Edo Period in Japan Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1313 Words
Date:  2022-08-18

The thesis chronologically describes the record of each activity which took place in Japan. It encapsulates all the events which took place and the culture which was used among the residents at the same time the individuals who influenced the era. History is the study of past events specifically the humankind affairs. The Edo also was known as the Tokugawa period is believed to have taken place in 1603 - 1868 in Japan. The power and authority were under an influential character known as Tokugawa Leyasu. He took the panel after a man known as Hideyosi. Back in 1600 during the battle of Sekigahara, he was able to defeat the royalists of the Hideyoshi and some other rivals from the west. That was the primary reason that gave him power and wealth. In 1603, the emperor appointed him to serve as a Shogun whereby he later established his government in Tokyo (Edo). ( Aviman,2014)

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Tokugawa imposed strict ways governing the country whereby he distributed the land that was gained to loyal vassals (daimyo) wisely. The primary rationale behind that was because they were his supporters before the battle of Sekigahara. The daimyo received an ideal domain which had significant benefits. It was also a requirement that daimyo spends every second year in the Edo. The act translated to a substantial financial burden for the daimyo thus moderating his power locally. Tokugawa progressively promoted foreign trade whereby he established close ties with the Dutch as well as the English people. Despite the remarkable supported the business, he was also responsible for ill-odd deeds whereby he enforced persecutions and suppression of Christians back in 1614. He successfully captured the Osaka castle in 1915 after the clan of Toyotami was destroyed. The downfall of Osaka castle was remarkably crucial since it leads to the emergence and prevalence of peace in the entire period. ( Minnich,2012) The warriors who were commonly known as Samurai had a developed educational form where they were not only actively educating themselves in martial arts but also in arts, philosophy as well as literature.

Back in 1633, the shogun Lemitsu implemented a law forbidding travel to abroad countries. The proposal isolated Japan in 1639 since contacts with the outside world became limited concerning trade with countries such as the Netherlands and China. Nonetheless, the importation of foreign books was curtailed and banned as well. Though there was isolation in the country, agricultural sector and domestic trade generally improved. The popular culture garnished in 1688-1703. There was the adoption of kabuyi and ukiyo-e culture amongst the town dwellers. The neo-Confucianism was perceived as the most fundamental philosophy of the Tokugawa. It mainly stressed on the vitality of education, hierarchical order and morals in the society and government at large. The hierarchy in governance was under four classes namely samurai, the peasants, the artisans, and merchants respectively. Each member belonging to the relevant social class was not expected to make changes in the social status. Furthermore, the fifth class was formed by the outcasts in the community who were regarded as impure.

There was cancellation of the ban on literature from the west in 1720. That was the birth to the new teachings in Japan which emanated from Europe and neighboring China. There was the development of modern nationalists' schools integrating Confucianism and elements of Shinto. As it is seen that the government of Tokugawa remained stable for quite a long period, it was progressively diminishing unrecognizably due to some reasons such as the natural calamities and disasters and famine resulting to problems in financial conditions in the government. The hierarchy began toppling, and as a result, the first position held by samurai depended on merchant class. The opposition side grew antagonizing the government proposals finally the government of Tokugawa became powerless due to political tension in 1867-68. ( Mostow et al.2016)

The United States represents the culture during the Edo period in some ways. Culture during the Edo era encapsulates the dressing codes, the food which was eaten by people, the language, the music, architecture, and religion. The US has taken a significant step designating libraries where the information is entailing the culture during the Edo period.

It can be vividly seen on the analysis on the Edo era in Japan that culture was individualistic since the key and topmost government figures banned the use of foreign books and regulated mingling and contact with the outside world. The trade was only carried domestically and little engagement in international trade.

The Edo era was associated with the unique artwork. The men and women ranging from young to elder engaged themselves in artistic work entailing paintings, music, calligraphy, and game of skill. The performers of music wore the decorated artier known as the Kasode. There was also a combination of hairstyles reflected the trends in Kanbun period. The Kabuki dance was incorporated and absorbed in seventeenth-century while others were discarded.

During the era, religion was essential in daily life. People were subjected to different kinds of religious practices such as the Neo- Confucianism, Buddhism, as well as the Shinto. The neo-Confucianism religion stressed the relationship between parents and their young ones and between the subjects and rulers. It was also significant in the promotion of a State ruled by the qualified leaders. Buddhism was the most popular religion during the era; it offered teachings on self-discovery alongside harmony through aggressive focus and meditation. (Vaporis, 2012)

Culturally, men and women had various roles during the Edo period whereby women were the subordinate to her husband. She would take the man as her lord and obey him with a lot of respect. She was required to address the husband ethically with humility, courteous way, and non-arrogant way. According to the culture, she was supposed to stay alert and be strict over her conduct. In the morning, she was to wake up early and retire late to bed. Rather than resting in the day, she was supposed to be busy in day to day duties. Women who were still in their parents' homestead, they were supposed to respect their parents. Later after marriage, they were to listen and obey their father and mother-in-law keenly. The men in the samurai class live a warrior hood life whereby they had both short and long swords. Furthermore, the men would collect the firewood and generally had a responsibility of offering protection to the entire family. The men were granted power and authority to lead.


Some other cultures, men and women are known to exhibit different roles and responsibilities uniquely in comparison to other cultures globally. The women have the responsibility of looking after the husband and children. It is also known to sire children to the community. Generally, they are concerned with the internal functions and activities. The men have the responsibility to protect both internally or externally. The culture during Edo era can be developed and strengthened if the division of labor is evenly applied and thus it mitigates discrimination of women in the society. The rules and regulations should be set in place and implemented so that anyone who offends the vulnerable group is penalized. The women should be empowered so that the nation can progress and soar to the greater heights. Conclusively, the Edo period represents important activities that chronologically happened, and therefore it shaped up contemporary Japan. The changes and improvements in the way of life have also impacted the standard way of life from art, architectural and even the music industry.


Aviman, G. (2014). Zen paintings in Edo Japan (1600-1868): Playfulness and freedom in the artwork of Hakuin Ekaku and Sengai Gibson.

Minnich, H. B. (2012). Japanese Costume: And the Makers of Its Elegant Tradition. Boston: Tuttle Publishing.

Mostow, J. S., & Ikeda, A. (2016). A third gender: Beautiful youths in Japanese Edo-period prints and paintings (1600-1868).

Vaporis, C. N. (2012). Voices of early modern Japan: Contemporary accounts of daily life during the age of the shoguns. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood.

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