Tag Archives: Edo Period

The Edo Period


The Edo Period

Edo, now named Tokyo, was the seat of power during the reign of the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1867). This period brought much needed stability to Japan. The shogun’s national authority, combined with the daimyo’s regional authority, permitted the administration of both centralized and decentralized authorities. Literacy spread, farming techniques improved, and interregional trade expanded during this period; nevertheless, the last Tokugawa shogun resigned in 1867 because of what pressures? More… Discuss

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this day in the yesteryear: Japan’s Meiji Constitution Goes into Effect (1890)


Japan’s Meiji Constitution Goes into Effect (1890)

In the mid-19th century, Japan was forced to end its isolation by signing a series of unequal treaties that gave Western nations special privileges in Japan. The unpopular Tokugawa shogunate collapsed soon after and, in 1868, the boy emperor Meiji was “restored” to power. The Meiji constitution defined Japan as a capable, modern nation deserving of Western respect while preserving its own power. What did Ito Hirobumi, who drafted the Meiji constitution, do to prepare himself for the task? More… Discuss

TODAY’S HOLIDAY: HANA MATSURI


Hana Matsuri

Hana Matsuri is a celebration of the Buddha‘s birthday, observed in Buddhist temples throughout Japan, where it is known as Kambutsue. The highlight of the celebration is a ritual known as kambutsue (“ceremony of ‘baptizing’ the Buddha”), in which a tiny bronze statue of the Buddha, standing in an open lotus flower, is anointed with sweet tea. People use a small bamboo ladle to pour the tea, made of hydrangea leaves, over the head of the statue. The custom is supposed to date from the seventh century, when perfume was used, as well as tea. More… Discuss

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TODAY’S HOLIDAY: HINA MATSURI


Hina Matsuri

Hina Matsuri is a festival for girls, celebrated in homes throughout Japan since the Edo Period (1600-1867). A set of 10 to 15 dolls (or hina), usually family heirlooms from various generations, is displayed on a stand covered with red cloth. Dressed in elaborate silk costumes, the dolls represent the emperor and empress, court ministers, and servants. In parts of Tottori Prefecture, girls make boats of straw, place a pair of paper dolls in them and set them afloat on the Mochigase River. The custom dates back to ancient times when dolls were used as talismans to exorcize evil. More…Discuss

 

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