|退閑雑記. 巻之1-13 / 定信 [撰] |
|松平 定信, English 1758-1829 |
Matsudaira Sadanobu (1758-1829), the renowned ruler of the Shirakawa domain (part of present-day Fukushima Prefecture), took over the post of roju (one of the highest-ranking government posts in Tokugawa Shogunate) from the unpopular Tanuma Okitsugu during the late Edo Period (1603-1867).
Once he took office, Matsudaira carried out a set of drastic reforms known as the "Kansei reforms,"寛政の改革 changing the Tanuma administration's method of giving important posts to people with political connections and through bribes to one that attaches importance to their competence and character.
The word miidashi (discovering) is said to have become a buzzword at the time. For example, it was used to describe how to discover talent in people. Matsudaira handpicked talented people regardless of their family lineage.
At the same time, however, he apparently spent much time and effort to look into their backgrounds to ensure they were clean, historian Hirofumi Yamamoto says in his book.
Aside from his political reforms, Sadanobu was also known as a writer and a moralist, working under the pen name Rakuō (楽翁). Some of his notable texts include Uge no Hitokoto, Tōzen Manpitsu, Kanko-dōri, Kagetsutei Nikki, Seigo, and Ōmu no Kotoba, among others. Some time after his passing, it was discovered that he had written a satirical text parodying daimyo life, titled Daimyō Katagi. Scholars have since been somewhat taken aback by this discovery, since the text falls into the category of gesaku, which Sadanobu officially opposed.