Authors

Kathleen A. McGurty '18, Gettysburg College

Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2014

Department

First Year Seminar

Abstract

The Tokugawa period of Japan was a time of great prosperity but also great strife among the social classes. Of the most affected peoples of the Japanese feudal system was the samurai, who had so long been at the center of military and even political power. For hundreds of years, these highly revered peoples had lived a consistent life based off of virtues passed on through a code, and have also lived comfortable lives due to special powers that were reserved for them.

However, with a lack of warfare and increasing Western influence on the political, social, and military system of Japan during the end of the Tokugawa Period, the samurai struggled to maintain significant power in their society as did they did in earlier eras. This slow decline in power that they faced, and a lessening focus on weaponry for fighting, indicated the transition that the samurai made from an elite warrior to a non-militaristic member of society . [excerpt]

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First Year Seminar

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