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HIST 218 - Lecture: Tokugawa Japan (Jan. 16)

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HIST 218
Gavin Walker

Jan. 16 – Social Structure of Tokugawa Japan (1600-1867ish) − Japan's divergence from East Asia: distance and social organization − feudalism in East Asia: is there a genuinely feudal system in 1600s- 1800s − European feudalism as model? − Japan not dissimilar to European feudalism; direct relationship between land ownership and lord domain system − feudal power larger numerically than Europe − overpopulation of the nobility, of the samurai − land/tax question − in Europe, there was a direct relationship between control of land and control of political power − in Japan, political power came not from control over land so much as control over taxation − specificity of Japanese feudal society − Warrior culture: imperial court − distinctness drawn from closure to West and closure to trade − strongly internalized cultural and economic patterns and norms − focus: economic and social history of Tokugawa feudalism Establishment of Tokugawa − Battle of Sekigahara (1600): victorious coalition of feudal lords, each controlling han under Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) − thus, it was not a victory of the Tokugawa over everyone else; it was a loose coalition of various households − formal establishment of Tokugawa in 1603 − Tokugawa household rules central Japan (approximately 25 per cent of the country), capital in Edo (modern-day Tokyo) − however, it could not possibly govern without extremely careful means of surveying and keeping domains in line, due largely to geography of Japan − its not a unified state in terms of governance, nor even loyalty to Tokugawa household − like Choson Korea, the unevenness and fragmentary nature of Japanese political structure during this time means that the semblance of stability disguises an extremely decentralized system − domains of control by Tokugawa: Kyoto (seat of Imperial household); Osaka (centre of merchant culture); Edo (capital) − other areas of Japan divided into semi-autonomous feudal domains ruled by local lrods (daimyo) − Tokugawa state was not centralized so much as state of pacts/truce between factions − Tokugawa central control, key elements: − distribution of power by Tokugawa household to other daimyo: − control of Edo (physical centre of country) − control of Kyoto (access to imperial household) − control of Osaka (direct oversight of merchant [chonin] class) − Imperial family treated as spiritual centre and legitimating figure by all Japanese society − however, true power rested with Tokugawa Control of Edo − consolidation of central military power − isolation of unreliable daimyo in domains far from the central core of the county − allowed Tokugawa to maintain 'out of sight, out of mind' mentality towards powerful rogue households − regional daimyo must obtain central authorization or marriages, for production of armaments, etc. − systematic surveillance and oversight of daimyo; movement of daimyo throughout the domains to prevent alliances hostile to Tokugawa Control of Kyoto − ability to marginalize the Emperor and Imperial household − imperial household was not the ultimate site of authority − all daimyo claimed imperial household as the legitimate ruler, but in practice Tokugawa system kept Emperor in isolation − power rested principally with Tokugawa household, followed by the local daimyo Control of Osaka − increasing importance of merchant class − centralization of banking and storage of goods in Osaka − two further systems of Tokugawa control: − closure of country − Exclusion Edicts (1638): prevention of Japanese citizens from travelling abroad; extreme limitations on foreigners trading in Japan − effect on Japanese ec
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