How was society organized under the Tokugawa shogunate?

Question:

How was society organized under the Tokugawa shogunate?

Edo Transformation:

The Tokugawa Shogunate ruled over Japan during the Edo Period, which lasted from 1603 until 1867. The capital of the shogunate was at Edo, a once small fishing town that eventually transformed into modern-day Tokyo.

Answer and Explanation:

During the Tokugawa Period, the four-tiered social class hierarchy included samurai, famers and peasants, artisans, and merchants.

The samurai class was the warrior and lord class, the highest class of the hierarchy. The samurai answered to the daimyo, the lords, and the daimyo answered to the shogunate.

Farmers were considered higher than artisans and merchants because their agricultural work was of utmost importance. However, while the second in the social order, farmers faced tax burdens and, at times during the shogunate, had to wait for foods to be distributed to them, even if they grew and tended to such foods.

Artisans were situated in their own sections of major cities. These people were tasked with creating artistic goods, everything from artworks to clothes to weaponry.

Merchants were at the bottom rung of the hierarchy because they profited, albeit barely, from the goods that the farmers and artisans produced. All other classes were not permitted to interact with merchants outside of business.


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Tokugawa Shogunate: History, Economy, Facts & Timeline

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Chapter 5 / Lesson 14
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Explore the history & significance of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Learn what the Tokugawa Shogunate was, the order of the Tokugawa Bakufu & facts about the Shogun.


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