ASIA212Varley

Tokugawa society was officially divided into four

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Unformatted text preview: d by the shogunate authorities and is accusingly told by one of them that, although he may have come to Japan to save souls, in fact it is Japanese “souls” that are dying for him: And whenever a [European priest] is captured it is Japanese blood that will flow. How many times have I told you that it is the Japanese who have to die for your selfish dream. It is time to leave us in peace.4 In addition to God’s silence, Endò’s book deals also with the great issue of how the Japanese adopt or reject elements of foreign cultures. Rodrigues’s inquisitors, for example, inform us that even when the Japanese of the late sixteenth century seemed to be accepting Christianity, they were actually transforming the Christian God into a deity of their own, a deity compatible with their religious traditions. Silence is an important intellectual inquiry into cultural borrowing as a major phenomenon in Japanese history. The Tokugawa held approximately one-quarter of the agricultural land of Japan. In addition, they directly administered a number of the major cities, including Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagasaki, as well as certain important mining sites. The remainder of the country was divided into the domains or han of the daimyos. During the Tokugawa period there were two principal kinds of territorial lords: hereditary ( fudai) daimyos, who had pledged personal loyalty to the Tokugawa before Sekigahara and were raised to daimyo status after this great victory; and “outside” (tozama) daimyos, who had been peers of the Tokugawa family head before 1600 and, whether friends or foes at Sekigahara, submitted to him only after he became national hegemon. Because of their long-standing allegiance to the Tokugawa, the fudai daimyos were allowed to serve in the shogunal government; the tozama daimyos, on the other hand, were barred from all participation in the ruling affairs of Edo. 168 The Flourishing of a Bourgeois Culture In theory, the daimyos remained autonomous rulers of the han. In practice, the sho...
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