EDO (TOKUGAWA) PERIOD (1603-1867)

EDO PERIOD


Edo Period Parade

The Tokugawa (or Edo) Period (1603-1867) began when Tokugawa Ieyasu became shogun in 1603 after a victory at Sekigahara in 1600 and brought 200 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 shogun had national authority and the daimyo had regional authority, a new unity in the feudal structure, which had 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 7 million koku, control of the most important cities, and a land assessment system reaping great revenues.

According to “Topics in Japanese Cultural History”: “Compared with the two periods preceding it, the Tokugawa period (1603-1867) was a time of relative peace and prosperity. It was also a colorful age with an urban culture that tended to reject the gloom and longing for virtue of the Muromachi period. The Tokugawa period gets its name from the family of shoguns who presided over a strong bakufu. The strength of the Tokugawa bakufu helped create an age relatively free of civil strife. Political stability encouraged cultural and economic growth. Forms of high culture that were once the province of an elite few became widely available, in the major cities at least, via a variety of private schools and academies. Neither the court aristocracy nor the warriors played the major role in shaping urban culture of the Tokugawa period. More than any other group, it was the urban merchants that molded culture. The most vigorous cultural forms of the period reflected the busy, consumption-oriented world of commerce. [Source: “Topics in Japanese Cultural History” by Gregory Smits, Penn State University figal-sensei.org *~*]

Good Sources on the Edo Period: Websites Essay on Epoch of Unification (1568-1615) aboutjapan.japansociety.org ; Essay on the Polity opf the Tokugawa Era aboutjapan.japansociety.org ; Wikipedia article on the Edo Period Wikipedia ; Samurai Archives on Tokugawa Ieyasu samurai-archives.com ; Wikipedia article on the History of Tokyo Wikipedia; Making of Modern Japan, Google e-book books.google.com/books ; Books : Edo, The City That Became Tokyo: An Illustrated History by Akira Naito (Kodansha Press, 2003) and Giving Up the Gun, Japan’s Reversion from the Sword by Noel Perrin.

Culture in the Edo Period Edo-Tokyo Museum edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp ;Edo Virtual Tour us-japan.org/edomatsu ; ; Edo Castle us-japan.org/edomatsu Tokugawa Art Museum tokugawa-art-museum. ; Good Photos at Japan-Photo Archive japan-photo.de Ukiyo-e Viewing Japanese Prints viewingjapaneseprints ; Ukiyo-e Pictures of te Floating World ukiyo-e.se ; Gallery Sakura gallery-sakura.com

Good Websites and Sources on Momoyama Period: Essay on Epoch of Unification (1568-1615) aboutjapan.japansociety.org ; Essay on Kamakura and Muromachi Periods aboutjapan.japansociety.org ; Wikipedia article on the Momoyama Period Wikipedia ; Samurai Archives Article on Oda Nobunaga samurai-archives.com/nobunaga ; Samurai Archives Article on Hideyoshi Toyotomi samurai-archives.com/hideyoshi ; Hideyoshi Toyotomi bio zenstoriesofthesamurai.com ; Wikipedia article on Battle of Sekigahara Wikipedia ; Good Photos at Japan-Photo Archive japan-photo.de Christianity in Japan: Good Photos at Japan-Photo Archive of Christianity japan-photo.de ; Wikipedia article on Christianity in Japan Wikipedia ; Catholic Encyclopedia Article on Japan (scroll down for info on Christianity in Japan) newadvent.org ; History of Japanese Catholic Church english.pauline.or.jp ; Artelino Article on the Dutch in Nagasaki artelino.com Kamakura and Muromachi Periods: Essay on the Kamakura and Muromachi Periods aboutjapan.japansociety.org ; Wikipedia article on the Kamakura Period Wikipedia ; Samurai Archives article on Minamoto Yoritomo samurai-archives.com ; Wikipedia article on Muromachi Period Wikipedia ; Tale of Heike site meijigakuin.ac.jp

Good Websites and Sources on the Samurai Era in Japan: Good Photos at Japan-Photo Archive japan-photo.de ; Samurai Archives samurai-archives.com ; Artelino Article on Samurai artelino.com ; Wikipedia article om Samurai Wikipedia Sengoku Daimyo sengokudaimyo.co ; List of Shoguns and Emperors of Japan friesian.com ; Samurai Women on About.com asianhistory.about.com ; Classical Martial Arts koryu.com ; Delphi Forums, Good Discussion Group on Japanese History forums.delphiforums.com/samuraihistory. Books: A good book on samurai culture is Miyamoto Murashi (1935), a novel by about a legendary swordsman by Eiji Yoshikawa. The film Last Samurai was based on Bushido-The Soul of Japan, written by Inazo Nitobe in 1899. The Lone Samurai by William Scott Wilson and Shogun by James Clavell are good reads. Vagabond is a popular 27-volume manga based on Miyamoto Musashi by the famous mangaka Takehiro Inoue. You can help this site a little by ordering your Amazon books through this link: Amazon.com. Films: Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood by Akira Kurosawa; The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise; Twilight of a Samurai, nominated for an Academy Award in 2004. Samurai scholar: Karl Friday at the University of Georgia. Samurai Armor, Weapons, Swords and Castles Samurai Arms and Armor artsofthesamurai.com ; Armor from Clan Yama Kaminari yamakaminari.com ; Putting on Armor chiba-muse.or.jp ; Castles of Japan pages.ca.inter.net ; Enthusiasts for Visiting Japanese Castles (good photos but a lot of text in Japanese shirofan.com ; Good Photos of Thousand Warrior Procession at Japan-Photo Archive japan-photo.de ; Seppuku Wikipedia article on Seppuku Wikipedia ; Seppuku---A Practical Guide kyushu.com/gleaner

Good Japanese History Websites: ; Wikipedia article on History of Japan Wikipedia ; Samurai Archives samurai-archives.com ; National Museum of Japanese History rekihaku.ac.jp ; Japanese History Documentation Project openhistory.org/jhdp ; Cambridge University Bibliography of Japanese History to 1912 ames.cam.ac.uk ; Sengoku Daimyo sengokudaimyo.co ; English Translations of Important Historical Documents hi.u-tokyo.ac.jp/iriki ; WWW-VL: History: Japan (semi good but dated source ) vlib.iue.it/history/asia/Japan ; Forums Delphi Forums, Good Discussion Group on Japanese History forums.delphiforums.com/samuraihistory ; Tousando tousando.proboards.com

Rule of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s Heirs

Ieyasu died in 1616. He was reburied at Mt. Nikko, a sacred mountain traditionally visited by military leaders. According to “Topics in Japanese Cultural History”: His death caused no particular problems, however, for Hidetada had become well-acquainted with the office of shogun and continued his father’s work of creating a strong bakufu under the Tokugawa family. Like his father, Hidetada also "retired" while in good health. In 1623, he handed the office of shogun over to his son Iemitsu, further establishing the Tokugawa family’s hold over the highest office in the land. Tokugawa Ieyasu and his sons were not scholars, but they had a basic understanding of history. They learned from the examples of Hideyoshi and, much earlier, Minamoto Yoritomo. They worked to ensure that power would remain in Tokugawa hands well into the future. To this end, they created stable, viable institutions and also devoted attention to bolstering the religious-symbolic authority of the Tokugawa house. [Source: “Topics in Japanese Cultural History” by Gregory Smits, Penn State University figal-sensei.org *~*]


Tokugawa Iemitsu

Tokugawa rulers continued to rule after Ieyasu. By the time of Tokugawa Iemitsu’s death 1651, the bakufu had become firmly established in power, and the Tokugawa family was firmly in control of the bakufu. It was no longer necessary for shoguns to retire in favor of their sons.

Tokugawa Tsunayoshi was the weirdest of the Tokugawa rulers. He was born in the Year of the Dog, 1648 and, felt strongly about the welfare of dogs. Under the Laws of Compassion he made the injuring and killing of dogs, even neglecting them, a crime punishable by death. In 1687 more than 300 people were put to death for violating the laws. Scores of believed to have committed ritual suicide to avoid formal execution. During Tsunayoshi’s 36 year reign an estimated 60,000 to 200,000 people were either executed or exiled for animal welfare violations. Tsunayoshi once banished a man to an island penal colony for failing to prevent the killing of a sparrow. The men that put the sparrow to death were beheaded.

Japanese society of the Tokugawa period was influenced by Confucian principles of social order. At the top of the hierarchy, but removed from political power, were the imperial court families at Kyoto. The real political power holders were the samurai, followed by the rest of society. In descending hierarchical order, they consisted of farmers, who were organized into villages, artisans, and merchants. Urban dwellers, often well-to-do merchants, were known as chonin (townspeople) and were confined to special districts. 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.

Major Steps in the Early Evolution of the Tokugawa Shogunate

1600: Tokugawa Ieyasu wins the Battle of Sekigahara.

1603: Ieyasu takes title of shogun.


Tokugawa Ieyasu

1605: Ieyasu "retires," son Hidetada takes over as shogun.

1612: Christianity prohibited.

1614-15: Ieyasu destroys Toyotomi Hideyori, Hideyoshi’s son.

1615: Bakufu issues Laws for Warrior Households.

1616: Ieyasu dies.

1623: Hidetada retires, son Iemitsu becomes shogun.

1629: Laws for warrior households revised & reissued.

1635-6: Trade with China & European countries limited to Nagasaki Japanese forbidden freely to travel abroad .

1635: System of "alternate attendance" made mandatory for all.

1637-8: Shimabara Uprising causes more resources devoted to rooting out Christianity.

1638: Portuguese ships prohibited.

1641: Dutch trading center moves to Nagasaki (also the site of Chinese trade); British traders leave Japan on their own volition.

1651: 3rd shogun, Iemitsu, dies

Edo Period Imperial Rulers (1615–1868)

Go-Mizuo (1611–1629).


Emperor Go-Mizunoo

Meisho (1629–1643).

Go-Komyo (1643–1654).

Go-Sai (1654–1663).

Reigen (1663–1687).

Higashiyama (1687–1709).

Nakamikado (1709–1735).

Sakuramachi (1735–1747).

Momozono (1747–1762).

Go-Sakuramachi (1752–1770).

Go-Momozono (1770–1779).

Kokaku (1779–1817).

Ninko (1817–1846).

Komei (1846–1867).

[Source: Yoshinori Munemura, Independent Scholar, Metropolitan Museum of Art metmuseum.org]

Alternate Attendance and the Annual Trip to Edo

According to “Topics in Japanese Cultural History”: “One of the most important means of bakufu control over the daimyo was the system of alternate attendance (sankin kotai). Under this system, daimyo spent half of their time in their local domains and half of their time "in attendance" on the shogun, living in Edo near the shogunal palace. The typical arrangement was one year in the domain and one year in Edo. The wives and family members of daimyo remained in Edo all the time. This system had a number of advantages for the bakufu. It kept the daimyo moving and helped drain some of their financial resources owing to the need to maintain suitably elaborate residences both in their domains and in Edo. Because the daimyo spent so much of their time in Edo, they were easier for the shogun to keep under close watch. Finally, the families of the daimyo effectively served as hostages to help guarantee good behavior. [Source: “Topics in Japanese Cultural History” by Gregory Smits, Penn State University figal-sensei.org ]


Daimyo Visit

Ieyasu was always concerned that an ambitious daiymo might try to overthrow him so he created a system of ---alternating residences--- in which powerful daimyos returned their estate while their wives and children stayed at the shogun’s fortress city. This was done ostensibly to keep the families safe, but in reality the family members were hostages kept in gilded cages to make sure the daimyo didn't misbehave. [Source: Bennet Schiff, Smithsonian magazine, November 1988]

In times of peace, the daimyo divided their time between the shogun’s fortress and their own estates, with daimyos traveling to Edo at least every other year. The trips to Edo served as ceremonial parades in which power was manifested by the elaborate armor worn by samurai rather than fighting . The daimyo’s and their entourage traveled on the Tokaido Road, running from Kyoto to Edo, and other roads such as the Nakasendo, Nikkokaido and Oshu. Ieyasu had these roads built or improved almost immediately after taking power with a system of postal stations, where inns were set up for the lords and ordinary people to stay. The building and maintenance of good roads helped ordinary people get around and travel to far away places.

Daimyos arrived in Edo with huge entourages and units of loyal samurai. Within Tokyo there were large numbers of single men that were there supporting the lords. To meet their needs red light districts and entertainment districts such Yoshiwara---filled with theaters, tea houses, taverns, restaurants and brothels--- sprang up. Street vendors roamed the streets offering sushi, noodles and other dishes for men with no wives. A number of industries and entertainment forms such as kabuki and sumo were promoted to amuse them.

Rule of Shogun and Daimyo Under the Tokugawa Shogunate

An evolution had taken place in the centuries from the time of the Kamakura bakufu, which existed in equilibrium with the imperial court, to the Tokugawa, when the bushi became the unchallenged rulers in what historian Edwin O. Reischauer called a "centralized feudal" form of government. Instrumental in the rise of the new bakufu was Tokugawa Ieyasu, the main beneficiary of the achievements of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. Already powerful, Ieyasu profited by his transfer to the rich Kanto area. He maintained 2.5 million koku of land, had a new headquarters at Edo, a strategically situated castle town (the future Tokyo), and had an additional 2 million koku of land and thirtyeight vassals under his control. After Hideyoshi’s death, Ieyasu moved quickly to seize control from the Toyotomi family. [Source: Library of Congress *]

The feudal hierarchy was completed by the various classes of daimyo. Closest to the Tokugawa house were the shinpan, or "related houses." They were twenty-three daimyo on the borders of Tokugawa lands, daimyo 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 daimyo," rewarded with lands close to the Tokugawa holdings for their faithful service. By the eighteenth 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 10 million koku of productive land. Because the tozama were least trusted of the daimyo, they were the most cautiously managed and generously treated, although they were excluded from central government positions. *

The Tokugawa not only consolidated their control over a reunified Japan, they also had unprecedented power over the emperor, the court, all daimyo, and the religious orders. The emperor was held up as the ultimate source of political sanction for the shogun, who ostensibly was the vassal of the imperial family. The Tokugawa helped the imperial family recapture its old glory by rebuilding its palaces and granting it new lands. To ensure a close tie between the imperial clan and the Tokugawa family, Ieyasu’s granddaughter was made an imperial consort in 1619. *



A code of laws was established to regulate the daimyo houses. The code encompassed private conduct, marriage, dress, and types of weapons and numbers of troops allowed; required alternateyear residence at Edo; prohibited the construction of ocean-going ships; proscribed Christianity; and stipulated that bakufu regulations were the national law. Although the daimyo 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 daimyo, thus weakening their threat to the central administration. The han, once military-centered domains, became mere local administrative units. The daimyo 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. *

Christianity and Religion in Japan in the Edo Period

Edo-era Christian writing box Buddhism was the state faith and Shinto, Confucianism and Buddhist beliefs intermingled. Rulers espoused Neo-Confucian beliefs based on the principal that opposing forces of yin and yang symbolized the hierarchal order of the human world and were used as justification for dividing up society into military, agricultural, industrial and commercial castes that were not subject to change.

The "Christian problem" was, in effect, a problem controlling both the Christian daimyo in Kyushu and trade with the Europeans. By 1612 the shogun’s retainers and residents of Tokugawa lands had been ordered to foreswear Christianity. More restrictions came in 1616 (the restriction of foreign trade to Nagasaki and Hirado, an island northwest of Kyushu), 1622 (the execution of 120 missionaries and converts), 1624 (the expulsion of the Spanish), and 1629 (the execution of thousands of Christians). Finally, in 1635 an edict prohibited any Japanese from traveling outside Japan or, if someone left, from ever returning. In 1636 the Portuguese were restricted to Deshima, a man-made islet--and thus, not true Japanese soil--in Nagasaki’s harbor. [Source: Library of Congress]

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Edo-era Christian writing box
The Shimabara Rebellion of 1637-38, in which discontented Christian samurai and peasants rebelled against the bakufu-- and Edo called in Dutch ships to bombard the rebel stronghold-- marked the end of the Christian movement. Soon thereafter, the Portuguese were permanently expelled, members of the Portuguese diplomatic mission were executed, all subjects were ordered to register at a Buddhist or Shinto temple, and the Dutch and Chinese were restricted, respectively, to Deshima and to a special quarter in Nagasaki. Besides small trade of some outer daimyo with Korea and the Ryukyu Islands, to the southwest of Japan’s main islands, by 1641 foreign contacts were limited to Nagasaki.

In the decades that followed Christianity was practiced in secret (See Hidden Christians Below), Persecution began to lighten up after Commodore Perry arrived in 1853. Christian missionaries returned in 1859. Christianity was legalized and anti-Christian laws were repealed in 1873. In 1895, several Japanese visited the Oura Cathedral in Nagasaki, built the year before for foreigners, and revealed they were Christians. The episode is famous in religious history in Japan and is known a the revelation of believers and proved that despite the most extreme repression Christianity remained alive in Japan.

Persecution of Christians in the Edo Period

Persecution of Christians that began before the Edo Period continued during it. Ieyasu outlawed Christianity and the Tokugawa shoguns eradicated it within 50 years using murder, persecution and decrees. In 1627 some Christians in Kyushu were boiled alive in the boiling waters of Unzen on the orders of the magistrate of Nagasaki and the daimyo of Shimabara. At least 30 Christians died. In 1638, 37,000 people, mostly Christians, were massacred during brutal crackdown after the Christian-led Shimbara Rebellion. As a result of this oppression it was thought the number of Christians was reduced to near zero.


fumie (Jesus on a cross to step on)

According to “Topics in Japanese Cultural History”: Closely connected with this prohibition was a large-scale uprising by impoverished peasants in the Shimabara Peninsula and nearby islands in Kyushu. This was an area of Japan in which Christians had been numerous, and the rebels adopted Christian symbols for their banners. With great difficulty, bakufu forces eventually put down the uprising, slaughtering all connected with it. The bakufu even ordered a Dutch warship to assist in the bombardment of the rebels' stronghold, which it did. As a result of this uprising, bakufu authorities became even more convinced that Christianity was a threat to their political power and put extensive resources into a generally successful campaign to root it out. [Source: “Topics in Japanese Cultural History” by Gregory Smits, Penn State University figal-sensei.org *~*]

Christians were forced to tread on fumi-e (“pictures to step on”) to show they had renounced their religion. Christians were tortured with heavy stones that were placed on their legs until they abandoned their religion. Some of these stones have been used to make the Kashiragahima church in the Goto Island. In one particularly nasty method of torture called “anazuri” a person suspected of being a Christian was hung upside down for days in a hole. So that the person would be in pain for as long as possible a small hole was bored behind the person’s ear so that the person would die as his blood slowing dripped out drop by drop.

The last Japanese priest was crucified in 1642. The extremely small number of Christians that continued practicing had to do so in great secrecy until the 1870s. In November 2008, the Roman Catholic Church held its first ever beautification ceremony in Japan to honor 188 martyrs who refused to give up their religion despite persecution between 1603 and 1639. Among those honored were Julian Nakamura, who was a member of delegation sent to receive blessing from the Pope, and Petro Kibe, who was the first Japanese to visit Jerusalem. The ceremony came 27 years after Pope John Paul II said the martyrs should be recognized during a 1981 trip to Nagasaki.

Books about Christians Silence (1966), a book about the persecution of Portuguese Christians in the 17th century; and Chinmoku by Shusaku Endo (1981)

Eradication of Firearms in Japan


The Japanese shoguns had the unusual distinction of being perhaps the only major rulers ever to eradicate firearms. In 1587, the shogun declared that all non-samurai were required to hand over weapons---both guns and swords---to the government, which had announced it was going to use the metal in the construction of an enormous statue of Buddha. All gunsmiths were ordered to take their workshops to the city of Nagahama, where the shogun could keep an eye on them and make sure they didn't make weapons. [Source: "History of Warfare" by John Keegan, Vintage Books]

The Japanese recognized the inherit instability that firearms created and they were able to get rid of them because Japan was an island country that focused on maintaining internal order and it was not threatened by any invaders. By 1706 the entire gun production of Japan was 35 large matchlocks, and only a handful of Japanese knew how to make firearms. The shoguns kept their country virtually free of firearms until Perry arrived in 1853.

Gokayama, a remote town in central Honshu, was a source of gunpowder feudal lords and secret peasant groups. The gunpowder was made by mixing soil, grass and bacteria generated from urine. This mixture was placed in holes beneath buildings and left to ferment for four years or so and then was boiled with ash and water and filtered and boiled again until a concentrated form was derived. Some of the houses were used to secretly make gunpowder and today they contain displays on the gunpowder-making process.

Closing of Japan to the West

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17th century Nagasaki
Fear of European domination led Tokugawa to close off Japan to the outside world in 1612. With exception of Nagasaki and one other port, foreigners were excluded from Japan for 241 years, until 1853, during a period known as sakoku ("national seclusion"). Japan enjoyed a long period of peace but stagnated while Spain, France, Portugal and England colonized the world and Europe was dramatically altered by the industrial revolution.

Non-Japanese were restricted to Dejima, a 130-acre artificial island built in 1634 in Nagasaki. The first occupants were Portuguese who built homes and warehouses and still had enough room left over to graze sheep and cattle. In 1639, the Portuguese were kicked out and replaced by the Dutch, who, with the exception of a few Korean envoys and shipwrecked whalers, were the only non-Japanese who entered Japan for the next 200 years.

For the Japanese the punishment for leaving the country (and coming back) was death. The Japanese view at the time was that their world was complete and their was no place in it for crude, materialistic and barbaric Westerners. It was one of the few times in modern history that a nation rejected "progress." Punishments were equally harsh for foreigner that arrived in Japan. Thirteen members of a group of Portuguese merchants that arrived in 1640 were executed. The rest returned home with the message: "Think of us no more."

According to “Topics in Japanese Cultural History”: “In the 1630s, the bakufu began imposing restrictions on foreign trade and travel. These restrictions were in part connected with the earlier ban on Christianity, which the Tokugawa shoguns took most seriously. They were also part of the overall process of the bakufu tightening its grip on power. The bakufu reserved for itself the right to direct trade and diplomatic relations with countries outside of Japan. In order better to supervise foreign relations, the bakufu issued orders that no Japanese may travel abroad without shogunal permission and that foreign trade be restricted mainly to the bakufu-controlled port of Nagasaki. Dutch merchants, as a result, moved their trading post to Nagasaki in the 1640s. There had also been an English trading post, but it folded of its own accord owing to a lack of profitability. By 1645, there was no British presence in Japan. Spanish and Portuguese ships had, up until this time, engaged in trade with various Japanese domains. Owing to a fear of Spanish and Portuguese military power, and to a general unwillingness of merchants from these two countries to separate trade and religion, the bakufu prohibited Portuguese (and by extension Spanish) ships and persons from entering Japan. [Source: “Topics in Japanese Cultural History” by Gregory Smits, Penn State University figal-sensei.org ]

Edict of 1635 Ordering the Closing of Japan: Addressed to the Joint Bugyô of Nagasaki

According to Columbia University’s Asia for Educators: “In the 1630s, the Tokugawa shogunate took a series of steps to further restrict Japan’s international contacts. By 1639, the Dutch were the only Europeans permitted to come to Japan, and the conditions under which they were allowed to trade and interact with Japanese were extremely circumscribed by the Tokugawa authorities. The following edict of 1635 was issued by the shogunate to the officials administering the busy port of Nagasaki, the site of most of Japan’s foreign contacts at the time. [Source: Asia for Educators Columbia University, Primary Sources with DBQs, afe.easia.columbia.edu <|> ]

The Edict of 1635 Ordering the Closing of Japan: Addressed to the Joint Bugyô of Nagasaki reads: 1) Japanese ships are strictly forbidden to leave for foreign countries. [Source: “Japan: A Documentary History: The Dawn of History to the Late Tokugawa Period”, edited by David J. Lu (Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1997), 221-222] <|>

2) No Japanese is permitted to go abroad. If there is anyone who attempts to do so secretly, he must be executed. The ship so involved must be impounded and its owner arrested, and the matter must be reported to the higher authority. 3) If any Japanese returns from overseas after residing there, he must be put to death. 4) If there is any place where the teachings of padres (Christianity) is practiced, the two of you must order a thorough investigation. <|>

7) If there are any Southern Barbarians (Westerners) who propagate the teachings of padres, or otherwise commit crimes, they may be incarcerated in the prison maintained by the Ōmura domain, as was done previously...10) Samurai are not permitted to purchase any goods originating from foreign ships directly from Chinese merchants in Nagasaki. <|>

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Dutch and Chinese settlement in Nagasaki

Chinese Influence in the Tokugawa Era

Christal Whelan wrote in the Yomiuri Shimbun, “In 1644 when the Manchus invaded China and first established the Qing dynasty, Ming loyalists fled to Japan, where the Tokugawa shogunate gave them sanctuary in Nagasaki. Both shogunate and the loyalists, convinced that China was in the corrupting hands of foreigners, viewed Japan as the potential heir of Chinese Confucian civilization. Indeed, for Japan until the modern era China had always embodied the highest values of civilization. [Source: Christal Whelan, Daily Yomiuri, December 4, 2011 <+>]

“These values were transmitted by merchants, Buddhist monk-scholars, and recent expatriate loyalists to the Ming dynasty, an elite group that included calligraphers, doctors of Chinese medicine, musicians and literati. The presence of these foreigners attracted Japanese and other intellectuals from afar on spiritual and intellectual pilgrimages to Nagasaki to learn from these representatives of mainland civilization. <+>

“One such figure was the Chinese monk Yinyuan Longqi (1592-1673), or Ingen Ryuki in Japanese, a high-ranking Rinzai Zen priest in China who came to Japan in 1654. Ingen’s encounter with his own Buddhist sect in Japan, seemingly unchanged since its introduction in the late 12th century, caused him some dismay. <+>

“Japanese Rinzai appeared to be suspended in time, untouched by the many doctrinal changes that had occurred to Rinzai in China during the late Ming period (1368-1644). The discrepancies were great enough to prompt Ingen to venture to Edo (present-day Tokyo) for an audience with Tokugawa Ietsuna (1641-1680), who ultimately allowed him not only to establish an independent sect but granted the priest land in Uji, south of Kyoto, to build a temple. Ingen named the newly reformed Rinzai sect--the Obaku sect--after the cork tree-covered mountain where his home temple stood in China, and Manpukuji temple, the Japanese rendition of his former temple’s name. <+>

“Besides a new form of Buddhism, Ingen introduced new foods and culinary practices to Japan. Watermelon, lotus root and kidney beans are all accredited to Ingen. According to Shokyoku Araki, director of education at Manpukuji, the strictly vegetarian cuisine for which the temple is now famous--fucha ryori, or "food to accompany tea"--originated in temple offerings shared by priests after major religious rituals. A crucial aspect of Obaku ritual was the drinking of sencha, a general term for steeped leaf tea. <+>

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Samurai Archives samurai-archives.com; Topics in Japanese Cultural History” by Gregory Smits, Penn State University figal-sensei.org *~*; Asia for Educators Columbia University, Primary Sources with DBQs, afe.easia.columbia.edu ; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan; Library of Congress; Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO); New York Times; Washington Post; Los Angeles Times; Daily Yomiuri; Japan News; Times of London; National Geographic; The New Yorker; Time; Newsweek, Reuters; Associated Press; Lonely Planet Guides; Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications. Many sources are cited at the end of the facts for which they are used.

Last updated September 2016

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