Japanese History Urban and Rural Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

To some degree, this may be considered a concession to peasants who were largely upset with their station in life as urban areas benefited more significantly from the economic expansion. There is little indication that prosperity was widespread among the peasant classes during the Tokugawa period. Other historical signs point to the real possibility that most farmers suffered during this period.

In fact, much of the economic woes for rural Japan at this time can be traced to developments that were taking place in the cities because of the still feudal organization of Japanese society. The daimyo were lords in the feudal sense; though their holdings varied, agricultural lands -- and taxes on those lands -- formed the basis of their wealth and power. Therefore, when the shogun made it law that each daimyo had to keep up a residence both in their own hometown as well as in Edo, and that the family of the daimyo had to stay in Edo in the absence of the lord, it put these theoretically autonomous daimyo in a difficult position. In addition to their families effectively being held hostage, there was an added economic pressure of having to keep up and maintain two residences with all the pomp and circumstance that these lords were accustomed to (Duiker and Spielvogel 632). Because Tokugawa Japan was still a feudal system, the costs that the lords incurred in this way were passed immediately on to the peasants who farmed their lands in the countryside in the form of higher taxes, up to 50% in some cases (Duiker and Spielvogel 635).

Under such economic conditions, it is not surprising that many popular uprisings occurred Japan's rural areas during this era. Social riots and uprisings were relatively common throughout the period among the peasant classes (Miyazaki 1). In many cases, this should be understood as all but historically inevitable. For peasant farmers facing decreases in rice prices (the staple crop for most farmers) and crippling taxes, social uprising would have seemed all the more appealing. More than that, however, the peasant classes in the country must have been at least obliquely aware of the increased affluence and consumption that was taking place in the cities. They would have heard tales of daimyo who kept two large estates -- never mind that this was required by the shogun. Stories of trade goods, new products for sale, and a merchant class of individuals who were succeeding despite not being a part of the aristocracy would have surely filtered their way into the countryside. Open rioting was really just inevtiable at this point. The reality is that the economic expansion that took place during the Tokugawa period was more beneficial to urbanites that it was to the rural peasant.

Conclusion: Economic Development in an Historical Perspective

Despite disparate effects on urban and rural economies, the Tokugawa was a period of dramatic economic change. From the start of the period and increased contact with Western powers, trade and commerce in Japan began an upswing. Feudal deregulation led to advances in manufacturing productivity as well as demand for consumable products. A merchant and artisan class -- a forerunner of a more established middle class -- began to develop at this point as well. By the end of the Tokugawa period, urban economies were much stronger, varied, and progressive than they had been at the start of the era. Positive changes were slower to occur among the rural peasantry, with increasing economic pressures leading to open riots in many cases. Ultimately, however, the progressive changes that occurred in the cities filtered their way into the countryside, improving productivity, education, and freeing the rural economy from its dependence on feudal lords. Ultimately this has been the lasting effect of the Tokugawa economic expansion: the dismantling of the feudal system that had dominated for centuries and the creation of a Japanese nation-state.

Works Cited

Duiker, William J. And Spielvogel, Jackson J. World History Volume I: To 1800. 2nd ed. London: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1998.

Griswold, Susan. "The Triumph of Materialism: The Popular Fiction of 18th-Century Japan." Journal of Popular Culture 29.1 (Summer 1995): 235-245.

Howell, David L. "Territoriality and Collective Identity in Tokugawa Japan." Daedalus 127.3 (Summer 1998): 105-132.

Keogh, Annette. "Oriental Translations: Linguistic Explorations into the Closed Nation of Japan." Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 45.2 (Summer 2004): 171-191.

Miyazaki, Katsunori.…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Japanese History Urban And Rural" (2006, November 06) Retrieved December 4, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/japanese-history-urban-and-rural-41993

"Japanese History Urban And Rural" 06 November 2006. Web.4 December. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/japanese-history-urban-and-rural-41993>

"Japanese History Urban And Rural", 06 November 2006, Accessed.4 December. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/japanese-history-urban-and-rural-41993

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Roles of Japanese Emperors 1863 1945

    Roles of Japanese Emperors 1863-1945 An Analysis of the Respective Roles of Japanese Emperors: 1863-1945 Today, Japan stands side by side with many of the Western nations of the world in terms of its political philosophy and free market economy, but it has not always been thus. In fact, many contemporary observers would be surprised at just how much political intrigue and maneuvering took place over the past century and a half

  • Chinese History Through Literature the Country of

    Chinese History Through Literature The country of China is one of the worlds oldest and for many centuries the country went heavily unchanged although the power moved from one familial dynasty to another. By 1919, the population of China was fundamentally fed up by the oppressive government and demanded reforms. The attempts made by the last emperor were too little too late and by October of that year, the rebellion of

  • Postwar Japanese Economy

    Post-World War II Japan: A Nation in Transition Devastated by the Allies in World War II, Japan has emerged as one of the world's most economically and technologically advanced societies today. Some observers have suggested that the "Japanese miracle" was the result of a collusion between the government and industry to prosecute economic growth through a series of subsidies and favorable business climates, while others maintain this explosive growth was due

  • History Showing the Living Conditions Social Behaviors and Industrialization...

    history showing the living conditions, social behaviors and industrialization in Mississippi, comparing white and black issues from a period from 1944 -1964. Mississippi 1944 TO1964 To understand Mississippi, you have to understand this.... The figures and charts and diagrams which point out Mississippi's economic position do not mean a damn thing to us. Most Mississippians will turn their backs on the facts and say, "Well, you don't see many people retiring

  • Japanese Political Economy Has Been

    The new rebuilt and equipped factories were net superior to those of America or other victorious states. Demographic factor more recent internal factor that tends to influence Japan's economy is of demographic nature. However still increasing, the population of Japan is increasing at a lower rate than that of a decade ago. Not only the reduced birth rate contributes to the demographic decrease, but also the more and more obvious

  • History of the Pacific Northwest

    History of the Pacific Northwest [...] how representative the lives of Mary Arkwright Hutton, Annie Pike Greenwood, and Teiko Tomita were considering the racial and class tensions of the twentieth century. Race and class have been important influences throughout the Pacific Northwest's long history. In fact, some of the most racist laws in America were in effect in the Pacific Northwest at the beginning of the twentieth century. Race

  • Bathroom Sanitation System and Urban Life Fast Pace

    History Of Sanitation In our present lives, in hi-technology living spaces or homes, most of us spend our days indoors. Commonly, a home physically means an indoor place, inside space, a room, an apartment, a mobile home such as trailer or van or a structure that has a roof and walls strong enough to protect human beings from unpredictable danger such as intruders or natural disasters. The idea of constructing a

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved