What was the Edo period like?
The Edo period is the 260-year span following Tokugawa Ieyasu's defeat of the Toyotomi family and the establishment of a bakufu government in Edo (now Tokyo) in 1603.
The daimyo ranged from the shogun, who sat at the apex of power, to lords controlling land worth over 10,000 koku (a unit of measure based on rice production), and their domains and the power structure imposed on them were known as han.
The bakufu controlled the land and the people of the nation through these han units.
This system of government is known as the bakuhan system.
This period also saw the reinforcement of a status system known as shi-no-ko-sho (warrior-peasant-artisan-merchant), which placed the warrior in the top social class, and externally, the establishment of a policy of national seclusion and the prohibition of Christianity.
However, during this period, advances were made in domestic agricultural production as well as in fishing industries, which strengthened the merchant class and gave rise to a monetary economy.
Culturally, this period saw the flourishing in the latter 17th and early 18th centuries of what is known as the Genroku culture.
Fostered by the townspeople, arts such as the puppet theater and kabuki gained popularity, while Matsuo Basho produced masterpieces in the haiku poetic form.
The art of ukiyo-e prints which was fostered bv Utamaro, Hokusai, Hiroshige and
many other artists, also began during this period.