The project

Intellectual networks in early modern Japan and beyond:

The Network of Rai Shunsui 頼春水 (1746-1816)

Our principal actor, Rai Shunsui, was the oldest son of a reasonably well-off family of dyers in Takehara 竹原, Aki 安芸 province. His relationship to his other two siblings, the seven years younger Rai Shunpū 頼春風 (1753-1825) and ten years younger Rai Kyōhei 頼杏坪 (1756-1834), was very close throughout his life. Shunsui’s father, Rai Kōō 頼享翁 (1707-1783), who was determined to give his three sons some higher purpose in life, was in his spare time a devoted student of waka. In 1781 officials of the daimyo of the Hiroshima domain, Asano Shigeakira 浅野重晟 (1743-1813), offered Shunsui a position as teacher at the new domain school, which was to be opened the following year.
Shunsui’s diary, which spans over thirty-five years, begins 1781.12.16, one day before he officially received word of his new duty as a domain scholar, and ends two months before his death in 1816.
The diary is rich in information regarding the wide social network that Shunsui nurtured and that extended from Aki to Osaka and Edo and beyond.

The project offers thus a novel approach to Rai Shunsui in that it is not simply an intellectual biography but grounded in the notion that intellectual interactions among scholars of the Tokugawa period are much better described by the analogy of a network. So too is much of the actual working of the various levels of state administration, in which the scholars were involved. Therefore, intra-territorial and inter-territorial networks are keys to understanding how political reforms were discussed and implemented in early modern Japan. In more concrete terms, this project will investigate the network of Rai Shunsui in order to document the intellectual environment of the Kansei reforms in time and space by setting up a geo-database (GIS) containing the data collected from a broad variety of sources, such as his diary and letters.

Our group has as its goal to

  1. create a database of people mentioned in the diary for network analyses
  2. compile a bibliography concerning Shunsui and his network







a. ネットワーク分析(Social Network Analysis)や集団履歴調査(プロソポグラフィー)の手法を用いた分析を行うため、頼春水の日記に記されている人々のデータベースを作成する

b. 春水やそのネットワークを構成する人々に関する文献目録の作成。