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In Japanese history, a system of alternating residency practiced during the Tokugawa period (1603–1867). The daimyo (domain lords) were required to reside alternately in their han (feudal domains) and in Edo (modern Tokyo), the capital of the Tokugawa shogunate. The system, inaugurated in 1635, lasted until 1862. It kept the daimyo from building up power bases in their domains that could threaten the shogunate, and, because of the expense of maintaining two residences, prevented them from building up wealth. It also contributed to the flowering of an urban culture and a commercial economy and encouraged improvements to roads and communications.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on sankin kotai, visit Britannica.com.
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