Women in cities and towns

Amy Stanley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


At the beginning of the Tokugawa era, cities were male-dominated spaces. The new castle towns were garrisons that hosted massive standing armies, and relatively few samurai had brought wives and children along when they were relocated from the countryside. Purveyors to the shogun and the daimyo were invited to move to castle towns along with their entire households. In the late seventeenth century, as the commoner populations of the great cities exploded, the structure of large mercantile households ensured that men still vastly outnumbered women. A combination of anecdotal evidence and demographic data gleaned from individual neighborhoods suggests that many maidservants in the great cities of Edo, Osaka, and Kyoto came from “demographic basins” in the surrounding countryside. As the great cities became more demographically balanced, female-majority cities and towns began to emerge in the countryside. The population of Osaka City is also predominantly female, with a sex ratio of 0.94.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Tokugawa World
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781000427332
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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