“To mother, from Tsuneno (confidential). I’m writing with spring greetings. I went to Kanda Minagawa-chō in Edo—quite unexpectedly—and I ended up in so much trouble!”
This letter, hidden in an archive in Niigata Prefecture, inspired Professor Amy Stanley to write her latest work: Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World. She traces Tsuneno’s life, from growing up in a rural community through her escape to the city of Edo, where she lives in the final decades of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
Nicholas Gordon talks to Professor Stanley, about her new book: the life of its main character and its historical setting. They touch on how Tsuneno’s life tells us more about life, especially the life of women, during this period of Japanese history, as well what inspired her to write about this ordinary woman, and what the research process was like.