The Social Classes During Tokugawa Japan Essay

1352 Words Dec 8th, 2015 6 Pages
Perhaps one of the more intriguing aspects of the Tokugawa period, was the emergence of this new idea of a class system. The social classes in Tokugawa Japan were impacted greatly by Chinese Confucian values, ultimately it was these values which dictated how Japan would operate socially. This made distinct groups, or classes of people began to form. There were only a couple groups, and one of them worthy enough to carry a sword, the samurai. This idea and mindset of carrying such powerful and beautiful weapon led many to want to become members of this select group. The feeling of empowerment was exemplified through the experiences of Katsu Kokichi. A Tokugawa samurai that showed his lifestyle and the reality of what it truly meant to be a deemed a samurai in his age. Although Katsu was considered a samurai in the eyes of his peers, the set of ideals which governed his life contradicted the standards and expectations set by the moral code of the samurai. Through his stories and experiences, it is clear that the actual samurai life differed immensely from the ideals and expectations set by Bushido and past samurai generations. This differentiation between expectations and reality consequently resulted in the undermining of samurai values as well as the rise of a money economy and commercial prosperity throughout the Japan. Building a new economic system isn’t so easily constructed. It must have a strong economy and social structure. In the case of Tokugawa Japan,…

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