Tsunayoshi (1646-1709) was the fifth in a line of 15 Tokugawa-family rulers. His 29-year rule was marked by an unusual number of natural disasters, including a volcanic eruption of Mount Fuji, and by that equally unusual outbreak of commerce — the arts, extravagance and indulgence now known as the Genroku Period.

The shogun himself is usually described as the most eccentric of his line. He was pictured as a despot who debased the currency and authored the notorious "laws of compassion," which made mistreatment of animals a capital offense. In addition to such a dishonored public image was a disreputable private life.

The Dog Shogun: The Personality and Policies of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, by Beatrice M. Bodart-Bailey.378 pagesUNIVERSITY OF HAWAI'I PRESS