Pagoda; Skull; and Samurai: 3 Stories by Rohan Koda

Pagoda; Skull; and Samurai: 3 Stories by Rohan Koda

Pagoda; Skull; and Samurai: 3 Stories by Rohan Koda

Pagoda; Skull; and Samurai: 3 Stories by Rohan Koda

Excerpt

KōDA ROHAN was born Kōda Shigeyuki in Edo (present-day Tokyo) in 1867, the last year of the feudal Edo period. Both his grandfather and father served the Tokugawa shogunate as direct samurai retainers in a hereditary position in charge of protocol, ceremonies, and shogunal audience appointment. Their official stipend of sixteen koku (roughly forty bushels) of rice a year was quite modest by any standard, but they also had an annual cash income of three hundred ryō from other sources. (In the late Edo period, a household servant's yearly pay was two to four ryō; one ryō bought one koku of rice, equivalent to a full adult ration for a year.) Thus, the Kōda family was relatively well-off until a cataclysmic event shook the entire nation.

After a complex and protracted series of political assassinations and insurrections subtly involving the advent of Western intervention, the shogun surrendered political power and the shogunate estates, worth seven million koku, in favor of Emperor Meiji in 1868. The abdicated shogun's heir soon moved to the original Tokugawa fief, which amounted to seven hundred thousand koku and was com-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.