Talk:Edo period

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Redundant beginning[edit]

I tried removing repetition in the begining of the article but this was reverted under pretences of vandalism by 日本穣 — Nihonjoe. I still think that the article should be made more concise and avoid giving the same information again within adjacent lines, such as the span of the period. "running from 1603 to 1868. The political entity of this period was the Tokugawa shogunate.

The Tokugawa shogunate was officially established in Edo on 24 March 1603 by the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Tokugawa shogunate was overthrown by the Meiji Restoration on 3 May 1868" Would removal of the first be vandalism? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chumchumthegreat (talkcontribs) 22:50, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Note regarding word usage[edit]

There may be some sloppiness here with regard to the words "Bakufu" and "shogunate", and also whether Bakufu should be capitalised or not. I suspect that the following rules should apply:

  • if "Bakufu" is used as a proper noun refering specifically to the shogunate of Japan at a given time, then it should be capitalised. Compare "the Diet voted to...".
  • if "bakufu" is just used to mean "administration", then it should be replaced by "shogunate", which is the correct English term. Compare "the parliament voted to...".

I won't make the edit as I don't feel I'm familiar enough with the term "Bakufu" to have the authority.--Malcohol 13:12, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The focus of the article[edit]

Only about one fifth of the article is actually about the first 250 years of the edo period at all. The rest is just about the final period, the years from around 1850 to 1870. What I will do is move it all to a different article (Bakumatsu period, Opening of Japan, Decline of the Tokugawa or so) and rewrite this article. Any objections? -- Mkill 17:13, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Ok, it looks like Late Tokugawa shogunate exists. I'll move it there then. -- Mkill 17:15, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

IP-users addition to Tokugawa[edit]

an IP-user was so nice as to add this to the article Tokugawa. Since Wikipedia has all material on the Tokugawa era under Edo period, I put the text here for reference, maybe there are a few facts not mentioned yet. -- Mkill 17:53, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

Tokugawa Ieyasu was the most powerful man in Japan after Hideyoshi had died in 1598. Against his promises he did not respect Hideyoshi's successor Hideyori because he wanted to become the absolute ruler of Japan.

In the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Ieyasu defeated the Hideyori loyalists and other Western rivals. Hence, he achieved almost unlimited power and wealth. In 1603, Ieyasu was appointed Shogun by the emperor and established his government in Edo (Tokyo). The Tokugawa shoguns continued to rule Japan for a remarkable 250 years.

Ieyasu brought the whole country under tight control. He cleverly redistributed the gained land among the daimyo: more loyal vassals (the ones who supported him already before Sekigahara) received strategically more important domains accordingly. Every daimyo was also required to spend every second year in Edo. This meant a huge financial burden for the daimyo and moderated his power at home.

Ieyasu continued to promote foreign trade. He established relations with the English and the Dutch. On the other hand, he enforced the suppression and persecution of Christianity from 1614 on.

After the destruction of the Toyotomi clan in 1615 when Ieyasu captured Osaka Castle, he and his successors had practically no rivals anymore, and peace prevailed throughout the Edo period. Therefore, the samurai, or gentle-men warriors, were educating themselves not only in the martial arts but also in literature, philosophy and the arts, e.g. the tea ceremony.

In 1633, shogun Iemitsu forbade travelling abroad and almost completely isolated Japan in 1639 by reducing the contacts to the outside world to very limited trade relations with China and the Netherlands in the port of Nagasaki. In addition, all foreign books were banned.

Despite the isolation, domestic trade and agricultural production continued to improve. During the Edo period and especially during the Genroku era (1688 - 1703), popular culture flourished. New art forms like kabuki and ukiyo-e became very popular especially among the townspeople.

The most important philosophy of Tokugawa Japan was Neo-Confucianism, stressing the importance of morals, education and hierarchical order in the government and society: A strict four class system existed during the Edo period: at the top of the social hierarchy stood the samurai, followed by the peasants, artisans and merchants. The members of the four classes were not allowed to change their social status. Outcasts (eta), people with professions that were considered impure, formed a fifth class.

In 1720, the ban of Western literature was cancelled, and several new teachings entered Japan from China and Europe (Dutch Learning). New nationalist schools that combined Shinto and Confucianist elements also developed.

Even though the Tokugawa government remained quite stable over several centuries, its position was steadily declining for several reasons: A steady worsening of the financial situation of the government led to higher taxes and riots among the farm population. In addition, Japan regularly experienced natural disasters and years of famine that caused riots and further financial problems for the central government and the daimyo. The social hierarchy began to break down as the merchant class grew increasingly powerful while some samurai became financially dependent of them. In the second half of the era, corruption, incompetence and a decline of morals within the government caused further problems.

In the end of the 18th century, external pressure started to be an increasingly important issue, when the Russians first tried to establish trade contacts with Japan without success. They were followed by other European nations and the Americans in the 19th century. It was eventually Commodore Perry in 1853 and again in 1854 who forced the Tokugawa government to open a limited number of ports for international trade. However, the trade remained very limited until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.hhfdyshcy

All factors combined, the anti-government feelings were growing and caused other movements such as the demand for the restoration of imperial power and anti western feelings, especially among ultra-conservative samurai in increasingly independently acting domains such as Chōshū and Satsuma. Many people, however, soon recognized the big advantages of the Western nations in science and military, and favoured a complete opening to the world. Finally, also the conservatives recognized this fact after being confronted with Western warships in several incidents.

In 1867-68, the Tokugawa government fell because of heavy political pressure, and the power of Emperor Meiji was restored.


This article is easily long enough, detailed enough, with enough pictures and references to warrant B-class. But there are many aspects of the Edo period that are still hot topics in scholarship today, with tons of articles and books written on them. If we address these debates and issues, and expand our discussion on (1) ukiyo-e, kabuki, and literature, (2) the Yoshiwara, geisha, courtesans, etc, (3) the semi-autonomy of the village, and the socio-economic-political developments of the period, (4) relations with Ryūkyū, the Ainu, as well as China and Europe, (5) questions of statehood and nationhood; if we do all this, this article could become featured, and really quite valuable and thorough. LordAmeth 15:31, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

For a Japanese people, this article is regarded as common sense. And I hope this article has political and economic history a lot. Please research and write it down in more detail.-- 15:41, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Inclusion of "Inu-Yasha"[edit]

This might seem to be a small quibble, but I thought I'd bring it up here first. Speaking as a huge fan of "Inu-Yasha" and having watched almost all of it, I do not think it should be mentioned in an Edo period article. It is set slightly earlier, in the Warring States Era, and isn't really concerned with history anyway. It's much more of a fantasy inspired by 1500s Japan. Brutannica 09:05, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Lone Wolf and Cub and Samurai Champloo are both very definitively set in the Edo period, and serve sufficiently to represent the different types of manga/anime that have been based in the period. LordAmeth 14:00, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

6.1 copied[edit]

Most of 6.1 was copied word for word from [1] This may be a temporary page,so this is part of the text:

The Tokugawa did not eventually collapse simply because of intrinsic failures. Foreign intrusions helped to precipitate a complex political struggle between the bakufu and a coalition of its critics. The continuity of the anti-bakufu movement in the mid-nineteenth century would finally bring down the Tokugawa. From the outset, the Tokugawa attempted to restrict families' accumulation of wealth and fostered a "back to the soil" policy, in which the farmer, the ultimate producer, was the ideal person in society. Despite these efforts to restrict wealth, and partly because of the extraordinary period of peace, the standard of living for urban and rural dwellers alike grew significantly during the Tokugawa period. Better means of crop production, transportation, housing, food, and entertainment were all available, as was more leisure time, at least for urban dwellers. The literacy rate was high for a preindustrial society, and cultural values were redefined and widely imparted throughout the samurai and chonin classes. Despite the reappearance of guilds, economic activities went well beyond the restrictive nature of the guilds, and commerce spread and a money economy developed. Although government heavily restricted the merchants and viewed them as unproductive and usurious members of society, the samurai, who gradually became separated from their rural ties, depended greatly on the merchants and artisans for consumer goods, artistic interests, and loans. In this way, a subtle subversion of the warrior class by the chonin took place.

A struggle arose in the face of political limitations that the shogun imposed on the entrepreneurial class. The government ideal of an agrarian society failed to square with the reality of commercial distribution. A huge government bureaucracy had evolved, which now stagnated because of its discrepancy with a new and evolving social order. Compounding the situation, the population increased significantly during the first half of the Tokugawa period. Although the magnitude and growth rates are uncertain, there were at least 26 million commoners and about 4 million members of samurai families and their attendants when the first nationwide census was taken in 1721. Drought, followed by crop shortages and starvation, resulted in twenty great famines between 1675 and 1837. Peasant unrest grew, and by the late eighteenth century, mass protests over taxes and food shortages had become commonplace. Newly landless families became tenant farmers, while the displaced rural poor moved into the cities. As the fortunes of previously well-to-do families declined, others moved in to accumulate land, and a new, wealthy farming class emerged. Those people who benefited were able to diversify production and to hire laborers, while others were left discontented. Many samurai fell on hard times and were forced into handicraft production and wage jobs for merchants.

Western intrusions were on the increase in the early nineteenth century. Russian warships and traders encroached on Karafuto (called Sakhalin under Russian and Soviet control) and on the Kuril Islands, the southernmost of which are considered by the Japanese as the northern islands of Hokkaido. A British warship entered Nagasaki Harbor searching for enemy Dutch ships in 1808, and other warships and whalers were seen in Japanese waters with increasing frequency in the 1810s and 1820s. Whalers and trading ships from the United States also arrived on Japan's shores. Although the Japanese made some minor concessions and allowed some landings, they largely attempted to keep all foreigners out, sometimes using force. Rangaku became crucial not only in understanding the foreign "barbarians" but also in using the knowledge gained from the West to fend them off.

By the 1830s, there was a general sense of crisis. Famines and natural disasters hit hard, and unrest led to a peasant uprising against officials and merchants in Osaka in 1837. Although it lasted only a day, the uprising made a dramatic impression. Remedies came in the form of traditional solutions that sought to reform moral decay rather than address institutional problems. The shogun's advisers pushed for a return to the martial spirit, more restrictions on foreign trade and contacts, suppression of Rangaku, censorship of literature, and elimination of "luxury" in the government and samurai class. Others sought the overthrow of the Tokugawa and espoused the political doctrine of sonno-joi (revere the emperor, expel the barbarians), which called for unity under imperial rule and opposed foreign intrusions. The bakufu persevered for the time being amidst growing concerns over Western successes in establishing colonial enclaves in China following the Opium War of 1839-42. More reforms were ordered, especially in the economic sector, to strengthen Japan against the Western threat.

Could someone fix this, I have very little knowlegde on the subject, so I cannot do it my self.

IngeniusDodo 20:33, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

New time line picture?[edit]

someone with upload rights might want to consider this visual time line I made for a history course.


Blizzofoz (talk) 03:04, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Early Modern Japan (journal)[edit]

Editors here may find the content of EMJ useful. Full text is freely available at this Knowledge Bank dspace site. LeadSongDog come howl! 21:21, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Land measured in koku[edit]

The "Rule of shogun and daimyo" section speaks 2.5 million koku of land. According to its own article a koku can be a measure various quantities but there is no mention of area. Could someone please clarify? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:06, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Use of the term "peasants"[edit]

Something which struck me as rather "off" when reading this article was the claim that 80% of Edo society was comprised of peasants. This is common knowledge in Japan (i.e. in the high school textbooks), but more recent historical opinion is that the word 百姓, here translated as "peasant," in fact encompassed a number of different occupations including minor tradesmen, dye merchants, sailors etc. Some even go as far as to argue that Japan is not really a fundamentally agricultural society if you look who really comprise the 百姓 class. What is known is that the 80% of the population called "peasants" here were not actually peasants. For more reading on this (in English) see the first and second chapters of Rethinking Japanese History by Amino Yoshihiko: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ergandar (talkcontribs) 05:29, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

--Ergandar (talk) 06:33, 20 October 2014 (UTC)