Talks with David Roche 2018

Edo kaleidoscope: Urban experiences in the Shogun’s capital | Thursday 16th August 6PM


By the late 18th century, as Adelaide was charted by Matthew Flinders, a city 8000 km to the north had developed from a rural village to a cosmopolitan artistic centre with a population of over one million residents. The city of Edo (modern-day Tokyo) was the shogun’s capital, in which the military elite such as samurai enjoyed a myriad of social privileges. It was also the home of Japanese popular culture which profoundly influenced art around the world.

In spite of the strict sumptuary rules and restrictions of Tokugawa society, Edo flourished and accommodated a great diversity of people from different social classes who congregated to enjoy the pleasure and diversions on offer in the largest city in the world. Samurai, townspeople, villagers, tourists, artists and others all walked the streets of Edo where businesses large and small catered to a diversity of interests and needs. Despite the conservative aesthetics of the ruling military elite a wealth of novel ideas and styles were integrated into the arts.

Using artworks from the forthcoming exhibition, Edo Style: The Art of Japan (1615-1868), Dr Takeshi Moriyama, Senior Lecturer (Murdoch University) will provide an introduction to the vibrant urban life in Edo during the reign of the Tokugawa shogun.



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