Tag Archives: Tokugawa shogunate

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

Bushido


Bushido (read more here)

Bushido, which means “way of the warrior,” is a code of conduct of the Japanese samurai class. Along with self-discipline, honor, and austerity, the code emphasized the samurai’s obligation to his lord, which superseded even familial ties. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868 effectively ended feudalism and returned power to the emperor, the samurai’s obligation of loyalty and sacrifice shifted, becoming the basis for the cult of emperor worship. What is hara-kiri? More… Discuss

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: Toshogu Haru-No-Taisai


Toshogu Haru-No-Taisai

This festival provides the most spectacular display of ancient samurai costumes and weaponry in Japan. The Toshogu Shrine, in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, was built in 1617 to house the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), the first of the Tokugawa shoguns. On the first day of the festival, dignitaries and members of the Tokugawa family make offerings to the deities of the shrine, and warriors on horseback shoot at targets with bows and arrows. The next morning, more than 1,000 people take part in the procession from Toshogu to Futarasan Shrine, including hundreds of samurai warriors. More… Discuss

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: TOKUGAWA IEYASU (1543)


Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543)

Along with Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa was one of the three unifiers of war-torn, premodern Japan. The three warriors established military control over the whole country and succeeded one another in the dictatorship. Tokugawa’s time as shogun, or military dictator, ushered in a period of internal peace, urban growth, increased literacy, and resistance to Western influences. He died in 1616, but the Tokugawa shogunate did not die with him. For how long did his heirs rule Japan?More… Discuss

 

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Today’s Birthday: Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837)


Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837)

Tokugawa was the 15th and last shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan. The Tokugawa family held the shogunate and controlled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Beginning at the time of Yoshinobu’s birth, there were numerous peasant uprisings and samurai unrest. Undermined by increasing foreign incursions, the Tokugawa were overthrown by an attack of provincial forces from Choshu, Satsuma, and Tosa, who restored the Meiji emperor to power. Yoshinobu resigned in 1867. How did he spend his retirement? More… Discuss