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How important were the daimyo in the governing of Tokugawa J

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Katy South-Jones

on 21 September 2014

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Transcript of How important were the daimyo in the governing of Tokugawa J

How important were the Daimyo in the governing of Tokugawa Japan
Daimyo's were a threat to the Tokugawa government
They were very important to the running of Japan and particularly to the Tokugawa Bakufu as they took many measures to try and ensure that Daimyo would not grow powerful and become a threat to the regime.

For instance...They tried to drain daimyo's of money and resources

The Tokugawa government was not allowed to get tax from the domains but did charge Daimyo lords for compulsory public works and they also enforced loans upon them, as a way to strip them of power, so they could not create an army, .

influential in the running of domains
On the other hand..aside from some intervention and laws from the Tokugawa government. As Janet Hunter describes the Tokugawa domains enjoyed a certain amount of autonomy.

As long as they did not contravene the rulings of their Shogun, Daimyo's could handle their own land. They employed many warriors (samurai) , peasants and craftsmen

they had considerable freedom in their domains to the point where they could even issue out their own paper currency with the Tokugawa Bakufu's permission.

each han collected its own taxes

had its own army, .
The Fudai Daimyo

they controlled the central areas of Japan, they were the trusted lords. Some fudai were family of the Tokugawa clan.

Posts in the Tokugawa government only open to fudai daimyo and not Tozama, some posts were even restricted to family of the Tokugawa

The importance of loyalty was used divide the different lords and to stop any alliance between the Fudai and the Tozama

Who were the Daimyo?
The word Daimyo splits into 'dai' which means large and 'myo' which means private ground. Daimyo literally means the powerful territorial lords.

The daimyo owned vast areas of land in Japan and were highest in the social hierarchy in Japan, being under only the Shogun. They owned the various lands to which Japan was divided.

Their duty was to govern an area and provide justice and serve the shogun
The Tokugawa Bakufu in governing Japan
It was the central government in Edo, it consisted of 4/5 men usually from the Tokugawa family. They dealt with general policy matters.

strict to strong regional variations, in terms of geographical situation, degree of prosperity and cultural homogeneity -Hunter

They put forth a firm social order to reduce opposition

They controlled every aspect of a persons life-they emphasized neo-confucianism as it reinforced their social order
Samurai's importance to the running of Japan
Samurai are believed to have comprised, during the Edo period, roughly six percent of the population. They were so numerous that it is believed that roughly one-quarter of the shogun's vassals were unemployed. Often their daimyo would dip into the stipends of the samurai, so many had to do secondary work such as low waged jobs in the Daimyo's caste.

known as the 'bushi' -men of war
they were servants to their daimyo
They were taught martial arts, frugality, loyalty, courage and honour unto death.

'shishi' had a lot of influence in Domains
Samurai were allowed to 'punish' or 'execute' anyone who they saw as a threat. this kept people in line.

Samurai magistrates made judgements when trouble arose.

Factors against the Daimyo's importance
by the end of the Tokugawa regime the daimyo had become removed from the actualities of the goverment and basically served as aristocratic figureheads in their domains

The daimyo lived in a framework strictly defined by the Tokugawa. The running of their domains, was a mirror of the how the Tokugawa ran Japan.

The Tokugawa had control over all Daimyo, the emperor and the samurai.

The Edo period brought 200 years of stability and this period was run by the Tokugawa bakufu.
Why the Daimyo lord's were important in the running of Japan.
1) The Tokugawa Bafuku only owned 25% of land and ran Japan through a decentralized form of government. Therefore the Tokugawa's control over the rest of Japan rested on loyalty from the Daimyo lords.

An argument can be made that when the Daimyo became disillusioned with the Tokugawa Bakufu after their poor handling of the foreign crisis. As a result of this, their loyalty to the Tokugawa Bakufu deteriorated and the the Tokugawa clan lost its control over Japan
Background of Daimyo's-their origins
in the year 1600 The Battle of Sekihara happened, after battle the Shogun organized roughly 200 daimyo's according to the amount of rice they produced in their paddy feilds, which were called the Han and so each daimyo's controlled his own han.
The Tozama Lords
the most senior of the daimyo were members of the Tokugawa family. Then there were the 'fudai' who had been long term supporters of the Tokugawa cause.
There was around 100 other daimyo named the 'tozama' or outside lords because they were lords who reluctantly accepted the Tokugawa after the Tokugawa clan had won the battle of Sekighara.
Alternate Attendance
whereby every other year a Daimyo lord was required to be in attendance at shogunal headquarters in Edo . This was a way for the shogun to keep a close eye on the daimyo lords
Also, this would drain them financially as they had to sustain a house in Edo-food, etc and also entertain the Shogun.
The governemnt made sure they had a prominent part in the life of Daimyo's- all marriages in the Daimyo caste had to be approved by them and they often arranged marriages between members of the Tokugawa family and the daimyo lords . This was a way to supervise and keep the loyalty of daimyo
Autonomy in the Domains
As Hunter says, 'domains were essentially an independent entity.' and 'the size of some of the domains meant their approximation to small kingdoms.'There was a lot of power given to daimyo in order to run domains

This was due to the Tokugawa government to prevent any build up of an anti-Tokugawa front amongst daimyo, if the daimyo were satisfied they would not oppose the regime.

(-The Tokugawa also provided daimyo with security, after years of wars with rival daimyo's. The shogunate usually provided loans, food etc for domains hit by a typhoon/natural disaster.)

The split between Fudai and Tozama was used to prevent any threat to the regime
governed areas outside the heartlands of Japan like northern Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku.

they were excluded from all national political and economic decision making , this was supported by many Fudai

This was so the Tokugawa could deprive Tozama lords of a political and economic base to mount opposition

Tozama antagonism nourished by political impotence built a further divide between Fudai and Tozama lords.
Fudai lord
daimyo's at shogunal head quarters
Overall the Daimyo were very important in the governing of Tokugawa Japan. They had huge influence and power over the domains and ultimately the Tokugawa goverment needed the loyalty of the daimyo to keep a firm control over Japan. Arguably one of the main reasons for the decline of the Tokugawa government, in 1868, was due to the lack of loyalty from the Daimyo.
However, one could also say that daimyo were under strict control of the Tokugawa government and any power/importance they had in Japan's running was only because the Tokugawa allowed it.
Tokugawa bakufu had the most control over Japan. While daimyo's were important in running the individual domains they were under control of the Tokugawa.

"Whatever their status, all daimyo were subject to various expressions of tokugawa authority."
James l.Maclain

he states that daimyo were: ' figures of formidable stature'
However as he goes on to argue he points out that: their discretionary power was only discretionary up to a point
by demanding pledges of fealty, confiscating and reassigning domains ...placing limits on the size of armies and the use of force. The first three Tokugawa shoguns made it abundantly clear that the daimyo existed only at their sufferance.'

by mid 17th century they were no longer absolute masters of their own house.
Tokugawa bakufu had the most control over Japan. While daimyo's were important in running the individual domains they were under control of the Tokugawa.

The government gave the Daimyo a lot of freedom in controlling their domains because in return they expected that the daimyo would: 'follow the laws of Edo in all things'

Maclain emphisizes: 'daimyo autonomy was vital and a legitimate part of the politicl system in the early modern era'

"The regime in Edo could not have ruled successfully without the cooperation of the daimyo" - James L. Maclain
The Government were more important than the daimyo
Though ....
In 1837, during a crop failure, a mid-level Kanazawa-Han samurai was placed under house arrest for expressing too much support for the farmers. The freedom of thought that this samurai showed, was to radical and against what the government wanted - overall they were just pawns of their daimyo and were under control of the more powerful people in their society

-meiji restoration-leaders belonged to samurai famillies.
-Samurai were demanding more of a say in politics and were becoming more educated and less like warriors.
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