[japan@ihj] The Edo Inheritance in Contemporary Japan

  • Date: Wednesday, June 9, 7:00 pm
  • Speaker:Tokugawa Tsunenari, Eighteenth Head of the House of Tokugawa/
  • Former executive vice-president of Nippon Yusen (NYK Line)
  • Moderator: Bettina Gramlich-Oka, Assistant Professor, Faculty of the
  • Liberal Arts, Sophia University
  • Admission: Free
  • Language: English (no Japanese translation provided)

The Tokugawa family served as shoguns during the Edo period, sometimes demonized as a dark ages when Japan adopted sakoku (a policy of national seclusion) and created a police state. Mr. Tokugawa Tsunenari, the eighteenth head of the main lineage of the Tokugawa family, will talk about the Edo period from his perspective as a descendant of the Tokugawa family and as a businessperson who has worked abroad amid the high growth period of the Japanese economy. He will talk about the egalitarian and peaceful nature of society in Edo, the development of an extensive education system for various classes, the significance of kogi (public domain) as a Japanese theory of human society in connection to the meaning of yakunin (public officials) and the sustainable development of this period, a legacy to be rediscovered by contemporary Japan.

Tokugawa Tsunenari

Tokugawa TsunenariTokugawa Tsunenari: Born in Tokyo in 1940. After graduating from the Faculty of Political Science at Gakushuin University in 1964, he joined the NYK Line, one of the largest shipping companies in the world. Retiring as an executive vice-president in 2002, he became an advisor to the company. In 2003 he established the Tokugawa Memorial Foundation and became its president. He has served as WWF Japan chairman since 2007. Mr. Tokugawa spent two years in London as a student and a total of six years in New York as a businessperson. The English version of his book Edo no Idenshi (PHP Kenkyujo 2007) was published by the I-House Press* as The Edo Inheritance in 2009.

Bettina Gramlich-Oka

Bettina Gramlich-Oka: Ph.D. in Japanese Studies, Tübingen University, Assistant Professor of Japanese History at Sophia University. Prof. Gramlich-Oka has published on shogunal trade regulations and women of the Tokugawa period, including Thinking Like a Man: Tadano Makuzu (1763-1825) (Brill, 2006). She is the co-editor of the forthcoming volume Economic Thought in Early Modern Japan (Brill), and the guest-editor of East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine for the special issue on “Illness and Society in Early Modern Japan.”

*The I-House Press is the commercial book imprint of the International House of Japan. It publishes in English various works, including the fruits of the House’s program activities as well as revised editions of selected works from the LTCB International Library series, for the purpose of promoting understanding of Japan abroad.