The Tokugawa period, also known as Edo period (1603-1867), was the final period of traditional Japan that lasted for more than 250 years (britannica.com,2013). The period was a time of internal peace, political stability, and economic growth under the Shogunate founded by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Tokugawa Shoguns maintained strict control over the structure of society by keeping a firm control over what they were allowed to do and what they were not allowed to do.
The top structure of the society includes the Shoguns, Daimyos and Samurais. ‘Shogun’ was the title granted by the Emperor to Japan’s top military commander (Web-japan.org, 2013). Initially Emperors controlled the country but over time Shoguns became more powerful than the Emperor and took over the whole government, the Shogun was generally the real ruler of the country until 1867 when feudalism was abolished (Web-japan.org, 2013). Daimyos were the lords and their roles were to manage and maintain the law, collect taxes and aiding in armed forces for the Shogun (Ask.com, 2013). Samurais were the members of the military class, they were the warriors of traditional Japan. The roles of the Samurais were to protect and serve their daimyos or lords usually in wars (Answers.yahoo.com, 2013).
The bottom part of the society included the peasants which made up 85% of the population, the peasants was divided into sub-classes, and these sub-classes involved the farmers, craftsmen or artisans and merchants (Hackney, 2013). The highest ranking of the peasants were the farmers, farmers who owned their own lands were ranked higher than those who did not. After the farmers, there were the craftsmen or artisans. The craftsmen or artisans worked word and metal and some of them became well-known Samurai sword makers. Merchants were at the lowest of the structure, they were known as the parasites of the society because it was felt that they made a living off other people’s work. However, later on when Japan started to use money as a currency merchants became wealthy.
The introduction of the feudal system began when the land became consolidated into shoens which are lands controlled by daimyos. Later on, the emperor was decentralized and became more of a figurehead rather than a ruler (Slideshare.net, 2013). The real turning point was when Shoguns (military leaders) gained complete power to the whole country. The reason for the introduction of the feudal system was because the Shogun wanted to keep firm control on the people of Japan so that no one could challenge the Shogun for his ruling place.
Along with the Tokugawa Shogunate came strict rules that the people of Japan had to follow. Rules for the daimyos included marriage, building of castles and visits to Edo (Addison et al, 2011). The most effective rule was the routine...