The EDO PERIOD (江戸時代,
Edo jidai) or TOKUGAWA PERIOD
(徳川時代, Tokugawa jidai) is the period between 1603 and 1868 in
the history of
* 1 Consolidation of the shogunate * 2 Foreign trade relations * 3 Society
* 4 Economic development
* 4.1 Population * 4.2 Agriculture
* 5 Artistic and intellectual development
* 5.1 Entertainment
* 6 End of the shogunate
* 6.1 Decline of the Tokugawa * 6.2 End of seclusion * 6.3 Bakumatsu modernization and conflicts
* 7 Events * 8 In popular culture * 9 See also * 10 Notes * 11 Further reading * 12 External links
CONSOLIDATION OF THE SHOGUNATE
A revolution took place from the time of the
Kamakura shogunate ,
which existed with the
Tennō 's court, to the Tokugawa , when the
samurai became the unchallenged rulers in what historian Edwin O.
Reischauer called a "centralized feudal " form of shogunate.
Instrumental in the rise of the new-existing bakufu was Tokugawa
Ieyasu , the main beneficiary of the achievements of
Ieyasu's victory over the western daimyōs at the Battle of
Sekigahara (October 21, 1600, or in the Japanese calendar on the 15th
day of the ninth month of the fifth year of the
Keichō era) gave him
control of all
The Tokugawa (or Edo) period brought 250 years of stability to Japan . The political system evolved into what historians call bakuhan, a combination of the terms bakufu and han (domains) to describe the government and society of the period. In the bakuhan, the shōgun had national authority and the daimyōs had regional authority. This represented a new unity in the feudal structure, which featured an increasingly large bureaucracy to administer the mixture of centralized and decentralized authorities. The Tokugawa became more powerful during their first century of rule: land redistribution gave them nearly seven million koku, control of the most important cities, and a land assessment system reaping great revenues.
The feudal hierarchy was completed by the various classes of daimyō. Closest to the Tokugawa house were the shinpan , or "related houses". They were twenty-three daimyōs on the borders of Tokugawa lands, all directly related to Ieyasu. The shinpan held mostly honorary titles and advisory posts in the bakufu. The second class of the hierarchy were the fudai , or "house daimyōs", rewarded with lands close to the Tokugawa holdings for their faithful service. By the 18th century, 145 fudai controlled such smaller han, the greatest assessed at 250,000 koku. Members of the fudai class staffed most of the major bakufu offices. Ninety-seven han formed the third group, the tozama (outside vassals), former opponents or new allies. The tozama were located mostly on the peripheries of the archipelago and collectively controlled nearly ten million koku of productive land. Because the tozama were least trusted of the daimyōs, they were the most cautiously managed and generously treated, although they were excluded from central government positions.
Tokugawa shogunate not only consolidated their control over a
A code of laws was established to regulate the daimyō houses. The code encompassed private conduct, marriage, dress, types of weapons and numbers of troops allowed; required feudal lords to reside in Edo every other year (the sankin-kōtai system); prohibited the construction of ocean-going ships; proscribed Christianity; restricted castles to one per domain (han ) and stipulated that bakufu regulations were the national law. Although the daimyōs were not taxed per se, they were regularly levied for contributions for military and logistical support and for such public works projects as castles, roads, bridges and palaces. The various regulations and levies not only strengthened the Tokugawa but also depleted the wealth of the daimyōs, thus weakening their threat to the central administration. The han, once military-centered domains, became mere local administrative units. The daimyōs did have full administrative control over their territory and their complex systems of retainers, bureaucrats and commoners. Loyalty was exacted from religious foundations, already greatly weakened by Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, through a variety of control mechanisms.
FOREIGN TRADE RELATIONS
Sakoku The San Juan Bautista is represented in
Claude Deruet 's painting of
Hasekura Tsunenaga in Rome in 1617, as a
galleon with Hasekura's flag (red swastika on orange background) on
the top mast. Itinerary and dates of the travels of Hasekura
Tsunenaga View of
Like Hideyoshi, Ieyasu encouraged foreign trade but also was suspicious of outsiders. He wanted to make Edo a major port, but once he learned that the Europeans favored ports in Kyūshū and that China had rejected his plans for official trade, he moved to control existing trade and allowed only certain ports to handle specific kinds of commodities.
The beginning of the
Edo period coincides with the last decades of
Nanban trade period during which intense interaction with European
powers, on the economic and religious plane, took place. It is at the
beginning of the
Edo period that
The shogunate perceived Catholic Christianity to be an extremely
destabilizing factor, and so decided to persecute it. The Shimabara
Rebellion of 1637–38, in which discontented Catholic Christian
samurai and peasants rebelled against the bakufu—and
Edo called in
Dutch ships to bombard the rebel stronghold—marked the end of the
The last Jesuit was either killed or reconverted by 1644 and by the
1660s, Christianity was almost completely eradicated, and its external
political, economic, and religious influence on
Edo society had an elaborate social structure, in which everyone knew their place and level of prestige. At the top were the Emperor and the court nobility, invincible in prestige but weak in power. Next came the shōgun , daimyōs and layers of feudal lords whose rank was indicated by their closeness to the Tokugawa. They had power. The daimyōs comprised about 250 local lords of local "han" with annual outputs of 50,000 or more bushels of rice. The upper strata was much given to elaborate and expensive rituals, including elegant architecture, landscaped gardens, Noh drama, patronage of the arts, and the tea ceremony.
After a long period of inner conflict, the first goal of the newly established Tokugawa government was to pacify the country. It created a balance of power that remained (fairly) stable for the next 250 years, influenced by Confucian principles of social order . Most samurai lost their direct possession of the land: the daimyōs took over their land. The samurai had a choice: give up their sword and become peasants, or move to the city of their feudal lord and become a paid retainer. Only a few land samurai remained in the border provinces of the north, or as direct vassals of the shōgun, the 5,000 so-called hatamoto . The daimyōs were put under tight control of the shogunate. Their families had to reside in Edo; the daimyōs themselves had to reside in Edo for one year and in their province (han ) for the next. This system was called sankin-kōtai .
The individual had no legal rights in Tokugawa Japan. The family was the smallest legal entity, and the maintenance of family status and privileges was of great importance at all levels of society. The 1711 Gotōke reijō was compiled from over 600 statutes promulgated between 1597 and 1696.
During the Tokugawa period, the social order, based on inherited position rather than personal merits, was rigid and highly formalized. At the top were the emperor and court nobles (kuge ), together with the shōgun and daimyōs. Below them the population was divided into four classes in a system known as mibunsei (身分制): the samurai on top (about 5% of the population) and the peasants (more than 80% of the population) on the second level. Below the peasants were the craftsmen, and even below them, on the fourth level, were the merchants. Only the peasants lived in the rural areas. Samurai, craftsmen and merchants lived in the cities that were built around the daimyōs' castles , each restricted to their own quarter.
Outside the four classes were the so-called eta and hinin, those
whose professions broke the taboos of Buddhism. Eta were butchers,
tanners and undertakers. Hinin served as town guards, street cleaners,
and executioners. Other outsiders included the beggars, entertainers,
and prostitutes. The word eta literally translates to "filthy" and
hinin to "non-humans", a thorough reflection of the attitude held by
other classes that the eta and hinin were not even people. Hinin were
only allowed inside a special quarter of the city. Other persecution
of the hinin included disallowing them from wearing robes longer than
knee-length and the wearing of hats. Sometimes eta villages were not
even printed on official maps. A sub-class of hinin who were born into
their social class had no option of mobility to a different social
class whereas the other class of hinin who had lost their previous
class status could be reinstated in Japanese society. In the 19th
century the umbrella term burakumin was coined to name the eta and
hinin because both classes were forced to live in separate village
neighborhoods. The eta, hinin and burakumin classes were officially
abolished in 1871. However, their cultural and societal impact,
including some forms of discrimination, continued into modern times.
Edo, 1865 or 1866.
Photochrom print. Five albumen prints joined
to form a panorama. Photographer:
Terakoya , private educational school
The Edo period bequeathed a vital commercial sector to be in burgeoning urban centers, a relatively well-educated elite, a sophisticated government bureaucracy , productive agriculture, a closely unified nation with highly developed financial and marketing systems, and a national infrastructure of roads.
Economic development during the Tokugawa period included urbanization
, increased shipping of commodities, a significant expansion of
domestic and, initially, foreign commerce, and a diffusion of trade
and handicraft industries. The construction trades flourished, along
with banking facilities and merchant associations. Increasingly, han
authorities oversaw the rising agricultural production and the spread
of rural handicrafts.
By the mid-18th century,
Edo had a population of more than one
It was during the
Edo period that
ARTISTIC AND INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT
"Figurine ("Okimono") of a Dragon Emerging from Waves", Japan ca. 19th century Wadokei , Japanese-made clockwatch, 18th century
During the period,
The flourishing of Neo-
Advanced studies and growing applications of neo-Confucianism
contributed to the transition of the social and political order from
feudal norms to class- and large-group-oriented practices. The rule of
the people or Confucian man was gradually replaced by the rule of law
. New laws were developed, and new administrative devices were
instituted. A new theory of government and a new vision of society
emerged as a means of justifying more comprehensive governance by the
bakufu. Each person had a distinct place in society and was expected
to work to fulfill his or her mission in life. The people were to be
ruled with benevolence by those whose assigned duty it was to rule.
Members of the samurai class adhered to bushi traditions with a
renewed interest in Japanese history and in cultivation of the ways of
Confucian scholar-administrators. Another special way of
Chōnindō ("the way of the
townspeople") was a distinct culture that arose in cities such as
For the first time, urban populations had the means and leisure time to support a new mass culture. Their search for enjoyment became known as ukiyo (the floating world), an ideal world of fashion, popular entertainment, and the discovery of aesthetic qualities in objects and actions of everyday life. This increasing interest in pursuing recreational activities helped to develop an array of new industries, many of which could be found in an area known as Yoshiwara. The region was better known for being the center of Edo’s developing sense of elegance and refinement. This place of pleasure and luxury became a destination for the elite and wealthy merchants who wished to flaunt their fortune. Their economy relied primarily on the patronage of such individuals in order to sustain itself. For many of those who inhabited and worked in this region maintaining the illusion of grandeur was the only way of supporting their business. Kaitai Shinsho , Japan's first treatise on Western anatomy , published in 1774
Yoshiwara was home to mostly women who, due to unfortunate circumstances, found themselves working in this secluded environment. Combining factors such as rent, value of their employment contract, cost of clothing, make-up, gift giving, and other expenses ensured that many would spend their entire lives working to pay off their debts. These females were expected to perform dances, sing, play an instrument, gossip or provide companionship so that their guests would come again. As a result, the region developed its own culture which, in turn, determined what would be popular in the rest of the country. This was particularly true for fashion because a woman's identity was determined by her clothing, specifically it clarified what her profession and status was within that field. The quality of her attire ensured that she stood out from the rest of her competition. It was her only means of establishing a reputation and helped to market her talents. However, Yoshiwara also possessed a seedier side. Much of the business conducted here incorporated the use of prostitution as a means to deal with the women's cost of living. As a result, since its establishment was first authorised by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1589, this area became the country's government sanctioned red-light district. This designation lasted for about 250 years.
Professional female entertainers (geisha ), music, popular stories, Kabuki and bunraku (puppet theater), poetry, a rich literature, and art, exemplified by beautiful woodblock prints (known as ukiyo-e ), were all part of this flowering of culture. Literature also flourished with the talented examples of the playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653–1724) and the poet, essayist, and travel writer Matsuo Bashō (1644–94).
Matsumura Keibun is one of the most significant painters of this
period. His works commonly included realistic depictions of birds,
flowers and animals.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa
Ukiyo-e is a genre of painting and printmaking that developed in the
late 17th century, at first depicting the entertainments of the
pleasure districts of Edo, such as courtesans and kabuki actors.
Harunobu produced the first full-colour nishiki-e prints in 1765, a
form that has become synonymous to most with ukiyo-e. The genre
reached a peak in technique towards the end of the century with the
works of such artists as Kiyonaga and
Utamaro . As the
Edo period came
to an end a great diversity of genres proliferated: warriors, nature,
folklore, and the landscapes of
Shinto eventually assumed an intellectual form as shaped by
neo-Confucian rationalism and materialism. The kokugaku movement
emerged from the interactions of these two belief systems. Kokugaku
contributed to the emperor-centered nationalism of modern
The Edo period was characterized by an unprecedented series of economic developments (despite termination of contact with the outside world) and cultural maturation, especially in terms of theater, music, and other entertainment. For example, a poetic meter for music called kinsei kouta-chō was invented during this time and is still used today in folk songs. Music and theater were influenced by the social gap between the noble and commoner classes, and different arts became more defined as this gap widened. Several different types of kabuki (puppet acting) emerged. Some, such as shibaraku , were only available at a certain time of year, while some companies only performed for nobles. Fashion trends, satirization of local news stories, and advertisements were often part of kabuki theater, as well.
END OF THE SHOGUNATE
Main article: Bakumatsu
DECLINE OF THE TOKUGAWA
Dai-Roku Daiba (第六台場) or "No. 6 Battery", one of the original Edo-era battery islands One of the cannons of Odaiba, now at the Yasukuni Shrine . 80-pound bronze, bore: 250mm, length: 3830mm
The end of this period is specifically called the late Tokugawa
shogunate . The cause for the end of this period is controversial but
is recounted as the forcing of Japan's opening to the world by
Commodore Matthew Perry of the US
The Tokugawa did not eventually collapse simply because of intrinsic
failures. Foreign intrusions helped to precipitate a complex political
struggle between the bakufu and a coalition of its critics. The
continuity of the anti-bakufu movement in the mid-19th century would
finally bring down the Tokugawa. Historians consider that a major
contributing factor to the decline of the Tokugawa was "poor
management of the central government by the shōgun, which caused the
social classes in
Despite these efforts to restrict wealth and partly because of the extraordinary period of peace, the standard of living for urban and rural dwellers alike grew significantly during the Tokugawa period. Better means of crop production, transport, housing, food, and entertainment were all available, as was more leisure time, at least for urban dwellers. The literacy rate was high for a preindustrial society (by some estimates the literacy rate in the city of Edo was 80 percent), and cultural values were redefined and widely imparted throughout the samurai and chōnin classes. Despite the reappearance of guilds , economic activities went well beyond the restrictive nature of the guilds, and commerce spread and a money economy developed. Although government heavily restricted the merchants and viewed them as unproductive and usurious members of society, the samurai, who gradually became separated from their rural ties, depended greatly on the merchants and artisans for consumer goods, artistic interests, and loans . In this way, a subtle subversion of the warrior class by the chōnin took place.
A struggle arose in the face of political limitations that the shōgun imposed on the entrepreneurial class. The government ideal of an agrarian society failed to square with the reality of commercial distribution. A huge government bureaucracy had evolved, which now stagnated because of its discrepancy with a new and evolving social order. Compounding the situation, the population increased significantly during the first half of the Tokugawa period. Although the magnitude and growth rates are uncertain, there were at least 26 million commoners and about four million members of samurai families and their attendants when the first nationwide census was taken in 1721. Drought, followed by crop shortages and starvation, resulted in twenty great famines between 1675 and 1837. During the Tokugawa period, there were 154 famines, of which 21 were widespread and serious. Peasant unrest grew, and by the late 18th century, mass protests over taxes and food shortages had become commonplace. Newly landless families became tenant farmers, while the displaced rural poor moved into the cities. As the fortunes of previously well-to-do families declined, others moved in to accumulate land, and a new, wealthy farming class emerged. Those people who benefited were able to diversify production and to hire laborers, while others were left discontented. Many samurai fell on hard times and were forced into handicraft production and wage jobs for merchants.
Western intrusions were on the increase in the early 19th century.
Russian warships and traders encroached on
Karafuto (called Sakhalin
under Russian and Soviet control) and on the
By the 1830s, there was a general sense of crisis. Famines and
natural disasters hit hard, and unrest led to a peasant uprising
against officials and merchants in
END OF SECLUSION
Matthew Calbraith Perry Landing of Commodore Perry,
Officers and Men of the Squadron To meet the Imperial Commissioners at
Matthew C. Perry 's four-ship squadron appeared in Edo
Bay in July 1853, the bakufu was thrown into turmoil. The chairman of
the senior councillors,
Abe Masahiro (1819–1857), was responsible
for dealing with the Americans. Having no precedent to manage this
threat to national security , Abe tried to balance the desires of the
senior councillors to compromise with the foreigners, of the emperor
who wanted to keep the foreigners out, and of the daimyōs who wanted
to go to war. Lacking consensus, Abe decided to compromise by
accepting Perry's demands for opening
The resulting damage to the bakufu was significant. The devalued
price for gold in
At the head of the dissident faction was Tokugawa Nariaki , who had long embraced a militant loyalty to the emperor along with anti-foreign sentiments, and who had been put in charge of national defense in 1854. The Mito school—based on neo-Confucian and Shinto principles—had as its goal the restoration of the imperial institution, the turning back of the West, and the founding of a world empire under the divine Yamato dynasty .
In the final years of the Tokugawas, foreign contacts increased as
more concessions were granted. The new treaty with the United States
in 1859 allowed more ports to be opened to diplomatic representatives,
unsupervised trade at four additional ports, and foreign residences in
Recently some scholars have suggested that there were more events that spurred this opening of Japan. From 1716 to 1745 Yoshimune (eighth Tokugawa shōgun from 1716–1745) started the first Kyōhō reforms in an attempt to gain more revenue for the government. In 1767 to 1786 Tanuma Okitsugu also initiated some unorthodox economic reforms to expand government income. This led his conservative opponents to attack him and take his position as he was forced from government in disgrace. Similarly, Matsudaira Sadanobu launched the Kansei Reforms in 1787–1793 to stabilize rice prices, cut government costs, and increase revenues. The final economic reform of the Tenpō era of 1841–1843 had similar objectives. Most were ineffective and only worked in some areas. These economic failings would also have been a force in the opening of Japan, as Japanese businessmen desired larger markets. Some scholars also point to internal activism for political change. The Mito school had long been an active force in demanding political changes, such as restoring the powers of the Emperor. This anger can also be seen in the poetry of Matsuo Taseko (a woman who farmed silk worms in the Ina Valley) from Hirata Atsutane's School of National Learning:
"It is disgusting the agitation over thread In today's world Ever since the ships from foreign countries came for the jeweled silkworm cocoons to the land of the gods and the Emperor Peoples hearts awesome though they are, are being pulled apart and consumed by rage."
This inspired many anti-Tokugawa activists as they blamed the Bakufu for impoverishing the people and dishonoring the emperor. Tokugawa Yoshinobu in later life Kanrin Maru , Japan's first screw-driven steam warship, 1855
BAKUMATSU MODERNIZATION AND CONFLICTS
Main article: Bakumatsu
During the last years of the bakufu , or bakumatsu , the bakufu took strong measures to try to reassert its dominance, although its involvement with modernization and foreign powers was to make it a target of anti-Western sentiment throughout the country.
The army and the navy were modernized. A naval training school was
Revering the emperor as a symbol of unity, extremists wrought violence and death against the Bakufu and Han authorities and foreigners. Foreign naval retaliation in the Anglo-Satsuma War led to still another concessionary commercial treaty in 1865, but Yoshitomi was unable to enforce the Western treaties. A bakufu army was defeated when it was sent to crush dissent in the Satsuma and Chōshū Domains in 1866. Finally, in 1867, Emperor Kōmei died and was succeeded by his underaged son Emperor Meiji .
Tokugawa Yoshinobu reluctantly became head of the Tokugawa house and shōgun. He tried to reorganize the government under the emperor while preserving the shōgun's leadership role. Fearing the growing power of the Satsuma and Chōshū daimyōs, other daimyōs called for returning the shōgun's political power to the emperor and a council of daimyōs chaired by the former Tokugawa shōgun. Yoshinobu accepted the plan in late 1867 and resigned, announcing an "imperial restoration". The Satsuma, Chōshū, and other han leaders and radical courtiers, however, rebelled , seized the imperial palace , and announced their own restoration on January 3, 1868.
Battle of Sekigahara .
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Main article: Edo period in popular culture
The Edo period is the setting of many works of popular culture. These include novels, comics, stageplays, films, television shows, animated works, and manga.
* Criminal punishment in Edo-period
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This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of
Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to EDO PERIOD .
* Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era – A rich selection of rare Japanese maps from the UBC Library Digital Collections * Timeline – Japan: Memoirs of a Secret