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The Downfall of the Tokugawa Shogunate - Thesis Example

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It was founded in 1600 and became the most enduring shogunate during the period of feudalism. Tokugawa Ieyasu created a rigid class structure where in the samurai and the shogun ruled the peasants. However, this…
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The Downfall of the Tokugawa Shogunate

Download file to see previous pages... Shogun had decided to close Japan to the West. However, forced by various situations, Tokugawa Shogun was pushed to terminate the directive and open Japan to the West. This was a definite sign that Shogun was irresolute.2 However, besides that there were numerous other reasons behind the collapse of the Tokugawa Shogun. The Shogun’s power and influence was weakening. The power of Shogun over a large number of Daimyo had already declined by 1862. Commodore Perry of the United States pushed Shogun to allow Western powers into Japan.3 The Emperor requested the presence of the Shogun to Kyoto in 1863 and compelled him to agree to an imperial directive to expel the Western powers from Japan. After a year, the Shogun was again sent for Kyoto, where he was forced to consent that sooner or later the Emperor would integrate the daimyo with their realm.4 The daimyos of Echzaw, Choshu, and Satsuma were also admitted as Imperial counselors. In 1866, the Emperor ordered the Shogun to chastise Choshu but the Shogun himself was overpowered by Choshu. From then on internal problems emerged which led to internal conflicts and uprisings and finally on the 9th of November 1867 Shogun decided to leave his post.5 This was the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the launching of Meiji Restoration and Japan’s modernization.
Throughout their regime Tokugawa Shoguns attempted to build and strengthen their own influence and authority. They exerted their greatest effort to keep the power in their hands. Unfortunately, they failed to do so. There were foreign intrusion and internal problems and conflicts which led to the gradual weakening of the Shoguns’ power. This brought about the eventual downfall. As argued by B.R. Chatterji, “Probably no contemporary European society was more civilized and polished. But it was not a living, growing organism. It had to change and its rules did not desire change.”6 (Chaurasla 16)
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