Confucianism During The Tokugawa Era

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Tokugawa Era
As Tokugawa Ieyasu once said “The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience.” Tokugawas main goal was to unite Japan, no matter how long it took. To him patience was not just waiting, it was enduring the hardships and all about self control. Tokugawa came to power by claiming descent from Minamoto Yamritomo. He ruled over japan from 1590–1616, and after his death his heirs occupied the shogunate and japan enjoyed peace for more than 250 years. This period of time in Japanese history is known as the Tokugawa period, which spanned from 1603-1867. During the Tokugawa period the shogunate was able to uphold peace by isolating Japan from the rest of the world, providing economic stability, as
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This was mostly due to “fear of European Christianity and possible economic and political domination.” (Ellington) The rulers of japan feared the Christianity challenged the loyalty of the Japanese citizens on account that most of the Christians loyalty was to the pope; this would deter their loyalty from the shogunate, and could possibly lead to downfall of the government. The preferred religion during this period was neo confucianism, which was widely promoted by the government. In the past, Confucianism played a major part in the structure of Japanese society, bringing order socially and ethically. Neo confucianism promoted the idea the universe could be understood with human reason and that it was up to man to create a harmonious relationship with the universe and an …show more content…
Although the merchant class was seen as the lowest, it had its benefits because “merchants were not considered important enough to be tightly regulated or highly taxed. This gave them considerable leeway to serve as entrepreneurs and moneylenders, and many members of the ruling classes became deeply in debt to merchants.” (Middleton) Merchants being seen as unimportant gave them the perfect opportunity to sneak up on the rest of the population and profit off their ignorance. Making profit off selling was seen as corrupt in the views of confucianism, the merchants were able to push it aside and ultimately abandon confucianism al together. Gathering a lot of the wealth they were able to spur economic growth since an economy depends on the business class to survive and prosper. Although the the economy feeds of business, it is equally as important to be able to collect revenue from its people. Three cities thrived during the Tokugawa period: Edo, Kyoto, and Osaka. “Edo boasted over a million people by 1700, half of whom were the bureaucratic samurai: this made it, potentially, the largest city in the world at the time. The tax money collected by the daimyo and the Tokugawa regime fueled Edo’s economy.” (Langrill) In addition to Edo, both Osaka and Kyoto had between three and four hundred thousand inhabitants at one time; while dwarfed by Edo, both cities had more people than had lived in any

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