Japan Returns to Isolation

Describe the feudalism in Japan, life in Tokugawa Japan, and contact between Europe and Japan in the 16th century.

Feudalism is a uncentralized social and political form in which a monarchy tries to control the realm through agreements and settlements with its leaders.Japan’s feudalism was from the 12th through 19th centuries, and it was an important period for its history. Families and clans decreased the emperor’s power, and also in different social classes. In 1336 A.D, a civil war broke. The Emperor and Shogun couldn’t do anything, lost all their political powers. Samurai’s and daimyos fought for their land. Farmers had to pay daimyos to protect their land, and they are able to farm in it.


Japan's Closed Country Policy
Japan was a vary self-sufficante country, and they didn't want help from anybody else. It was their choice to be in isolation, they executed their plan by sealing all of the Japanese borders in 1639, nobody could enter nor leave. One sea port did remain open to foreign trade, but the only people allowed were the Dutch and Chinese. The Spanish and Portugese had been exiled,, and the English left on their own. This isolation from the world would last on for more than 200 years.


The daimyo in Japan were the first ones to establish this sense of feudalism, them being the
powerful lords. The Japanese feudalism resembled the European feudalism very much, since the daimyo also built strong castles and created small armies with their samurais & rival daimyo fought for territories, the same way European lords did. During life in Tokugawa Japan, the country had 250 years of stability and prosperity. During this time, population rose, due to the fact that farmers were producing more food. Society in Tokugawa Japan was very well structured: the highest rank was held by the emperor, although the true ruler was de shogun. Next, were the daimyo, and below him were the samurai warriors. According to Confucian values, farmers were more important than merchants. However, during this time, merchants become more important as the economy expanded. By this time, Japan started turning into an urban society, leaving the rural behind.

Europeans started arriving to Japan during the 16th century. At first, Japanese welcomed these traders and missionaries from Portugal and other countries. The first ones to arrive were the portuguese, in 1543, bringing with them items such as clocks, eyeglases, firearms, tobacco and other unfamiliar stuff to the Japanese. This helped the Japanese, who at first bought weapons from the Europeans but later started producing their own. By the mid 1500s, however, Christian missionaries began to arrive to Japan. The Japanese welcomed the missionaries because they were good for business. These missionaries role were seeking to convert Japanese to Christianity, and were becoming successful. This success intimidated Tokugawa Ieyasu, who later banned Christianity and planned on ridding all Christians away. Years later, all Japan borders were closed and the nation went into ''isolation'', in an attempt to drive away Western Ideas.

By: Michelle Peleltier

Feudalism started in Japan in the 12th century. The period of feudalism known as Sengoku, was different then the feudalism in Europe, because in Japan they created castles, small armies of samurai on horses and later added foot soldiers with guns to their ranks. On the other hand, a very important daimyo of Japan was Tokugawa Ieyasu, because he united Japan. Then he introduced his own dynasty. In his dynasty, the emperor had the top rank, but the actual ruler was the shogun, then the peasants and artisans, then the merchants. The culture under the Tokugawa was based on ceremonial noh dramas or tragic themes. People attended Kabuki (theater) and people read haiku.

In the 16th century, European started to come to Japan. Portuguese’s sailors hoped to involve themselves in the Japan’s trade with Southeast Asia and China. Portuguese brought their technology to Japan such as clocks. They also bought part of their goods. The Japanese were very pleased with the Europeans goods, because they wanted to expand their markets. The Japanese’s started to purchase weapons from Portuguese’s. After a while, Christian missionaries went to Japan and about 300,000 Japanese’s were converted to Christians. Many Japanese’s rebel form Christian and shogun was very mad and said that that was not the religion or rebellion so they started killing or kicking out European missionaries.

After Civil War destroyed the feudal system of Japan in 1467, Japan formed a new feudal system. In this system, a daimyo, or warrior-chieftains, were the ones that had the real power, not the emperor. Similar to that of the European Feudal system, they built castles and established small armies of samurai on horses. An important daimyo, Tokugawa Ieyasu, created a dynasty that would unify Japan for two and a half centuries. Japanese culture also went through some changes, they had dramas called noh that reflected mainly on tragic themes and they read a new type of poetry called haiku, which is a 5-7-5 syllable, 3-line verse.


Although Japan had problems organizing their country, they still let Europeans come to the country to exchange goods. The Japanese were very interested in the cannons and muskets from the Portuguese to improve their combats with rivals. However, the Japanese felt that the Europeans overstayed their welcome when the Europeans and missionaries were converting the Japanese into christians. Ieyasu was afraid of this religious rebellion that he banned Christianity and was focused in executing the Japanese people that converted and they removed the Europeans out of their country.

By: Laura

New Japanese feudalism was controlled by warrior called daimyos during Sengoku period, which lasted from 1467 to 1568. Samurais offered peasants protection if they were loyal to them. The new Japanese feudalism and European feudalism were similar. Castles were built and samurai armies were created by the daimyos. In Tokugawa Japan the population rose, farmers produced more crops, people had a sense of stability, prosperity and protection. The society was very organized. But, the most benefited were the merchants and wealthy, since farmers had to pay high taxes and face difficulties. Because of this may farmers left their lives and moved to the towns and cities. Japan began to change from rural to urban, around the mid-1700s. Edo became the largest city in the world with a population of 1 million people. Even though traditional culture was still alive, new styles of art, literature, and music progressed among people.

In the 16th century Europeans began to go to Japan. Japanese welcome missionaries and traders from European countries, they introduced new technologies and ideas. Japanese happy to expand their markets, they accepted the goods Portuguese brought to them from Europe. Daimyos used Portuguese arms as a model to produce their own to kill their enemies. Christian missionaries began converting Japanese to Christianity. Since so many Japanese converted, Ieyusu feared that people forget their Japanese traditional beliefs. Ieguzu banned Christianity causing a repression on his successors. European missionaries were killed and Christianity eliminated in Japan.

by: Vicente Gomez
The new Japanese feudalism known as the Sengoke or ´´warring states´´, lasted from 1467 to 1568. Daimyo or powerfull samurais, built fortified castles and created small armies of samurai on horses. They offered protection in teturn for loyalty. The most significant daimyo, Tokugawa Leyasu completed the goal that Osa Nobunaga first started; the unification of Japan. The following two and a half centuries, Japan grew in a rate never seen before. The emperor was just a figurehed, the actual ruler was the shogun, who was the Supreme Military Commander. Then follow the daimyo and bellow him the samurai warrior. Then follow the peasant and artisants; they faced more difficulties than any other class, and had to pay a high amount of taxes, so they abandoned farm life for the expanding towns and cities. This made Japan shift from a rural to an urban society. Edo became perhaps the largest city in the world, with and estimated of 1 milion. Finally at the bottom of the Takugaw society, Merchants, surprisingly became a key factor
for Japanese expanding economy.
Europeans began trading with Japan in the 16 century. Since every daimyo sought an advantage over the rivals, they opened the door to the European´s new technologies and ideas. The Portuquese brought clock, eyeglasses and tabacco as well as muskets and cannons. Also christians missioniers started converting Japanese to chritianity. They converted about 300,00 people and even influence in politics. Ieyasu feared that this increasing religion would end up the Japanese traditional beliefs. he focused on ridding his country of all christians. Ieyasu died in 1616, but repression of christianity continued off.

Minerva Espejo
Feudalism in Japan started in 1467 when a civil war ended Japan’s old feudal system and its centralized rule. Under this new feudalism powerful samurai were now called daimyo meaning ‘’great name’’ and they controlled peasants by offering them protection in return of their loyalty. There were changes under this new feudal system, in part it was much like the European one. The Daimyo created strong castles and formed small samurai armies on horses and also foot soldiers with muskets for determining their ranks. This period also known as Sengoku ended in 1568 when after several battles between daimyo over territory, the most brutal one, Oda Nobugaga defeated the others and went after the imperial capital Kyoto. After Nobunaga’s death and failed attempt of unifying the empire, General Toyotomi Hideyoshi continued his rule and his mission, he unified the empire.

Life in Tokugawa Japan gave signs of stability, prosperity, and isolation. Although farmers had miserable lives, were pissed off by the high taxes, and the only ones becoming richer were the merchants and the wealthy… agriculture prospered and population rose. Anyhow their culture blossomed. They had a very structured society and had evident changes in their drama, art, and literature. International contact in Japan became extremely limited especially because of their isolation state. At first Japanese doors allowed trade with Portugal, Spain, and other European countries, but after they saw how their religion and culture was being affected by Christian missionaries and that rebellions rose they decided to stop trade with Portugal and Spain. However, they continued relationships with the Dutch and Chinese people, meanwhile the English left by their own will.

By: Liango Liu
During the year 1467 A.D., a civil war occured in Japan, destroying Japan´s old feudal system in the process, and creating a newer but still similar type of feudal system in Japan. In Japan´s old feudal system, the shoguns, who were powerful military commanders, held the most power in Japanese society, but in this new Japanese feudal system, it were the daimyos that held the most power, while shoguns started to lose their power. The daimyos were powerful samurai or feudal lords that seized control of feudal estates, in which the daimyo offered peasants and many others protection and security in return for their loyalty, granting the daimyos power over some territories. This new feudal system, like its predecessor, resembles the Middle Ages from Europe in many ways. One way is that like the feudal lords in Europe, the daimyos built fortified castles and created small armies in order to defend their territory. The daimyos also competed with their rival daimyo for territory, much like the Middle Ages' feudal lords. With many daimyo fighting against each other, Japan was seperated and disorder followed, until the daimyo Tokugawa Ieyasu finally unified most of Japan by defeating his rival daimyo and gaining the respect of others, creating the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan.

During the Tokugawa Shogunate, Japan enjoyed through much prosperity, stability, and later isolation for two and a half centuries. Their culture flourished greatly during the Tokugawa Shogunate, allowing rich and poor people alike to enjoy from it. The samurai attended noh dramas, the haiku was developed in the fields of literature, and many townspeople attended kabuki theaters, among others cultural developments. Also, during this time Japan welcomed the trade with the Europeans, obtaining items such clocks and tobacco, as well as as muskets and cannons which the daimyo used against their rivals. However, since the year 1639, Japan had closed established a "close country policy" with Europe. The main reason, that I understand, behind Japan's isolation was because of the European missionaries and their success in spreading their ideas. This upset Ieyasu because the European missionaries scorned the Japanese traditional beliefs, and sometimes interfered with Japan's politics. Therefore, Ieyasu and his successors started persecuting the missionaries out of Japan and eliminating those foreign ideas. Since then, they greatly limited trade with foreign countries, except with the Chinese and the Dutch, in order to prevent foreign ideas from entering Japan again, ending most commercial contacts with Europe, leaving only one port open to foreign trade, sealing Japan's borders and only allowing European merchants to trade with Japan. This, eventually, led to Japan's isolation.

Made by: Luis Liu
Japan is often very formal and smooth society in which this is so true in the future. The course of feudalism in that country is from the 12th to the 19th century in which set some important period in Japan. The rule of this movement were by regional families and clans, and the head of all that were the ‘Shogun’ as we know they invented different culture and seek for power to rule all the territory. Another great period was the Tokugawa period in where it was a great period of flourishing where the lord took care of the people and never neglected to protect the country. During this time Japan enjoyed the best stability, prosperity, but isolated.

The society of this vast empire was structured by the emperor that was the top of all, but in the reality it was just a figure, the actual ruler where always the Shogun because they hold the supreme military command, then the daimyo come and below it the landholding samurai. With all these organized government they began to populate all over Japan. During the 16th contact with Europe were very good business because Japan were interested mostly on the European muskets and cannon in which made a good business to Europe to intervener but later on Japanese began to stop trading with them because the successful of the Christian missionaries upset Tokugawa Ieyasu in which this meant trouble to them to convert to Christian and this broke the rule of the Tokugawa.

During the 12th through 19th century, feudalism took place in Japan. A civil war broke out in Japan, the emperor remained in the office but he was nothing more than figure heads, he had no real power. Their feudal system was similar to that of Europe. Landowning warriors better known as samurai, they pledge their loyalty to lords known as daimyos, and fought to protect their lands. Also farmers had to pay taxes for the right to farm their lands; in exchange they used their samurais to protect them.

Under the Tokugawa shoguns, Japan enjoyed of stability, prosperity, and isolation. The merchant class prospered a lot during this time, population rose, they produced more food, and in general they prospered. The emperor was just a figurehead, the actual ruler was the supreme military commander, and below him was the powerful landholding samurai, samurai warriors was next, and peasants and artisans fallowed them. In Japan Confucianism influenced society. During the 16th century, Europeans started coming to Japan. The Portuguese brought with them many unfamiliar items from Europe, like clocks, eyeglasses, tobacco, and many other items. The daimyo started to be interested in muskets and cannons and started to buy weapons and soon they began their own production. Christian missionaries started to arrived to Japan, at first they accepted them because they associated them with muskets and European goods that they wanted to buy. The success of the missionaries upset Tokugawa; he thought that that could bring problems to traditional Japanese beliefs. In 1637, uprising of some 30,000 peasants shook the Tokugawa shogunate. Many of the rebels were Christian, so they decided that was the root of the rebellion, after that Christian started to be persecuted, missionaries were killed, Japanese were forced to demonstrate their faith to Buddhism, and eventually this eliminated Christianity in Japan. After this most commercial contact with Europeans ended.

By Kimberly Dominguez

First of all feudalism is a decentralized structure in which monarchs tried to control the land of the realms by agreements with regional leaders. Japan feudalism started after a civil war in which the emperor stil remained but was just no more than the figure, Japans feudal system was kind of the same as Europe in which farmers had to pay taxes to farm the land and recieved protection of samurais in exhange while samurais pledge loyalty to the Daimyos who where the lords in Japan system.

This period was also a period of isolation for japan it created the climax to their culture. It developed and rose at a very constant rate as the farmers helped the growth in agriculture also helped the population to grow. Japan at first had established trade routes with Portugal Spain and england but as they saw how this was affecting there culture they stoped the trades with spain and portugal and england leaving by its own will. How ever they kept the trade going with China and the Dutch.

By Ricardo Baio

The period of feudalism in Japan took place from the 12th through 19th centuries, and it marked an important period in the country's history. The rule of feudal Japan by regional families and clans, as well as by the shogun (war lords) created a different sort of culture marked by a decrease in the power of the emperor as well as indifference in the ruling class. Feudalism in Japan can be sorted into periods named for the ruling shogun families or shogunates. The first period of feudalism in Japan started with the Kamakura Period, which began in 1192. The next period of feudalism in Japan was the Azuchi-Momoyama Period, which lasted from 1568 to 1600. During this short time, there was a reunification of the military and ruling parties of Japan.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License