The image that signifies the era of Genroku is a comparison of the fashions of the east and west. The wife of Ishikawa Rokube of Edo was particularly proud of her sense of fashion, for none could match her in style. Turning towards the west, the wife of Naniwa Yaji Uemon of Kyoto was proud of her fashion sense. These two met in a famous resthouse that backed onto Ginkakuji, and there east and west battled it out. Naniwa`s wife wore a bright red outfit that was hemmed with silver and gold, thus personifying Kyoto`s famous places. In contrast to this dazzling outfit, Ishikawa`s wife wore a black getup with a star studded pattern spread out across the front and back. At first glance the dress appeared to be nothing special, yet if one looked closely, each particular star consisted of small pieces of red coral. As the amount of money spent on this outfit was so obviously great, victory went to Ishikawa`s wife.
The hero of the Genroku era was Kinokuniya Bungiemon, otherwise known as Kibun. He fulfilled the dream of many a Edoite and `Broke open the Great Gate`, meaning he bought up all of the establishments in Yoshiwara and had the place all to himself. A picture remains of Kibun`s visit to Yoshiwara, depicting him throwing beans. There were small pieces of silver and gold on the floor in exchange for beans. Musicians and geisha are competing against each other to pick up the pieces. In one evening, 1,000 to 2,000 ryō would be spread around in this manner. Those picking up the wealth would not place it in a pursue or wallet, for behind the musicians and geisha stood public officials. The musicians and geisha were thus picking up the gold and silver for the officials. Afterwards they might receive a small reward, such as 1 or 2 pieces of gold. Such handouts were bribes in every sense of the word, for such favors for public officials would result in work for the purveyor. Such a gorgeous performance became a means for the officials to advertise their abundant resources, and came to be called a `Kibun Daijin` 紀文大尽.
Kibun`s life was something of a mystery, for we do not know when or where he was born. Like the dish known as `Kibun`s sweet miso soup`, he lived fairly frugally. From building bridges and working on construction projects, Kibun would encourage the workers, trying to be useful where he could. In the end he ended up being arrested on special charges brought up by the Bakufu. Not long after, a fire broke out in Fukugawa lumber yard in which all of the materials were lost, thus forcing the Fukugawa Hachiman store to close. Kibun`s unpredictable life became the source of tales for Kabuki and human drama stories.
Naraya Mozaemon was another rival for the tital of Kibun Daijin and distributed his wealth by throwing it about. Gathering all of his guests together on the premise that they would see an opulent snow fall, Naraya planned a prank on them. Placing pieces of silver and gold on top of the snow, all of the guests dived for the wealth thus destroying the display. So much for watching snow, although Naraya thoroughly enjoyed the performance. (pp.63-65)