• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Outcome of a Political and Social Breakdown

Extracts from this document...


Kenny Dang January 26, 2003 The Outcome of a Political and Social Breakdown The resent of the merchants towards the Tokugawa, the lack of power of the samurai and daimyo classes, and the shogun's fear of being overthrown all played leading roles in the declination of feudalism in Japan before the arrival of Commodore Perry in 1853. Japan during the period of the Tokugawa believed in Confucianism. Confucius stressed hard work and because merchants thrived off of the hard work of others in order to become wealthier, they were hated and disliked by the other classes in Tokugawa society. This caused the merchant class to resent Tokugawa society and support anyone interested in overthrowing the shogun (Leyasu) and the Tokugawa all in all. This was one of the reasons feudalism was declining before the arrival of Commodore Perry in 1853. ...read more.


And since the Edo period in Japan was quite peaceful, there were no wars to be fought and samurais no longer had ways to earn money. This meant that the samurais would have to borrow money from merchants and be in debt as well. "The decline of the samurai weakened the Bakufu, because they occupied an important position in the entire feudal system." (East Meets West Vol. II - Alberto C. Morales) Since the samurais and daimyos had no money, they had very little power, therefore causing feudalism to decline. "We can gaze upon the lords, but looking at the shogun will make you blind and the emperor could not be seen at all." (Bob Fitzpatrick) Because feudalism is a social structure in which people were placed in certain classes with certain rights and duties, it declined in Japan during the ...read more.


(Bob Fitzpatrick) The shogun made sure the power-hungry daimyos would not have the power and wealth to be able to overthrow him. This in turn would backfire because anti-Tokugawa and shogun clans/groups will arise. "While social tensions had indeed developed, perhaps most severely among impoverished samurai and peasants, and many imperfections and illogicalities strained the social and political system, the samurai Confucian ethic still pervaded the nation, and the whole Tokugawa political structure still stood firm." (East Asia - Craig, Reischauer, Fairbank) This breakdown of a once balanced social structure in Japan promoted conflict within the nation long before the arrival of Commodore Perry. Because of this internal breakdown it made it easier for foreigners to establish trade relations and it made it easier to influence the Japanese religiously and politically. The shogun's acts of reducing power of the daimyos and samurai, the resent of the merchants towards the Tokugawa society ultimately caused the decline in feudalism in Japan. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. What were the reasons for the decline of the power of the Samurai in ...

    The Edu period followed the Tokugawa period and it is primarily known as a period of peace because the ending of the Tokugawa period was marked by the enforcement of peace throughout the land. This peace can be seen as a particularly major reason why the position of the Samurai declined.

  2. Tea Master, Samurai and Teacher

    Just from these two quotes it is easy to see the relationship between being a Tea Master and a teacher. "A student once asked his teacher, 'No matter what lies ahead, how do I teach?' The teacher quickly replied, 'You teach through daily life.'

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work