Tokugawa Iemitsu's Influence In Japan

1562 Words7 Pages
In the seventeenth century, Japan was recovering from the Warring States period, a period of war and strife. The Tokugawa clan, after seizing power at the start of the century, soon embraced isolationism as their social policy, a policy that historians later called “sakoku,” or “closed country” policy. Under sakoku policy, Japanese natives were forbidden to leave the country unlicensed, and foreign trade was restricted, with European trade cut out entirely (Ohno). Tokugawa Iemitsu installed the policy due to the growing Christian population in Japan, as a way to limit its influence. Sakoku policy in the seventeenth century largely succeeded in preventing Europeans from becoming involved in their country by reducing the religious influence of…show more content…
After Ieyasu's death, his descendant, Tokugawa Iemitsu, enacted the Tokugawa Edict of 1635, an edict that began the seclusion of Japan. The edict forbade Japanese ships or people from leaving the country, as well as ordered a direct investigation into any Christian places of learning or worship (Lu 221-222). Yukihiro Ohashi, professor at Waseda University in Tokyo, writes the following about the anti-Christian edicts:
The Christian prohibition was enforced because quite simply, in the eyes of the Bakufu, the Christians posed a threat. The established view holds that the Christian threat was twofold: firstly there was the fear of the 'colonisation' of Japan through the military might of Portugal and Spain on whom the Christian missionaries were seen to rely, and secondly there was fear of the outbreak of popular uprisings inspired by Christians (Yukihiro 46).
The first reason the edicts were made, then, was to stop the spread of religion from the Spanish and Portuguese, and to a lesser extent, the Dutch. With the Edict of 1635, also called the Seclusion Act, the Spanish and Portuguese were banned entirely from trade and relations, effectively cutting off relations with the Europeans for the next two centuries
Open Document