A History of Japan, 1615-1867 by George Sansom

By George Sansom

This is the concluding quantity of a three-volume paintings that culminates the lifestyles learn of the West's so much extraordinary pupil of eastern background. a simple narrative of the advance of eastern civilization to 1867, the 3 volumes represent the 1st large-scale accomplished historical past of Japan.

Unlike the popular Short Cultural History, it truly is involved generally with political and social phenomena and simply by the way touches on faith, literature, and the humanities. The remedy is basically descriptive and actual, however the writer deals a few pragmatic interpretations and indicates comparisons with the background of different peoples.

A background of Japan: 1615-1867 describes the political and social improvement of Japan in the course of the and part centuries of rule via the Tokugawa Shoguns, a interval of outstanding improvement in virtually ever facets of the nationwide existence. less than Ieyasu, the 1st Tokugawa Shogun, a procedure of assessments and balances to maintain the nice feudatories so as started to be devised. His successors endured this coverage, and certainly the fundamental good points of presidency via the Tokugawa Shoguns used to be a decision to maintain the peace. free of civil struggle, the energies of the kingdom have been dedicated to expanding creation of products in agriculture, brands, and mining.

Breaches within the conventional coverage of isolation started to take place with the coming of international ships in jap waters, the 1st intruders being the Russian within the 1790s. Thereafter, the govt struggled to maintain international ships clear of jap ports, yet prior to lengthy the strain of the Western powers, reinforced by way of the arriving of warships lower than the command of Commodore Perry in 1853, compelled Japan to participate in overseas affairs.

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He accompanied Ieyasu to Kyoto for the ceremony of investiture as Sei-i-Tai-Shdgun, and then returned to Yedo, where he was received in the castle by Ieyasu. The regular attendance of vassals had its remoter origin in the sys­ tem of political hostages, of which the first example under the rule of the Tokugawa Bakufu was the journey to Yedo in 1600 as a hostage of the mother of Maeda Toshinaga, the most powerful of the Tozama dai­ myos and a man greatly mistrusted by Ieyasu. Thereafter the vassals were encouraged to journey to Yedo to declare fealty; and the practice, once voluntary, became obligatory.

He raised the land revenue of the retired Emperor from 7,000 to 10,000 koku, and was lavish in his gifts to the citizens of Kyoto, where he wished to make a good impression. From this point on, though, the Throne had no political power, but only the right to confer Court ranks and the duty to perform the tra­ ditional ceremonies throughout the year. Since the Throne was short of funds, the condition of the nobility was poor. The nobleman of the highest rank was the head of the Konoye family, and his income was about 2,000 koku, while most of the other noble families, numbering about one hundred and thirty, were in a state of indigence and reduced to earning a livelihood by teaching their respective arts or crafts, such as painting, calligraphy, music, poetry, and embroidery, or by giving instruction in deportment.

He also banned the importation of books concerning the Christian religion. He continued the organization of the Bakufu, as, for instance, by instituting the appointment of Wakadoshiyori. Although he seems to have been firm in his conduct of public affairs, he was bullied by his wife, who favoured her second son as Hidetada’s successor. Thanks, however, to the determination of the wet-nurse of Takechiyo, the first-born, Ieyasu had ordered that he should not be passed over. He succeeded in 1623 as the third Shogun, lemitsu; and the wet-nurse, O-Fuku, acquired much influence in the Shogun’s Court, where she was on familiar terms with the leading Bakufu officers of the day.

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