Edo Shogunate (1/2)the last samurai government

Edo Shogunate

Tokugawa family crest "three hollyhocks"

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History of the domain
domain name
Edo Shogunate (1603-1867)
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Edo castle

Edo castle

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The Edo Shogunate was a samurai government established in Edo in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was appointed as the Great Shogun. It was the last of the samurai government that began in the Kamakura period, and is also called the Tokugawa shogunate because the Tokugawa family inherited the position of shogun. Furthermore, the approximately 250 years from its inception to its end were a peaceful era, with no large-scale conflicts occurring except at the end of the Edo period, although there were some small-scale civil wars. Let's unravel the history of the Edo Shogunate.

From the establishment of the Edo Shogunate to the era of the 5th Shogun Tokugawa Ietsuna

Tokugawa Ieyasu won the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, and in 1603 he was appointed as the Great Shogun and established the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Two years later, in 1605, Ieyasu handed over the post of Shogun to Hidetada Tokugawa and moved to Sunpu Castle in order to solidify the system in which the post of Shogun was hereditary among the Tokugawa clan. However, he did not completely give up on experiments and was in charge of the imperial court, temples and shrines, feudal lords of the western region, and foreign affairs.
In 1614, he launched the Osaka Winter and Summer Sieges to destroy Toyotomi, who was still a threat, and forced Toyotomi Hideyori and his mother, Yodo-dono, to commit suicide.

In the same year, he established the Samurai Laws and the Kinchu-nami Noble Laws, solidifying the foundations of samurai politics.
From 1616 to 1619, he had his ninth son Yoshinao Tokugawa establish the Owari domain, his tenth son Yorinobu Tokugawa the Kii domain, and his youngest son Yorifusa Tokugawa the Mito domain, forming the three Tokugawa families. make.

In this way, Tokugawa Ieyasu laid the foundations for the shogunate system, which consisted of a shogunate headed by a shogun and feudal domains headed by daimyo who had a master-servant relationship with the shogun. He died in 1617 at the age of 75.

In 1617, the second shogun, Tokugawa Hidetada, limited foreign ships other than Chinese merchant ships from calling at Hirado and Nagasaki, beginning a path toward national isolation.
In addition, in 1622, he inherited the wishes of his father Ieyasu and strengthened the system of the shogunate by ordering the feudal lords to send their wives and children to Edo and also to send hostages of their major retainers to Edo. I tried.
Hidetada handed over the headship of the family to his second son, Iemitsu Tokugawa, in 1623 and retired, but he did not relinquish real power and continued to govern as an influential figure.

The third shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, revised samurai laws in 1635, making it compulsory for daimyo to practice sankin kotai. As a result, roads throughout the country, including the Tokaido and other Gokaido roads, were improved.
Furthermore, from 1633 to 1641, Japan completed national isolation. During this time, the ``Shimabara Rebellion'', which is known as the largest civil war of the Edo period, occurred. By the way, the second lord of the Shimabara domain, Katsuie Matsukura, was beheaded as he was held responsible for this rebellion.

The politics from Tokugawa Ieyasu to Iemitsu was ``martial politics,'' and many feudal lords were ordered to change their positions or commit seppuku. However, after the era of Iemitsu, seppuku or beheading of daimyo, and the change of income of daimyo worth 500,000 koku or more, ceased.

The Great Kanei Famine began in 1642, and feudal domains across the country were hit hard. Using this fund as an opportunity to control farmers, a permanent ban on the sale and purchase of rice fields was issued.
Tokugawa Iemitsu fell ill in the 3rd year of Keian (1650) and delegated various events to the fourth shogun Ietsuna, but he did not retire and died the following year.

The fourth shogun, Ietsuna Tokugawa, relaxed the ban on late-term adopted children and forbade death by martyrdom, shifting from his father's military politics to civilized politics.
In addition, he thoroughly reformed sects and sects, ordered the creation of sect and person-specific records throughout the country, dispatched envoys from various countries, established the laws of mountains and rivers in various countries, and ordered Zuikan Kawamura to develop eastern and western shipping. We are implementing policies to promote distribution and economic development.
On the other hand, Ietsuna had no biological children, and adopted his youngest brother, Matsudaira Tsunayoshi, the lord of the Tatebayashi domain, to succeed him. Tokugawa Tsunayoshi died of illness at the young age of 40 in 1680.

Immediately after the fifth shogun, Tsunayoshi Tokugawa, assumed the position of shogun, he enacted a good government known as Tenwa no Chi, but after Masatoshi Hotta was stabbed to death by the young yori, Masakyu Inaba, in 1684, he appointed a tairo. Kazu began to recruit Yoshiyasu Yanagisawa and other side servants instead of senior officers.

It was after that that the still famous evil law ``Order of Compassion for Living Creatures'' was enacted.
In addition, at the suggestion of Shigehide Ogiwara, the accounting magistrate, they tried to remint coins, but this did not go well and instead caused chaos in the economy. Tokugawa Tsunayoshi also had no children, and Iemitsu's third son, Tokugawa Ienobu, succeeded him as the sixth generation.

From the 6th Shogun Ienobu Tokugawa to the 10th Shogun Ieharu Tokugawa

When the 6th shogun, Tokugawa Ienobu, assumed the post of shogun at the age of 48, he gradually abolished the distribution of Hoei Tsuho and part of the Ordinance of Compassion for Living Creatures.
Furthermore, upon the resignation of Yoshiyasu Yanagisawa, who had been working as a side servant to the fifth shogun, he appointed Nobufusa Mabe as a side servant and Shiraishi Arai as a scholar, promoting the Bunji politics that had begun in the Tsunayoshi era.
In terms of diplomacy, he exchanged envoys with Joseon Dynasty and the Ryukyus, and attempted financial reforms such as the issuance of Seitoku Gold and Silver by Shiraishi Arai, but he died just three years after becoming the shogun.
Tokugawa Ienobu was also not blessed with a biological child, and his successor, the seventh shogun, Ietsugu Tokugawa, was only three years old.

Tokugawa Ietsugu died three years later, at the age of 8 (6 years old).

The person who succeeded him as the 8th shogun was the great-grandson of the first shogun, Ieyasu. This was Tokugawa Yoshimune, the cousin of the 4th Shogun Ietsuna and the 5th Shogun Tsunayoshi. Tokugawa Yoshimune is famous as the founder of the Edo Shogunate's revival, and even in recent years historical dramas and taiga dramas have been produced featuring him as the main character, making him the most well-known shogun.

Tokugawa Yoshimune was the youngest son (fourth son) of Mitssusada Tokugawa, the lord of the Kishu domain, and because his mother had a low social status, he was unlikely to become the lord of the Kishu domain. However, due to the successive deaths of his father and older brothers due to illness, he became the lord of the Kishu domain, and after fighting with Tsugutomo Tokugawa of the Owari domain, he became the shogun. The process up to that point is also very dramatic, so if you're interested, it might be interesting to look into it.

Tokugawa Yoshimune appointed Tadayuki Mizuno as Rojyo and began financial reconstruction. The shogunate's financial income was stabilized through the Fixed Licensing Law and the Jobei Rei, and the development of new rice fields was promoted. He also carried out reforms in Kyoho, including the establishment of a town fire department and the appointment of Tadaaki Ooka.
He himself had a curious personality, and he lifted the ban on importing foreign books (limited to non-Christian books), and brought Western studies to Nagasaki.

However, because it strongly encouraged martial arts and encouraged frugality, it also had the downside of leading to cultural and economic stagnation and frequent peasant uprisings in rural areas.

Tokugawa Yoshimune became the most influential figure since the second shogun, Hidetada, and even after handing over the headship of the family to the 9th shogun, Ieshige Tokugawa, he continued to experiment, dying in 1751 at the age of 66.

It is said that the 9th shogun, Tokugawa Ieshige, was unable to speak fluently due to a disability, and even after becoming shogun, he tended to seclude himself in his innermost room. After the death of his father, the 8th Shogun Yoshimune Tokugawa, he expanded the role of account scrutinizer, established a system similar to the current Board of Audit, introduced a budget system for each department of the shogunate, and relaxed regulations on sake brewing with the Horeki's own brewing ordinance. , has implemented economic policies worthy of an evaluation committee.
However, his father Yoshimune increased taxes as part of the Kyoho reforms, and due to the burden and poor harvests caused by famine, there were many uprisings and social unrest increased. It was also during this period that the Gosankyo system was established.

In his later years, Tokugawa Ieshige's language became even more unclear, and only Tadamitsu Ōoka, a side servant, was able to distinguish the shogun's words, so he was used heavily. When Tadamitsu Ōoka died, he retired from the post of shogun and became a major figure, and passed away at the age of 51 in 1761, leaving the important role of Tanuma Otsugu to Ieharu.

The 10th shogun, Ieharu Tokugawa, used Tanuma Otsuji as an important side servant and worked hard on politics together with the roju Takemoto Matsudaira, but gradually he came to leave everything to Tanuma Otsuji, and he turned to his hobbies such as shogi. He became absorbed in his work and died in 1786.
Furthermore, after Tokugawa Ieharu's death, Tanuma Otsuji was immediately overthrown.

From the 11th shogun Tokugawa Ienari to the last shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu

Tokugawa Ienari was born into the Hitotsubashi family, one of the three lords of Japan, and was adopted by Ieharu Tokugawa. He was only 15 years old when he was appointed general. Therefore, Sadanobu Matsudaira, the lord of the Mutsu-Shirakawa domain and highly regarded as a great prince, became the head of the Roju, and the Kansei reforms were carried out under his leadership.

The article on the Edo Shogunate continues.

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Writer(Writer)I am a writer who loves history, focusing on the Edo period. My hobbies are visiting historical sites, temples and shrines, and reading historical novels. If there is a place you are interested in, you can fly anywhere. I'm secretly happy that the number of sword exhibitions has increased recently thanks to the success of Touken Ranbu.
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