The transformation of Japanese society under the Tokugawa shoguns
Ieyasu was the first Tokugawa shogun to be in power. He worked hard to restore stability to Japan and encouraged foreign trade which brought in foreign materials and food into society. Ieyasu set rules in Japanese society that were: according to your place on the social ladder you must wear and eat certain things. When Iemitsu became shogan in 1632 Japan’s society began to change immensely Iemitsu created a system called 'alternate attendance' the purpose of this system was to keep the daymio under control. The system was that every 6 months the Daymio must march with their samurai armies to Edo. For the other 6 months of the year their family must stay in Edo. This kept the daymio finacially powerless. On the other hand he merchants around Japan who were very low in the class system began to get more and more business from the people who travelled to Edo for the ‘alternate attendance’. They started to become quite wealthy and wanted to be respected in society so they decided to start dressing and eating like samurai and daymio. Iemitsu's inforced rules about travelling, passports were needed, rules monitored who came in and out, farmers were not allowed to travel as they had to continue working and if someone was caught without a passport they faced serious punishment. Iemitsu felt extremely threatened by the christians throughout Japan as the religion was quite foreign to him. There was rebellion against the shogan in 1637 called the Shimabara rebellion. The groups that joined the rebellion were: farmers, samurai, Christians. The rebellion was against the harsh taxes that left people starving and lasted for four months. As a result of the rebellion Iemitsu descided to banish all foreigners from Japan and slaughter many Christians. Iemitsu decided to isolate Japan from the rest of the world. Travel was restricted from japan and any Japanese out of Japan at that point faced the penalty of death. All ships able of sailing on the seas were destroyed. No ships of European origin were allowed in. Therefore Iemitsu gained more power as he didn’t have any Europeans meddling in the way he runs the country and didn’t have the threat of Europeans taking over.