The Journal of Japanese Studies



Adultery, Punishment, and Reconciliation in Tokugawa Japan

This article explores the interaction between the Tokugawa bakufu’s laws on adultery and the customary practice of resolving adultery cases through private settlement. The One Hundred Articles (1742), which sentenced adulterous commoners to death, cemented the bakufu’s conception of marriage as a metaphor for government in which adultery symbolized treason. But private settlements from Musashi Province reveal that peasants had different ideas about the significance of marriage and adultery. They protected the community’s investment in marriage, prioritizing reconciliation over punishment. Ultimately, a working relationship between law and customary practice reinforced the authority of husbands within the family

Volume 33, Number 2 (Summer 2007)
© 2007 Society for Japanese Studies

Marie Anchordoguy and Kevin M. Doak, Coeditors     Martha L. Walsh, Managing Editor
The Journal of Japanese Studies
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