservation [mushi barai 虫払] of Chinese books. Did revision of Grammatica. Proofread my hand-copy of [Teisei zōyaku] Sairan igen [訂正増訳] 采覧異言. Komori Sanna came and returned Kon’yo shomon 坤輿初問, which I had lent him. He reminded me to return Sairan igen. Had nap in the afternoon. I borrowed Bōkai gungi 防戒群議, Taihei nenpyō 太平年表 and other works from Seisai. Helped Rosai put his books back in the book cases. In the evening, I went to Komori’s house in Ikenohata and returned Sairan igen. He showed me a book catalogue of Okada Mokunosuke’s, which he said contains only rare books. Begged him to lend me Yūken shomoku [Saitō Setsudō’s catalogue of geography books]. Dropped in to the Okamura bookshop in Ikenohata. The shop-owner showed me Edo hanjōki 江戸繁昌記 by Terakado Seiken 寺門静軒. Dropped in to the Ise-ya tavern and drank with [my classmates] Tsuru Zōroku and Kuchii Tatsukichi.[46]

Learning the Dutch language was a core activity. Shibata’s textbook was Oranda bunten zenpen 和蘭文典前編 (see Figure 2), published by Mitsukuri Genpo 箕作阮甫 (1799–1863) in 1842 as an adaptation of the 1822 original, Grammatica of Nederduitsche Spraakkuns. Later he advanced to the next book, Oranda bunten kōhen 和蘭文典後編 (also published by Mitsukuri in 1848), which was an adaptation of Syntaxis of Woordvoeging der Nederduitsche taal (published in 1810). It seems that almost all the students of the Dutch language in Japan at that time used these two books, which were often called for short Garanmachika ガランマチカ and Seintakisu セインタキス. Shibata had already obtained a copy of the first book during his previous stay in Edo and had done some self-study in Sado too. This time, he received tuition from the assistant teacher (jokyō 助教) Itō Genkei 伊東玄圭 (1829–60) — Genboku’s nephew and adopted son.

Oranda bunten zenpen (Mitsukuri Genpo, 1842). Waseda University Library kotenseki sōgō database.

Figure 2
Oranda bunten zenpen (Mitsukuri Genpo, 1842). Waseda University Library kotenseki sōgō database.

As many studies have shown, the methods of studying the Dutch language at Tokugawa-era academies were largely based on conventional ways of learning the Chinese classics.[47] The common learning methods and classroom practices included reading and translating word by word while changing the word order to the Japanese way (kutō 句読); chain reading tests in groups (kaidoku 会読or rinkō 輪講 sessions); monthly assessments (gettanhyō 月旦表 report); and the system of displaying students’ levels and positions through seating) (sekiji 席次) . Studies often compare the Kangien 咸宜園 academy for Chinese studies in Hita in Kyushu, run by Hirose Tansō 広瀬淡窓 (1782–1856) and the Tekijuku academy for Dutch language study in Osaka, run by Ogata Kōan 緒方洪庵.[48]

Shibata’s experience confirms that Shōsendō, too, by and large followed the system used for learning Chinese classics. First, Shibata received tuition in reading (judoku 受読) from the assistant teacher Genkei, seemingly on a one-to-one basis, almost daily from the seventeenth of the seventh month. After each lesson, Shibata produced a translation (yaku 訳) of the section he had learnt. After 53 sessions, he finished the classes on ‘Garanmachika’ on the twenty-first of the ninth month, and his translation on the following day.[49] It seems that rinkō sessions or group reading tests and tutorials were held on the third, thirteenth, and twenty-third days in each month. Shibata was first allowed to observe a session (kōchō 講聴) on the thirteenth of the ninth month before being allowed to participate in the tutorial from the twenty-third of the same month. The sessions were long, sometimes carrying over to the following day. Shibata writes, for example, ‘rinkōkai in the afternoon, until yotsu-doki’ (around 10:00pm). The twenty-third of the ninth month session met again the following day, when Shibata read and explained the meaning of sentences in the part headed ‘verbs — sections 324 to 325’. Concerning another two-day session on the thirteenth to fourteenth of the twelfth month, Shibata wrote: ‘we discussed [the difference between] “imperfect tense” and “past perfect tense” over and over until [8:00pm] but have not reached a clear understanding’, so the meeting ‘restarted the next morning, finishing [around 9:00am]’. Nine members attended this session including Genkei as chairperson (kaitō 会頭).[50] The assessment system and class levels are not clearly described in Shibata’s diary, but performance in the rinkō sessions seems to have been reflected in seating. Shibata recorded his position at number six out of nine in his block (probably the north block), while the other block had another four students on the seventeenth of the ninth month. After his first performance in the rinkō session, he was given the fifth seat on the 25th of the ninth month. He came down to the sixth seat when an advanced student enrolled on the third of the tenth month, but moved one position up after the twenty-third of the tenth month session.[51]

While learning the Dutch language with the grammar textbooks mentioned above, Shibata tried to extend his knowledge in medicine, even studying directly from books in Dutch. It would seem odd for modern students and teachers to read an elementary textbook for learning a foreign language and a medical textbook in that language at the same time. In fact, Fukuzawa states that the course of study at Tekijuku progressed from Garanmachika to Seintakisu, then to reading of a variety of books in Dutch.[52] Shibata, however, with help from Genkei, read a book called Chittoman チットマン, which is understood to be a Dutch translation of a German surgical textbook written by A. Tittmann. He received tuition in reading from Genkei fifty times between the 24th of the fourth month and the twelfth of the month, while making a hand-copy of the book and a copy of his translation notes.[53] An anonymous student’s copy of one Tittmann textbook shown in Figure 3 helps us imagine the kind of reading comprehension method used by students such as Shibata. In this example, the student jots down the meaning of each word alongside the word, often with symbols presumably intended to help in reading the word in the Japanese way. This system clearly suggests that the conventional method of reading Chinese classics was applied to reading and comprehension of Dutch texts at this time.

Figure 3 A hand-copied Tittmann textbook. From Waseda University Library kotenseki sōgō database.

Figure 3
A hand-copied Tittmann textbook. From Waseda University Library kotenseki sōgō database.

As is evident from the diary entry above, Shibata’s interest in books was not restricted to Dutch-language texts. There is no doubt that the availability of books in Edo constituted one strong motivation for Shibata to study at the capital. His 1850 diary and the ‘expenses’ notebooks provide good evidence of a provincial intellectual’s eager participation in book and print culture in Edo, which had reached maturity by this time. As summarised in Table 1, he records 74 books and prints that he purchased from bookshops (or from friends in three cases) between the sixth of the fourth month in 1850 and the end of that year. His expenditure on these books and prints amounted to 22,905 mon (throughout this essay, I primarily use the zeni currency unit of mon, converting gold and silver currencies based on the exchange rates that Shibata recorded in his notebook in 1850).[54] The range of disciplines reflects the breadth of his interests, and the number of items and amount of expenditure in each discipline suggest the strength of his interest in that area at that time. Neither medicine nor Dutch studies came first, but calligraphy textbooks and artwork do, by a big margin, both in the number of purchased items (I disregarded the number of volumes of each item) and in the amount of money he spent. Since he was no longer pursuing the profession of seal making, it is difficult to understand why he spent as much as 9785 mon on calligraphy works, including the most expensive item at 3250 mon. A possible reason, however, is the potential asset value of each of these artefacts. The fact that they could be resold at higher prices in Sado when necessary would at least have provided an excuse for Shibata’s purchase of them. The asset value of books and prints should also be taken into account in the purchase of other books, aside from works on calligraphy.

Table 1: Classification of books and prints that Shibata purchased in Edo in 1850, fourth month to eighth month

Calligraphy (including Chinese poetry) 17 items 9,785 mon
World geography 7 items 3,510 mon
Medicine 6 items 2,287 mon
Pictures (including street maps) 14 items 1,763 mon
Science 4 items 1,728 mon
Dutch language 3 items 510 mon*
Military 1 item 200 mon
Miscellaneous 22 items 3,121 mon
Total 74 items 22,905 mon

Compiled from Shibata Shūzō, ‘Kaei san-nen shozappi,’ in Nikki B2, pp.257–80.

World geography was what Shibata had been enthusiastic about since around 1842, and it later became his primary area of expertise. His first teacher in this discipline was Ishii of the Sado Office in the town of Aikawa. Clear evidence of Ishii’s influence on Shibata’s growing interest in world geography is found in Shibata’s 1842 notes on his business trip from his home village to the Sado Office. In a checklist of ‘things to do for myself’ on the trip, he jotted down four titles of maps that he should not forget to copy or borrow from the Ishii’s collection. One particularly interesting note reminded Shibata ‘to borrow and copy magistrate Kawaji [Toshiakira]’s 川路聖謨 (1801–68) copy of a global map’.[55] Kawaji, a rising administrator in the shogunate, was stationed at the Sado Office for eleven months between 1840 and 1841 before his appointment to more important jobs, such as, in 1857, magistrate of finance and jurisdiction (kanjō bugyō 勘定奉行). He later took charge of the shogunate’s defence and foreign affairs portfolio (kaibō gakari 海防掛, ikokujin ōsetsu gakari 異国人応接掛).[56] Kawaji’s dairies covering his days in Sado contain evidence of his interest in geography, such as a reference to a talk by the famous explorer Mamiya Rinzō 間宮林蔵 (1775–1844) about Sakhalin.[57] Shibata’s notes for his trip to the Sado Office clearly indicate the distribution of knowledge about and transmission of interest in world and international geography from the elite in Edo to local intellectuals in the peripheries. There may have been no direct contact between Kawaji, a magistrate, and Ishii, a map-maker in the Sado Office.[58] In any case, a global map that Kawaji had copied (or, more likely he ordered someone to copy it for him), was taken to Sado, where it was subsequently copied and recopied by local intellectuals such as Ishii and Shibata. Shibata’s ‘to do’ list also includes ‘a picture of Russian boats’, ‘a map of Ezo’, and ‘a celestial chart’, that he intended to copy from Ishii’s library.[59]

Shibata must have further cultivated his knowledge about the world and his skills in map-making during and after his trip to Edo from 1843 to 1845. As early as 1846 and 1847, he produced drafts in Sado of a world map, a map of Ezo and its surroundings, and a guidebook of place names in foreign countries, which were all produced in print copies between 1852 and 1854 (see Figure 4). His opportunity to study in Edo in 1850 perhaps allowed him to revise and refine his earlier work in world geography, or, in other words, provided a test in Edo of his previous studies in Sado.

Shibata Shūzō’s published world map (top), Kon’yo ryakuzenzu 坤輿畧全圖 (Edo: Shunsōdō, 1852). Waseda University Library kotenseki sōgō database.

Figure 4
Shibata Shūzō’s published world map (top), Kon’yo ryakuzenzu 坤輿畧全圖 (Edo: Shunsōdō, 1852). Waseda University Library kotenseki sōgō database.

Shibata’s further study in world geography at Edo started with reading one of the most comprehensive reference books published up to that time: Teisei zōyaku Sairan igen, written in 1804 by Yamamura Saisuke 山村才助 (1770–1807) as a revision of the 1725 classic Sairan igen by Arai Hakuseki 新井白石 (1657–1725). Right after his arrival at Edo, Shibata spent 2048 mon on a hand-copied version of volumes one to nine of the work at a bookshop in Asakusa. He then borrowed the missing volumes from friends to make his own complete set of hand-copies.[60]

Shibata also acquired a range of books about international affairs. He bought, from the head student, Ikeda Tōun 池田洞雲, a copy of Kaigai shinwa 海外新話, a new book (published in 1849) that illustrated, more clearly than previous handwritten booklets had done, the Opium War and the British Navy’s territorial advancement into Asia, powered by modern armaments including paddle steamers (see Figure 5). Shibata also purchased a copy of Kaigai iden 海外異伝, by Saitō Setsudō 斎藤拙堂 (1797–1865), and made a hand-copy of Asaka Gonsai’s 安積艮斎 (1791–1861) Yōgai kiryaku 洋外記略.[61]

Illustration from Mineta Fūkō 嶺田楓江, Kaigai shinwa (place unknown: Mineta-shi, 1849).

Figure 5
Illustration from Mineta Fūkō 嶺田楓江, Kaigai shinwa (place unknown: Mineta-shi, 1849).

Shibata acquired some important textbooks of Dutch-style medicine, including Ogata Kōan’s Byōgaku tsūron 病学通論 (published in 1849, three volumes, bought from a friend at 566 mon); Igen sūyō 医原枢要 by Takano Chōei 高野長英 (1804–50) (published in 1832, 100 mon at a bookshop); and Gyūtō shinsho 牛痘新書, a translation of a Dutch (originally German) booklet about cowpox vaccine.[62] Shibata paid a copyist 225 mon for reproducing 31 sheets (62 pages when folded) of Gyūtō shinsho. Bookbinding at a different place cost another 42 mon.[63] Including this case, during the nine months in question, Shibata spent 2,602 mon on hiring a copyist, and 166 mon on bookbinding. The availability of such services was among the attractions of Edo.

The variety of Shibata’s purchases of books and prints shows the range of cultural artefacts available in Edo. It also reflects his personal attributes, or perhaps is typical of the scope of interest or curiosity of many intellectuals in those days. As for ‘high’ culture, we find in the list, for example, Oranda tensetsu 和蘭天説 (1796), by Shiba Kōkan 司馬江漢 (1747–1818), which introduced heliocentrism to Japan, Dutch-language textbooks and various medical books as discussed. In ‘popular’ culture, on the other hand, he bought many street maps (kirizu 切図), senryū 川柳 books (Yanagidaru 柳樽), ukiyo-e prints (Hizakurige 膝栗毛) and even pornography (shungabon 春画本 or warai bon 笑本).[64]

As well as books, Edo offered scholars from whom provincial intellectuals wished to learn. Outside the academy, Shibata found an important teacher in world geography and politics, namely Koga Kin’ichirō 古賀謹一郎 (1816–84), a scholar at the Shogunal School. The Kogas had served the shogunate as Confucian scholars since 1796, when Koga Seiri 古賀精里 (1750–1817), Kin’ichirō’s grandfather, was invited to transfer from the Saga domain school to the Shogunal School. Seiri’s son, Dōan 侗庵 (1788–1847), succeeded to the position but later also developed an interest in Western affairs, stemming from the fear of future invasion of Japan by Russia or Britain. His outlook was transmitted to his son and successor Kin’ichirō to the degree that Kin’ichirō’s ‘overindulgence in Western studies’ was criticised by Shōheikō colleagues.[65] Koga Kin’ichirō’s continuous study of Western countries led him to participate in shogunate diplomacy from 1853 onwards, and to his appointment as the foundation principal of the Shogunal Institute for Western Studies in 1855.[66]

Shibata’s relationship with Koga suggests the openness of intellectual circles in Edo. Shibata was introduced to Koga by Ikeda Tōun, then the head student of Shōsendō, just three days after his re-enrolment in the academy. Shibata and Ikeda had known each other since 1845, and shared an interest in world affairs; Ikeda had been in Koga’s circle from 1847 or earlier, reading Dutch books, and listening to talks by a sailor-castaway, amongst other activities.[67] After the introduction by Ikeda, Shibata often visited Koga and learnt about or discussed foreign affairs and world geography. Shibata was particularly keen on refining his early world map by meeting with Koga and examining his resources.

As well as cultivating the new connection with Koga’s circle, Shibata also maintained his old bond with the Nakanes. After the death of Hansen, the position of Takada domain’s Chinese scholar was assumed by his son Nakane Hanrei (1831–1914). Shibata helped Hanrei a great deal when Hansen’s successor and disciples held a function to commemorate the late teacher, as well as building a memorial. Shibata invited at least seven classmates and friends, including Itō Genkei, to the function, together with Confucian scholars and calligraphers from Hansen’s own discipline.[68]

This event, together with Shibata’s regular visits to Koga, suggest permeable boundaries between disciplines and between schools, as well as indicating the breadth of interests of individual students. From this perspective, Shibata’s previous transfer from Hansen’s tuition in Chinese to Genboku’s Dutch academy might not necessarily have been a big move, as many scholars of Dutch studies, including Genboku, had taken that pathway.[69] There was, however, some stress on the incompatibility of Chinese studies and Dutch learning. Fukuzawa, who later recalled Tekijuku students’ hostile attitude to Chinese scholars and doctors in Osaka, was probably one influential contributor to this view.[70] Shibata’s actions, on the other hand, confirm studies that demonstrate inter-school relationships and multiple affiliations among students were not unusual in this period.[71] At the same time, however, his diary suggests that such openness in the Edo intellectual community did not always go unchallenged. Shibata writes: ‘I decided to stop going to Koga for a while because people will see my behaviour as disrespectful [to the headmaster Genboku] if I keep visiting Koga every day’. Despite this apparent concern about people’s perceptions, Shibata continued to visit Koga. There is no doubt that this informal master–disciple relationship led to Shibata’s appointment as a map-maker at the Shogunal Institute for Western Studies several years later.

Life in the Academy

Shibata’s diaries also contain information about other sides of student life apart from study or academic activities. The academy monitored the attendance or absence of each student every day by using nameplates in the following way: students were required to report their presence to the headmaster’s residence by surrendering their nameplates no later than about two hours after sunrise (asa itsutsu). They withdrew their nameplates in the evening, about two hours after sunset (yoru itsutsu) according to Shibata’s notes, but it was about four hours after sunset (yoru yotsu) in other sources.[72] If they planned to return to the school after leaving, they needed to submit an ‘out-plate’ (gaishutsu fuda 外出札), five of which were given monthly to each person. To those who failed to respect the rules, a curfew order (kinsoku 禁足) was given. Shibata was one such student — he received punishment of a three-day curfew for taking leave without proper permission. However, he did not quietly accept the punishment. He submitted a letter to the school manager (jukukan 塾監) asking him to request the headmaster to ‘relax the school rules ... as they are too strict’. On the following day, he called for a whole-school meeting to demand collectively that the manager negotiate with the headmaster.[73] There is no sign that the rules were relaxed, however. Ten days after the meeting, another curfew order was given — to a group of four students who failed to return to the school before the plate-withdrawal time.[74]

Meals were served in the school’s dining hall (shokudō 食堂), which was controlled by a duty manager student according to a roster (tōban 当番), together with a male servant (shimobe 僕). Each student purchased and stored his own rice, probably in the kitchen. Every morning, the servant cooked all the rice for the day at one time, in accordance with each student’s notification of how much he wanted. Students were required to finish eating their own cooked rice by the end of dinner time.[75] Shibata’s money-book records that he purchased rice 21 times between the twenty-fifth of the fourth and fifteenth of the twelfth month in 1850. He bought roughly five shō (nine litres) of rice fortnightly at 765 mon, which suggests a daily consumption of rice of 3.3 (594 millilitres), costing him 51 mon per day.[76] Although this is much larger than today’s rice consumption per person in Japan, it was probably less than the average for a young man in his day.[77]

Shibata’s diary does not show what was served with the cooked rice at the dining hall. The menu was presumably similar to that mentioned by a former student of a different academy in his recollection: ‘soup at breakfast, takuan-pickles at lunch and dried fish at dinner’.[78] According to Shibata’s record, each student paid the duty manager about 400 mon twice a month for food — meaning a daily charge of around 27 mon per person.[79] If there were consistently 28 students, nearly 44 ryō would have been collected annually.

Drinking alcohol cost Shibata more than his meals at the school dining room. Shibata’s diary and money record in 1850 offer rare information about the drinking culture among young intellectuals studying in Edo.[80] After settling in at the academy on the twentieth day of the fourth month, Shibata went out to Ueno the next night to drink with a classmate, spending 612 mon on his share of the split bill (wariai 割合). On the twenty-third, he went to a different place with a different person, but forgot to record the expense. On the 25th, he had a quick drink alone for only 28 mon at a shop near Ueno. On the following day, he drank at the school, buying one (180 millilitres) of sake for 36 mon.[81] Apparently, sake was stocked by someone or was available in the kitchen for sale, at least secretly, which was a clear violation of the school rule of ‘no drinking or idle conversation’.[82] Shibata’s 1850 documents indicate that, on average, he drank 16.5 times per month, with expenditure of 4,808 mon, or an average expense on each occasion of 291 mon.[83]

Shibata had drinks most frequently at a shop called Ise-ya 伊勢屋 in Ueno Yamashita district (see Figure 7). He went to the shop 87 times during 1850. It seems that this shop was a regular tavern for the Shōsendō students. Shibata’s diary for the fourth of the fifth month of 1850 reads, for example:

At night, I had drinks at Ise-ya with Takabatake Gorō, Suzuki Genshō ... . Later [Uemura] Shūhei joined us. Shūhei got really drunk (ōyoi). I had to put him on my back and walk back to the school. [Someone] tipped over a lantern and made a mess with oil on the tatami mat.[84]

A large number of entries in his diaries reveal his habitual drinking, sometimes even before breakfast, and he had many regrets about hangovers.[85] But in Edo as well as in Sado, he was not at all unusual in his fondness for drinking with his mates. In the 1850 diary, as many as nineteen classmates out of 27 drank with Shibata at Ise-ya at least once. Edo already had a reputation as a ‘drink-and-die’ (nomidaore 呑み倒れ) town in the 1790s; an 1811 survey revealed there were as many as 1,808 taverns (niuri izakaya 煮売居酒屋) that served sake and side dishes.[86] We do not know what types of shops Shibata’s favourite taverns were. They could not, however, have been very humble stalls, as he spent 291 mon per visit on average as mentioned above, when people could buy the cheapest sake for eight mon per . The illustration in Figure 6, taken from popular literature published in 1851, may suggest the atmosphere of Shibata’s drinking. Shibata and four other Shōsendō students went out to eat Ueno Yamashita’s speciality dish, goose hotpot, probably to a restaurant like the one captured in this illustration, on the eleventh of the ninth month of 1850. He spent 291 mon there.[87]

Figure 6 Illustration from Kinsei bijinroku 琴声 美人録, Vol.7 (Santō Kyōzan 山東京山, illustration by Utagawa Kuniteru 歌川国輝, Kikakudō, 1851). From Waseda University Library kotenseki sōgō database.

Figure 6
Illustration from Kinsei bijinroku 琴声 美人録, Vol.7 (Santō Kyōzan 山東京山, illustration by Utagawa Kuniteru 歌川国輝, Kikakudō, 1851). From Waseda University Library kotenseki sōgō database.

With such drinking habits, it is natural to presume that these young intellectuals did not necessarily eschew the culture of philandering in early modern Japanese cities. Shibata’s 1850 diary does not contain a clear record of visits to pleasure quarters, but only subtle indications.[88] However, it is apparent in the next available diary, which is for the year 1856, that he became a regular customer of a parlour called Yamato-ya 大和屋 in Yoshiwara. One description of his and other young intellectuals’ nightlife in the pleasure quarters reads as follows:

Twentieth of the ninth month of 1856: Sunny ... I went out with Ryōetsu in the evening and had a drink in [Ueno] Yamashita. Then we visited Yamato-rō and drank together ... Yoshida and Fukae came at midnight. Ōtomo Gen’an and others banged on the door and called out to Yoshida. Tezuka Ritsuzō 手塚律蔵 (1822–78) and [others] came in too. Tezuka shouted or belted out lines of [Chinese] poems as loudly and crazily as an excited madman.[89]

The expenses incurred in spending a night at a Yoshiwara parlour are not recorded in Shibata’s texts except in one note, which records that he agreed to repay three shu (1,161 mon) to the person who settled an account for him in Yoshiwara the previous night.[90] According to an 1858 version of Shin-Yoshiwara saiken 新吉原細見, the Yamato-ya parlour charged a gold coin of one bu (1,548 mon) or two shu (774 mon) for a night’s service by a courtesan, depending on her ranking.[91] Shibata did not record details of his courtesan, but visiting Yoshiwara was doubtless an expensive leisure pursuit for ordinary students in Edo.

Shibata’s diaries also help us understand students’ everyday movements around the great metropolis. Figure 7 indicates on an 1847 map of Edo the locations of major places where Shibata stayed or which he frequently visited during the periods we have discussed. As he was based at Shōsendō in Shitaya, his daily activities usually took place in the north-east part of Edo city, between Nihonbashi and Ueno, and between Yushima and Asakusa. Identifying the locations he visited on an internet tool, with help from some other old maps, we can estimate the distance he walked and the time it took him.[92] To visit Koga in the Shogunal School in Yushima, 1.4 kilometres away (by road) from Shōsendō, he probably walked for about twenty minutes. For daily drinks, the Ise-ya tavern in Ueno Yamashita was only about 1.1 kilometres away. Nearby was the Okadaya 岡田屋 Bookshop, where Shibata was a regular customer. But if he and his friends wanted to see courtesans in Yoshiwara, they probably had to walk for more than an hour to cover the distance of about five kilometres. Some examples from the diaries of Shibata’s movements are as follows. On the eigth day of the eleventh month of 1850 — a sunny day — he went to Yokkaichi (near Eitaibashi Bridge) to deal with money matters in the morning. After studying in the afternoon, he went to Sudachō (Kanda) to buy paper, then to the famous Echigoya store in Nihonbashi Muromachi, seeking a hat. He probably walked about eleven kilometres that day. The following day was harder. In the evening, Shibata and his teacher Itō Genkei went to a festival at the Ōtori Myōjin Shrine near Yoshiwara. They then walked to a bookshop in Asakusa, moved to Yanagibashi to drink, bought pornographic books at Ryōgoku Hirokōji, and then went to Shinbashi for more drinks before ‘returning in liquor’.[93] They walked more than sixteen kilometres.

Figure 7 Major places that Shibata stayed in or frequently visited in Edo. Map: Kōka kaisei O-Edo ōezu 弘化改正御江戸大絵図 (Edo: Izumoji Manjirō, 1847), from National Diet Library, Japan.

Figure 7
Major places that Shibata stayed in or frequently visited in Edo. Map: Kōka kaisei O-Edo ōezu 弘化改正御江戸大絵図 (Edo: Izumoji Manjirō, 1847), from National Diet Library, Japan.

Money Matters

Study in Edo was costly, as Shibata’s notebooks show. His ‘1850 Account Book’ presents details of expenditure on his Edo life. First, for the trip from Sado island to Edo, he spent the equivalent of 11,313 mon, including a ferry fare of 800 mon, transport of parcels to Edo of 800 mon, and accommodation of between 150 mon and 272 mon (215 mon on average) per night. It seems to have been a comfortable trip, with Shibata often riding on horseback or in a palanquin. After arriving at Edo, Shibata’s spending reached the following:

Table 2: Shibata’s expenditure during his stay at Edo in 1850

month 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th Total
expenditure (mon) 20,396 13,426 13,265 7,059 7,221 8,113 17,782 14,729 7,409 109,400

Compiled from Shibata Shūzō, ‘Kaei san-nen shozappi,’ in Nikki B2, pp.257–80.

In total, his expenditure from his departure until the end of the year, covering 270 days, amounted to 120,713 mon. This implies a daily average of 447 mon for the whole period, but it decreases to 254 mon if we look only at the quietest period of three months, from the seventh to ninth months. Shibata’s expenditure in this period can be presumed to have covered his basic daily essentials, although it also included a great deal for drinking and other things mentioned above. In fact, a letter from Shibata to his father in Sado says that he needs at least 200 mon a day to live in Edo on the most frugal basis.[94] Fukuzawa Yukichi, on the other hand, recalled that 100 mon per day or 2,400 mon per month had been sufficient for a student to live modestly at Tekijuku in Osaka.[95]

Shibata’s life in Edo can be more clearly understood if we classify his expenses into categories as shown in Table 3, School fees, 4,500 mon, accounted for a comparatively minor proportion of expenditure. On his re-enrolment in Shōsendō, Shibata followed the head student’s advice and offered a gift of 100 hiki (worth 1,550 mon) to the headmaster; another 100 hiki to the group of students in residence; and two shu (775 mon) to the academy’s servant.[96] These were, perhaps, discounted figures for a re-entering student, if a source compiled by Genboku’s descendant is correct in showing the entrance fees as 200 hiki to the headmaster; 200 hiki to the students; 100 hiki to the headmaster’s wife; and 50 hiki each to the assistant teacher, the head student, and the servant.[97] Shibata also made a contribution to the students’ half-yearly gifts to the headmaster and the servant: 324 mon for summer gifts and 306 mon for end-of-year gifts. Other expenses directly related to study include 26,441 mon for books, and 4,237 mon for stationery (paper, brushes, ink stones, ink sticks, etc.).

Table 3: Classification of Shibata’s expenditure on his study in Edo, 1850
Category of expenses Value in Zeni   Notes
Travel to Edo 11,313 mon 9.4%  
Academy entrance fees and student contributions 4,500 mon 3.7%  
Books 26,441 mon 21.9% Inc. purchase, rental, binding and copyist fees of books and prints
Stationery 4,237 mon 3.5% Inc. paper, brushes, ink sticks, ink stones, rulers
Kitchen fees 4,331 mon 3.6% Figures are missing in 2 entries out of 14.
Rice 11,145 mon 9.2% Figures are missing in 2 entries out of 21.
Drinking 38,469 mon 31.9% Figures are missing in many entries.
Clothing 5,801 mon 4.8% Inc. materials, tailor fees, laundry fees, socks and sandals
Utensils and accessories 6,266 mon 5.2% Inc. pots, ceramics, wallets, umbrellas, razors, tissue paper, towels, pillows, hair oil, etc.
Oil 668 mon 0.6% For lantern (?)
Baths and barbershops 404 mon 0.3% Data available only until 8/19
Gifts and greetings 4,971 mon 4.1%  
Others 2,167 mon 1.8%  
Total 120,713 mon 100%  

Compiled from Shibata Shūzō, ‘Kōjtsu nikki’, ‘Kaei san-nen shozappi’ and ‘Tōsei no oboe’, in Nikki B2, pp.171–290.

With regard to general costs of living, for food Shibata paid the school kitchen fees of at least 4,331 mon in total (two entries have no figures recorded). In addition, rice purchases cost 11,145 mon in 1850. His expenditure on drinking, 38,469 mon, the biggest item in this table, probably included the cost of some meals, considering the frequency of his visits to taverns or restaurants. Like everyone studying away from home, Shibata also needed money for clothing, accessories and utensils. In 1850, Shibata spent, for example, 232 mon on a pair of socks, 32 to 80 mon on laundry roughly once a month, twelve or 24 mon on tissue paper, twelve to 48 mon on hair oil, 116 mon on a towel, and 128 mon on two bowls. Bathing and hairdressing also required regular disbursement of a small amount of money. Shibata’s ‘1850 Account Book’ records the cost of bathing and hairdressing at 36 mon each time.[98] Similarly, he needed to buy oil, probably for a lantern. One (180 millilitres) cost 40 to 52 mon fortnightly or so. Apart from these reasonable items of expenditure, however, we find in his notebooks some extravagant purchases such as a wallet for about 2,000 mon and a pair of sandals (kudari setta 下り雪駄) shipped from the Kyoto–Osaka region for about 550 mon.

Probably partly because he spent money extravagantly on items such as these, as well as on expensive books and habitual drinking, Shibata got into financial trouble, and thus became desperate to borrow money. In his ‘Memorandum’ notebook, which provides records for 1850, there are notes of thirteen loans from seven of his classmates, ranging from 400 mon to 7,000 mon each time. At the end of the year, about 13,600 mon of these loans were still outstanding. Another sixteen loans were from pawnshops; Shibata had pledged belongings such as haori-coats, kimono, and even a sword. He also borrowed money from a bookshop where he was a regular customer, pledging six books for a 1,500-mon loan and nine books for another 4,600-mon loan. To repay these debts, he borrowed money from Sado people who travelled to Edo: 3.5 ryō (21,700 mon) from sailors in the sixth month, one ryō from a merchant from the town of Ogi in the tenth month, and another one ryō in the eleventh month from a priest who was about to return to the island. These loans were offered in exchange for bills (tegata 手形) to be paid by Shibata’s father when the travellers returned to Sado, although it does not seem that he had approval from his father in advance.

Letters from Shibata to his father and other relatives in Sado further reveal that he was struggling to finance his life in Edo. Shibata repeatedly wrote to his father that he had been doing well in his medical studies since arriving at Edo but found it difficult to sustain his lifestyle without further remittance. A letter dated the 25th of the eighth month of 1850, for example, was a request to his father for another four ryō (24,800 mon), as he was having a hard time in the expensive city where ‘the rice price has risen to 164 mon per shō (1.8 litres)’.[99] As far as the sources show, his father sent him three ryō after receiving this letter, and another one and a half ryō in the sixth month of the following year after receiving three more letters from Shibata asking for money. In a different letter, Shibata asked a relative to help change his father’s mind, as Shibata had heard that his father ‘was telling people that he would not send money to Shibata because the son would never come back home as long as money is sent from home’.[100]

Earning money from a part-time job was a natural option for humble students in the city, as it still is today. As Fukuzawa recalls, the best job for students in Dutch studies academies in the 1850s was hand-copying imported books at the request of daimyo houses or other well-to-do intellectuals.[101] Shibata, too, took advantage of his access to books in demand, either in his possession or in the academy, and, presumably, of his calligraphic skills gained from his previous training in seal making. He was also caught in a common dilemma of students with part-time jobs: finding time to study for his future career while earning money for his immediate needs. He wrote to his father: ‘By copying books, I would be able to earn enough money to buy rice for myself. But such work would hinder my study, and consequently delay my return home.’[102]

In the effort to gain his father’s further financial support, Shibata gave his word at least twice that he would repay all the money his father spent on his medical training this time round, by running a clinic in Sado, which, he claimed, would be full of patients.[103] This might have been a mere rhetorical statement, but Shibata’s confidence in his future economic status may not have been groundless. His writings do not contain any direct statements about doctors’ potential income, but one possible reason for his confidence was the earning potential of the growing practice of cowpox vaccination. One study shows that a doctor who was practising Dutch-style medicine in his home village in Shinano province gave cowpox vaccine to 79 people in 1851 alone, receiving gratuities of about 85,450 mon or 13.8 ryō.[104] It is likely that medical students in the cities quickly shared such information among themselves.

Shibata also mentioned in a letter to his father the possibility that he would earn money practising medicine in Edo for several years before returning home and repaying all his debts.[105] He may have been influenced here by the life and prosperity of the headmaster Genboku, who was famous for the popularity of his clinic as well as his strong interest in business and power politics.[106] Genboku’s wealth and his interest in worldly matters can be perceived in Shibata’s diaries. For example, in one entry Shibata expressed surprise at the size and content of the headmaster’s collection of hanging scroll artworks, and in another he was impressed by four sets of samurai armour.[107] There seems to be no sources available about Genboku’s finance, but other cases suggest that most successful doctors such as him earned good money. Sugita Genpaku 杉田玄白 (1733–1817), who practised in Edo half a century before Genboku, received gratuities of 464 ryō a year on average between 1779 and 1804.[108]


Shibata’s diaries, notebooks and letters between 1843 and 1850 show the ambitions and the unstable student life of one young rural intellectual staying in the metropolis of Edo or at home in the remote island of Sado, at a time when the nation was about to face significant change. Together with his peers, he was situated at a crossroads in terms of their nation’s fate. From his teacher in Sado or his study prior to the 1850 journey, Shibata must have learnt that existing paradigms of knowledge would soon be reformed. Coming to Edo again full of thirst for new knowledge and ambitions to transform his life, Shibata kept absorbing what Edo had to offer. Or, rather, the metropolis absorbed him through the influence of books, teachers, fellow students, and urban life in general. His diaries present a picture of a late-Tokugawa-period young man from the periphery, whose talents and social circumstances happened to allow him to make a journey to change his career in the capital city. Edo and its people had three more years to wait before the 1853 visit by the US fleet. We perhaps see in Shibata’s texts a kind of the prelude to the fundamental change in the status quo of Japan that was about to occur. Yet, the daily life of this person and his fellow students seems to have been lively and peaceful.

Shibata’s changes in career are a showcase of the ways in which commoners could take advantage of expanding opportunities in education in late-Tokugawa society, and, at the same time, the difficulties that remained in their attempts to craft a life that was different from the one that was socially prescribed. It was an amazing transformation for the son of a fisherman to become first a seal-maker with good skills in calligraphy, then a doctor of Chinese and Dutch medicine, and finally a published map-maker, eventually working for the shogunate. Education played a key role in these developments. Through the case of Shibata, we have observed the kind of atmosphere that supported a talented young individual seeking new knowledge and skills. Support at various levels in society, ranging from parents, relatives, and community leaders, to local intellectuals, to academic circles in the metropolis, and perhaps to samurai authority, all combined to allow the villager Shibata to study in Edo. However, the support system was fragile. Education was increasingly open to commoners, but the financial burden was huge for normal households, and career pathways after learning were still uncertain.

Shibata’s access to education reflects the growing permeability of the Tokugawa order and the imperfect boundaries between academic disciplines, suggesting that Tokugawa society was looser than is sometimes assumed. As is evident from the range of Shibata’s classmates, or, even more strongly, from an examination of Shōsendō’s enrolment book since its inauguration, the metropolis was where people from all over the country met. Although the formal social order and informal custom still powerfully endorsed samurai status, the importance of personal connections and formal process, Shibata’s life in Edo suggests there was also a relaxation of hereditary status divisions, at least in private or among drinking friends. Boundaries between schools, as well as between the disciplines of Chinese and Dutch Studies, were also permeable. Shibata’s interests changed; new interests and projects did not replace old ones, but, rather, were added to the existing repertoire of his intellectual activities. The purpose of his travel to Edo was clearly recorded as ‘medical training’ in the case of his second trip in 1843, and it was also the ostensible reason for the 1850 trip, as he always mentioned the progress of his medical study in his letters to his father in Sado. Medicine was, however, only one of his interests, or perhaps its primary function was to provide an acceptable reason for his departure from home. Academically, he was increasingly attracted to geography and foreign affairs. As is evident from our analysis of his reading and his purchases, however, his interests remained diverse. He continued to acquire many calligraphy works at great expense, and occasionally even bought popular pictures or books too.

Studying in Edo involved a variety of activities beyond academic learning. It would be natural and easy to imagine that this was the case on the basis of our own experiences or common knowledge; but the point is less frequently made about the early modern past. Shibata’s materials offer rare and vivid information about the conditions of Tokugawa commoners’ study away from home. They describe a series of events including travel to the city after obtaining the family’s support and the necessary official permit; enrolment in a school and settling in at a residence; meeting and socialising with classmates and other like-minded people; exploring the city and indulging in what it had to offer; and writing frequent letters home asking for money, with the excuse of the expense of urban life. Shibata’s actions, while characteristic of Tokugawa Japan, also seem curiously modern.

Acknowledgements: sincere gratitude to my colleague Sandra Wilson for her advice and suggestions throughout my project on this topic, and the journal’s two anonymous readers for providing useful comments on an early version of this article.

Takeshi Moriyama
Senior Lecturer in Japanese
School of Arts
Murdoch University


1 There are two compilations of Shibata Shōzō’s diaries and other writings, to which this essay owes a great deal: Tanaka Keiichi 田中圭一, comp. Shibata Shūzō nikki 柴田収蔵日記, 2 vols (Ogi: Niigata-ken Sado-gun Ogi-machi chōshi kankō iinkai, 1971); hereafter Nikki A1 for Vol.1 and Nikki A2 for Vol.2), and Tanaka Keiichi, comp. Shibata Shūzō nikki: Mura no yōgakusha 柴田収蔵日記:村の洋学者, 2 vols (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1996); hereafter Nikki B1 for Vol.1 and Nikki B2 for Vol.2). Nikki A2 contains letters from Shibata to his father and other people.

2 See Fukuzawa Yukichi 福沢諭吉, Fukuō jiden 福翁自伝 (Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1978), pp.44–94. Fukuzawa’s autobiography, Fukuō jiden, is a compilation of his casual talks in 1897. He attended Tekijuku from 1856 to 1858 — three decades before this talk of his. Another often-cited text is Nagayo Sensai’s recollection of his days at Tekijuku, 1854–59, and in Nagasaki, 1860–68. This was also written around 1895. See Nagayo Sensai 長与専斎, ‘Shōkōshishi’ 松香私志, in Matsumoto Jun 松本順 and Nagayo Sensai, Matsumono Jun jiden, Nagayo Sensai jiden 松本順自伝・長与専斎自伝 (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1980), pp.104, 108–20.

3 R.P.Dore, Education in Tokugawa Japan (London: The Athlone Press, 1984); originally published 1965); Richard Rubinger, Private Academies of Tokugawa Japan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982).

4 Tsukamoto Manabu, Chihō bunjin (Tokyo: Kyōikusha, 1977), pp.184–87.

5 See, for example, in English, Matsunosuke Nishiyama (trans. Gerald Groemer), Edo Culture: Daily Life and Diversions in Urban Japan, 1600–1868 (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1997), pp.95–112; Brian Platt, Burning and Building: Schooling and State Formation in Japan, 1750–1890 (Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2004), pp.23–65; Eiko Ikegami, Bonds of Civility: Aesthetic Networks and the Political Origins of Japanese Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp.171–220; Richard Rubinger, Popular Literacy in Early Modern Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2007), pp.80–112; Takeshi Moriyama, Crossing Boundaries in Tokugawa Society: Suzuki Bokushi, a Rural Elite Commoner (Leiden: Brill, 2013), pp.127–63; also, in Japanese, Kitajima Masamoto 北島正元, Nihon no rekishi 18: Bakuhansei no kunō 日本の歴史18幕藩制の苦悩 (Tokyo: Chūōkōronsha, 1974), pp.380–402; Takahashi Satoshi 高橋敏, Nihon minshū kyōikushi kenkyū 日本民衆教育史研究 (Tokyo: Miraisha, 1978), pp.116–71; Sugi Hitoshi 杉仁, Kinsei no chiiki to zaison bunka: gijutsu to shōhin to fūga no kōryū 近世の地域と在村文化・技術と商品と風雅の交流 (Tokyo: Yoshikawa kōbunkan, 2001), pp.14–20, 36–73.

6 Constantine N. Vaporis, Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, and the Culture of Early Modern Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2008), especially Ch.6, offers a vivid picture of daimyo retainers’ lives in Edo, which were much engaged with what the capital city had to offer in goods, services, and entertainment. Famous primary sources that contain descriptions of the reality of samurai life in Edo include Seji kenmonroku, 1816, and Musui dokugen, 1843. See Buyō inshi 武陽隠士 (annot. Honjō Eijirō 本庄栄治郎); Seji kenmonroku 世事見聞録 (Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1994), and its translation, Mark Teeuwen and Kate Wildman Nakai, eds, Lust, Commerce, and Corruption: An Account of What I Have Seen and Heard, by an Edo Samurai (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014); and Katsu Kokichi 勝小吉 (comp. Katsube Mitake勝部真長), Musui dokugen, hoka 夢酔独言他 (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1969); also its translation, Katsu Kokichi (trans. Teruko Craig), Musui’s Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988).

7 See Tanaka Keiichi, Tenryō Sado: Shima no Edo-jidai-shi 天領佐渡:島の江戸時代史 (Tokyo: Tōsui shobō, 1985), pp.5–8; Niigataken 新潟県, Niigatakenshi tsūshihen 新潟県史通史編 (Niigata: Niigataken, 1987), Vol.3, pp.49–66, 507–41, 660–73.

8 Tanaka Keiichi, ‘Shibata Shūzō no ikita jidai’ 柴田収蔵の生きた時代, in Nikki B1, pp.11–19.

9 See Nikki B1, pp.137–238.

10 A diary kept during the voyage to Shikoku is included in Nikki B2, pp.343–57.

11 Narita Mikiko 成田美紀子, ‘Shibata Shūzō ni tsuite’ 柴田収蔵について in Nikki A2, pp.335–39; Yamamoto Shūnosuke 山本修之助, Shibata Shūzō 新発田収蔵 (Sado: Shibata Shūzō hyakunensai kinenkai, 1958), p.3; Takahashi Yūichi 高橋勇市. ‘Shibata Shūzō nenpukō’ 柴田収蔵年譜考, Yōgakushi kenkyū 洋学史研究 (1998), Vol.15, p.68.

12 Shibata took notes in his diary of early 1842 about Ishii’s collection of seal art books, listing nine titles. Nikki B1, p.48.

13 See Mori Senzō 森銑三and Nakajima Masatoshi 中島理壽, comps, Kinsei jinmeiroku shūsei 近世人名録集成 (Tokyo: Benseisha, 1976), Vol.2, pp.29–59. Nakane’s name is on p.42. Among the 22 seal-makers listed, nineteen were recorded as ‘seal-maker’ only, while the other three had other specialities such as calligraphy. This suggests that seal-making could be full-time work, at least in Edo.

14 The demand for seals in the provinces is likely related to the spread of literacy. For example, a picture of a farmers’ petition (renpanjō 連判状) in Rubinger, Popular Literacy, p.147, shows that not only village leaders but also many ordinary farmers possessed their own seals of reasonable quality by the 1850s.

15 Nikki B2, pp.257–58.

16 Narita, ‘Shibata Shūzō ni tsuite,’ pp.346–50.

17 Nikki B1, pp.257–60.

18 Nikki B1, pp.259–72.

19 Nikki B1, p.278. For Ishii’s cultural activities and network, see Yamamoto Shūnosuke, ‘Ishii Natsumi ate Edo bunjin no shokan’ 石井夏海宛江戸文人の書簡, Essa kenkyū 越佐研究 24 (1966): 42–51.

20 The kohō style in Chinese medicine began with Nagoya Gen’i’s 名古屋玄医 (1628–96) advocacy of learning ancient Chinese medicine, which was later supported also by Gotō Konzan 後藤艮山 (1659–1733) and Yoshimasu Tōdō 吉益東洞 (1702–73), amongst others. See Fujikawa Yū 富士川游, Nihon igaku kōyō 日本医学綱要 (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1974), Vol.1, pp.136–38, 155–69; Vol.2, pp.4–6.

21 Nikki B1, pp.286–314. Shibata’s relationship with the hostess, Aoi, restarted after his return home in late 1845, and continued for a while. See Nikki A1, pp.265, 276. Kawaji Toshiakira wrote in 1841 during his domain inspection as the Sado magistrate that the port town of Ogi, with a population of 2700, could accommodate up to 150 ships sailing between Ezo and Kyushu, and, therefore, there were many ‘wives for sailors’ (ukine no tsuma). Kawaji Toshiakira, Shimane no susami: Sado bugyō zaikin nikki 島根のすさみ佐渡奉行在勤日記 (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1973), p.279. Kawaji also had to spend eight days waiting for the right wind (kaze machi) at the port of Ogi on his trip back to Edo (pp.330–35).

22 Dealing with the case of Takano Chōei, Ellen Nakamura points out the importance of connections and introductions in provincial people’s search for teachers in Edo. See Ellen Gardner Nakamura, Practical Pursuits: Takano Chōei, Takahashi Keisaku, and Western Medicine in Nineteenth-Century Japan (Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2005), pp.46–48.

23 This was the second compound (naka yashiki) of the family of the Takada lord, Sakakibara. Presumably Nakane was given a small house on the edge of the compound or some rooms in the barracks. For retainers’ everyday life in daimyo compounds in Edo, see Vaporis, Tour of Duty, pp.179–92.

24 See Unoda Shōya 宇野田尚哉, ‘Jusha’ 儒者, in ed. Yokota Fuyuhiko横田冬彦, Chishiki to gakumon o ninau hitobito 知識と学問をになう人々 (Tokyo: Yoshikawa kōbunkan, 2007), pp.18–19.

25 Ihō taiseiron, a fourteenth-century classic from China, was published in Edo in several different versions since the seventeenth century. See ‘Ken’ikai tsūshin, No.7’ 研医会通信7号, <>.

26 Kaitai shinsho, likely the most famous work in Tokugawa-period Dutch studies, is a translation of Johan Adam Kulmus’s (1689–1745) Ontleedkundige Tafelen by Sugita Genpaku and Nakagawa Jun’an (1739–86) published in 1774. A digital image of the 1774 work can be viewed at <>. Oranda iji mondō, published in 1795, was a compilation of letters exchanged between Takebe Seian (1712–82) in Ichinoseki, Mutsu province and Sugita Genpaku in Edo. A digital image can be viewed at <http://archive.wul.>.

27 In the student registry books of Genboku’s Shōsendō academy, Shibata is recorded in the 96th place without the date of enrolment, but the 113th student date is given the date as the fifteenth day of the ninth month of 1845. See Tazaki Tetsurō 田崎哲郎, ed. ‘Shirandō Shōsendō monjinchō todōfukenbetsu ichiran’ 芝蘭堂象先堂門人帳都道府県別一覧, in ed. Arisaka Takamichi 有坂隆道, Nihon yōgakushi no kenkyū 日本洋学史の研究, (Tokyo: Sōgensha, 1985), Vol.7, pp.262, 270.

28 A diary entry on the twenty-eighth day of the first month of 1846 mentions ‘my return home last winter’, meaning between the tenth and twelfth months of 1845. Nikki A1, p.265.

29 Shibata’s 1846 diary contains a number of notes about his struggle to repay loans from local people. See Nikki A1, pp.269–70, 342–43, 345, 347, 371, 374–76.

30 Nikki A1, pp.257–378.

31 By ウエイン, Shibata meant sake, not European wine.

32 See, for example, Inoue Katsuo 井上勝生, Kaikoku to bakumatsu henkaku 開国と幕末変革 (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 2009), pp.142–49.

33 A digital image of a hand-copied booklet of ‘Ahen shimatsuki’ can be viewed at <>.

34 See Nikki A1, pp.271, 273, 288.

35 Nikki A1, pp.352–53. These incidents presumably refer to the arrival of French ships at Ryukyu in 1844, of a British ship at Ryukyu in 1845, of French ships to Nagasaki, and American ships at Uraga in 1846.

36 It is clear that Shibata’s decision was made before 1850. He discussed the schedule of the trip with his travel partner on the first day of the second month, 1850, and started preparing luggage from the seventeenth. Nikki B2, pp.152, 157.

37 Nikki B1 includes ‘Kōjutsu nikki,’ pp.139–249, ‘Kaei san-nen shozappi,’ pp.251–81, and ‘Tōsei no oboe,’ pp.282–90.

38 See Ann Jannetta, The Vaccinators: Smallpox, Medical Knowledge, and the ‘Opening’ of Japan (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007), pp.106–109, 143–45; Itō Sakae 伊東栄, Itō Genboku den 伊東玄朴伝 (Tokyo: Genbunsha, 1916), pp.39–51; Ishida Sumio 石田純郎, Edo no Oranda-i 江戸のオランダ医 (Tokyo: Sanseidō, 1988), pp.87–98; Akagi Akio 赤木昭夫, Rangaku no jidai 蘭学の時代 (Tokyo: Chūōkōronsha, 1980), p.40.

39 Hattori Toshirō 服部敏良, Igakushi kenkyū yoroku 医学史研究余録 (Tokyo: Yoshikawa kōbunkan, 1987), p.20.

40 Umihara Tooru 海原徹, Kinsei shijuku no kenkyū 近世私塾の研究 (Kyoto: Shibunkaku shuppan, 1983), p.256. A sudden further increase is seen in the year 1854 to 26 new admissions, apparently as a result of the US Navy’s visit to Edo Bay in the previous year.

41 Today’s Shōwa-dōri street, between Akihabara and Okachi-machi stations.

42 Itō, Genboku den, pp.43–45.

43 Nikki B2, p.187.

44 Nikki B2, p.187. These pre-modern provinces roughly correspond to modern prefectures as follows: Hizen to modern Saga and Nagasaki prefectures, Musashi to Tokyo and Saitama, Iyo to Ehime, Sanuki to Kagawa, and Awa to Tokushima.

45 Umihara, Kinsei shijuku, pp.249, 251, 256. Umihara uses the 1868–71 system of divisions, separately counting Mutsu, Rikuzen, Rikuchū, Iwaki, Iwashiro, Uzen and Ugo, which previously constituted Mutsu and Dewa provinces. Also see Rubinger, Private Academies, pp.118–124.

46 Nikki B2, p.210.

47 Akagi, Rangaku no jidai, pp.24–37; Rubinger, Private Academies, pp.136–42; Umihara, Kinsei shijuku, pp.237–47.

48 For the curricular and school rules at Kangien, see, for example, Takano Kiyoshi 高野澄, ‘Kangien: Hirose Tansō’ 咸宜園:広瀬淡窓, in ed. Naramoto Tatsuya 奈良本辰也, Nihon no shijuku 日本の私塾 (Tokyo: Kadokawa shoten, 1974), pp.99–107; and Inoue Gengo 井上源吾, Hirose Tansō hyōden 廣瀬淡窓評傳 (Fukuoka: Ashi shobō, 1993), pp.478–524. For those of Tekijuku, see, for example, Koma Toshirō 駒敏郎, ‘Tekijuku: Ogata Kōan’ 適塾:緒方洪庵, in ed. Naramoto, Nihon no shijuku, 203–21, at pp.212–17; and Umetani Noboru 梅渓昇, Ogata Kōan to Tekijuku 緒方洪庵と適塾 (Osaka: Ōsaka daigaku shuppankai, 1996), pp.48–55.

49 Nikki B2, pp.210–27.

50 Ibid., pp.225–46.

51 Ibid., pp.226–27, 229–30, 236.

52 Fukuzawa, Fukuō jiden, pp.81–82.

53 Nikki B2, pp.189–208.

54 Shibata recorded exchange rates on three occasions: the twenty-eighth of the third month and the twenty-eighth of the fourth month, showing that one ryō of gold was valued at 62.02 monme of silver or 6192 mon in zeni: Nikki B2, p.283. As for the value of one mon around 1850 in Edo, Kitagawa Morisada’s 喜田川守貞 ‘Morisada mankō’ 守貞謾稿 contains useful information about prices: a bowl of plain soba or udon noodles cost sixteen mon, a piece of sushi between four and 60 mon, accommodation with two basic meals at a business inn (kujiyado, 公事宿) 248 mon per night. See Kitagawa Morisada (annotation by Usami Hideki), Kinsei fūzokushi 近世風俗志 (Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1996), Vol.1, pp.201, 221, 294.

55 ‘Tempō jūsan-nen nenchū shuppu zatsuroku’ 天保十三年年中出府雑録, Nikki B1, p.43.

56 Kawaji was born to a retainer of the shogunate’s Hita Office in Kyushu. After being adopted by a gokenin family in Edo, he was promoted to extraordinarily high positions. He played important roles in foreign affairs, especially in relations with Russia from 1853 onwards. He also contributed to the creation of the Shogunal Institute for Western Studies in 1854, together with Koga Kin’ichirō. See Fujii Sadafumi, ‘Kaisetsu’ and ‘Kawaji Toshiakira ryaku nenpu,’ in Kawaji Toshiakira, Nagasaki nikki, Shimoda nikki 長崎日記下田日記 (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1968), pp.250–62, 263–72.

57 Kawaji, Shimane no susami, p.283. See also p.139.

58 I could not find Ishii’s name in Kawaji’s Sado dairies.

59 In a separate note in the 1842 diary, Shibata wrote a list of maps possessed by a person called Kichisaburō in Akadomari, another important port village in Sado. The list includes ‘a map of Ezo Matsumae, Sakhalin, Iturup, Kunashir islands’, ‘a map of Korea’, ‘pictures of 80 uninhabited islands’, ‘a map of Ryukyuan three states and 36 islands’, and ‘Hayashi Shihei’s map of the Three Countries’ 三国通覧輿地略程全図. This note demonstrates the growing interest in international waters among provincial people in this period, as well as Shibata’s clear intent to develop his knowledge in geography.

60 Nikki B2, pp.201–27, 258.

61 Nikki B2, pp.262, 268, 274–75. A digital image of ‘Yōgai kiryaku’ can be viewed at <>.

62 Nikki B2, pp.266, 274–75. A digital image of the 1849 print of Byōgaku tsūron can be viewed at <>.

63 Nikki B2, p.275.

64 Ibid., pp.257–81.

65 Onodera Ryūta 小野寺龍太, Koga Kin’ichirō 古賀謹一郎 (Kyoto: Mineruva shobō, 2006), pp.5–6, 13–15, 26–28.

66 See Onodera, Koga Kin’ichirō, Chs 3–6.

67 Onodera, Koga Kin’ichirō, pp.31–34. In 1849, Koga wrote up three volumes of the account of a castaway’s experience, based on a number of meetings between his study group and the sailor Jirokichi, who had visited Hawai‘i, Kamchatka, Okhotsk and Alaska. See Muroga Nobuo 室賀信夫 and Yamori Kazuhiko 矢守一彦, eds, Bandan: Hyōryū no kiroku 蕃談・ 漂流の記録 (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1965), Vol.1, pp.8–32.

68 See Nikki B2, pp.225–26, 230–36.

69 Apart from Genboku, other leading practitioners of Dutch-style medicine who started their careers as doctors of Chinese-style medicine include Sugita Genpaku and Ōtsuki Gentaku 大槻玄沢 (1757–1827). Umihara argues that Gentaku and many other doctors maintained a policy of combining Chinese- and Dutch-style medicine. See Umihara, Kinsei shijuku, pp.207–13.

70 See the section entitled ‘Seeing China scholars and doctors as the enemy’, in Fukuzawa, Fukuō jiden, p.93.

71 Umihara, Kinsei shijuku, pp.258–59.

72 Shibata’s notes are in Nikki B2, p.188. Itō, Genboku den, p.122, reproduced a list of the school rules of Shōsendō, which specify the time of withdrawing name plates by students at ‘yoru yotsu’. I conclude that this is probably correct, rather than Shibata’s notes, after finding many entries of night outings in his dairies. Rubinger, Private Academies, refers to these rules without mentioning specific times (p.120).

73 Nikki B2, p.199.

74 Ibid., p.202.

75 Ibid., B2, p.187.

76 Ibid., B2, pp.260–79.

77 As is well known, the shogunate’s stipend to low-ranking retainers used the unit of fuchi, meaning the amount of rice necessary for a man, which was considered as five (nine litres) a day. Also, a record around 1820 about a household of a carpenter with wife and a child in Edo shows that the family consumed 9.8 a day. See Nakae Katsumi 中江克己, O-Edo no igaina seikatsu jijō お江戸の意外な生活事情 (Tokyo: PHP kenkyūjo, 2001), p.111. In the postwar era, according to Japanese government data, the rice consumption per person in Japan peaked in 1962 at 2.16 a day but dropped to about 1.1 gō by 1999. Website/organisation name, <>.

78 Umihara, Kinsei shijuku, p.284. Also, on meals and diet in the Tokugawa period, see Susan B. Hanley, Everyday Things in Premodern Japan: The Hidden Legacy of Material Culture (London: University of California Press, 1997), pp.77–94.

79 Nikki B2, pp.260–81.

80 Iino Ryōichi 飯野亮一, Izakaya no tanjō 居酒屋の誕生 (Tokyo: Chikuma shobō, 2014), offers comprehensive information about taverns and drinking culture in Edo. In discussing typical customers of taverns in Edo, Iino considers only manual labourers, servants of samurai, and low-ranking samurai. See pp.186–205. Fukuzawa’s autobiography also contains a recollection about his liking of sake and related matters during his days at Tekijuku. There are, however, few details of actual drinking occasions. See Fukuzawa, Fukuō jiden, pp.56–58, 60–61, 76–77.

81 Nikki B2, pp.188–89, 259, 283.

82 Itō, Genboku den, p.122.

83 The following figures summarise Shibata’s drinking and its costs during his stay at Edo in 1850: 6555 mon (15 occasions) in the fifth month, 1756 mon (14 occasions) in the sixth lunar month, 1548 mon (10) in the seventh, 3040 mon (20) in the eighth, 2669 mon (14) in the ninth, 6735 mon (24) in the tenth, 8938 mon (19) in the eleventh, and 7228 mon (16) in the twelfth month — spending a total of 38,469 mon over 132 occasions during a period of 236 days.

84 Nikki B2, p.191.

85 A great majority of modern readers probably consider Shibata’s drinking habit abnormal. However, I learnt through my fieldwork in Sado that such a fondness for drinking would not necessarily have been abnormal in the local fishermen’s culture.

86 Iino, Izakaya no tanjō, pp.16, 99–100. Edo’s reputation as a ‘drink-and-die’ town was paired with Osaka’s ‘eat-and-die’ (kuidaore 食い倒れ) and Kyoto’s ‘wear-and-die’ (kidaore 着倒れ) culture, meaning people in those cities tended to spend too much money on sake, food, and kimono, respectively. Iino reveals that the per capita ratio of niuri izakaya in Edo in 1808 was almost the same as that of taverns (sakaba, biahōru) in Tokyo in 2006 — that is, about one shop for every 550 people.

87 Nikki B2, pp.225, 272. For the goose hotpot restaurants and this illustration, see Iino, Izakaya no tanjō, pp.151–56.

88 Akagi suspects that Shibata did regularly visit pleasure quarters in 1850 but avoided recording his actions in an obvious form. As evidence, he points to the places where Shibata left the day’s entry incomplete after ‘night I ...’. Akagi, Rangaku no jidai, pp.46–47.

89 Nikki B2, p.298.

90 Ibid., p.312.

91 ‘Shin-Yoshiwara saiken’ 新吉原細見. Edo Yoshiwara sōkan kankōkai 江戸吉原叢刊刊行会, comp., Edo Yoshiwara sōkan 江戸吉原叢刊 (Tokyo: Yagi shoten, 2011), Vol.7, pp.436, 450.

92 To calculate distances I used the internet tool at <>. To identify the locations of the places that Shibata’s diaries mention, I used Kitakura Kazuo 北村一夫, Edo Tōkyō chimei jiten 江戸東京地名辞典 (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 2008) and Shiraishi Tsutomu 白石つとむ, ed., Edo kiriezu to Tōkyō meishoe 江戸切絵図と東京名所絵 (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 1993).

93 Nikki B2, pp.239–40.

94 Nikki A2, p.324.

95 Fukuzawa, Fukuō jiden, p.86.

96 Nikki B2, p.259.

97 Itō, Genboku den, pp.122–23. The entrance fees at Shōsendō are thought to be higher than those at other schools. The total amount that a new student needed to spend as gifts to the headmaster, his wife, assistants and servants, as well as to peer students was as follows: 650 hiki (1.625 ryō) at Shōsendō, 450 hiki at Koishi Genzui’s 小石元瑞 (1784–1849) Kyūridō (c.1840?), about 430 hiki at Ogata Ikuzō’s 緒方郁蔵 (1814–71) Dokushōken juku (c.1860), about 300 hiki at Tsuboi Shindō’s 坪井信道 (1795–1848) Nisshūdō (c.1840?). See Umihara, Kinsei shijuku, pp.278–84; Rubinger, Private Academies, pp.69–71, 121–22.

98 The cost of visiting a bathhouse for bathing and hairdressing is only recorded on nine occasions between the seventeenth of the fifth lunar month and the nineteenth of the eighth lunar month — roughly once in eight days. The reason for the discontinuation of recording of this item of expenditure is unknown.

99 Nikki A2, p.317. It is likely that there was a considerable difference in the rice price between Edo and Sado, as noted in Kawaji Toshiakira’s Sado diary in 1840. Whereas the shogunate rate in calculating stipends to its retainers was 45 ryō per 100 hyō (or 1.29 ryō per koku); the retail price in Sado was 35 ryō per 100 hyō (or one ryō per koku): Kawaji, Shimane no susami, p.74.

100 Nikki A2, p.32.

101 Fukuzawa, Fukuō jiden, pp.85–86.

102 Letter dated the fourth of the twelfth month, 1850. Nikki A2, p.321.

103 Letters dated the twenty-fifth of the eighth month, 1850 and the first month, 1851. Nikki A2, pp.318, 324.

104 Aoki Toshiyuki 青木歳幸, Zaison Rangaku no kenkyū 在村蘭学の研究 (Kyoto: Shibunkaku shuppan, 1998), pp.298–301.

105 Letter dated the twelfth of the fifth month, 1851. Nikki A2, p.325.

106 Itō, Genboku den, pp.46–47; Matsumoto Jun, ‘Ranchū jiden’ 蘭疇自伝, in Matsumoto and Nagayo, Matsumono Jun jiden, Nagayo Sensai jiden, p.28.

107 Nikki B2, pp.207, 211.

108 See Akagi, Rangaku no jidai, p.65.