The diary of a Samurai

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“Bunzaemon Asahi” is a Samurai who left his mark on Japanese history.

He was born as the son of a lower-ranking Samurai in Owari Domain in 1674.

His role was managing Tatami mats inside a public office.

He loved Sake, rumors, gossip, and watching Japanese puppet shows.

Though he was caught in a dilemma between his wife and his mistress, he lived a peaceful life.

In 1718, he ended his life.

You may wonder why he is considered a historical Samurai?

Actually, the majority of Japanese people know nothing about him because his name isn’t in our history textbooks.

His great achievement was that he had kept a diary for 26 years and 8 months.

Keeping the diary seemed to be his secret pleasure.

Today, 304 years after his death, it is a very valuable historical material for understanding the manners and customs of the Genroku period.

Usually, a historical record is edited by persons of power at the time.

It sometimes needs historical rhetoric.

On the contrary, his diary is a historical record that was written from the common people’s point of view.

When I read his diary, I strongly felt the vivid realism of the Genroku period. 

He recorded various incidents such as political affairs, criminal cases, or adultery cases, with an objective point of view.

However, his diary was completely private.

When his diary came to light after his death, it caused much controversy.

His freewheeling diary was considered a social criticism in feudal Japan.

On the other hand, his diary describes his lifestyle and personality very well.

For example, he sometimes drank too much Sake, and he thought introspectively about it.

But he ended up drinking Sake the next day. 

His humane diary is very interesting historical material.

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