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Explain which early Tokugawa reforms did the most to stabilize Japan and perpetuate Tokugawa rule - Essay Example

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There are two sets of reforms during the early Tokugawa period, which were important stabilizers of Japan and the Tokugawa rule. The first set of reforms is related with the social order, which was established in Japan throughout that period. It is also related with the organization of society and the distribution of political power in the country…
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Explain which early Tokugawa reforms did the most to stabilize Japan and perpetuate Tokugawa rule
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Explain which early Tokugawa reforms did the most to stabilize Japan and perpetuate Tokugawa rule

Download file to see previous pages... At the beginning of the Tokugawa period, Japan was shaken by internal disorder and social unrest. In order to restore stability and order, the Tokugawa rulers established a social hierarchy, based on the principles of Confucianism (Hunter; Murphy). Many samurai were disposed of their land, which was concentrated in the hands of the daimyo. The daimyo were put under the direct control of the Shogunate. The land owners were located in the city of Edo, and this social organization was based on inherited position rather than personal merits. It was horizontal in the sense that at the top there was the Emperor, as well as the Shoguns and the daimyo. The lower layer consisted of samurai, followed by peasants, craftsman and merchants.
The social structure during the Edo period was an interesting way for the Tokugawa to stabilize the country and to maintain order. The system was elitist in a way that the resources of the country were vested in the hands of very few people, which were under the control of the Shogunate. This hereditary form of autocracy prevented economic and social disputes and riots over land or economic predominance. The social order established by the Tokugawa was a centralized form of governance, which carried some of the features of European feudalism. Another reform, which created stability during the Tokugawa period, was Japan’s transition from trade openness to seclusion. At the beginning of the Tokugawa rule, foreign trade with Europe and the Americas was restricted (Hunter, Murphy). The reason for this major shift in external relations was the Tokugawa fear from the spread of Catholicism in Europe. Although some historians argue that the restrictions on foreign trade, imposed by Tokugawa set the beginning of Japan’s economic isolation, they were also a form of protectionism which made Japan impervious to foreign influence. Explain which Meiji era reforms did the most to transform Japan into a modern nation and major military power The Meiji period was a benchmark in Japanese modern history, and marked the beginning of Japan’s ascent to economic and military supremacy. Economically, the Meiji period marked a tremendous shift from the policy of isolation and trade protectionism, which was characteristic of the Tokugawa rule. During the Meiji period, Japan opened its economic borders, and adopted open market economy, based on the Western capitalist model (Hunter, Murphy). The rationale behind the adoption of free market economy was to boost independent entrepreneurs, which at the time were the main component of the Japanese private sector. Open market economy increased competition and industrialization, which quickly transformed Japan from economically secluded nation, to one of Asia’s rising economic powers. The implementation of open economy allowed Japan to borrow expertise, knowledge and technology from the developed West, which soon made the country Asia’s leading manufacturer of goods. Other economic reforms included improved banking system and the adoption of unified national currency – the yen. The transformation of Japan in the Meiji period continued with the modernization of the military sector. This period saw the government’s effort to create a small, but well trained army. Army conscription was made compulsory for all men. Japan exchanged military expertise and training with developed nations such as France and USA. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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