Sample Essay on Tokugawa Shogunate

Tokugawa Shogunate

For many decades Japan stumbled in lawlessness and disarray in the regime of “Warring states” or Sengoku from 1467-1573. However, an alliance by Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu worked together to bring down the Warring states by defeating the daimyo who were loyal to late Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his teenaged son at the battle of Sekigahara in 1600. By 1603, Tokugawa Ieyasu accomplished this mission and established the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Tokugawa Ieyasu established his capital at Edo which later became Tokyo. His son was named the Shogun in 1605 a move orchestrated to ensure his family claim the title and guarantee continuity of the policy. Ieyasu died in 1616 and the first Tokugawa shoguns rose into power. The shogunal government maintained peace in Tokugawa Japan as it controlled every unit in the empire. The Tokugawa Peace was the most essential respite all the people in the nation needed. Unfortunately, defeat for the samurai warriors meant that they had to work as officials in the Tokugawa administration.

There was an extensive change in ways of life in Tokugawa Japan. All sectors within the nation were controlled by the Tokugawa’s culture and traditional roles that were much stricter than the times of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The Tokugawa government continued with the obligation of the four-tier class structure and imposed enforcing rules. These included issues like which classes of people would have savvy silks for clothing or tortoiseshell for hair-pins.

Tokugawa shogunate also controlled religion. The administration had a strict stance on religion. The Tokugawa administration felt threatened by Christianity and had to impose a strict stand.  Japanese Christians who had been converted by Portuguese missionaries and traders were vetoed from practicing their religion by Tokugawa Hidetada. The shogunate official had to find a better way to enforce this law and opted to have every citizen registered with their local Buddhist temple. Anyone who did not abide to this law was considered treacherous to the bakufu. The Shimabara Rebellion made up of Christina peasants opposed this law, but was eradicated by the Shogunate. Christians were executed and exiled, and the religion vanished from the nation.

Tokugawa shogunate also took control of foreign trade. Anyone who attempted to make any deals without authorization was punished mercilessly and had to come in terms with heavy penalties. The administration also had control over all ports in the country and sanctioned any trade with the West more so the Europeans in order to shun any westernized influences. China and Korea traders were not allowed to share any good and information with Japanese.

With the advancing technology and new innovation, the Tokugawa shogunate regime had to come to an end.  The uncouth daimyo system of taxation, scorching poverty and a deal of social upset weakened the shogunate administration. The influx of westerns in other nations came with new ideas and money that disturbed the Japan’s lifestyle and economy. The anti-western daimyo made up of Choshu and Satsuma held Tokugawa shogunate responsible for not being able to defend japan against western imperialism.

These groups work hard towards modernization whereby they had to adapt to new military technologies. The southern daimyo became more successful and when Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi died, Tokugawa Yoshinobu half-heartedly took power. The emperor died in 1867 and his son Mitsuhito became the Meiji Emperor. The young emperor launched the Boshin war and announced Meiji Restoration after their triumph in war. Japan developed its economy and military capacity rapidly and launched itself in the modern world.

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