Asai Ryoi

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Asai Ryôi was an early Edo period writer of popular fiction and non-fiction. He is most famous for an oft-quoted line from his Ukiyo monogatari ("Tales of the Floating World"), in which he writes: "". This work is also often said to mark the beginning of the spread of the popular, Edo period, use of the term ukiyo to refer to the fleeting world of pleasures (rather than its older, Buddhist, meaning, referring to this fleeting life of suffering).[1]

His works include Ukiyo monogatari, Tôkaidô meishoki ("A Record of Famous Places Along the Tôkaidô"), Musashi abumi ("Stirrups of Musashi"), and Honchô jokan shô ("Mirror of Women of Our Realm") in 1661, and Edo meishoki ("Record of Famous Places of Edo") the following year.


  1. Elizabeth de Sabato Swinton, The Women of the Pleasure Quarter. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1996. p27.; Melina Takeuchi, Seduction: Japan's Floating World, San Francisco: Asian Art Museum (2015), 2-3.
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