The Social Life of Firearms in Tokugawa Japan

  title={The Social Life of Firearms in Tokugawa Japan},
  author={David Luke Howell},
  journal={Japanese Studies},
  pages={65 - 80}
  • D. L. Howell
  • Published 27 April 2009
  • History, Political Science
  • Japanese Studies
Guns were surprisingly common in the villages of Tokugawa Japan. This article examines the ‘social life’ of firearms, focusing particularly on the hinterland of Edo. It traces the evolution of institutions governing peasants' possession of guns and examines prevailing conceptions of the uses of firearms. Building on the work of Tsukamoto Manabu, it argues that for much of the period guns were perceived to be farm implements rather than weapons per se: they were used to frighten or kill animals… 
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