Describe The Structure Of Japanese Society

832 words - 4 pages

The Tokugawa Bakufu, also known as the Edo Bakufu, was the final period of traditional Japan being controlled by military dictatorship. The reason why it was also called the Edo period was because the shogun established Japan’s new capital at Edo. This shogunate was started by a samurai called Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603 and ended in 1867
The structure of shogunate Japan follow the order of the following: Shogun – Daimyo – Samurai – Peasants – Artisans – Merchants. The shogun was at the top of feudal society with the highest social hierarchy. They had the highest military and civil authority. Below the shogun were the daimyos which were people who could own part of the shogun’s land. Their role was to maintain the law of the time, as well as collecting taxes and aiding people in armed tasks. Samurais were warrior administrators which inherited this position by their parents. Each samurai carried two swords and the right to kill anyone below their rank. During the Tokugawa shogunate however, there were no more wars and the samurai gained new skills which included reading, writing and accounting.
The lower levels consists of peasants would be the main labour workers. Their masters would only calculate enough rice for the peasants to live on. Peasants would be divided into three sub-categories: farmers, artisans and merchants. Farmers were superior to other sub-categories of peasants as they produce the food source that all the other classes need. These farmers were part of the honoured class but were under great strain of taxes. During to reign of Iemitsu, he made a law that all farmers must not eat the rice they grew as it must be handed to the daimyo and be given back in rations. Artisans are people who work at their own specialty at mostly a daimyo’s land. These artisans are divided into groups called guilds. The lowest calls are merchants which sell products made by other labourers. The civilians said that they seemed to live off someone else’s work. However, merchants made great profit from selling products but were restricted by regulations.
The existence of this structure was crucial to the society. In 1615, Tokugawa Ieyasu limited power by making laws into a book called “Buke-sho hatto”. It greatly limited the power of daimyos. There were thirteen rules as four important ones are Rule 5, Rule 6 and Rule 9. Rule five says that...

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