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Old October 29th, 2012, 04:33 PM   #11

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One way Tokugawa Ieyasu weakened the lords was to burn down almost every castle in Japan that was not directly governed by the shogunate. This was perhaps necessary to neutralize any potential threats, but it is certainly very annoying for tourists.
Not entirely. While the Tokugawa did demolish some castles throughout Japan, it was their policy of castle management that really strengthened their authority (along with sankin kotai). Relocating damiyo to certain castles and ordering the construction or repair of others were vital techniques used by the Tokugawa.
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Old October 30th, 2012, 10:11 AM   #12

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Ok another question that strikes me.

In the Tokugawa period the captial of Edo expands because the various Daimyo are being summoned and forced to reside for part of the year in the captial with theri appropriate entourages and staff.

How exactly was this financed? Such a large migration of people would have put quite a strian on local resources and abilities, did the travelling Daimy finance themselves out of their own pocket and holdings to support themselves in the capital, neccessitiating surely a considerable level of saving before hand? Or were theire stipends and grants given out by the Shogunate? If the latter is it coming from local sources or is it being drawn on from a greater network of lands etc? Surely it would ammount to a considerable amount of money.
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Old October 30th, 2012, 03:11 PM   #13

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Ok another question that strikes me.

In the Tokugawa period the captial of Edo expands because the various Daimyo are being summoned and forced to reside for part of the year in the captial with theri appropriate entourages and staff.

How exactly was this financed? Such a large migration of people would have put quite a strian on local resources and abilities, did the travelling Daimy finance themselves out of their own pocket and holdings to support themselves in the capital, neccessitiating surely a considerable level of saving before hand? Or were theire stipends and grants given out by the Shogunate? If the latter is it coming from local sources or is it being drawn on from a greater network of lands etc? Surely it would ammount to a considerable amount of money.
Sankin Kotai was mostly financed by the domains themselves, with each domain determining how to pay. For example, some larger domains did provide stipends for their traveling retainers. Others, forced their retainers to pay for everything.

This obviously led to retainers taking loans from merchants when necessary, thus throwing them into debt. It really was a system that could hinder a retainer from a much smaller domain.

On the other hand, some retainers actually made money while on alternate attendance.

Sometimes the financial hardship was so much that domains were granted reprieve from making the journey to Edo for periods of time. This usually involved some sort of fabrication on the domain's part, (i.e. illness) even though everyone knew that was not the reason.
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Old October 31st, 2012, 05:05 AM   #14

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Sankin Kotai was mostly financed by the domains themselves, with each domain determining how to pay. For example, some larger domains did provide stipends for their traveling retainers. Others, forced their retainers to pay for everything.

This obviously led to retainers taking loans from merchants when necessary, thus throwing them into debt. It really was a system that could hinder a retainer from a much smaller domain.

On the other hand, some retainers actually made money while on alternate attendance.

Sometimes the financial hardship was so much that domains were granted reprieve from making the journey to Edo for periods of time. This usually involved some sort of fabrication on the domain's part, (i.e. illness) even though everyone knew that was not the reason.

Did this sort of forced impoverishment, in some people's circumstances not cause great resentment?

Also how did this affect the relationship between merchants, who occupies a very low rung on the social scale, with those who in occupied the very top?
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Old November 4th, 2012, 07:23 PM   #15

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Also how did this affect the relationship between merchants, who occupies a very low rung on the social scale, with those who in occupied the very top?
I would imagine it increased their clout and practical power, even if they retained their lowly "status".

Couldn't merchants purchase Samurai status at certain points?
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Old November 6th, 2012, 08:02 AM   #16

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Im going to be difficult and say both?
Sorry, I didn't answer this.

After Nobunaga's death, the strategic situation was roughly as follows - the former Oda domain which Hideyoshi now controlled had reached "critical mass". They were far larger than any other individual domain, and only a concerted effort by an alliance of the strongest clans could mount a serious challenge.

Only a few clans were in a position to do this - the Mori and the Shimazu in the west, and the Takeda, Uesugi and Hojo in the east. But the Shimazu were in Kyushu, too far away to contribute, and the Mori didn't have a leader who was capable enough (old Motonari had died in 1571 and his successor was the passive and weak-willed Terumoto). In the east, the Takeda, Uesugi and Hojo were busy fighting each other to take advantage of the post-Oda succession issues, and not to mention that Hideyoshi had Tokugawa Ieyasu to mind his eastern border.

The lack of men of prestige should not be underestimated. As I mentioned, Mori Motonari was dead, but so were Takeda Shingen, Uesugi Kenshin and Hojo Ujiyasu. Their successors, respectively Katsuyori, Kagekatsu and Ujimasa weren't anywhere near the men that their fathers were. Katsuyori was unpopular amongst his retainers and had managed to lose at Nagashino and Kagekatsu was busy fighting his own little civil war, which dragged both the Takeda and the Hojo in.

The role of the court shouldn't be overlooked either. Although the court had no real power, it acted as an instrument of legitimacy. Anyone who controlled the court could claim to be the "legitimate" ruler of the country. Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin had received court titles, as had Nobunaga (who had taken the title of Daijo Daijin rather than Shogun). Hideyoshi controlled Kyoto and the lands around it, giving him a political advantage.

Ultimately, Hideyoshi would use the court to establish his own legacy - he took on the title of kampaku (Regent) and later taiko (retired regent), titles that were normally held by the aristocratic Fujiwara family - rather ironically, since Hideyoshi was unable to claim the Shogun title due to his peasant background.

When clans would not submit to him, Hideyoshi simply crushed them through sheer numbers. That fate befell the Shimazu and the Hojo - Hideyoshi invaded Kyushu and the Kanto plain with hundreds of thousands of men, and the clans fell while putting up only a token resistance (although the Shimazu won while heavily outnumbered, it couldn't last - the final battle of the campaign saw 5000 Shimazu against 170,000 invading troops).
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Old November 6th, 2012, 08:12 AM   #17

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Did this sort of forced impoverishment, in some people's circumstances not cause great resentment?

Also how did this affect the relationship between merchants, who occupies a very low rung on the social scale, with those who in occupied the very top?
Yes it did, but the domains didn't really have a choice. A failure to comply could have meant relocation to a smaller fief or worse. And as Edo had become the centre of culture of the period, it wasn't such a hardship in some respects. Edo was the place to be if you were anybody.

This wasn't the first time a situation like this had occurred though. During the Heian period, the noble (and theoretical) landowners spent more and more time in Kyoto, leaving the administration of their rural and remote holdings to stewards and their families. This led to the rise of hereditary steward clans, the shugo and jito, who would become the basis for the later daimyo of the Sengoku period. The Tokugawa prevented this by alternating the years in which daimyo spent in Edo, but also by stationing loyal clans in strategic locations where they would be in a position to intervene in any brewing trouble.

Merchants occupied an anomalous position, but not necessarily one unique to Japanese society. On the one hand, they were seen as parasites on society, but on the other, they had the cash. Samurai stipends were still paid in rice, and the fortunes of the domains could vary according to the harvest and the market price of rice. As the Edo period went on, the relative value of rice tended to fall, leaving the samurai poorer and poorer. A low level samurai might receive, say, 10 koku of rice as his stipend, but out of that, some was retained to eat, some to pay for his own retainers, and he had to finance his household from the remainder.

That, increasingly, led to merchants and even yakuza groups in the late Edo period gaining some hold over the samurai. A simple way for a merchant to advance his social class was to be adopted into a samurai family, in a mutually beneficial arrangement.
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