The Edo period (1603-1868) 江戸時代

The era of domination of the Tokugawa shogunate

This period saw 250 years of peace thanks to a strong political regime, an unprecedented urban development, a flourishing culture and arts of exceptional refinement; this is the Edo period (1603-1868).

The victory of the Tokugawa clan at the Battle of Sekigahara on 20th and 21st October, 1600 marks a major turning point in the history of Japan. Nicknamed Tenka wakeme no kassen or "the battle that decided the future of the country", this one is very often considered as the unofficial beginning of the Tokugawa shogunate. However, it was not until three years later that Ieyasu Tokugawa received the title of shogun from the emperor and established a military government, the Edo bakufu.

Through skillful political maneuvers, the use of matrimonial alliances with the Imperial Family and the hereditary transmission of shogunal power, Ieyasu Tokugawa managed to consolidate his power and maintain his lineage at the head of the country for more than 250 years.

Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Portrait of Tokugawa Ieyasu.


The rise of Edo

The new political and administrative regime of the country completely changes the destiny of the city: Edo.

Around the fortress completed in 1636, emerges a large and new city. Houses, shops, temples, theaters, and tea houses grew throughout the city. In these times of peace in Japan, the population of Edo is rapidly increasing. The merchant and bourgeois class take full advantage of this urban development and are profit greatly.

View of the Echigoya Mitsui store in Suruga Street in Edo

View of the Echigoya Mitsui store on Suruga Street in Edo (circa 1829-1833). The "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji", 21st view. Hokusai Katsushika


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