was a after Jōkyō
and before Hōei.
This period spanned the years from 1688 through 1704. The reigning emperor was .
The years of Genroku
are generally considered to be the Golden Age of the Edo Period
. The previous hundred years of peace and seclusion in Japan had created relative economic stability. The arts and architecture flourished. There were unanticipated consequences when the shogunate
debased the quality of coins as a strategy for financing the appearance of continuing Genroku
affluence. This strategic miscalculation caused abrupt inflation. Then, in an effort to solve the ensuing crisis, the bakufu
introduced what were called the Kyōhō Reforms
Change of era
- ; 1688: The new era name was created to mark the beginning of the reign of Higashiyama. The previous era ended and the new one commenced in Jōkyō 5, on the 30th day of the 9th month.
A sense of optimism is suggested in the era name choice of Genroku (meaning "Original happiness").
Events of the Genroku era
- Genroku gannen or Genroku 1 (1688):
- Genroku 1 (1688): The Tokugawa shogunate revised the code of conduct for funerals (Fuku-kiju-ryō), which incorporated a code of conduct for mourning as well.
- Genroku 2 (1689):
- G2, 4th month: Foreign settlements in Nagasaki become possible.
- G2 (September 16, 1689): German physician Engelbert Kaempfer arrives at Dejima for the first time. Bakufu policy in this era was designed to marginalize the influence of foreigners in Genroku Japan; and Kaempfer had to present himself as "Dutch" in dealings with the Japanese. Regardless of this minor subterfuge, an unintended and opposite consequence of sakoku was to enhance the value and significance of a very small number of thoughtful observers like Kaempfer, whose writings document what he learned or discovered first-hand. Kaempfer's published accounts and unpublished writings provided a unique and useful perspective for Orientalists and Japanologists in the 19th century; and his work continues to be rigorously examined by modern researchers today.
- Genroku 3 (1690):
- G3, 10th month: The Abandoned Child Ban was officially proclaimed.
- Genroku 5 (1692):
- Building of temples in Edo banned.
- Genroku 6 (1693):
- Genroku 6 (1693): The code of conduct for funerals is revised again.
- Genroku 8 (1695):
- G8, 2nd month: Land survey performed of territory under the direct control of the bakufu in Kantō.
- G8, 8th month: Minting begun of Genroku coinage. The shogunate placed the Japanese character gen (元) on the obverse of copper coins, the same character used today in China for the yuan. There is no connection between those uses, however.
- G8, 11th month: First kennel is established for stray dogs in Edo. In this context, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi comes to be nicknamed "the Dog Shogun" (いぬくぼう 犬公方, "Inu-kubō').
- G10 (1697): The fourth official map of Japan was made in this year, but it was considered to be inferior to the previous one -- which had been ordered in Shōhō 1 (1605 and completed in Kan'ei 16 (1639}. This Genroku map was corrected in Kyōhō 4 (1719) by the mathematician Tatebe Katahiro (1644-1739), using high mountain peaks as points of reference, and was drawn to a scale of 1:21,600.
- G10 (1697): Great fire in Edo. Five-storied Pagoda
- G11 (1698): Another great fire in Edo. A new hall is constructed inside the enclosure of the Edo temple of Kan'ei-ji (which is also known as Tōeizan Kan’ei-ji or "Hiei-san of the east" after the principal temple of the Tendai Buddhist sect -- that is to say, after the temple of Enryaku-ji at Mount Hiei near to Heian-kyo).
- Genroku 13 (1700):
- G13, 11th month: Exchange rate of silver coins established.
- Genroku 16 (1703):
- G16, 3rd month: Ōishi Yoshio commits seppuku.
- G16, 5th month: First performance of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's play Double Suicide of Sonezaki.
- G16, on the 28th day of the 11th month (1703): The Great Genroku Earthquake shook Edo and parts of the shogun's castle collapsed. The following day, a vast fire spread throughout the city. Parts of Honshū's coast were battered by tsunami, and 200,000 people were either killed or injured.
Prominent figures of the Genroku era
- Hammer, Joshua. (2006). Yokohama Burning: The Deadly 1923 Earthquake and Fire that Helped Forge the Path to World War II. New York: Simon & Schuster. 10-ISBN 0-743-26465-7; 13-ISBN 978-0-743-26465-5 (cloth)
- Screech, Timon. (2006). Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822. London: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0-700-71720-X
- Smith, Robert John and Richard K. Beardsley. (2004). Japanese Culture: Its Development And Characteristics. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-4153-3039-4
- Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). [Siyun-sai Rin-siyo/Hayashi Gahō, 1652], Nipon o daï itsi ran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon, tr. par M. Isaac Titsingh avec l'aide de plusieurs interprètes attachés au comptoir hollandais de Nangasaki; ouvrage re., complété et cor. sur l'original japonais-chinois, accompagné de notes et précédé d'un Aperçu d'histoire mythologique du Japon, par M. J. Klaproth. Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. ... Click link for copy of this book digitized from University of Michigan (in French)
- Traganeou, Jilly. (2004). The Tokaido Road: Traveling and Representation in Edo and Meiji Japan. London: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0-4153-1091-1