Edo Castle: The Glittering World of the Shogun’s Court

By Lesley Downer

WHEN: Monday 7pm – 24th April 2023

WHERE: University of Edinburgh, 50 George Square, Room: Project Room 1.06

EDO CASTLE was Japan’s Versailles, from where the shoguns governed Japan for 250 years. I will take my audience on a guided tour back in time and reveal the secrets of the outer and middle palaces and the mysterious ‘Great Interior’, where the shogun’s 3000 women lived lives of cloistered luxury. I will also talk about the westerners who visited Edo Castle and recorded their impressions, first a succession of Dutch merchants and then the American Townsend Harris who visited in 1858. Finally in 1868 Emperor Meiji entered Edo Castle and it became the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. 

Sign up for the in person event here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/edo-castle-the-glittering-world-of-the-shoguns-court-in-person-event-tickets-602735767907

Sign up for the Zoom version here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/edo-castle-the-glittering-world-of-the-shoguns-court-online-event-tickets-602745055687

About the speaker

Lesley Downer lived and travelled in Japan for many years and spent long stretches of time in Gifu, Tokyo, Kamakura, Kyoto, Tohoku, Kagoshima – pretty much everywhere, in fact. She has dabbled in tea, flowers, the incense guessing game, aikido, even wielded a samurai sword – a real, not a wooden, one. She writes on Japan, both non-fiction and fiction, including four novels set in the extraordinary and dramatic 19th century bakumatsu period, The Shogun Quartet. She has presented television programmes on Basho’s Narrow Road to the Deep North for Channel 4 and NHK and a cooking series, A Taste of Japan, back in 1991 on BBC2. She gave a series of lectures aboard The World, a giant residential ship that circles the world, and was the Japan/geisha consultant on a ballet for Northern Ballet entitled Geisha. She also appeared on Netflix in the series Age of Samurai and taught Creative Writing at City University. For more see www.lesleydowner.com

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