Servants, Shophands, and Laborers in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan

Servants, Shophands, and Laborers in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan

Servants, Shophands, and Laborers in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan

Servants, Shophands, and Laborers in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan

Synopsis

In this analysis of lower-class life in Tokugawa Japan (1603-1868), Gary Leupp vividly portrays the emergence of an urban proletariat during a time of extraordinary economic change. With the rapid increase in commercial activity, products previously restricted to use by the elite became commodities for mass consumption. Likewise, labor power became a commodity as hired laborers replaced traditional corvee workers in the commercial realm and contracted servants supplanted lifetime, hereditary workers in households. Focusing on a class system mediated increasingly by money, Leupp explores the ways employers and employees dealt with each other and the steps taken by government officials to control rising hostilities.
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