Warriors in Peace: the Economic Life of the Samurai Class in Tokugawa Japan

Topics: Samurai, Oda Nobunaga, Japan Pages: 13 (4502 words) Published: March 23, 2013
University of the philippines, baguio|

The warriors of Japanese history the samurai belongs to the upper class of the society. During the Warring States and before that samurai were used as killing machines ready to slay anyone who was against with their masters. But during this time of peace, samurai have no war to fight anymore. Despite their high status in the society their economic life is not proportional to it all. They only depended on the rice-stipend given to them by their daimyo and was produced by the farmers.|

Table of Contents
Short History of the Samurai2
Establishment of Tokugawa Japan3
The Economy4
The Samurai of Tokugawa Japan5
Change of Perspectives6
Social and political Position of the Samurai6
Role in the Economy9
Role in the Fall of Tokugawa11
Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 11

This paper aims to explain primarily the economic life of the samurai class during the Tokugawa Japan. Moreover this also covers the economic structure of the Tokugawa Japan as well as political and social feature, because discussing Japanese economy alone is impossible without covering some of the political and social facets of this country. To make this paper possible records and book archives were studied and analyze.

By studying this paper the colorful and vibrant everyday life of the samurai was discovered and what did they contribute to make the modern Japan possible. The life of the samurai was full of extremes from loyalty to the way of death, their economic life to their social status and other paradoxes of their life.

Reading this paper will help you to understand the long running history of the one of the most beautiful cultural achievement of the Japanese including their way of thinking and deep rooted sense of identity. Short History of the Samurai

Originally from the old Japanese word saburahi which means ‘to serve’ (Ikegami, 1995), samurai class emerged from the Heian period around ninth or tenth century when land became the most important asset and must be protected. There were three groups were the samurai class began. First, the protectors of the aristocratic family in urban areas which also served as police evolved into warriors. Next the kondei or ‘stalwart youth’ was bestowed by the government with power to protect their lands and borders from barbarians and lastly the private soldiers that were systematized to defend the shoēn or estates of the local elites against bandits or the government itself. Some families that established power developed military expertise and became regional forces (Andressen, 2002). Example of this was the early samurai family from the Heian period – Taira and Minamoto. The power of the samurai class became further recognized because the establishment of the Karakura peiod in 12th century by Yoritomo Minamoto. This was the first official government lead by the military shogun or by the shogunate which means literally ‘Barbarian-Subduing Generalissimo’ (Nakane, 1990). Yoritomo was able to rise up in power because he sought support from the samurai class then after usurping the power he created a semi centralized regime with the imperial court on the other side. These were the two power structures governing the medieval Japan but eventually the shogunate was able to monopolize the power whereas the emperor became a mere symbol. This lasted until the fall of Tokugawa in 1868 which was succeeded by the Meiji Restoration. Establishment of Tokugawa Japan

The period of Warring States in Japan was the time of chaos and political instability that eventually cause scrappy political and economic control. The shogunate loses their grip in power while the regional feudal lords arose and fought each other to be on top. One of these feudal lords was Oda Nobunaga from Owari. He...

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Ikegami, E. (1995). The Taming of the Samurai: Honorofic Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
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Nakane, C. & Oishi, S. (Eds.) (1990). Tokugawa Japan: The Social and Economic Antecedents
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