Ming & Tokugawa Sasha Griffin

Leadership in the Tokugawa period consisted of a centralized military government (a shogunate) which maintained control by maintaining strategic alliances with a set of semi-autonomous feudal lords, or daimyo. The shogunate ensured 250 years of stability by limiting the mobility of social classes to maintain traditional social roles and to prevent instabilities in both government and agriculture production. This period saw a long period of Japanese isolation from the rest of the world and saw the banning and persecution of Christians.

While the majority of the Tokugawa period saw stability, the fixed caste system started to stagnate leaving numerous lords and Japan's warrior class with limited economic opportunity. Foreign involvement and a weakening economy resulted in the government losing power. The resulting instability resulted in the overthrow of the last Shogun and power returned back to the emperor.

The Ming empire lasted between the late 1360s and mid 1640s. The Ming were a highly bureaucratic regime where officials were required to go through strict evaluation. The Ming emperor consolidated power by abolishing the prime minister becoming the central power of the government. Civil servants faced beatings during this period of Chinese history in order to humiliate them and to maintain loyalty to the emperor. China during the Ming dynasty was heavily focused on maintaining security of its borders, primarily with Mongolia, which resulted in struggles with numerous ethnic groups. The effects of both conflicts in the inner courts of the empire and among its minorities led to widespread corruption and its collapse.

The Ming were generally conservative in their approach to leaving behind a cultural legacy. Most remnants of the Ming are typically small consisting primarily of ornate jade, ivory, wood and porcelain carvings. The most noticeable, and largest, remaining part of Ming society is the Forbidden City which remained in use and has been enlarged over the past several centuries over two dynasties.

Of these two, I'd prefer being a citizen of Tokugawa Japan. There is very little chance that I would be able to leave the status I was born in due to the restrictive policies around economic mobility, but the period was generally dominated by limited conflicts, stable economic growth and mostly stable governance. As a whole, I would say the Tokugawa Shogunate left a more positive impact than the Ming who, despite leaving behind a cultural legacy, ultimately led to corruption and later dynasty being ruled over by the Manchu.

"Tokugawa Period | Japanese History". Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Feb. 2017.

"Ming Dynasty | Chinese History". Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Feb. 2017.

Revel.pearson.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Feb. 2017.

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