Playing with samurai, with Dr Laura Moretti
5.30-6.30pm, Tuesday 26th April 2022
Free event open to all. Hosted in-person at Cambridge University Library.
Early modern Japan (1600-1867) developed a thriving culture of play. Samurai and their tales, which enjoyed growing popularity in the contemporary publishing industry, were repurposed to fit the logic of game play. Inspired by the 1856 Yoshitsune ichidai kunkō sugoroku (Yoshitune’s life and his military exploits: a picture-sugoroku)—an exquisite board game on display in the Cambridge University Libraries’ exhibition Samurai: History and Legend—this talk explores how the adventures of Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Benkei were appropriated to enable a number of ludic activities. The focus will be on the board game known as jūroku musashi and a witty twist on its rules and logic in a complex graphic narrative issued in 1804 by literary giant Kyokutei Bakin.