Bettina Gramlich-Oka (Professor, Japanese History, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Graduate School of Global Studies, Sophia University)
Asano Yūsuke (Outsourced staff of Sophia Archives, Sophia School Corporation)
This project by Bettina Gramlich-Oka takes up the crossways of knowledge found in the collection of Naitō Shigeko (1800–1880; or, as she is also known, Jūshin-in). Born in Edo, Naitō Shigeko was the daughter, sister, and later wife of daimyo, and thus belonged to a distinct group of privileged women who led a stationary life until they were required to leave their homes when the alternate attendance system was first suspended and later abolished in the 1860s. The rare access to the records of one of the highest-ranking women of the late Tokugawa period thus offers researchers the opportunity to discover particulars of their lives which are otherwise not too well-known or documented.
Naitō Shigeko’s collection—ninety titles that consist of her own writings and also works she copied in her own hand—presents us with a multi-layered ensemble. The collection of producers and consumers of ideas and texts exhibits the crossways of knowledge and Shigeko’s individual access to knowledge with her links to a broader community. To see if her rank and gender determined the collection’s content will be one of our explorations.