Aug 19, 2020 in Analysis

The Unification of the Japan

At the onset of the 17th century, the unification of japan very vital. Before the unification, japan was characterized by a hundred years of warfare that was subjected the military to unending struggles among other feudal lords or daimyo. There were three primary daimyo namely, Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582), Hideyoshi (1542-1616), and Tukogawa Leyasu (1542-1616) who spearheaded the unification at the end of the 16th century as the shogans. In the year 1543, the Portuguese invaded japan and they bring along firearms. Oda, Nobunaga  was the most powerful Daimyo who was subsequently succeeded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi who  established a powerful military force in Japan.. Tokugawa later challenged Hideyoshi  rule and succeeded him and continued with the unification process of Japan. In other words. Tokugawa achieved the last step of unifying Japan by defeating the samurai soldiers in the Infamous battle of Shekigahara, Thus the paper seeks to discuss the unification process of japan while underpinning with the events, cultural transformation, and political policies led to the eventual unification of japan.

The war was intense In the 14th and 15th century under the infamous error know as Sengoku, which means, “ the country at war” The incessant warfare among the  feudal clans indicated the final period of  the Japanese medieval period called for  the unification of  the country. In 1543, the Portuguese introduced firearms into japan, which inspired the establishing of castles headed by daimyo who used the guns for defense in the war period . As each decade passed, the country the shoganates and imperial power of the daimyos became stronger in the Sengoku era. Clans such as the Samurai had a unique culture such calligraphy, the popular tea ceremony, as well as music and poetry. The also  lived in a clustered pattern villages participated partly the wars as the rest of the period they were concentrating on farming and harvesting. As the war was warring, the Bukufu attempted to calm the situation by formulating political policies as such as recruiting soldiers, deputy leaders known as Jitos and military governors to maintain law and order as well as collecting taxes for emperor Bukufu. Despite the measures put, the chaos ensued thought the first half of the 16 century. Additionally, the jitos resort to additional armies by forcing the famers to become armies, a step that escalated the war between rival clans.


In the mid 16th century, the inversion of more westerners in the form of Jesuits priers and Portuguese traders added fuel to the ongoing wars. The Japanese metalworkers copied the guns and cannons brought the Portuguese and used them to create strong defense fortress to c conquer the Japan nascent weaponry. The westerners’ invasion triggered a betrayal between the jitos and daimyo as the followers shifted to follower whoever promised the lowest taxes as well as security guarantee. There were no signs of peach as plunders and war was becoming intense both the imperial capital and other parts of the country. Eventually, the shogun and emperors became powerless against the increasing momentum of civil war among the Japanese clans.  

As a result this marked he emergence of the three unifiers from the Central Honshu namely, Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, Leyasu. The work of the three daimyo marked the successful unification of the Japan in the late 16 century. From historic facts, Nobunaga played a major part of calming down the war in the Sengoku period by expanding his hegemony to others counties within Owari. Nobunaga capitalized on te facts that the war was waning by expanding his territory with an aim of increasing his jurisdiction, authority, vision and opportunity over other clans. In addition, he managed to attract the services of the farming community and the isolated samurai group who formed a strong army. Later In 1562, Nobunaga defeated the Imagwas’s group in a heated battle that saw Imagwa losing his life. 

The victory was important and Nobunaga opted to form an alliance with Leyasu in the same year. The alliance marked the first step of Japanese unification since Nobunaga’s daimyo was merged with Leyasu’s daimyo, Mikawa province. While still the leader, Nobunaga turned attention unify his hold of the central Honshu after acquiring the Eastern flunk. The unification was became easier for Nobunaga since the opponents did not have guns. The unification process was further boosted by Nobunaga step to terminate the Ashikiga shoganates and replaced it with an effective measure of order across the Honshu region. 

Eventually, Nobunaga died In 1598, but had not completed the unification process as there were still other independent clan across the japan. Hideyoshi who rose in the ranks of Nobunaga ruling late succeeded him. He was handed the leading position after gaining the confidence of his master from his unswerving loyalty and the numerous victory in the battlefield. Later, his control of hegemonic system continued in Japan. He formulated robust polices and regulation that permitted systems that remained reliable up to the 19th century. His primary strategy was to eliminate the rebellious armies who plagued the country during the time of wars. He achieved this by setting a peace keeping policy by having both the samurai and the farmer surrendering firearms. The strategy was effective because, by the years 1600, the fighting population declined.  

After the death of Leyasu, Tukogawa ascent power and was converted into a shogun in 1603. His era was prevailed with peace, as there were no more wars. According to the Japanese historians, this period marked the modernity development of Japan, as there was order and stability in both political and economic section. Tokugawa set policies that ensured that there is no possibility of lapsing to any conflicts that had plagued the country previously. For instance, an influential policy introduced by Tokugawa was the separation of the military headquarters from the imperial capital that promoted alliances with many daimyo . Additionally, another policy was the improving the livelihood of the peasant farmers after the waning of the warfare. He achieved this by establishing cadastral survey that reclaimed land from the ocean for production of rice. The land were divided into domains known as Hans which saw a massive production of approximately 10, 000 koku annually . The best policy adopted by Tokugawa was the decision to subdivide the japan into three distinct daimyos to distribute resources equally; the divisions were Tukogawa house daimyo, Fudai daimyo and the Tozama daimyo . Thus, the distribution brought complete unification, as there were no cases of rebellious act against the Tokugawa sun.

Towards the end of his ruling, Tokugowa came up with more policies to prevent possible repeat of wars, Tokugawa introduced  a policy known  as the alternate attendance which facilitated trading as as there was increase in travellin around Japan where trvellers will buy from stores store set by  merchants, which intune boosted the japanse economy . Another policy  was the step taken by Tokugawa to expelll foreign missioneries and terminated all christinaity activity. The pupose was to ehennce Buddhism as it was perceived as a religion that conservers the beliefs and traditions of  the Japanese people, which was preaching peace during that period. The approach granted  Tokugawa more power  as there were no more foreign influence  in the form of religion in the Japanese people. Another policy introduced by Tokugawa was the law that required ever Dainmo to as for athourization from the Shugun whenever they plan to expand their domain

After the collection of the weapons religious group in samurai community and the Buddhist spread the peace campaign in the country. For instance, firearms such as swords collected from farmers were smelted and the material was used for creating a huge Buddhist statue. Additionally, there was an amalgamation of the Buddhist system and the Shinto belief enhanced peace and prosperity in japan. The peace started to prevail and this saw a significant increase of Buddhist temple and Shinto’s shrines that began to control some sections of estates in the provinces . As much as there were some interferences from some samurai group who stilled carried swords, the religious thoughts played a significant role in the strengthening of Buddhism. The Buddhism spearheaded the uninification process through spreading of peace messeges after  ensuring that each person  had acquired religious beliefs to embrace humanity as well as  keeping peach among others.

The unification of Japan also experienced a notable change in cultural transformation especially in the Tokugawa era. One of  the notable change  was in the change of linguistic affiliation whereby,after the unification, the dominant national dialect, Nihongo, replaced the regional and local dialect. Additionally, the current Japanese culture is a symbolic representation of both their regional and local identity. For instance, they express their local indentity through products, whereby, every village or town is popular with something from a historic background.Another cultural change was experienced  in food diet. Intially, meat was prepared under the values of Buddism and the vegetarians heavily relied on soy products in the preparation of Zen monasteries. After the unification, the Japanese food taste  and ingridients had been influenced by the foreign cuisines. Many of the cuisines were adopted and often incorporated in the national diet, Morever, there was a  significant change  in the gender roles. For example, women began to be allowed into places of purity and sacredness after the appraising  of Buddism. However, much of the Japanese culture was reserved. For instance, they continued participating in their traditional games and sports, martila arts and ate their tra.dition food   that is still available today. 


The unification of Japan was marked with a series of events that led to cultural transformation and formulation of political policies that remained substantial up to today. Sengoku, an incessant war created a wider rift among the Japanese clans during the 14th and 15th century period. The war became intensified with the invasion of   the Portuguese missionaries and traders who bring along guns and cannons. Subsequently, there was the emergent of the three daimyo namely Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa who led the japan into a historical unification. Hideyoshi, managed to maintain the unification process started by Nobunaga after his death. These prevented emergence of new conflicts as the Sumuar were still in possession of firerarms. As much as a lot of the fighting and conquering was done Nobunaga, much credit is attributed to Tokugawa as he came up with robust policies, which are responsible for Japanese economic transformation modernization today.


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