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Lighting Methods in Sengoku
Topic Started: Dec 15 2017, 04:09 AM (501 Views)
Echigo no Ryu
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Rice Farmer
I was trying to find any information, but all I found was a mention in "Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan" of oil lamps for the wealthier classes. However, it did not say when they started being used, so I was wondering if they already had them in mid- to late Sengoku, or if it's a Tokugawa era innovation.
Edited by Echigo no Ryu, Dec 15 2017, 04:09 AM.
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chingwa
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Togishi
Lamp oil has historically been far cheaper than candle-based lighting, both in Europe and in Asia, I assume it is the same for Japan as well. Oil lighting is "old" technology, I imagine that it would have been around since, well, forever basically, and not just something adopted in Sengoku era. I have no sources to quote from though so take my words with a grain of salt.
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Bethetsu
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Tsushima no kami
According to Ivan Morris (World of the Shining Prince, p.34) in the upper-class Heian-period houses "after sunset feeble oil-lamps and occasional tapers (the cause of many a disastrous fire) provided such lighting as there was."

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Oil lighting is "old" technology, I imagine that it would have been around since, well, forever basically
A museum I know has an oil lamp from the mid-east from around 2000 BC, basically a bowl.
Edited by Bethetsu, Dec 16 2017, 04:23 AM.
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ltdomer98
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Daijo Daijin

I just came across a reference to nanohana oil ("rape flower"...which is why in english, the oil is called "canola" after the company that first started producing it in the US) being used as the most common household lighting fuel in early modern Japan. No further details (pp 374-375 of Japan Emerging, edited by Friday--this chapter is by Frank Chance) but I'd imagine it wasn't a strictly Edo period development.
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Daijo Daijin Emeritus
退職させていただきます。
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Maikeruart
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Shushou
Oil lighting is pretty universal. You will be hard pressed to find any society who has not used oil as a source. I remember growing up in a pinch we used olive oil for lamps during blackouts. (mostly because we were Greek).
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Echigo no Ryu
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Rice Farmer
ltdomer98
Dec 19 2017, 05:55 PM
I just came across a reference to nanohana oil ("rape flower"...which is why in english, the oil is called "canola" after the company that first started producing it in the US) being used as the most common household lighting fuel in early modern Japan. No further details (pp 374-375 of Japan Emerging, edited by Friday--this chapter is by Frank Chance) but I'd imagine it wasn't a strictly Edo period development.
Thanks! It's something, at least :)
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Tatsunoshi
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Miko no Kami

There are many surviving documents of lamp oil guilds (often with rights ownership ties to Buddhist temples, shrines, and shoen) appealing to officials and local governments to settle disputes going back to at least the Heian era. They were pretty common during Kamakura, so this was big business at the time. Monumenta Nipponica had an article going into this a few years back but I don't have my issues at hand.

Through the courtesy of Mr. Gugle, it's "The Lamp-Oil Merchants of Iwashimizu Shrine: Transregional Commerce in Medieval Japan/Suzanne Gay/Monumenta Nipponica, Volume 64, Number 1, Spring 2009, pp. 1-52"
Edited by Tatsunoshi, Dec 20 2017, 11:26 PM.
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Maikeruart
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Shushou
ltdomer98
Dec 19 2017, 05:55 PM
I just came across a reference to nanohana oil ("rape flower"...which is why in english, the oil is called "canola" after the company that first started producing it in the US) being used as the most common household lighting fuel in early modern Japan. No further details (pp 374-375 of Japan Emerging, edited by Friday--this chapter is by Frank Chance) but I'd imagine it wasn't a strictly Edo period development.
I love that book. I helped on the new edition that should be out soon.
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ltdomer98
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Daijo Daijin

I just had to review it for class, along with 4 other books, on how they treat the Tokugawa period. It's....fine. Wasn't my favorite, but I'll be using it in the syllabus I'm building as my final exam. Like any edited work, some essays are really strong, and some are...well, not. But it's a great undergrad resource. Awesome that you helped on the new edition! I think I remember you mentioning that on the podcast--can you share a bit more on that process?
Edited by ltdomer98, Jan 2 2018, 12:50 PM.
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退職させていただきます。
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Maikeruart
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Shushou
It was done via online and conference call. Which is different from what I normally do (typically I go to their offices after reading a draft and discuss in person with editors and writers). But we essentially discussed the book, its strengths, weaknesses, what could be added and subtracted. Should there be changes. I remember asking for more on economics especially Muromachi period. I liked it, did a solid job. Some of my students still have their copy. I fell in love with Gina Barne's work because of it.
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Maikeruart
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Shushou
ltdomer98
Jan 2 2018, 12:50 PM
I just had to review it for class, along with 4 other books, on how they treat the Tokugawa period. It's....fine. Wasn't my favorite, but I'll be using it in the syllabus I'm building as my final exam. Like any edited work, some essays are really strong, and some are...well, not. But it's a great undergrad resource. Awesome that you helped on the new edition! I think I remember you mentioning that on the podcast--can you share a bit more on that process?
Nate,
If you have any particular question about the process let me know. It was pretty much a 2 day process for me. Right now its probably the 4th "textbook" I have consulted on the new edition for.
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Echigo no Ryu
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Rice Farmer
Tatsunoshi
Dec 20 2017, 04:57 PM
There are many surviving documents of lamp oil guilds (often with rights ownership ties to Buddhist temples, shrines, and shoen) appealing to officials and local governments to settle disputes going back to at least the Heian era. They were pretty common during Kamakura, so this was big business at the time. Monumenta Nipponica had an article going into this a few years back but I don't have my issues at hand.

Through the courtesy of Mr. Gugle, it's "The Lamp-Oil Merchants of Iwashimizu Shrine: Transregional Commerce in Medieval Japan/Suzanne Gay/Monumenta Nipponica, Volume 64, Number 1, Spring 2009, pp. 1-52"
Thank you very much :)
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