the economical problems of the samurai - late tokugawa

Topics: Edo period, Samurai, Tokugawa shogunate Pages: 4 (1544 words) Published: May 29, 2014
 During Edo era the society was rigidly divided into classes based upon Confucian values. At the very top was placed the emperor, considered a heir of the god Amaterasu, next under him was placed the sogun, the actual leader, which was invested by the emperor to protect Japan, he was followed by daymio and samurai, military figures that were placed in charge of administering the country, followed by farmers and artisans. Merchants, accumulated great wealth in cities like Edo, Osaka, and Kyoto. In this structure the samurai class, was forbidden from engaging in profitable trade or farming, the peasant’s role was to produce basic foodstuffs. Peasants were to give a good portion of their products in tax to support the ruling classes. Artisans used their skills to craft functional and decorative items. And merchants, placed at the bottom because it was considered that they had money without doing any actual work, offered goods that could not be acquired through any other means. The early Tokugawa period, in spite of it's late counterpart, was characterized by economical growth which leaded to an economical surplus. This economical surplus was transformed in money and with it were brought non-food items. Bob Tadashi Wakayashi said that exactly this fact was the problem of the late Tokugawa period. There was a limit for the consumption of rice because the people would consume exactly what they need and for this reason it's price was cheap. But regarding the extravagances and luxury with which the samurai were getting used to, those ones were not limited because of their will to buy more, so the prices for non food items were getting expensive. “Our true problem is the high price of goods and services........We can eat rice to fill our stomachs; there is a limit to how much we can consume. This is not true with the other commodities. We continually seek the fashionable or the novel, and there is no limit to our desire to possess, or...
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