English Comp I
The Bakumatsu Era was a crucial period of Japanese history at the end of the Tokugawa Era or Edo Period. It was a period of war and anarchy that was brought about by the introduction of western culture and constant battles between the imperialists and the loyalists. During this time and throughout history, the samurai or bushi played an integral part in Japanese everyday life. As time progressed, we notice that many of them worked for the government and others worked and plotted against it. In a sense the samurai brought about their own demise. Throughout this period, the samurai maintained order and morality and did so with their code of conduct that was highly influenced by philosophies of Buddism and Zen. The last and fifteenth shogunate, which marked the most pivitol point in Japanese history, was administered by Tokugawa Yoshinobu who came into conflict with the emperor. During this time Japan underwent tremendous social, mental, and physical changes. Their culture was changing, their believes and priorities were different and this lead to a series of unprecedent events that forever changed Japan.
The system of government that was established in Japan during the Tokugawa Era was highly complex. At the very head of hierarichal ladder, there were the Emperors of Japan and the several aristocrats (elders) in Kyoto. They were considered the “figurehead” de jure rulers and they resembled the Queen of England in what is now called a constitutional monarchy, having very little influence and say in the government. The reasons for this was that they were considered “too holy” to be political leaders. Under the emperors, the next hierachy level were the shogun. They were “absolute rulers” and had national authority. The daimyo were local rulers, subordinate to the shogun and were comparable to the
Bibliography: 1) Eisenstadt, S.N. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 98 2) Hoover, Thomas. Zen Culture. New York: Random House, 1977. 3) Reischauer, Edwin O. The Japanese. Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo, Japan: Charles E. Tuttle Company Inc, 1977. 4) Sansom, George. A History of Japan 1615-1667. Standford, California: Stanford University Press, 1963. 5) Watsuki, Nobuhiro. Rurouni Kenshin. SPE Visual Works Inc, 1994. 6) Zwick, Edward. The Last Samurai. Warner Bros Pictures, 2003