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The Shoshi Hatto of 1636/1663 and the Buke Shohatto of 1683

 
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:58 am    Post subject: The Shoshi Hatto of 1636/1663 and the Buke Shohatto of 1683 Reply with quote
Why does the laws for the gentry and the laws for Daimyos explicitly mention the need for loyalty and filialty alongside ceremonial decorum and rectitude in these reissued edicts but not in previous (or future for that matter) edicts of the same laws?

Were these traits lacking during the periods in which these edicts were reissued and promulgated, which prompted them to be emphasised?

Or was the Confucius belief of Filial piety not fully indoctrinated into the mindset before these reissues, so before 1636?


As a side question was Sankin-kōtai momentarily halted for 6 years? Because article 9 of 'Daimyos shall come to the Shogun's Court at Yedo to do service' is removed in the Buke shohatto of 1629 before being reintroduced by Iemitsu in 1635 in the form we all commonly understand when thinking of alternative attendance.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
One thing to keep in mind is who these individual documents were written for, and who was doing the writing.

The Buke Shohatto was written for just the daimyo-not the samurai under them. The Shoshi Hatto were written for the samurai (specifically in this case, Tokugawa hatamoto, I believe). 'Filial piety' and 'loyalty' were written into the Shoshi Hatto in 1636 more because Tokugawa Ietmitsu decided to greatly expand his original Shoshi Hatto edict of (I think) 1632. Four years wouldn't have seen the traits become sorely lacking enough to where they would need to be addressed. They were added to the Buke Shohatto (for the Daimyo, who really didn't have to be loyal to anyone besides the Shogun) in 1683 largely because Tokugawa Tsunayoshi was big on promulgating Confucian values. They were mentioned in later years when the Buke Shohatto was reissued by other Shoguns but usually with a stylistic difference. I think instead of spelling out loyalty and filial duty it just said something like 'maintaining the traditional family values', ie the Confucian values of loyalty and filial duty. The Shoshi Hatto weren't issued after 1663 if I recall correctly. So in all cases it wasn't so much a matter of these values lacking, but rather being 'assumed' early on and later.

Until 1635, 'Sankin-kotai' was largely on a volunteer basis-albeit it of the 'you better volunteer if you know what's good for you' basis. The Buke Shohatto's earlier exhortation of 'Daimyos shall come to the Shogun's Court at Yedo to do service' referred more to daimyo being required to report before the Shogun on demand, usually in accordance with one of the big 'public service' projects they were required to fund by the Tokuagawa (but also to answer for any questionable behavior). Alternate attendance wasn't really required until that 1635 edict. The daimyo were still doing it in the years between 1629-35, just on the quasi-volunteer basis mentioned.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
One thing to keep in mind is who these individual documents were written for, and who was doing the writing.

The Buke Shohatto was written for just the daimyo-not the samurai under them. The Shoshi Hatto were written for the samurai (specifically in this case, Tokugawa hatamoto, I believe).
Agreed although the first law of the Buke Shohatto directly relates to the samurai under them and yes in regards to the Shoshi Hatto it says somewhere about retainers in the direct service of the Shogunate, so Hatamoto..?

Tatsunoshi wrote:
'Filial piety' and 'loyalty' were written into the Shoshi Hatto in 1636 more because Tokugawa Ietmitsu decided to greatly expand his original Shoshi Hatto edict of (I think) 1632. Four years wouldn't have seen the traits become sorely lacking enough to where they would need to be addressed. They were added to the Buke Shohatto (for the Daimyo, who really didn't have to be loyal to anyone besides the Shogun) in 1683 largely because Tokugawa Tsunayoshi was big on promulgating Confucian values.
So this inclusion of 'Filial piety' and 'loyalty' was more the personal flare of the Shoguns writings than anything todo with enforcing these principles or these treaties representing some lack of these virtues in and around the periods in which they first appear?


Tatsunoshi wrote:
They were mentioned in later years when the Buke Shohatto was reissued by other Shoguns but usually with a stylistic difference. I think instead of spelling out loyalty and filial duty it just said something like 'maintaining the traditional family values', ie the Confucian values of loyalty and filial duty. The Shoshi Hatto weren't issued after 1663 if I recall correctly. So in all cases it wasn't so much a matter of these values lacking, but rather being 'assumed' early on and later.
Yes it says 'the human relations be clearly distinguished, and manners be made correct.' Which I would interpret as the same.
So was the Confucian values of loyalty and filial piety fully ingrained in the samurai psyche (broadly speaking) by the time they first appeared in the Shoshi Hatto of 1636?

Tatsunoshi wrote:
Until 1635, 'Sankin-kotai' was largely on a volunteer basis-albeit it of the 'you better volunteer if you know what's good for you' basis. The Buke Shohatto's earlier exhortation of 'Daimyos shall come to the Shogun's Court at Yedo to do service' referred more to daimyo being required to report before the Shogun on demand, usually in accordance with one of the big 'public service' projects they were required to fund by the Tokuagawa (but also to answer for any questionable behavior). Alternate attendance wasn't really required until that 1635 edict. The daimyo were still doing it in the years between 1629-35, just on the quasi-volunteer basis mentioned.
Before 1635 had the hostage of one's family not been integrated into the system? Could it be possible that some powerful northern Tozama daimyo didn't bother making the trip during these years?
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
HarryJJ wrote:
So this inclusion of 'Filial piety' and 'loyalty' was more the personal flare of the Shoguns writings than anything to do with enforcing these principles or these treaties representing some lack of these virtues in and around the periods in which they first appear?


Well, obviously they were trying to do their best to hammer the loyalty angle home. This is even though Edo period samurai were far more loyal than their Sengoku counterparts-not so much out of enlightened ideology but necessity, as turning on your Lord in the Edo period was a dead end as no one else would be allowed to hire you. In Iemitsu's case, there was also the fact that he was highly paranoid and extremely controlling. But it seems that these writings were just done to reinforce these Confucian values rather than address any trends towards shortcomings.


HarryJJ wrote:
So was the Confucian values of loyalty and filial piety fully ingrained in the samurai psyche (broadly speaking) by the time they first appeared in the Shoshi Hatto of 1636?


I would say they were well established, but that they continued to progress and become more and more idealized as the Edo period went on (with Tsunayoshi providing a major boost to this).

HarryJJ wrote:
Before 1635 had the hostage of one's family not been integrated into the system? Could it be possible that some powerful northern Tozama daimyo didn't bother making the trip during these years?


Sure, but prior to 1635 a lot of the 'hostage taking' by the Tokugawa was on a 'voluntary basis' by the daimyo. There were many instances of more 'unofficial official' hostage taking, such as when the mother of the Maeda daimyo was 'encouraged' to move to Edo. The northern Tozama weren't really much of a concern-even though the Date were treacherous bastards, Ieyasu had managed to play them off by letting them deal with the other tozama in the North. The real problems would have been the Western Tozama like the Mori, the former Chosokabe lands headed up by the Yamauchi, the Shimazu, etc-not surprisingly the same han that toppled the Bakufu 200 years later. It's certainly possible that some han weren't making the trip, and that's why Iemitsu made things official. I haven't seen any studies that explore that time period, however, and I don't have access to Vaporis's book on alternate attendance at the moment-I'm sure he addresses this issue.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Well, obviously they were trying to do their best to hammer the loyalty angle home. This is even though Edo period samurai were far more loyal than their Sengoku counterparts-not so much out of enlightened ideology but necessity, as turning on your Lord in the Edo period was a dead end as no one else would be allowed to hire you. In Iemitsu's case, there was also the fact that he was highly paranoid and extremely controlling. But it seems that these writings were just done to reinforce these Confucian values rather than address any trends towards shortcomings.
I agree with you that it was out of necessity for the government to push the retainer's dependence on his lord to strengthen and stabilise society but I don't think it was the only reason. A samurai born and raised in the Edo period is going to know nothing but loyalty and filial piety, it's all he's known. It's been part of his education ever since he started education and he see's it all around him in society. He probably knows little of samurai behaviour in previous eras other than that taught in Tokugawa state education through ethical textbooks such as the The Imagawa Letter. It's all propaganda for the most part but that's not to say it doesn't become part of his belief system. I liken it to 16th century Spain or Italy, there society is so ingrained in religious belief and philosophy that you would be hard pushed to find a non devout Catholic, and that's without seclusion from outside influences so maybe the Edo period is more like a secluded Islamic state in regards to this.

I'm painting this all with board stokes but that's my opinion on the subject.



Tatsunoshi wrote:
I would say they were well established, but that they continued to progress and become more and more idealized as the Edo period went on (with Tsunayoshi providing a major boost to this).
Reminds me I need to get the The Dog Shogun by Beatrice M. Bodart-Bailey


Tatsunoshi wrote:
Sure, but prior to 1635 a lot of the 'hostage taking' by the Tokugawa was on a 'voluntary basis' by the daimyo. There were many instances of more 'unofficial official' hostage taking, such as when the mother of the Maeda daimyo was 'encouraged' to move to Edo. The northern Tozama weren't really much of a concern-even though the Date were treacherous bastards, Ieyasu had managed to play them off by letting them deal with the other tozama in the North. The real problems would have been the Western Tozama like the Mori, the former Chosokabe lands headed up by the Yamauchi, the Shimazu, etc-not surprisingly the same han that toppled the Bakufu 200 years later. It's certainly possible that some han weren't making the trip, and that's why Iemitsu made things official. I haven't seen any studies that explore that time period, however, and I don't have access to Vaporis's book on alternate attendance at the moment-I'm sure he addresses this issue.
Interesting I will need to read up more on the western Tozama! When you say Ieyasu played off the northern Tozama against each other was this during the warring states period or did this continue after the Tokugawa bakufu was formed?

Last edited by HarryJJ on Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
HarryJJ wrote:
When you say Ieyasu played off the northern Tozama against each other was this during the warring states period or did this continue after the Tokugawa bakufu was formed?


Both-obviously, much of this was military action during the Sekigahara campaign but the Date continued to ride herd on northern daimyo (not only to improve their status and position but also to demonstrate their loyalty, such as it was, to the Tokugawa) well into the Edo period. There was quite a bit of conflict among them up through the Osaka campaign and for at least a decade after that.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Both-obviously, much of this was military action during the Sekigahara campaign but the Date continued to ride herd on northern daimyo (not only to improve their status and position but also to demonstrate their loyalty, such as it was, to the Tokugawa) well into the Edo period. There was quite a bit of conflict among them up through the Osaka campaign and for at least a decade after that.


Where can I read more about this Tatsunoshi?

Also what do you make of my first point in the last post? Please don't hesitate to shoot it down or pick it apart if you feel it's misinformative, after all I'm here to learn.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
HarryJJ wrote:
Where can I read more about this Tatsunoshi?


There's not a whole lot of information on this in English-however, A L Sadler's bio of Ieyasu (Shogun: The Life Of Tokugawa Ieyasu) probably does the best job of Ieyasu's dealings with the Date.

HarryJJ wrote:
Also what do you make of my first point in the last post? Please don't hesitate to shoot it down or pick it apart if you feel it's misinformative, after all I'm here to learn.


Well, I pretty much agree with most of it. Loyalty and filial piety would be ingrained into the psyche of an Edo period samurai as virtues to be strived towards. This would be reinforced by having no substantial benefits or incentives for acting otherwise. However, human nature being what it is, late in the Edo period during the Bakumatsu, circumstances changed and when loyalty no longer constituted the only viable path, samurai reverted to being opportunistic (with some legitimately being idealistic)-although of course many of these would claim they were indeed being loyal, just not to whom they traditionally were. It just seems to me that when idealism meets self interest, self interest wins out for the majority of people-whether they're Edo period samurai or the businessmen/politicos of today.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Well, I pretty much agree with most of it. Loyalty and filial piety would be ingrained into the psyche of an Edo period samurai as virtues to be strived towards. This would be reinforced by having no substantial benefits or incentives for acting otherwise. However, human nature being what it is, late in the Edo period during the Bakumatsu, circumstances changed and when loyalty no longer constituted the only viable path, samurai reverted to being opportunistic (with some legitimately being idealistic)-although of course many of these would claim they were indeed being loyal, just not to whom they traditionally were. It just seems to me that when idealism meets self interest, self interest wins out for the majority of people-whether they're Edo period samurai or the businessmen/politicos of today.


Something I would point out is that these were big picture policy memorandums, essentially. I've spent the last week going through the US's National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, and National Military Strategy, put out by the President, the SecDef, and the CJCS, respectively. They're all very general, big picture, "this is what we want to do in regards to security and defense" documents, with the NSS being the most general and the NMS being the most specific, but still very very general.

In ALL of these, there is no amount of rhetoric spared towards "supporting democratic ideals" and "ensuring security for our democratic way of life" and "combatting forces which seek to impose control over personal liberties" and so on and so forth. Now, does anyone (anyone who isn't a whacko, that is) actually think there's any danger the US government is going to all of a sudden go "You know what? This whole representative democracy thing has been nice, but we're just going to have ourselves a little coup and make Obama the dictator for life..." or "Hey, I know! Let's try communism out for a while!"? No, of course not. Despite what Fox News or MSNBC might tell you, no one is going to completely change the underlying fundamentals of what our government is based on. The Democrats aren't leading us to communism any more than the Republicans are leading us to fascism. The US will be the US.

So, if the US's underlying principles of Democracy, etc. aren't going to change just because we elect someone new, why do we have all of our underpinning security policy documents dripping in it? Because it JUSTIFIES WHAT WE ARE DOING, at least to us. It provides a framework that explains why we're bombing the hell out of terrorists in the Pakistani countryside with Predator drones--IT'S ALL TO PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY!!

I'm not going to argue the truth of that, because it's not the point. The point is that every policy document uses appeals to the guiding ideology of the government in order to justify what it is doing. I'm sure if you looked at Soviet documents from the 1960's, you'd see appeals to Leninism to justify invading Czechoslovakia.

With that in mind, I think it's pretty short-sighted to read the Buke Shohatto or the Shoshi Hatto, see the Confucian rhetoric, and assume it's addressing a direct problem. What you should look at is the specific rules and regulations spelled out. No one pays attention to the rhetoric unless the rules and regs (or policy) doesn't match it. No samurai in 1660-whatever was going "oh, you know what? They want us to be frugal and take our issues directly to the daimyo instead of fighting amongst ourselves? Well, okay, I guess that's consistent with Confucian ideals..." but if they didn't use that Confucian rhetoric, it would have lessened the legitimacy of the policy.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I pretty much get what your saying ltdomer98 but could you maybe spell it out for me in a simpler form that my small brain will recognise better.

Apologises!
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
HarryJJ wrote:
I pretty much get what your saying ltdomer98 but could you maybe spell it out for me in a simpler form that my small brain will recognise better.

Apologises!


You base a high-level policy on overarching values, wherever they may come from. For the US, the value would be individual freedom, security from tyranny, the opportunity for economic prosperity, etc. No one questions that the US values individual freedoms, as it's something the entire country and legal system was founded on. It's cliche, even. But, because it's the underlying philosophy of the US, it has to be addressed in a broad policy outline as part of the justification for that policy. So when the President says "we feel it's in our national interest to keep troops in Afghanistan", he has something to relate that to--in this case, troops in Afghanistan supposedly fight the insurgency fight there to keep Afghanistan from becoming a base of operations for international terrorism, which then could come over to the United States and attack our citizens, thereby directly threatening US security, ability to freely act, etc.

(this is an example only, and is not intended to start any discussion/debate about US national security policy. Don't anyone even think about it--there is the whole rest of the internet for your political beliefs. The point is not whether you or I or anyone agrees or disagrees with these justifications--the point is that in any broad policy statement, there will be some sort of appeal to a philosophy that underpins the society involved.)

Apply that to Edo Period Japan: this is a society based on Confucian concepts of political interaction. Confucianism was hardly a new thing, though the Tokugawa placed a renewed emphasis on it--it inspired Shotoku Taishi (or whomever) in the 600's as well. It formed the basis on the entire political order--lord as father, retainer as child, and so on and so forth.

Therefore, it's hardly surprising that any document issued by a governing body would be dripping in Confucian rhetoric, especially one aimed at the retainer class. Your original question is:

Quote:
Why does the laws for the gentry and the laws for Daimyos explicitly mention the need for loyalty and filialty alongside ceremonial decorum and rectitude in these reissued edicts but not in previous (or future for that matter) edicts of the same laws?

Were these traits lacking during the periods in which these edicts were reissued and promulgated, which prompted them to be emphasised?

Or was the Confucius belief of Filial piety not fully indoctrinated into the mindset before these reissues, so before 1636?


I would argue, and my point is, that there wasn't any specific incident or lack of traits that are being addressed. Prior to the 1630's, the Tokugawa Bakufu (and Hideyoshi before them) were consolidating their positions and simply issuing day-to-day proclamations and laws intended to affect near-term behavior; when you're trying to change behavior, you don't appeal to philosophy, you threaten coercively."Do X or we will cut off your head." Philosophy comes when you are trying not to coerce, but to develop long-term, cultural change, or justify your laws/actions to the point that others accept them as natural. By appealing to Confucian virtues, the Tokugawa had moved from a near-term, "do this or you will be punished" to a long-term "do this, because it's the right thing to do". Overall, the long-term appeal to values is a much more effective means of getting people to behave as you want. Put it this way--which is more effective to most people? "Don't cheat on the test, you might get caught and get a bad grade" or "Don't cheat on the test, it's not right, and if you're a good person who follows X code of values [where X is whatever the dominant philosophy is...Christian, Muslim, Confucian, doesn't matter], then you won't do it and won't tolerate it in others." You can take the cynical route and say the first, but history shows it's not true at all. Getting people to believe that the way you want them to behave is just, right, and the "proper" thing to do is the best way to get them to do it.

That help? Bottom line, this was a progression of legal and moral thought. Before, all the government was interested in was obedience, so coercion (do it or we kill you) sufficed. As time goes on, that's difficult to continue enforcing--it's much easier to encourage people to behave the right way by convincing them they should. And so, we have appeals to Confucian ideals that every educated Japanese would have already been familiar, even if they didn't know the neo-Confucian intricacies in vogue.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
ltdomer98 wrote:
HarryJJ wrote:
I pretty much get what your saying ltdomer98 but could you maybe spell it out for me in a simpler form that my small brain will recognise better.

Apologises!


You base a high-level policy on overarching values, wherever they may come from. For the US, the value would be individual freedom, security from tyranny, the opportunity for economic prosperity, etc. No one questions that the US values individual freedoms, as it's something the entire country and legal system was founded on. It's cliche, even. But, because it's the underlying philosophy of the US, it has to be addressed in a broad policy outline as part of the justification for that policy. So when the President says "we feel it's in our national interest to keep troops in Afghanistan", he has something to relate that to--in this case, troops in Afghanistan supposedly fight the insurgency fight there to keep Afghanistan from becoming a base of operations for international terrorism, which then could come over to the United States and attack our citizens, thereby directly threatening US security, ability to freely act, etc.

(this is an example only, and is not intended to start any discussion/debate about US national security policy. Don't anyone even think about it--there is the whole rest of the internet for your political beliefs. The point is not whether you or I or anyone agrees or disagrees with these justifications--the point is that in any broad policy statement, there will be some sort of appeal to a philosophy that underpins the society involved.)

Apply that to Edo Period Japan: this is a society based on Confucian concepts of political interaction. Confucianism was hardly a new thing, though the Tokugawa placed a renewed emphasis on it--it inspired Shotoku Taishi (or whomever) in the 600's as well. It formed the basis on the entire political order--lord as father, retainer as child, and so on and so forth.

Therefore, it's hardly surprising that any document issued by a governing body would be dripping in Confucian rhetoric, especially one aimed at the retainer class. Your original question is:

Quote:
Why does the laws for the gentry and the laws for Daimyos explicitly mention the need for loyalty and filialty alongside ceremonial decorum and rectitude in these reissued edicts but not in previous (or future for that matter) edicts of the same laws?

Were these traits lacking during the periods in which these edicts were reissued and promulgated, which prompted them to be emphasised?

Or was the Confucius belief of Filial piety not fully indoctrinated into the mindset before these reissues, so before 1636?


I would argue, and my point is, that there wasn't any specific incident or lack of traits that are being addressed. Prior to the 1630's, the Tokugawa Bakufu (and Hideyoshi before them) were consolidating their positions and simply issuing day-to-day proclamations and laws intended to affect near-term behavior; when you're trying to change behavior, you don't appeal to philosophy, you threaten coercively."Do X or we will cut off your head." Philosophy comes when you are trying not to coerce, but to develop long-term, cultural change, or justify your laws/actions to the point that others accept them as natural. By appealing to Confucian virtues, the Tokugawa had moved from a near-term, "do this or you will be punished" to a long-term "do this, because it's the right thing to do". Overall, the long-term appeal to values is a much more effective means of getting people to behave as you want. Put it this way--which is more effective to most people? "Don't cheat on the test, you might get caught and get a bad grade" or "Don't cheat on the test, it's not right, and if you're a good person who follows X code of values [where X is whatever the dominant philosophy is...Christian, Muslim, Confucian, doesn't matter], then you won't do it and won't tolerate it in others." You can take the cynical route and say the first, but history shows it's not true at all. Getting people to believe that the way you want them to behave is just, right, and the "proper" thing to do is the best way to get them to do it.

That help? Bottom line, this was a progression of legal and moral thought. Before, all the government was interested in was obedience, so coercion (do it or we kill you) sufficed. As time goes on, that's difficult to continue enforcing--it's much easier to encourage people to behave the right way by convincing them they should. And so, we have appeals to Confucian ideals that every educated Japanese would have already been familiar, even if they didn't know the neo-Confucian intricacies in vogue.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I completely understand now thank you for the explanation. So would it be safe to say that the only reason that these particular traits are emphasised on in these edicts is due to the personal flare of the Shoguns writings and conscious thought to reinforce Confucian values because of their personalities and nothing more?

As Tatsunoshi said Iemitsu's paranoia and Tsunayoshi strong belief in neo-confucianism.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Nice emphasis, Kitsuno.

HarryJJ: Yeah, I think you got it. This is just how you construct a long-range policy document, based on the overarching philosophy of the day.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
HarryJJ wrote:
So would it be safe to say that the only reason that these particular traits are emphasised on in these edicts is due to the personal flare of the Shoguns writings and conscious thought to reinforce Confucian values because of their personalities and nothing more?

As Tatsunoshi said Iemitsu's paranoia and Tsunayoshi strong belief in neo-confucianism.
I don't think the emphasis on Confucian values is ony because of the personal flare of those two shoguns (and I don't think that Domer is saying that either). It is something seen throughout history. Ieyasu's anti-Christian decree of 1613 is full of it (apparently Japan was a perfect Confucian state before the Christians showed up to wreck it), his son Yorinobu of Kii issued the "Father and Mother Memo" 父母状* in 1660, Ienobu's chief councillor Arai Hakuseki was extremely Confucian, the Meiji-period Imperial Rescript on Education was thoroughly Confucian. In fact most people were Confucian in outlook.

*父母に孝行に、. 法度を守り、. へりくだり、奢らずして、. 面々家職を守り、. 正直を本とする事、. 誰も存たる事なれども、. 常々下へ教え可申聞者也
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
I don't think the emphasis on Confucian values is ony because of the personal flare of those two shoguns (and I don't think that Domer is saying that either). It is something seen throughout history. Ieyasu's anti-Christian decree of 1613 is full of it (apparently Japan was a perfect Confucian state before the Christians showed up to wreck it), his son Yorinobu of Kii issued the "Father and Mother Memo" 父母状* in 1660, Ienobu's chief councillor Arai Hakuseki was extremely Confucian, the Meiji-period Imperial Rescript on Education was thoroughly Confucian. In fact most people were Confucian in outlook.

*父母に孝行に、. 法度を守り、. へりくだり、奢らずして、. 面々家職を守り、. 正直を本とする事、. 誰も存たる事なれども、. 常々下へ教え可申聞者也


I was not disputing the Confucian mindset as a whole but simply trying to understand why the first law of the reissued Shoshi Hatto and Buke Shohatto of these dates were more thorough and elaborated upon than in previous or future issues of these edicts.

My first assumption was that somehow this may of been a reflection on society during the periods in which these edicts were reissued, those more learned than me debunked this notion and explained why. I then came to the conclusion (thanks to the help of others) that the way the first law was written or 'reinforced' was simply the personal touch of the personalities in charge of these edicts and that they weren't really addressing anything within society, cultural or political.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
HarryJJ wrote:
I then came to the conclusion (thanks to the help of others) that the way the first law was written or 'reinforced' was simply the personal touch of the personalities in charge of these edicts and that they weren't really addressing anything within society, cultural or political.


And what Bethetsu is saying is that "personal touch" isn't the correct way to describe it either, and she's right. It's not "personal touch" when President Obama (or Bush, or Clinton, or the other Bush...) writes about protection of individual liberties and democratic values as underpinning US national security policy. Neither is it "personal touch" for Iemitsu to use Confucianism to justify whatever it is he wants to justify. IT'S THE DOMINANT POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY OF THE DAY. For a ruler to NOT include it would be odd, to both historians AND the people of the time. It's the baseline philosophy. To say that it's "personal touch" implies that it's entirely at the whim of Iemitsu. What we are saying is that it is not tied to the individual at all--it's the dominant rhetoric of the age, and therefore anyone in that leadership position would use similar philosophical statements to justify what they are doing. For as radically different as Bush II and Obama are in their approaches to national security strategy, they use THE EXACT SAME RHETORIC to justify what they are doing. It would be no different in the Edo period.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
ltdomer98 wrote:
HarryJJ wrote:
I then came to the conclusion (thanks to the help of others) that the way the first law was written or 'reinforced' was simply the personal touch of the personalities in charge of these edicts and that they weren't really addressing anything within society, cultural or political.


And what Bethetsu is saying is that "personal touch" isn't the correct way to describe it either, and she's right. It's not "personal touch" when President Obama (or Bush, or Clinton, or the other Bush...) writes about protection of individual liberties and democratic values as underpinning US national security policy. Neither is it "personal touch" for Iemitsu to use Confucianism to justify whatever it is he wants to justify. IT'S THE DOMINANT POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY OF THE DAY. For a ruler to NOT include it would be odd, to both historians AND the people of the time. It's the baseline philosophy. To say that it's "personal touch" implies that it's entirely at the whim of Iemitsu. What we are saying is that it is not tied to the individual at all--it's the dominant rhetoric of the age, and therefore anyone in that leadership position would use similar philosophical statements to justify what they are doing. For as radically different as Bush II and Obama are in their approaches to national security strategy, they use THE EXACT SAME RHETORIC to justify what they are doing. It would be no different in the Edo period.


Ok sorry what I mean is the way in which they write it not what they are writing about, that's what I meant by personal touch. They expand upon it, write it slightly differently etc but are all still relaying the same message and philosophical rhetoric.

Am I still not getting it..... Confused
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's not "personal". Iemitsu didn't personally write the Buke Shohatto any more than Barack Obama wrote the 2010 National Security Strategy. That's what governments have people for. By saying "personal", you're implying that it is dependent on the individual who crafted/promulgated the document. There's nothing "personal" about it. It could have been any shogun, the wording would have been similar. It could have been a shogunate in an alternate universe where Shibata Katsuie defeated Hideyoshi at Shizugatake and founded the Shibata Bakufu, it still would have had Confucian concepts as a framework for the document.

It's a GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT. There's no "personal touch", because it's not like he wrote it on the back of a napkin or something.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
ltdomer98 wrote:
It's not "personal". Iemitsu didn't personally write the Buke Shohatto any more than Barack Obama wrote the 2010 National Security Strategy. That's what governments have people for. By saying "personal", you're implying that it is dependent on the individual who crafted/promulgated the document. There's nothing "personal" about it. It could have been any shogun, the wording would have been similar. It could have been a shogunate in an alternate universe where Shibata Katsuie defeated Hideyoshi at Shizugatake and founded the Shibata Bakufu, it still would have had Confucian concepts as a framework for the document.

It's a GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT. There's no "personal touch", because it's not like he wrote it on the back of a napkin or something.


No I know they didn't literally put pen to paper regarding the Buke Shohatto but otherwise I do understand what you are saying and I apologise to keep on flogging a dead horse.

I know what ever changes that appear substantial or otherwise are going to be steeped in Confucius rhetoric whoever it may be in charge of reissuing these edicts, I was just wondering if a Shoguns personality/involvement could contribute to such things as simple as a stylistic change, expansions on already established laws or even the arrival of new laws to add to the same edict. This being a military dictatorship and the Shogun being at the top of the pile I would of thought he be heavily involved in such matters and could change and add at a whim.

Or were these changes and discussions the responsibility of the governmental body alone and the Shoguns involvement was limited in these matters and only extended to whether he approved and sanctioned such changes? That's why I used words such as 'personal touch' in conjunction with his involvement (in poor context admittedly).
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
HarryJJ wrote:
Or were these changes and discussions the responsibility of the governmental body alone and the Shoguns involvement was limited in these matters and only extended to whether he approved and sanctioned such changes? That's why I used words such as 'personal touch' in conjunction with his involvement (in poor context admittedly).


It depends on the personality of the Shogun in question. Some like Ieyasu (obviously), Hidetada, Iemitsu, Tsunayoshi, and Yoshimune were very active and involved in governing and put their personal stamp on their respective Shogunates. Post Yoshimune, there weren't very many Shoguns that wanted to take a very active part in the proceedings-this is one of the reasons why the reissues of the Buke Shohatto were very much the same as before. Obviously, the first three Shoguns were heavily involved with forming the policies that determined the course of the Edo period-by the terms of the later Shoguns it was largely business as usual, and the Shogun was usually glad to hand off the decision making to his advisors and the council of elders. Iemitsu (due largely to a succession conflict with his brother) was aggressive and paranoid from his first day as Shogun, and when meeting with the daimyo of the land upon his father's death basically dared any of them to rebel. In short order he set up alternate attendance, outlawed Christianity, booted out most foreigners, set up the so-called 'closed country edicts' (even though they didn't actually close off the country), confiscated many daimyo domains, and wiped out the Shimabara Rebellion. He definitely put his 'personal stamp' on things-at the same time, though, this was done in close consultation with his advisors and vassals. While a Shogun had much more say in governing and taking a personal hand in things than he might under a modern government, he wasn't operating in a vacuum. Ignoring his vassals and the apparatus of government was a recipe for failure. Some of this can be seen with Tsunayoshi-while as we've already discussed Neo-Confucianism was one of the government's well established guiding principles, Tsunayoshi really took to it heart. He was very active in passing a lot of laws that often resulted in the privileges and rights of samurai being curtailed and the lot of commoners improved. As a result, many of his vassals became angry and the legend of the 'Dog Shogun' came into being as a way to express their anger.

With the documents we're talking about, for example, they would be the result of lengthy discussions between government and religious leaders and the Shogun. The Shogun would write in his own hand the original document (a document which wasn't the result of his thoughts alone, but many minds), and then it would be transcribed in manuscript form for distribution. It was a collaborative effort. Early on it was easier for a Shogun to form official policy, but as the Edo period went on it became harder and harder for them to do so for a variety of reasons (the bigger and more established a government becomes, the harder it becomes to change anything unless something catastrophic happens).
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Just read in Vaporis's "Voices of Early Modern Japan" that Neo-Confucianism wasn't adopted as the 'official' ideology of the Tokugawa Bakufu until the late eighteenth century. Given its degree of influence prior to then, it's surprising it wasn't made 'offical' before then, particularly by Tsunayoshi. Maybe it was felt that just holding it up as a standard and ideal would be more effective in impressing it upon the people than forcing it on them-or that trying to codify a philosophy is rife with potential problems.
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