The Rule of Shoguns in Japan (1192-1868) Part 3

Domestically, his son and grandson continued his work, but in terms of foreign policy, the country (Sakoku) was gradually closed off from 1623 onwards. The Christian uprising of Shimabara in 1637/38 triggered the persecution of Christians and served as the reason for the closure: the Japanese were no longer allowed to leave the country, the Portuguese were banned from entering the country in 1639; henceforth only Dutch people were allowed to land in Japan. In 1641 they were assigned the artificial island of Dejima in the port of Nagasaki as their exclusive residence, from where they traded until 1854. Their stay or access to them was strictly regulated, but the Dutch trading post proved to be an important base through which knowledge from Europe reached Japan and knowledge about Japan reached Europe. Around the middle of the 17th In the 19th century an economic boom began and an urban-bourgeois culture emerged. During the Genroku period (1688-1704), under the learned Shogun Tsunayoshi (5th Shogun 1680–1709), the country experienced a new scientific and artistic boom, but also a fiscal setback; Coin deterioration led to price increases, which v. a. met the rural population and the lesser samurai. Arai Hakuseki (* 1657, † 1725), advisor to the two following shoguns, tried unsuccessfully to restore the shattered finances, including. by restricting foreign trade. Also that of Tokugawa Yoshimune (8th Shogun 1716–45) initiated Kyōhō reforms, which emphasized the primacy of agriculture over the money economy, did not bring about any lasting improvement. In order to be able to lead their representative existence in the castle towns (Japanese Jōka-machi), the samurai living on the tax in kind (measured in rice) had to exchange it for money, which made them increasingly dependent on rich, but politically powerless traders – a fundamental contradiction that deepened until the end of the shogunate. That should be in the tenure of the still underage Shogun Tokugawa Ienari ruling Matsudaira Sadanobu (* 1759, † 1829) are countered with another reform work, but the Kanse reforms only had short-term success. Economic and financial crises, however, did not rule out the heyday of literature, science and the fine arts, whereby in addition to the Kamigata area (with the merchant town of Osaka and the aristocratic Kyōto), Edo also became more and more a cultural center, in which the Kabuki theater and others. urban bourgeois arts and literature experienced an upswing.

With the Tenpo reforms, the shogunate government under Mizuno Tadakuni (* 1794, † 1851) tried again to put a stop to the economic and financial crisis at the end of the 1830s. But the appearance of ships from western nations added further problems. Since the end of the 18th century there had been repeated clashes with members of foreign states on the Japanese coasts before the Americans appeared for the first time in front of Uraga (the “throat of Edo”) in 1846 and demanded the opening of Japan according to ezinereligion. But first Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry (* 1794, † 1858), who had already appeared in 1853 with four American gunboats in the Bay of Edo, forced the Treaty of Kanagawa (March 31, 1854) and the opening of on his second visit to this bay with a larger squadron two ports for trade and supply. Similar treaties were soon concluded with other states (with Prussia on January 24, 1861); however, the trade agreement with the USA (1858) caused a serious domestic crisis. When the Tairō (highest function below the Shogun) Ii Naosuke (* 1815, † 1860) Tokugawa Yoshinobu (Sino-Japanese Keiki, * 1837, † 1913) passed over to the Shogunate leadership (1858), the situation worsened. The bloody arguments also fell Ii Naosuke victim. Gradually a group prevailed that wanted to bring about a reorganization of the domestic political situation under the emperor reinstated in his old rights. Maintaining the already imperfect isolation of the country had meanwhile been recognized by many as impracticable, especially after the bombardment of Kagoshima (1863) and Shimonoseki (1864) by European warships, which was provoked by Japanese action. Proponents of radical reforms took the opportunity when emperor and shogun changed in 1867: The combined military power of the fiefs Satsuma, Chōshū and Tosa seized the imperial capital Kyoto in 1867 and forced the now appointed Tokugawa Yoshinobu (15th Shogun 1867/68) to return government power to the Emperor Mutsuhito (called Meiji-Tennō; Tennō 1867-1912); the Shogun offered his resignation in November 1867. On January 3, 1868, the emperor formed a provisional government; he accepted the resignation of the shogun.

The Rule of Shoguns in Japan 3