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“Crisis in the Tokugawa System”. Historical Hindsight. Knowledge of “result” shapes interpretation of “causes” Tokugawa regime will fall in 1867 Events prior to 1867 lead to fall How far back to go for causative factors? Some narratives go back 150-200 years

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historical hindsight
Historical Hindsight
  • Knowledge of “result” shapes interpretation of “causes”
    • Tokugawa regime will fall in 1867
    • Events prior to 1867 lead to fall
    • How far back to go for causative factors?
      • Some narratives go back 150-200 years
      • Decisions being made now in Diet, US Congress will contribute to collapse of Japan, US in 150-200 years?
internal and external problems
Internal and External Problems
  • Collapse of Tokugawa associated with 内憂外患 naiyugaikan - internal problems, threat from outside
    • One of a number of 四字熟語 four character expressions that are used to encapsulate multiple historical or social developments
internal problems
Internal Problems
  • “Feudal” Tokugawa had very modern problem – expenditure exceeded income, borrowed to make up the difference
    • Causes for spending
      • Competitive consumption associated with urbanization of the samurai and alternate attendance 参勤交代
      • Disaster relief and reconstruction
      • Defense in last decades
      • Reparations to foreign powers
revenue sources
Revenue Sources
  • “closed country” 鎖国 policy meant that revenue for Tokugawa and fiefs had to be generated mostly internally
    • Taxation of agriculture
    • Monopolies
    • No foreign borrowing
    • No colonial revenues
    • Limited foreign trade
taxation of agriculture
Taxation of Agriculture
  • Strongly agrarian ideology
    • Rice -> revenue
      • See in use of 石高 kokudaka as revenue and income measurement
    • Consequences
      • Fostered rice production through irrigation and other projects
        • See in place name 新田 shinden or “new fields”
      • Less enthusiastic about developing other revenue sources
taxation of agriculture1
Taxation of Agriculture
  • Failure to keep tax records up to date
    • Effective taxation of agriculture requires
      • Monetization – farmer sells for cash, government takes cut of cash income
      • Yield based – survey land, measure output, government takes fraction of crop and sells for cash
      • Tokugawa system basically yield based
        • Failed to survey after 1700s
        • More land being brought into production off the books
        • Yields on existing land generally increasing
historical misinterpretation
Historical Misinterpretation
  • “Traditional” (aka Marxist) view saw Tokugawa agriculture as static and impoverished
  • “Modernization theory” (US 1960s) saw Japanese agriculture as growing rapidly after Meiji reforms
  • Both views missed growth “off the books” in Tokugawa agriculture
commodity risks
Commodity Risks
  • Failure to monetize taxation meant government bore commodity risks
    • Commodity prices fluctuate seasonally and from year to year depending on weather and other factors
    • Tokugawa and fiefs collected taxes as volume of commodity 石高 – actual revenue depended on market price of commodity
      • Sophisticated commodities market in Osaka
      • Trading in futures contracts and other modern forms
    • Income in commodity, expenditures in cash
why failure to raise taxes
Why failure to raise taxes?
  • Urbanization
    • Weak or non existent rural infrastructure
    • Lack of knowledge
  • Corruption
    • Records show villages paying regular bribes to officials to have increased output stay off the books
  • Fear of rebellion
  • Power sharing structure
    • Tokugawa vs fiefs
    • Factions within Tokugawa
reform attempts
Reform Attempts
  • Periodic attempts at reform
    • No lasting success
    • Administrative contradiction – officials charged with carrying out reforms stood to suffer personally from results
    • More negative than positive
      • Sumptuary legislation
      • Exhortations to austerity
      • Cut expenditures
        • “Borrow” from samurai stipends
        • Long term weakening of loyalty?
taxpayer revolts
“Taxpayer revolts”
  • Pyle: “Few aspects of Tokugawa society have been as controversial as interpretation of these peasant protests.”
  • Classical (aka Marxist) interpretation – increasingly impoverished peasants lashing out at exploitive feudal system and feudal exploiters
taxpayer revolts1
“Taxpayer Revolts”
  • Modern (empirical) view
    • Many different types of “revolts”
      • Tyranny of terminology–
        • “classical” interpretation called everything 騒動
        • generalized from exceptional cases
      • 農民騒動 nomin sodo – peasant rebellions
      • 打ちこわし uchi kowashi – urban riots
      • Others
    • Results varied
      • Violent suppression, executions
      • Successful winning demands
taxpayer revolts2
“Taxpayer Revolts”
  • Modern (empirical view)
    • Absolute impoverishment not cause. Most impoverished do not rebel.
    • Absolute repression not cause. People must see some chance of success.
    • Disturbance occurs when
      • Fear that recent gains will be taken away
      • Officials are not taking relief measures
      • Merchants are profiting unduly from conditions
ideological problems
“Ideological Problems”
  • Discrepancy between official conception and economic, social, political reality
    • Commodity based agrarian ideology in a cash based economy
    • “Feudal loyalty” for salaried bureaucrats
  • “Feudal loyalty”
    • Conditional – I fight for you, you reward me. If you don’t reward me, I fight for someone who will.
    • Personal – vassals knew lords personally, fought on same battlefields, faced same risk of death
tokugawa loyalty
Tokugawa Loyalty
  • Ideological construct
    • Learned from books
    • Not tested on battlefield
    • Not basis for reward
    • Impersonal
  • Pre-Tokugawa (Sengoku 戦国)
    • Incompetents were killed, lost vassals
    • Low ranking reward for skills, loyalty
  • Tokugawa
    • Competency unrelated to hereditary rank
    • No place to show skills, loyalty
merit as ideology
“Merit as Ideology”
  • Major theme in past foreign research
    • Thomas C. Smith, “Merit as Ideology in the Tokugawa Period”
    • Ronald P. Dore, Tokugawa Education
  • Looking for antecedents for Meiji reforms
    • “Merit based” (aka exam based) bureaucracy and educational system rather than hereditary succession
merit as ideology1
“Merit as Ideology”
  • Schools that brought samurai of different ranks together
    • Tutor based education -> classroom education
    • Child from high rank family not necessarily better than child from low rank family
    • Absence of warfare and regular military drill means demonstrated skill will show up primarily in learning-based areas
merit as ideology2
“Merit as Ideology”
  • Fukuzawa Yukichi (right)
  • Attended private academy Tekijuku 敵塾 in Osaka
  • Weekly competition by tests
    • Seating
    • Sleeping quarters
alternate visions
“Alternate Visions”
  • Tokugawa ideology
    • System came first, then ideology
      • Initially folk-religion based
        • Tokugawa Ieyasu as Shinto deity
      • Gradual shift to Neo-Confucian basis among intellectuals if not common people
    • Hayashi Razan 林 羅山receives Tokugawa patronage from 1603
      • Chu His 朱子学派 Neo-Confucian scholar, proponent
confucian japan
“Confucian Japan”
  • Influence greatly exaggerated
    • Chinese vocabulary and Chinese quotations does not necessarily mean Chinese content
      • Chinese stories of filial piety孝satirized in Japan
    • Reasons for exaggeration
      • China represents high culture to academics
      • High culture works readily available in printed form
      • American academics learned Chinese before Japanese
      • Chinese easier to learn and read than Japanese
confucian japan1
“Confucian Japan”
  • No “Imperial Examination” system in Japan (科举 or 科舉)
    • No “examination cells” as in right (1873)
    • No set texts to study and master
confucian japan2
“Confucian Japan”
  • No reward for mastery of Confucian corpus
  • Ideal remained warrior or later warrior-scholar not scholar-bureaucrat
  • Meiji system more Confucian than Tokugawa?
kokugaku national learning
Kokugaku 国学 National Learning
  • “things Chinese” used a straw man by Japanese despite the fact that there was little or nothing in Tokugawa system that was based on Chinese models
  • Foreign – always easier to criticize something as foreign
  • Indirect criticism of elite – Chinese learning had patronized and associated with idle elite
  • Opened up mythic past as alternative to present
motoori norinaga
Motoori Norinaga
  • 本居宣長 merchant class origins
  • Wealthy but not part of the ruling elite
  • Romantic, not overtly political
  • Real research combined with romanticism
    • 源氏物語
    • 古事記
    • 万葉集
hirata atsutane
Hirata Atsutane
  • 平田篤胤 politicized thought of Motori
    • “Posthumous” disciple
    • Vitriolic criticism of things Chinese
    • Celebration of Japanese past before Chinese influence
    • Past without Chinese influence is also past without Tokugawa, without samurai
hirata atsutane1
Hirata Atsutane
  • This, our glorious land, is the land in which the gods have their origin, and we are one and all descendants fo the gods. For this reason, if we go back from the parents who gave us life and being, beyond the grandparents and great-grandparents, and consider the ancestors of ancient times, then the original ancestors of those must necessarily have been the gods.
hirata atsutane2
Hirata Atsutane
  • Less studied than Motoori
    • Blatantly chauvinist
    • Less logical, less logical
  • More important
    • Nationalism – Japanese people as a whole irrespective of rank with special, unique identity
    • Identity not dependent on specific cultural or institutional arrangements
    • Teacher-activist
mito school
Mito School
  • Mito School
    • 水戸学派 – a school (genre) of historical interpretation linked to contemporary events
    • Actual “school” 彰考館 (research institute) that studied Chinese classics (1653 onward) and produced a Chinese-style dynastic history for Japan 大日本史
mito school1
Mito School
  • Dynastic histories standard, safe, Chinese scholarship
  • Subversive potential
    • Japanese emperor not Chinese emperor
      • Japanese based on blood line
      • No “mandate of heaven” 天命
        • Political (social, economic) disorder does not justify rebellion, replacement of the Emperor in Japanese case
        • Does not rule, performance not to be judged
mito school2
Mito School
  • If Emperor without 天命, who has it?
    • 将軍
    • Tokugawa Ieyasu ended Warring States 戦国 chaos -> mandate from Emperor to rule
    • No problem as long as Shogun appears successful; problem comes with failure to repel foreign threat, quell domestic disturbance (内憂外患)
slide33
征夷大将軍
  • 征夷大将軍 Seii taishougun Great Barbarian Subduing Generalissimo
    • “Barbarians” were originally internal
    • Become external with coming of European powers in 19th century
    • Not living up to name
      • 大義名分 taigi meibun
      • Special importance attached to names (nomenclature) in Chinese thought
      • Reinforce ruler vs ruled distinction
      • Subversive when reversed
mito school3
Mito School
  • Dai-Nihon Shi
    • Emperor centered dynastic history
    • Legitimize Shogun as servant of Emperor
      • Subversive (potentially) in justifying Tokugawa in terms of service to Emperor
    • Basis for alternative political vision
      • Emperor is constant
      • Who or what serves the Imperial will is variable
      • Ancient (mythic) past under Emperor
        • Without Tokugawa
        • Without samurai
        • Without [largely mythic] pernicious influence of China
    • “We were a great nation back in the days of X without Y and we can be once again”
mito school4
Mito School
  • Nationalism
    • Clear sense of nationalism of a type probably not found in China until 1920s and later
    • NOT based on cultural superiority
    • NOT based on a particular institutional structure
    • NOT based on a particular ruling class
  • Political significance?
    • Change ruler (Tokugawa), change ruling class (disenfranchise samurai), change political structure (bakuhan taisei 幕藩体制) does NOT threaten identity as Japanese
    • Compared with China and Chinese
      • Elite entirely dependent on a particular institutional structure and a particular body of thought
slide36
スライド終了

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