The Edo Period and Social Change Post #1

Tatel, Corey

Tokugawa Ieysu created a rigid social structure in Japan that created social change.

Tokugawa Ieysu created a rigid social structure in Japan that created social change. 

The Edo period was a period in Japan when the Tokugawa shogunate ruled over the country. The period began in 1603 with the rule of Tokugawa Ieyasu and concluded in1868. During this time span, Japan was characterized by economic growth, strict social order, isolationist policies, environmental protection policies, and societal appreciation of culture and art. There is no doubt that Ieyasu brought about a productive time period in Japanese history, but he did so by changing aspects of life in Japan. These changes led to changes in mindsets of Japanese people, in other words social change.

The Edo period followed the Warring States period in Japan, which was characterized by chaos. There was little political unification during the time period, and as a result there was little social order. When Tokugawa Ieyasu took over, he established a rigid social order and brought stability to Japan. It was nearly impossible for someone to change classes because the structure was so rigid. This is an example of social change because it changed the entire social structure of the country, and therefore the mindset of the people. Before the Edo period, people could easily change positions in the social order because there was political instability. If a new leader took power, new opportunities opened up for certain groups to move up in the social order. However, because the Edo period was characterized by stability under the shogun, people understood that they would not move in the social rankings. Those who were born as peasants understood that they would always be peasants and they knew their responsibilities and what was expected of them. This mindset was not previously present in Japan and it is a perfect example of the Edo period caused social change.