The Ming Dynasty and Tokugawa Japan Ashley Hope: World civilizations 2
Zhu Yuanzhang was self-educated and did not appreciate the Confucian establishment.
Since Zhu wanted to keep Confucian Bureaucrats under his control, he kept the centers of power in balance.
The centers of power included: military top brass, eunuchs: ran the imperial household, foreign and Muslim advisers and technicians, Buddhist and Daoist clergies and merchant lobby. Together they limited the power of the Confucians.
Zhu Yuanzhang created an empire that spanned 300 years and put China on the map as the worlds super power.
Zhu Yuanzhang's son and grandson followed him into leadership of the Ming Empire.
The empire was started by Zhu Yuanzhang: Hongwu Emperor (1368-1398) and it ended with Zhu Youjian: Chongzhen Emperor (1627-1644).
The dynasty survived so long due to strict traditional standards and modeling after even enemies to make their empire strong and dominant. For most of the Ming Dynasty, there was peace and growth and exploration.
With a 300 year long reign, I would definitely say that the Ming Empire was successful. I would also consider their impact very positive. They increased trade with other nations, ran a very successful exploration operation led by Zheng He in which he discovered many new lands and commodities.
In the 17th century, Japanese governments tried increasingly to exclude foreign cultures. The Tokugawa Shogun Empire, wanted to isolate itself from the Westerners. They were welcoming Koreans and Chinese.
The Japanese government severely controlled merchants and shipping, although not to prevent trade. In fact, Japanese commerce grew throughout the 17th and 18th century, because of their trade with the Dutch and Chinese.
Japan also generated its own internal commercialism. Because of this, the population grew from 12 million to 30 million.
After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Tokugawa leyasu began a dynasty that would rule Japan for 2 and a half centuries.
Tokugawa's reign focused on "reestablishing order in social, political and international affairs" (history.com)
During an atmosphere of social peace, the government told its citizens to concentrate on getting rich.
Japanese prosperity was founded on what they called the Great Peace, which was the "reunification of Japan in the early 17th century, under the Tokugawa" (The World, 542).
Japan recognized four social classes: warriors (samurai), artisans, farmers, and merchants. They also prohibited the moving between the classes.
When peace was restored, most samurai became bureaucrats, or practiced a trade of some sort.
The economy flourished under the Tokugawa regime. The agricultural, commerce and manufacturing industries expanded leading to an increasingly wealthy merchant class.
The Tokugawa Empire was just as successful as the Ming empire. Both Empires left a lasting legacy. Both empires had positive impacts that furthered the growth of their countries. I would most like to live in the Ming Empire, because of the exploration that they enjoyed. The fact that the Yokugawa Empire shut itself off from all western cultures, meant that their exploration was practically nill. I would much prefer to live in an empire that wanted to learn and foster relationships with others.