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Japan 1750 - 1918: Year 9
Transcript of Japan 1750 - 1918: Year 9
One of the most significant figures in Japanese history, Ieyasu was a warrior, statesman and founder of the
was born Matsudaira Takechiyo in 1542, son of the lord of the province of Mikawa. At the time of his birth, Japan was convulsed by civil war, with violent feuds between territorial lords which had lasted for nearly a century.
When he was four Ieyasu was sent as a hostage to secure an alliance between his clan and the neighbouring Imagawa clan. He was raised at their court and given the education suitable for a nobleman.
In 1567 Ieyasu, whose father's death had left him as leader of the Matsudaira, allied with Oda Nobunaga, a powerful neighbour. It was at this time that he changed his name from Matsudaira to Tokugawa, which was the name of the area from which his family originated. He also changed his personal name to Ieyasu, so he was now known as Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Ieyasu spent the next decade-and-a-half campaigning with Nobunaga while expanding his own influence and wealth. He had by now gained a considerable military reputation.
When Nobunaga was assassinated in 1582, Ieyasu acquired more territory, and allied with Nobunaga's successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
In 1600 Ieyasu defeated the Western Japanese Army in the decisive battle of Sekigahara, thereby achieving supremacy in Japan.
In 1603 Emperor Go-Yōzei, ruler only in name, gave Ieyasu the historic title of
shogun (military governor) to confirm his pre-eminence.
Japan was now united under Ieyasu's control. He worked hard to restore stability to Japan and encouraged foreign trade, which included the exchange of gifts with James I of England and other European rulers. It was only later, under Ieyasu's successors, that Japan effectively isolated itself from foreign contact.
Ieyasu died on 17 April 1616. He was later deified and his mausoleum at Nikko became one of the most important shrines in Japan.
Woodblock prints by Ando Hiroshige
Hiroshige is best known for his landscapes, such as the series The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō and The Sixty-nine Stations of the Kiso Kaidō; and for his depictions of birds and flowers.
It was not until 1829–1830 that Hiroshige began to produce the landscapes he has come to be known for, such as the Eight Views of Ōmi series. He also created an increasing number of bird and flower prints about this time.
About 1831, his Ten Famous Places in the Eastern Capital appeared, and seem to bear the influence of Hokusai, whose popular landscape series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji had recently seen publication.
Hiroshige Utagawa died at the age of 62 of cholera on October 12, 1858 in Edo. With an output of an estimated 5,400 prints,
The 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō - #1. Nihonbashi
As part of The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō series, Rain Shower at Shōno depicts Shōno, the 45th station on the Tōkaidō road between Kyoto and Edo.
(literally Japan Bridge), is a business district of in Tokyo, Japan. The district grew up around the bridge of the same name.
The bridge connects two sides of the Nihonbashi River. A series of bridges at the same site have had the same name since the 17th century.
Traditionally, all distances in Japan are measured from the centerpoint of the Nihonbashi Bridge.
Tōkaidō, photographed by Felice Beato in 1865.
A new freeway is shown against a background of modern buildings in Tokyo in February 1964. The 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the first held on Asian soil, are remembered as an event that represented Japan's reacceptance to the international community, and which triggered a building and transportation boom that transformed the city's infrastructure.
Kobe earthquake damage
A street of houses backing on to the seashore, and the tail-end of a daimyo's procession passing along it; behind the houses ships moored in the bay.
Being the first station on the highway, Shinagawa was thronged with travellers coming and going. The road was lined with many teahouses, restaurants and entertainment quarters. The bay, seen in Hiroshige's picture, has been reclaimed and now forms a part of Tokyo.
View looking across Nihon Bridge, Edo, from whence all distances were measured with a daimyo's cortège coming into view over the summit. In the foreground is a group of five fish-vendors (and a sixth partly hidden) getting out of the way, on the left, and two dogs on the right.
This bridge was located in the centre of Edo and was the starting point of the Tokaido Highway.
Goyu-shuku in the 1830s, as depicted by Hiroshige in the Hoeido edition of The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō 1831-1834)
The classic ukiyoe print depicts the main street of the post town at dusk, with aggressive female touts (for which the post station was infamous) attempting to drag travellers into teahouses and inns for the night.
The classic ukiyoe print by Ando Hiroshige from 1831 to 1834 depicts a Yahagibashi, one of the few bridges permitted by the Tokugawa shogunate on the Tōkaidō, and one of the longest bridges built in Japan during the early Edo period.
Okazaki Castle is depicted in the distance on the far shore of the river.
Clearing Weather after Snow at Nihon Bridge
(One Hundred Famous Views of Edo)
Suruga-cho, No. 8 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
What distinguishes Hiroshige's design in this print is its resolute symmetry, softened only by the irregular stylized cloud forms traditionally used in Japanese paintings to separate scenes in pictorial narratives.
Here this compositional device focuses attention on Mount Fuji above and the urban bustle below in the street called Suruga-chō.
Included in this scene is Japan's premier store, Echigoya, presently Mitsukoshi Department Store, still the most venerable of all the great merchandisers of Tokyo. It is identified by its crest, a circle around the characters for "three" and "well," which together read "Mitsui."
Hiroshige described Ryōgoku Bridge as "the liveliest place in the Eastern Capital, with side-shows, theaters, story-tellers, and summer fireworks; day and night, the amusements never cease." Despite the festivities, the artist offers a peaceful, almost stylized, depiction of the place, with only a modest sense of its celebrated bustle. On the river is an assortment of cargo and passenger boats. Below is a row of riverside tea stalls where one could relax, much as in a modern Tokyo coffee shop.
Fireworks at Ryogoku (Ryogoku Hanabi), No. 98 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
During summer and early fall, the Sumida River was the scene of a custom known as "taking in the cool of the evening."
Activity centered at Ryōgoku Bridge, where an endless variety of entertainment was offered on both land and water. The ideal place was not in the crowded stalls of the bridgehead plazas but rather in one of the nearby restaurants or in an individually chartered pleasure boat on the river.
Fireworks were an indispensable feature of evenings on the river. By the mid-seventeenth century, they were so popular that the threat of fire led authorities to issue decrees restricting their use to the Sumida River.
Nakagawa-machi Bato Hiroshige Museum of Art
Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu
Tokugawa family crest
Palanquin, 1800–1868. Japan. Edo period (1615–1868).
Samurai helmet with a half-face mask, approx. 1615–1650. Japan.
Though some of the background to the story is reasonably true to life. Japan in the 1870s was in the throes of industrialization and radical social and political changes, the process we used to lump together as "modernization."
There were samurai who objected to the changes that directly affected themselves, some of whom took up arms in rebellion. There was even a plot to assassinate the historical analogue of Katsumoto (though it certainly did not involve a corps of crossbow-wielding ninja).
Westerners in 1876 generally considered the Japanese to be an uncivilized people, inferior to Caucasians in culture, intelligence and character. The Japanese government did pay extravagant salaries to foreign experts in fields ranging from history and law to military technology and technique who could teach Japanese to be experts in those fields.
Most of those Westerners spent a few years in Japan and then returned to their homelands. Some Westerners, though, became so enamored with Japan that they remained and became quite expert at Japanese culture, even living and dressing in Japanese style. The Meiji Emperor was indeed a young man (about 25 years old in 1876-77) who was largely a puppet of his advisors.
Samurai in armor, 1860s. Hand-coloured photograph by Felice Beato.
Suit of armor. Japan. Edo period (1615–1868)
Short Sword (wakizashi) and Long Sword (katana)
Japan - Memoirs of a Secret Empire
From Castle to Palace: Samurai Architecture
Traveling chest, 1800–1868. Japan. Edo period
Samurai in battle, detail of twelve battle scenes, 1600–1700. Japan. Edo period (1615–1868). Handscroll, ink and colors on paper.
For more than six hundred years before the Tokugawa period, Japan’s government depended on a warrior class known as the
. Samurai (meaning “one who serves”) were in service to powerful feudal warrior lords known as
, who governed regional domains throughout Japan. The daiymo, in turn, were under the
It is often misunderstood that the peace the Tokugawa shogunate achieved cost the samurai class a great deal in terms of finances and security. It stands to reason that during times of peace the samurai could hardly benefit as they were not needed as direly as during the times of war that preceded Ieyasu Tokugawa's appointment as shogun. However, what the samurai might have lost in the financial department, they gained and contributed in others.
Life as a samurai in Tokugawa Japan for a samurai often meant holding a position with daimyo as an advisor, member of personal army, or personal guard. Samurai employed by the shogun often worked as law enforcement officers, or other higher up positions in bureaucracy. These bureaucratic samurai often found themselves fairly well off, if not downright rich (for those with high positions with daimyo or prominent positions with the shogun). The worst off of the samurai class were the group that were called "Ronin." These samurai were masterless (without a daimyo), and often roamed about Japan seeking employment where they could find it. Sometimes this employment meant acting as a hired hand on a farm or teaching, but it could also be as notoriously traditional as offering one's services to the highest daimyo bidder.
The lack of money flowing into samurai hands turned some samurai into merchants, some farmers, but most scholars. Ieyasu Tokugawa encouraged the samurai of the time to take advantage of the peace and become educated. Many of the greatest scholars of the time happened to be samurai, many turned to poetry and other writing, art, and instructing others in the martial way of life. It may be due to this advancement of learning, and samurai interest in various arts that made the Tokugawa era usher in a great deal of new cultural art forms; some of which dealt with the former glory the samurai class had experienced during wartime.
In short, the samurai class suffered more than any other during the Tokugawa peace period. They struggled to remain in the social class that had once served them so well, and to maintain financial security in order to live by the way of Bushido. However, from this struggle also emerged some of the finest written works, some of the most beautiful artwork, and some of the most intriguing tales of romance and valor.
All warriors were expected to balance the qualities bun and bu, or culture and arms. The ideal individual would embody and apply these qualities appropriately—for example, they would be humane in social life but fierce in combat. Similarly, the ideal administrator would temper the strict application of power with the moderating influence of culture.
Artist Profile: Utagawa (Ando) Hiroshige (1797–1858)
Samurai were identified by the crest (mon) of the lord (daimyo) they served. These crests would appear on arms and armor, banners, and clothing. Crests were often inspired by nature and placed within a geometric shape like a square or circle. For example, the high-ranking Tokugawa shogun did not permit any other clan to use the hollyhock crest as seen on the Traveling Chest.
Describe your crest. What was the inspiration for your design?
You will use this crest to decorate your arms, armor, banners and clothing as you create your own samurai identity.
Samurai could kill a commoner for the slightest insult and were widely feared by the Japanese population.
Conté portrait of the Emperor Meiji, drawn by Chiossone during his employment by the Imperial Printing Bureau.
Chiossone was ordered to covertly sketch the emperor and create the final portrait from those sketches.
The completed work was then photographed and distributed under the tacit approval of the Emperor to foreign governments and Japanese schools.
The realism of the drawing was such that many mistook the portrait for an actual photograph.
Angled chutes or "stone drop windows"
One of many gateways
A window for an archer or defender using a matchlock gun
Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), Maples and Cherry Trees, after 1817
"Maples and Cherry Trees" by Sakai Hoitsu
Ogata Kōrin 1658 – 1716
Ogata Korin 1658-1716
Set of sliding doors of Plum tree by Kanō Sanraku, early 17th century
Antique Japanese (samurai) daishō, the traditional pairing of two Japanese swords which were the symbol of the samurai, showing the traditional Japanese sword cases (koshirae) and the difference in size between the katana (top) and the smaller wakizashi (bottom).
Cross sections of Japanese sword blade lamination methods
A Case Study of Tokugawa Japan through Art:
Views of a Society in Transformation
is a flatland castle located in
, Japan. The castle consists of two concentric rings of fortifications, the
, the ruins of the
, various support buildings and several gardens.
, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, ordered all the feudal lords in Western Japan to contribute to the construction of Nijō Castle, which was completed during the reign of Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1626.
It was built as the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns. The Tokugawa Shogunate used Edo as the capital city, but Kyoto continued to be the home of the Imperial Court. Kyoto Imperial Palace is located north-east of Nijo Castle.
The central keep, or Tenshu, was struck by lightning and burned to the ground in 1750.
, or uguisubari, were floors designed to make a chirping sound when walked upon. These floors were used in the hallways of some temples and palaces, the most famous example being Nijo Castle, in Kyoto, Japan.
Dry boards naturally creak under pressure, but these floors were designed so that the flooring nails rubbed against a jacket or clamp, causing chirping noises. The squeaking floors were used as a security device, assuring that none could sneak through the corridors undetected. According to myth these floors were developed as a means of defense against ninja.
The Karamon main gate to Ninomaru Palace.
Ninomaru palace of Nijō Castle
Tokugawa Yoshinobu in the Kuroshoin
Nijō-jō in Kyoto
Ninomaru Palace in the lower right corner
Nightingale floor design
Drawing of the archetypical ninja, from a series of sketches (Hokusai manga) by Hokusai. Woodblock print on paper, 1817.
or shinobi was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan.
The functions of the ninja included:
and open combat in certain situations.
Their covert methods of waging war contrasted the ninja with the samurai, who observed strict rules about honor and combat.
Despite many popular folktales, historical accounts of the ninja are scarce. Historian Stephen Turnbull asserts that the ninja were mostly recruited from the lower class, and therefore little literary interest was taken in them.
Ogata Kōrin 1658 – 1716
, was a chain of events that restored imperial rule to Japan in 1868 under the Meiji Emperor.
The Restoration led to enormous changes in Japan's political and social structure, and spanned both the late Edo period (often called Late Tokugawa shogunate) and the beginning of the Meiji period.
The period spanned from 1868 to 1912 and was responsible for the emergence of Japan as a modernized nation in the early twentieth century.
Itsukushima-Shrine and Torii, near Hiroshima
A teenaged Emperor Meiji with foreign representatives at the end of the Boshin War, 1868-1870.
Allegory of the New fighting the Old in early Meiji Japan, circa 1870.
Draw a Japanese temple of torii gate
How to draw a ninja
In 1976, the Japanese architectural historian Naitō Akira published what he believed to be a conclusive summary of the features of Azuchi Castle, George Elison in The Cross and the Sword translated and shortened Naitō's description as follows:
The tower was a colossal structure, which soared some 138 feet into the air from the top of a hill, which itself rose 360 feet above the waters of an inlet of Lake Biwa. It had seven internal levels, although from the outside only five were apparent. The interior had some unexpected, unprecedented and unique features. The centre of the structure rose without a ceiling, up to level of the fifth floor, almost 62 feet from the ground.
Drawings of castle features
1707 map of Japan, with a cartouche representing the audience of William Adams with the Shogun.
Trading pass (handelspas) issued in the name of Tokugawa Ieyasu with his seal by Chakusu Kurûnbeike
Dutch ships are allowed to travel to Japan, and they can disembark on any coast, without any reserve. From now on this regulation must be observed, and the Dutch left free to sail where they want throughout Japan. No offenses to them will be allowed, such as on previous occasions" – sealed and dated August 24, 1609
One of the two Japanese suits of armour presented by Tokugawa Hidetada to John Saris for King James I in 1613, now in the Tower of London.
Women's Activities of the Tokugawa Era- Creating Bonkei Tray Landscapes
Both terms, bonsai and bonkei share the component 'bon', meaning tray. The difference is that in a bonsai, a single miniature tree cultivated ('sai') in the tray is the star attraction, whereas bonkei combine rocks and even smaller plants to create a miniature landscape ('kei').
Ryōan ji at Kyoto
Saihō-ji, or the "Moss Garden", begun in 1339 at Kyoto
How to Create a Zen Garden
Arashiyama bamboo garden at Kyoto
Temple entrance, Kyoto
were built between the 17th century and the beginning of the 20th century. There used to be some 1,800 Gassho-style houses in 93 villages, but now just 150 remain, more than half of which are in the above three villages.
These houses are much larger than most other regions' farmhouses, and the roof is a tall, steeply-sloped thatched gable roof with an angle of about 60 degrees. This roof shape, which looks like one's hands put together with the palms facing inward, is the origin of the name of the architectural style, "Gassho", which means to join one's hands in prayer.
As it snows heavily in winter in this region, this steeply-sloped roof helps the snow to slip off and prevents the house from being crushed. The structural space inside is typically divided into three or four levels which were traditionally used as a work space, for example, for raising silkworms and making washi paper.
Such in-house works during winter provided an important source of income in those remote, mountainous areas with limited agricultural products. The openings in the large gable ends for natural lighting and ventilation of the attic space add uniqueness to the building's appearance.
Men Making Tatami Mats, 1860 - ca. 1900
A tatami is a type of mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms. Traditionally made of rice straw to form the core, with a covering of woven soft rush (igusa) straw, tatami are made in standard sizes, with the length exactly twice the width, an aspect ratio of 2:1. Usually, on the long sides, they have edging (heri) of brocade or plain cloth, although some tatami have no edging.
A Riot of scribblings
The Japanese term '
' is known throughout the world in its modern sense of cartoons and comics. Originally it meant random or impromptu sketches. Comic art has a long tradition in Japan. During the Edo / Tokugawa period comic picture were an important part of popular culture, especially in woodblock print books.
The most outstanding example is the 15 - volume series '
Sketches by Hokusai
'. It was published in between 1814 and 1878 and appears to have been intended as a drawing manual. Hokusai is one of Japan's most famous artists, including works such as 'Sunset over the Ryogoku Bridge.
Sketches by Hokusai contains almost 4000 drawings. Unlike modern manga there is no storyline. The images capture many aspects of Japanese society. Through facial expressions and caricature he often showed humour.
In addition to drawing landscapes and architecture, plants and animals, he drew from the imagined world of myths and monsters.
The French artist and novelist Edmond df Goncourt described Hokusai's work as "that avalanche of drawings, a riot of scribblings ..... a work that has no equal of any painter in the West".
Examples of Hokusai work are in the collection of the National Library of Australia.
Sunset across the Ryōgoku bridge from the bank of the Sumida River at Onmayagashi
This bridge linked the eastern districts of Edo with the rest of the city. This woodblock print is regarded as one of the masterpieces from Hokusai's most famous landscapes, 'Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji'.
The focus of the picture is the dark blue cone of Mount Fuji in the distance, standing out against the dusk sky.
A print is in the collection of the National Library of Australia.
Literature, printing and caligraphy
The Sumida River, Tokyo
was originally a small fishing village named Edo.Edo was first fortified by the Edo clan, in the late twelfth century. In 1457, Ōta Dōkan built Edo Castle.
made Edo his base and when he became shogun in 1603, the town became the center of his nationwide military government. Development of the city of Edo is a prime example of the urbanization process. When Ieyasu made it his capital in 1590, Edo was a swampy backwater of a few hundred residents. Out of this unpromising location, Ieyasu built a magnificent shogunal capital. Laborers cut down forests, leveled hills to fill in wetlands, rerouted rivers, and dredged creeks and canals.
They built bridges and walls, erected shrines and temples, and constructed buildings. Among the buildings erected were opulent daimy mansions and the magnificent castle of the shogun. Warehouses, storefronts, and common dwellings were also built. By 1600, Edo was a town of some 5000
By 1610, it was reportedly a clean, well-organized city of about 150,000 people. As samurai retainers of the shogun and of daimy flooded into the city in the early seventeenth century, the population zoomed upward. By 1657, Edo had about 500,000 residents. By 1720, it was the world’s largest city outside of China, with a population of about 1.4 million. Half a million of these residents were samurai.
During the subsequent Edo period, Edo grew into one of the largest cities in the world with a population topping one million by the 18th century.
Tokyo was the
de facto capital
of Japan even while the emperor lived in Kyoto, the imperial capital. However, after 263 years of Tokugawa rule, the shogunate was overthrown under the banner of restoring imperial rule.
In 1869, the 17-year-old
moved to Edo. Tokyo was already the nation's political and cultural center, and the emperor's residence made it an
as well, with the former Edo Castle becoming the Imperial Palace.
Central Tokyo, like Osaka, was designed since about 1900 to be centered on major railway stations in a
plan. This differs from many cities in the United States and Australia that are low-density and automobile-centric. Though expressways have been built in Tokyo, the basic design has not changed.
Tokyo went on to suffer two major catastrophes in the 20th century, but it recovered from both. One was the 1923
Great Kantō earthquake
, which left 140,000 dead or missing, and the other was
World War II
Panorama of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, including the Imperial plaza on the left foreground
Panoramic view of Shinjuku and Mount Fuji
The city is ranked fourth among global cities.
Feudal Japan class simulation
the daimyo were powerful hereditary territorial lord - warriors who ruled the country from their vast, hereditary land holdings
however the daimyo considered it also important to complement their martial pursuits with involvement in cultural activities, taking a keen interest in arts of many kinds
during the Edo period, effective power rested with the Tokugawa shogun, not the emperor in Kyoto, even though the former ostensibly owed his position to the latter
by keeping an eye on the behavior of each daimyo, the shogun retained control over all of them.
the shogun controlled foreign policy, the military, and feudal patronage
the samurai were the elite warrior class working for the daiymo
during the Tokugawa shogunate, samurai increasingly became courtiers, bureaucrats, and administrators rather than warriors
is the period between 1603 and 1867 in the history of Japan, when Japanese society was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional Daimyo.
The period was characterized by:
strict social order
isolationist foreign policies
environmental protection policies
popular enjoyment of arts and culture.
The shogunate was officially established in Edo on March 24, 1603, by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The period came to an end with the Meiji Restoration on May 3, 1868, after the fall of Edo.
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.
peasants were divided into several sub-classes
the highest ranking of the peasants were farmers
farmers who owned their own land ranked higher than farmers who did not
craftsmen, or artisans, were the second highest ranking after the farmers
merchants were the lowest ranking because it was felt they made their living off of other people's work
the role of the Emperor of Japan has, historically, alternated between a largely ceremonial symbolic role and that of an actual imperial ruler
during the Edo period the Shogun held the most power while the Emperor was more of a puppet figure with little actual power
Tokyo Street Fashion
Harajuku is known internationally as a center of Japanese youth culture and fashion.
Research you favourite style
Takeshita Street Harajuku
Nihonbashi (literally Japan Bridge)
Nihonbashi, Tokyo 1946 - Allied Occupation Period
Nihonbashi by Hiroshige, circa 1833
Shortly before the 1964 Summer Olympics, an expressway was built over the Nihonbashi, obscuring the classic view of Mount Fuji from the bridge
The Tale of Genji Scroll is the oldest extant picture scroll in Japan, where it has been designated a National Treasure. It is considered a classic work of Japanese literature written by the noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu in the early years of the 11th century.
It's sometimes called the world's first novel, the first modern novel. The photo above is a miniature copy, 7cm high, dating from the 18th century and is in the collection of the National Library of Australia.
Below are photographs of the same tale in scroll form. The limited edition replica housed at the National Library is a scrupulous facsimile of the original Tale of the Genji Scroll and it mounted in a wooden box.
Draw your own Edo period manga
Inspiration can be gained from Hokusai and the Hiroshige woodblock prints.
A detail from a 'Newly engraved map of Nagasaki, 1803'
'Newly engraved map of Nagasaki, 1803', held in the National Library of Australia
Literacy exercise: 'Three periods of the Nihonbashi'
Write using TEEL
three paragraphs regarding the periods shown in the photographs
Use a shoe box lid, sand, pebbles, forks for raking.
Pick five of the woodblock prints.
set out a table with three columns
the first column has the image name
the second column write what you observe in the image
the third column write regarding all five images recording how the images increase your understanding of the Tokugawa / Edo period
Create your own Japanese style castle in a landscape:
it must have evident Japanese 'style'
use soft pencil and very soft colour shading using a maximum of three colours
use a frame approx 18 x 12 cm
Design a crest and banner
Hand coloured photographs of 19th century Japan
Colorado Education: chart, notes and questions
Why did the samurai lose out economically ?
First, samurai were paid in fixed stipends, disbursed in rice. These stipends were based on an individual’s rank and office and did not increase at a pace equal to the rise in prices.
Second, with the growth of the market and monetization of the economy, samurai had to trade their rice
stipends for cash. This process was controlled by merchants in Edo and Osaka. It put samurai at
the mercy of both the unstable market price for rice and the greed of merchant moneychangers.
Finally, samurai were forbidden by law from engaging in farming or commerce, which might have afforded them some economic relief. All of these factors made it almost impossible for samurai to benefit from the growth occurring in the economy. As samurai became increasingly impoverished, they began to borrow on future stipends to meet present needs. Thus a reversal of power began as the economic power of the merchants increased.
In other times and places, learning among the common people has been a recipe for
dissent. Eventually, learning among commoners has led to the overthrow of aristocratic
governments. This was not true in Tokugawa Japan. Unrest did occur. Peasant protest in
particular was widespread and sometimes intense in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth
centuries. Ultimately, however, those responsible for overthrow of the Tokugawa regime were
members of the ruling class itself: the samurai. This kind of “aristocratic revolution” is unusual
in world history.
Why and how did samurai overthrow a government that was ostensibly created in their
own interest? To answer this question, one must first look at which samurai became involved in
the movement to overthrow the shogunate and “restore” the emperor. The major actors were
low-ranking samurai from the tozama domains. Particularly involved were the powerful and
autonomous domains of Satsuma in southernmost Kyushu, Chsh in far western Honshu, and
Tosa on Shikoku. Low-ranking samurai had long observed that the system of rank and office
under the Tokugawa had become entirely hereditary. They believed it did not sufficiently take
merit into account. One born into a family of low rank could never expect to obtain an official
appointment or rise to a position of any power or wealth. Moreover, many low-ranking samurai
felt themselves to be abler than those of higher birth. Those of higher birth glided into office by
virtue of blood right. Many of the low-ranking samurai were not afraid to speak their minds. In
the later Tokugawa period, the phrase daimy gei, or “a daimy’s skill,” came to indicate
someone or something entirely lacking in talent or quality.
Codes of Merchant Houses
Urban centers of conspicuous consumption, such as the 'pleasure quarters' of shops, theaters, and brothels, began to appear in all major cities - most notably Edo (the entrance to Edo's famous Yoshiwara pleasure district is pictured at above).
The urbanization of Tokugawa Japan and the rising wealth of those immersed in commerce led to the growth of a new type of urban culture, placing great value on sensual luxury, entertainment, and leisure arts.
It was these features of culture which the samurai, steeped in the austerity of the bushido warrior codes and Zen Buddhism deplored
1. Why do you think occupations were ranked in this order in Tokugawa Japan?
2. Why was the farmer’s importance to society placed above that of the artisan
and the merchant?
3. Are occupations ranked this way today?
Way of the Warrior
"...the shogun must not forget the possibility of war in peacetime, and must maintain his discipline. He should be able to maintain order in the country; he should bear in mind the security of the sovereign; and he must strive to dispel the anxieties of the people. One who cultivates the way of the warrior only in times of crisis is like a rat who bites his captor in the throes of being captured. The man may die from the effects of the poisonous bite, but to generate courage on the spur of the moment is not the way of a warrior. To assume the way of the warrior upon the outbreak of war is like a rat biting his captor. Although this is better than fleeing from the scene, the true master of the way of the warrior is one who maintains his martial discipline even in time of peace."
Tokugawa Ieyasu on Military Government and the Social Order
"...the true master of the way of the warrior is one who
maintains his martial discipline even in time of peace.… the farmer’s toil is proverbial ....He selects the seed from last fall’s crop, and undergoes various hardships and anxieties through the heat of the summer until the seed grows finally to a rice plant.... The rice then becomes the
sustenance for the multitudes.... the artisan’s occupation is to make and prepare wares and utensils for the use of others....the merchant facilitates the exchange of goods so that the people can cover their nakedness and keep their bodies warm.…"
Tokugawa Ieyasu on Military Government and the Social Order
Tokugawa Japan (1603-1868)
The shogunate began its disintegration during the Tokuawa period.
In the wake of the loss of shogun Japan came the centralisation of power.
The daimyo were reduced in power one by one by the implementation of a severe tax reform.
Christianity made inroads to Japan during this time period.
The primary policy of the country during this period was still isolationism.
The policy of isolationism strengthened the central government even more because all economic policy including taxes and trade were implemented by the central government, not the shogunate.
1. How did centralisation develop under the Tokugawa?
2. How were the feudal lords (shogunate) subdued during this period?
3. How did Christianity affect foreign policy within Japan during the Tokugawa Period.
4. How was Japan able to maintain its policy of isolationism?
5. What were the effects of isolationism upon Japan ?
Change in Tokugawa Japan
By the mid- eighteenth century, towns and cities continued to grow and urban growth continued while farmland diminished.
The increase in urban growth also increased the number and influence of merchants who traded there.
Militarism decreased and daimyo in addition to samurai were forced out of work.
All major elements of society within Japan were unhappy with their situations with the exceptions of the merchants.
Geisha emerged with the Japanese culture during this period.
Classical puppet theatre (bunraku or joruri) became popular in Japan during the later Tokugawa period. Kabuki (drama) and Haiku (haiku) also became popular during this period. Most literature, however, was still confined to soap-opera storylines.
Confucianism (Japanese version called Shushi) made a comeback at the expense of Buddhism during this period.
The Japanese, while adopting many social aspects of Confucianism, still refused to recognize the "Mandate of Heaven" (which was actually Taoist and not Confucian in origin) principle associated with Confucianism; particularly the right to revolt if the leader was not "virtuous". The shougunate, samurai and ronin were able to hold on to what little power they had by convincing the emperor that their presence and not the "mandate of heaven" was responsible for them holding on to power.
1. How did the growth of cities affect Japan during the later Tokugawa period?
2. How did mercantilism develop in Japan during the later Tokugawa period?
3. Why did the military de-accelerate initially in the later Tokugawa period?
4. How did art, theatre and poetry develop during the Tokugawa period?
5. How did intellectual trends develop in the later Tokugawa period?
6. Why did Buddhism decline during the later Tokugawa?
7. Why did Confucianism and Shintoism rise during the later Tokugawa?
8. Why did the emperor ignore the Confucian principle of "The Mandate of Heaven" during this period?
1543 a. Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu is born
b. the first Portuguese arrive
1549 arrival of European missionaries
1600 William Adams is shipwrecked in Japan and wins the confidence of
1603 Tokugawa Shoganate commences
1609 the Dutch are given permission to trade at Hirado
1614 Tokugawa Ieyasu makes Christianity illegal
1616 Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu dies
1634 the shogun has the island of Dejima constructed as a dutch trade port
1637 a. peasant revolt in the south, many of whom were Christian
b. the shogun takes more drastic action and missionaries are
driven out or executed
1639 a. Japanese ports are completely closed to foreigners with the
exception of the Dutch at Dejima
b. only special 'red seal'ships are allowed to sail to other countries,
mainly to obtain metals, spices and silks
around 1750 farming techniques improve and increasingly people live in cities
1853 four steam warships led by Commodore Perry enter Tokyo Bay
the 'black ships'
1854 Perry returns with nine ships and the Treaty of Kanagawa is signed
allowing for two ports to be opened to the USA
1868 start of the Meiji Restoration
1871 a. the Feudal system is dismantled and the samurai lose privileges
b. the Iwakura Mission began
1872 a. the first railway line is opened
b. Western dress is adopted for official ceremonies
1877 the Satsuma rebellion
1894 the First Sino Japanese War
1904 the Russo - Japanese War
1912 Emperor Meiji dies
1914 Japan enters WWI declaring war on Germany
1543 - 1616
Timeline: Japan 1543 - 1914
turn your paper portrait
put a vertical fold 4cm from the left edge
draw your vertical line starting 4cm from the top
mark off 38 intervals of 1cm.
the first date is 1540, write them on the left
the last date is 1920
write the notations on the right, writing the date at the end
distinguish, on the left, the
Tokugawa / Edo period
(1603 - 1867)
distinguish, on the left, the
(1868 - 1912)
distinguish, on the right, the period of the
(1639 - 1854)
'Susquehanna', one of Commodore Perry's four 'Black Ships'
Screens such as these were used with castles and palaces.
A Japanese illustration of an American warship, late 19th C
Portuguese carrack in Nagasaki, in the early 1600s
Fumie: a Jesus relief as a tile to step on, exhibited in Clover Garden, Nagasaki, Japan.
Japanese Christians were prosecuted in Japan, local authorities tried to distinguish Christians from non-Christians (Buddhists and Shintoists). Whoever did not want to step on this tile was suspected to be a Christian.
People reluctant to step on the pictures were identified as Catholics and then sent to Nagasaki. The policy of the Japanese government was to turn them from their faith.
If the Catholics refused to change their religion, they were tortured. Many of them still refusing to abandon their faith were executed on Nagasaki's Mount Unzen. 16th-17th century Japanese painting
He presided over a time of rapid change in the Empire of Japan, as the nation quickly changed from a feudal state to a capitalist and imperial world power as Japan went its own industrial revolution.
The Iwakura mission visiting the French President Thiers on December 26, 1872.
This was a diplomatic and fact finding mission.
On December 23, 1871 the mission sailed from Yokohama on the SS America (1869), bound for San Francisco. From there it continued to Washington, D.C., then to the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, Germany, Prussia, Denmark, Sweden, Bavaria, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland.
On the return journey, Egypt, Aden, Ceylon, Singapore, Saigon, Hong Kong, and Shanghai were also visited, although much more briefly. The mission returned home September 13, 1873, almost two years after setting out.
In Yokohama, 1874
The Satsuma Rebellion was a revolt of disaffected samurai against the new imperial government, nine years into the Meiji Era.
The rebellion was also effectively the end of the samurai class, as the new Imperial Japanese Army built of conscripts without regard to social class had proven itself in battle. Battle of Shiroyama, 1880 painting. Kagoshima Museum
The First Sino-Japanese War was fought between Qing Dynasty China and Meiji Japan, primarily over control of Korea.
The Russo-Japanese War grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan over Manchuria and Korea.
Though the war consisted of a series of land battles, a sea battle was also significant.
The Japanese engaged battle in the Tsushima Straits in May 1905. The Russian fleet was virtually annihilated, losing eight battleships, numerous smaller vessels, and more than 5,000 men, while the Japanese lost three torpedo boats and 116 men. Japanese battleship Mikasa, the flagship of Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō at the Battle of Tsushima
Buddhist statue with a hidden cross on the back on Clover Garden, Nagasaki, Japan. Japanese Christians were persecuted in Japan, and hence had to follow their religion in secret.
The first locomotive built in Japan, 1893
Two decades later ...
Landing of Commodore Perry, officers & men of the squadron, to meet the Imperial commissioners at Yoku-Hama July 14th 1853.
Reception by the Meiji Emperor of the Second French Military Mission to Japan, 1872.
The task of the mission was to help reorganize the Imperial Japanese Army, and establish the first draft law, enacted in January 1873.
The law established military service for all males, for a duration of three years, with an additional four years in the reserve.
Change in Tokugawa Japan
By the mid- eighteenth century, towns and cities continued to grow and urban growth continued while farmland diminished
The increase in urban growth also increased the number and influence of merchants who traded there
Militarism decreased and daimyo in addition to samurai were forced out of work
All major elements of society within Japan were unhappy with their situations with the exceptions of the merchants
Japanese culture developed during this period
Classical puppet theatre (bunraku or joruri) became popular in Japan during the later Tokugawa period
Kabuki (drama) and Haiku (haiku) also became popular during this period
Most literature, however, was still confined to soap-opera storylines.
Geisha emerged as a cultural group
Confucianism (Japanese version called Shushi) made a comeback at the expense of Buddhism during this period.
The shougunate, samurai and ronin were able to hold on to what little power they had by convincing the emperor that their presence and not the "mandate of heaven" was responsible for them holding on to power
In the 1750's Japanese Confucian beliefs stressed the importance of social order, respect for authority and education.
1. Why did Tokugawa Ieyasu listen to the Englishman, Adams?
2. What were the reasons for the Tokugawa's actions against the Catholic Portuguese?
3. Why were the Dutch (the Dutch East India Company) favoured over the Portuguese and Spanish?
4. What reasons might have been behind the peasants revolt in 1637?
5. What were the benefits and disadvantages of Japan being isolated from foreigners?
6. Explain the cultural elements of kabuki, geisha and hanamachi.
7. List the foreign influences that still existed in Japan after it was isolated?
8. How did the growth of cities affect Japan during the later Tokugawa period?
The key points of the Closed Country Edict, made by Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1635 included:
The Japanese were to be kept within Japan’s own boundaries. Strict rules were set to prevent them from leaving the country, and if any such attempt was made, they would face penalty of death. Europeans that entered Japan illegally would face the death penalty as well.
Catholicism was strictly forbidden. Those found practicing the Christian faith were subject to investigation, and anyone associated with Catholicism would be punished. To encourage the search for those who still followed Christianity, rewards were given to those who were willing to turn them in. Prevention of missionary activity was also stressed by the edict; no missionary was allowed to enter, and if apprehended by the government, he would face harsh sentences.
Trade restrictions and strict limitations on goods were set to limit the ports open to trade, and the merchants who would be allowed to engage in trade. Relations with the Portuguese were cut off entirely; Chinese merchants and those of the Dutch East India Company were restricted to enclaves in Nagasaki.
At Dejima all Dutch ships:
had to turn in their sails and rudders were disabled
bibles were confiscated
artillery was locked up
any foreigner that died was dumped at sea
foreigners could not leave the island
One of the most famous symbols of Japan, the geisha, developed from around 1750.
The word means 'artist' or 'person of the arts'.
Geisha are female entertainers trained in the art, music, ikebana, the tea ceremony, conversation and dancing.
Over time, very strict training, rules and the distinctive style of the geisha developed.
is a Japanese courtesan and geisha district.
From the timeline:
1. What was the duration of the Tokugawa / Edo period?
2. What was the duration of the period of isolation?
3. When did the isolation period commence?
4. When, and what event finished the period of isolation?
5. When did the Emperor Meiji assume power at the expense of the shogunate?
6. How many years after Meiji was restored to power was the fuedal system dismantled?
7. The Rocket was built in Britain in 1829. How many years later did Japan build its first train?
8. When did Japan begin imperial expansion? (Sino Japanese War)?
Kabuki was a new type of theatre, aimed at entertaining people in the cities. Before this time there was no theater for ordinary people to enjoy.
In 1629 females were banned from public performances so kabuki casts were all male. some specialised in playing female roles.
Dancing, singing, acrobatics could be included. Over time kabuki changed to more serious drama involving heavy stylization and makeup.
Yūkaku was the name given to the
pleasure quarter, or red-light districts.
was a famous yūkaku pleasure district in Edo, present-day Tōkyō, Japan.
In the early 17th century, there was widespread male and female prostitution throughout the cities of Kyoto, Edo, and Osaka. To counter this, an order of Tokugawa Hidetada of the Tokugawa shogunate restricted prostitution to designated city districts.
These districts were Shimabara for Kyōto, Shinmachi for Ōsaka and Yoshiwara for Edo. A leading motive for the establishment of these districts was the Tokugawa shogunate attempt to prevent the nouveau riche chōnin (townsmen) from engaging in political intrigue.
Visitors See North Korea Still Stunted by Its Isolation
On 20 August 1908 well over half a million Sydneysiders turned out to watch the arrival of the United States (US) Navy’s ‘Great White Fleet’. For a city population of around 600,000 this was no mean achievement. The largest gathering yet seen in Australia, it far exceeded the numbers that had celebrated the foundation of the Commonwealth just seven years before. Indeed, the warm reception accorded the crews of the 16 white-painted battleships during ‘Fleet Week’, was generally regarded as the most overwhelming of any of the ports visited during the 14 month and 45,000 mile global circumnavigation.
What would be the effects of isolationism on Australia?
Perry returned to Japan in 1854 with nine ships, 100 mounted cannon, and more than 1800 men, and an agreement between the United States and Japan was signed. This agreement stated that there would be peace between the two nations, that two ports would be opened to US ships and that US ships could buy any supplies that they needed in the Japanese ports.
Another treaty in 1859 further weakened Japan, as free trade was allowed in four more ports and foreigners were allowed to live in Japan and not be subject to Japanese laws.
These treaties weakened the rule of the Shogun and the Japanese feudal system.
Trade, as one U.S. magazine put it on the eve of Perry’s departure, was but a vehicle for opening
“a highway for the chariot of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“U.S. JAPAN FLEET. Com.
PERRY carrying the
‘GOSPEL of GOD’ to the
James G. Evans, oil on
Imagine you are the person who created this source and the Japanese print of the 'Black Ship'. Write paragraphs explaining why you created this source and what you think about Commodore Perry's mission. Use detailed reference to the source in your explanation.
Facing East and Facing West
Between the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and the mid-20th century, Japan created an enormous empire stretching from Alaska to Singapore, controlling as much territory and as many people as any of the great powers of Europe. By 1894, the army and navy had met that goal by purchasing and manufacturing high-quality European-style weapons and by reorganizing the military along European lines.
Using a variety of tools—public education, well-controlled media, veterans’ associations, local religious institutions, among others—the government planted in many (some say most) Japanese a deep emotional tie to the Emperor (Tennõ), the government, and the idea of Japan itself, which was called the kokutai, the uniquely Japanese nation.
Claiming to be aiding a pro-Japanese group in the Korean Choson court, Japan sent troops to attack both Korea’s national army and the Chinese Qing troops that came to their aid. Japan’s victory was rapid and total, on land and sea, demonstrating the effectiveness of Euro-American technology in East Asian hands. Through a peace treaty, Japan took as colonies the island of Taiwan and the Liaodong peninsula, both parts of the Qing empire, as well as a huge sum of money.
Colonialism is a term where a country conquers and rules over other regions. Imperialism means creating an empire, expanding into the neighbouring regions and expanding its dominance far.
Location of the Ryukyu Islands
Iwate (1901) was one of six armored cruisers ordered from overseas shipyards after the First Sino-Japanese War as part of the "Six-Six Program" (six battleships and six cruisers) intended to be the backbone of the Imperial Japanese Navy).
Map of Japan seen in 'A Literary and Historical Atlas of Asia' by J. G. Bartholomew. J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd. printed in 1912; note inclusion of Taiwan within Japanese borders.
Japanese battlecruiser Hiei fitting out at Yokosuka, Japan, 20 Sep 1913
Iwate as seen on a postcard commemorating the Russo - Japanese War triumph.
Army, navy and expansion
1872 - Japan began drafting men into the military.
1874 - Japan sends 3000 troops to Taiwan after shipwrecked Japanese had been killed there.
1879 - Japan took control of the Ryukyu Islands.
1876 - Japan gains control of the Kuril Islands and Korean ports are opened to Japan.
Soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army in 1875.
1890's - the Imperial Japanese Army had grown to become the most modern army in Asia, well-trained, well-equipped with good morale through purchasing and manufacturing high-quality European-style weapons and by reorganizing the military along European lines.
List three specific examples of the influence of nationalism in Japan by 1900.
Why did Japan follow an expansionist policy?
What was the effect of the Sino - Japanese War on Japan's military reputation?
“Observance by His Imperial Majesty of the Military Maneuvers of Combined Army and Navy Forces”
by Toyohara Chikanobu, 1890
What idea does this source show you:
nationalism, militarism or expansionism.
Give reasons for your answer.
1894 - Japan launches the First Sino - Japanese War: its first major war in hundreds of years.
Sometimes referred to as the first great war of the 20th C it grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan over Manchuria and Korea.
This 1904 print shows, in the foreground, a Russian battleship exploding under bombardment from Japanese battleships; a line of Japanese battleships, positioned on the right, fire on a line of Russian battleships on the left, in a surprise naval assault on the Russian fleet at the Battle of Port Arthur (Lüshun) in the Russo-Japanese War.
Port Arthur has an excellent harbour. It was also the end of the line for the railway the Russians had built to extend their influence.
What does this source tell you about naval battles of the time?
1904 - Russo - Japanese War
Task: Write the second verse to this popular song.
the position of the Korean Peninsula
the Sino (China) Japanese War
the Russo - Japanese War
questions and info graph
What image of the Japanese army is shown in this source?
Explain the reasons for the Russo - Japanese War.
What was the final battle in this war?
What was the battle outcome?
Draw an info graph to portray the location and outcome of the battle.
What was the battles significance?
Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire
Episode One: The Way of the Samurai
Episode Two: The Will of the Shogun
Episode Three: The Return of the Barbarians
1. Booksellers: What type of books did the Japanese of the Tokugawa period like to read? How were they made?
2. Street vendors: Name three edible and three non-edible things that these people sold.
3. Guard: What did th eguards do? Why do you think some females may have tried to escape their home?
4. Monks: Why do the monks of Japan look weird to our eyes? Why did they do this?
5. Ronin: How did a samurai become ronin? How is this term relevant to modern Japanese society?
6. Samurai women: What gruesome task might early samurai women have to undertake? How did things change in the Tokugawa period?
7. Tea seller: Where did the Japanese first acquire the tea plant from? What factors encouraged people of the era to eat out?