Kawamura Nagataka

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  • Titles: Tsushima no kami
  • Japanese: 川村 修就 (Kawamura Nagataka)

Kawamura Nagataka was a shogunate official who came to oversee the port city of Niigata after it was placed under shogunate authority in 1843. There, he oversaw both local city administration (including matters of justice, urban society, and port trade) and the transformation of Niigata into a key site of national coastal defense along the Sea of Japan coast.

Born and raised in Edo, and originally inheriting his family post of niwaban (lit. "garden guard"), in which he traveled the realm compiling secret reports for the shogunate, Kawamura was later promoted to ongoku bugyô (magistrate of/in distant provinces), and appointed to travel to Niigata to oversee matters there in person. He made the trip with his wife and family and about eighty retainers, taking over the administration of a city which Nagaoka han had previously managed with a staff of under twenty.

Faced with a considerable and largely unregulated sex trade in the city, Kawamura consulted his staff and other local officials as to how to restrict or eliminate prostitution in the city. Ultimately, he compromised, recognizing the importance of prostitution to the economic viability of the city, and rejecting suggestions to restrict it to a single licensed quarters, or to attempt to eliminate it entirely. Instead, in an effort to endear himself as a "compassionate" and "benevolent" administrator over the people of this city, Kawamura had existing pleasure districts officially designated, and categorized according to legal categories extant in other shogunal cities. Several districts became home to "teahouses" (tomari jaya) employing "tea-serving girls" (chakumi onna), while others became home to "sailors' inns" (funayado), staffed by "laundry girls" (sentaku onna). Sumptuary regulations were also put into place, but little action was taken against prostitutes or establishments operating outside of the official districts.

He was reassigned from Niigata bugyô to Sakai bugyô in 1852, and then Osaka machi bugyô in 1854. The following year, he was reassigned to the position of Nagasaki bugyô. In 1857/1, he was reassigned from Nagasaki bugyô to the position of kobushin bugyô.


  • Amy Stanley, Selling Women: Prostitution, Markets, and the Household in Early Modern Japan, UC Press (2012), 125-131.
  • Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 1 (1937), 370, 604.
  • Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 2 (1937), 57, 298.