As a preparation for your research essay on the Edo period, (will change) we will be discussing various issue related to the Edo era.

As we watch and discuss the various videos, think of possible research topics for your essay.

Example:

  • Role of the Samurai
  • Foreign influence
  • Matthew Perry
  • Bakufu military government
  • Art, fashion, ukiyo-e
  • Rule of law
  • “The Christian Problem”
  • Social Structure – Empror, Daimyos, shogunate, peasants,
  • Rituals and religion
  • The role of women
  • Entertainment
  • Geishas
  • Kabuki theater
  • Education
  • Battles to “pacify” the country

Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, (The bodyguard) trailer and opening sequence:

  • How do these clips differ from the traditional view of the samurai?
  • Can you explain why the character is wandering aimlessly?
  • Do you know the story of the 47 Ronins? What does it say about the role of samurais in the Edo period?

Edo History

We will have discussions and guided questions after each videos. You will then have to write a short summary of each section for your notes, with a special section for possible themes you would like to research.

Share your notes here.

Guiding questions:
Clip 1:
  • What was the political situation in Japan before the Edo period?
  • What did foreigners want from contact with Japan?
Clip 2
  • What did you learn from the daily lives of Japanese people at the time?
  • Discuss the role of missionaries and the Daimyos who converted
  • Discuss the Samurai code of honor – What was their role in society?
Clip 3
  • Explain the concept of seppuku
  • Explain Oda Nobunaga’s role in raising Ieyasu and in Japanese politics at the time.

Clip 4:

  • Explain the downfall of Oda Nobunaga and the event that followed
  • Explain Hideyoshi’s rise to power and his ambitions
  • Explain how Ieyasu finally gained control over Edo
  • Can you explain the difference in strategies between Ieyasu and Hideyoshi?

Clip 5:

  • Explain the Dutch influence on Japanese Medecine and other sciences
  • Describe the foreigner’s interest with Japan, and the Japanese response to it.

Clip 6:

  • Explain Commodore Perry’s involvement in the opening up of Japan
  • How did Japanese people respond to the American influence?

Edo Social Structure