Aobyoshi (book on the customs and manners of samurai) (青標紙)

Aobyoshi is a book on the customs and manners of samurai, written by Hiroki ONO (also called Gonnojo or Ninken), a shogun's retainer and a scholar of Japanese classical literature in the late Edo period. The book consists of two volumes, and the first volume was published in 1840 after the manuscript was completed in 1839. The second volume was published in 1841 after the manuscript was completed in 1840.


This was a small-sized folded book to be placed in a pocket, in which the customs and manners necessary for the samurai serving the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) were compiled. The contents consisted of Buke shohatto (laws for the samurai families), osadamegaki (regulations by the bakufu), military orders and various other regulations concerning military services, kinban (regular duty), arms, processions, passing checking stations, the dress code system, and falconry, and frequently enquired questions and answers for them were also explained there using the enquiry format for Roju (senior councilor) or Metsuke (inspector) (the book could also be used for Shosatsurei (Epistolary Etiquette)). Because the Edo bakufu firmly prohibited laws and regulations from being known by the general public at that time, Ono "limited the number of the books to be published to 300" cautiously. However, it had been suspected that Ono's research about the customs and manners of samurai might have violated the regulation at the stage of publishing "Tonoibukuro" and "Taihei-nenpyo" (a chronicle of the Edo period). Then the inclusion in "Aobyoshi" of laws and regulations, including Buke shohatto, constituted a decisive evidence, and on July 7, 1840, Ono was placed in the custody of the Ayabe clan for life, with the publication of the book prohibited and the publisher punished as well. On October 6th of the same year, Ono died in the place of exile. However, the books already published could not be recalled completely, and it is possible to know all of the contents through "Edo-sosho" (Books on the Edo period) published in the Taisho period.

[Original Japanese]