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(1603–1867) In Japanese history, period of the military government established by Tokugawa Ieyasu with his assumption of the title of shogun in 1603. The structures Ieyasu set in place were effective for governing Japan for the next 264 years. He established his capital at Edo (modern Tokyo) and assigned daimyohan (domains) according to their friendliness or hostility toward the Tokugawa: hostile daimyo received domains on the nation's periphery, while allies and collateral houses were given domains nearer to Edo. Sankin kotai, a system whereby daimyo alternated residency between Edo and their domain, also helped the shogunate keep control of the daimyo. To protect Japan from outside influences, particularly Christian missionaries, a new policy of national seclusion forbade Japanese to travel abroad and forbade foreigners to visit Japan (except for Chinese and Dutch traders, who were allowed to trade only at the port of Nagasaki). Toyotomi Hideyoshi's division of society into four fixed classes was preserved, and the samurai (military) class became the civil bureaucrats, its members paid with stipends of rice. Increased travel to Edo and other cities stimulated urban development and urban culture (seeEdo culture; Genroku period); the merchant class flourished. By the mid-18th century the shogunate began to suffer financially, as attempts at fiscal reform proved largely unsuccessful. During its last 30 years there were numerous peasant uprisings (seeikki) and evidence of samurai unrest. The shogunate was overthrown by the domains of Satsuma and Choshu in 1867. See alsoMeiji Restoration; Oda Nobunaga.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Tokugawa period, visit Britannica.com.
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