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Tokugawa Ieyasu

The period of Tokugawa Ieyasu gave possibility to Samurai to understand that it is possible to govern with help of reasonable methods. He finished unification of country, started by Oda and Toetomi. Actually, we can call this period the period of peace. Tokugawa Ieyasu was a good leader and he was a reasonable governor. Although he used the same methods to establish his leadership and to strengthen his positions, – the methods of power of weapon and by concluding temporary agreements, – he was more reasonable and farsighted.

Tokugawa Ieyasu created institutions of long-term governing. The lands were redistributed, the major part of lands belonged to generation of Tokugawa and their vassals. The feudals had to agree with new regime. Proscription of Europeans and prohibition of Christianity was accompanied by voluntary “closing” of Japan. All contacts with outer world were minimal. As the result of these actions, there was sudden growth of cities, development of city culture, economics and increase in population.

Total regulation of all groups of population in Japan finally formed the type of mentality, which we call “Japanese”. So, political unification of Japan can be called the last period of development of Japanese feudalism. Political unity influenced economy, stimulated creation of Japanese market and raise of Japanese culture. At the same time Tokugawa Ieyasu increased power and strength of Segunat, which was absolute dictatorship, supported by military-feudal class of Samurai.

Samurai was the main military power of ruling class. Such government deprived feudals possibility to lead internal wars and to act against the central power (the government). The Tokugawa epoque was known by number of reforms: establishment of system of strict regulations concerning obligations and rights of each class; establishment of strict political control, etc. One of the main ideas was policy of self-isolation.

In case during the period of Adzuti-Monoyama (1568-1600) an ordinary warrior was able to become a segun, and an ordinary peasant was able to become a warrior, such transformations became impossible during the period of Tokugawa dictatorship. Actually, it meant conservation of political and society system in Japan. They focused attention on class system and strict observance of relations between supremacy and subordination. Tokugawa Ieyasu divided Japanese society into classed.

Actually, the class structure of Tokugawa epoque can be expressed by formula ‘si-no-ko-se’ (Samurai-Peasants- Artisans-Merchants). All four classes were called “simin”. Samurai were the base of Tokugawa regime and occupied supreme position in social hierarchy. They were the best people of their country, the blossom of Japanese nation. Tokugawa also gave a lot of privileges to the most devoted daime, gave them the richest lands and supported them. In such a way he created a solid social basis, which was so important in the period of establishment of new government.

He created a stable social support among the governing class. His policy regarding todzama daime and their vassals served the other problem – suppression of opposition among todzama daime. For example, 88 daime marched off against Tokugawa in 1600. There were such strong daime as Simandzu (700. 000 koku), Date (600. 000 koku), Ukita (580. 000 koku), etc. Although a number of daime (Kato Kiemasa, Ikuda Terumasa and Maeda Tosinaga) participated in the battle of Sekigahara and supported segun, they didn’t win his confidence and died within the period of 1610-1614.

Historians suppose that those daime were poisoned by Tokugawa. Also confiscations of lands were the main methods of suppression. The main confiscations of lands took place in 1601-1602 and in 1615-1617. All those actions took place as methods of social regulation. So, in such a way Tokugawa created effective system of control and suppression of possible opposition, which allowed him to build a system whereby his dynasty ruled Japan for over 250 years.

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