Japanese historical period: TOKUGAWA
10th December 2009
We are preparing a series of articles about each Japanese historical periods for those, who like Japanese antiquities. The first part is focused on Tokugawa period.
In 1600 Ieyasu Tokugawa won the battle of Sekigahara and therefore managed to finish the consolidation of Japan. To emphasize his domination he let himself appoint to shogun and established Tokugawa shogunate in 1603.
The function of shogunate‘s government, which was settled in Edo ( nowadays Tokyo ), was as well controlling Tokugawa’s possessions and supervising all of Tokugawa’s feudal lords as doing policy in the name of emperor, who continued to reside in Kyoto. Because Japanese emperor was the main source of legitimacy for Tokugawa shoguns, they was dealing with him very respectfully and politely and they did not ever try to evert the emperor.
In order to manage the political stability they restricted social mobility and introduced class system with four groups ( samurais, peasants, artisans and merchants ). Further Ieasu considered Christianity as growing threat and he chased all Western missionaries out from Japan and all Japanese had to register themselves to local Buddhist temple. Owing to chase of Christians the conditions of foreign trade were tightened up and except the Duch, who could enter only small island Dejima in Nagasaki bay and never allowed to enter any another place, were all Western nations expelled from Japan. Moreover all Japanese were forbidden to go abroad and those, who were in that time in foreign countries, were not allowed to return home. Thus more than 250-year isolation began.
Though it was not a time of economic stagnation, on the contrary thanks to domestic commerce Japanese economy was increasing and even culture was developing unusually quickly. It was developing thanks to class of samurais, who instead of swords started to do they work with writing brushes, and thanks to class of townsmen. Thus not only literature or theatres, but also other fields of culture blossomed.
However that is the reason why peasants and samurais gradually got into financial crisis. Even shogunate tried to solve this problem, but was not successful. Except this problem there were many other problems, which consequently led to the fall of shogunate, such as natural disasters and ensuing famine, the fact that the military power of samurais and their loyalty to feudal lords and shogun decreased a lot and last but not least reason was that Western countries wanted Japan to open ports for them and let them enter Japan. Moreover the head of the shogunate, in that time, was not such a strong person as the first shogun Ieyasu was. That is why the end of shogunate was unavoidable. In 1867 the last shogun Keki resigned and the power was symbolically given back to Japanese emperor.
Source: Dejiny Japonska, E.O. Reischauer
Made in period Edo (Tokugawa) We offer e.g.:
Dřevění lvíčci KOMAINU
Japanese sword Wakizashi
Statuette of God of Good Luck
Mortar used for preparing rice cake omochi
Mantra of Buddha Amitabha
Ceramis vase with the motive of birds and flowers
Paired vases with decoration
Meč ze slonoviny
Big Bento Box
Fireplace Furo and kettle Kamma
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