Far East Empires A Comparison of ming and tokugawa dynasties

Tokugawa of Japan were more military and isolation orientated with their country as compared to the Ming Dynasty of China. Tokugawa lasted from 1600 until 1868 according to the book Visions of Virtue in Tokugawa. The Tokugawa wanted to remain isolated from other countries but eventually let the Chinese and the Dutch to port on their docks for limited trade of goods. The Tokugawa flourished, even under limited trade. The population grew to nearly 30 million and peasants had the most to gain from the population growth. They grew a surplus of crops and were able to provide food for the larger cities in Japan. Japan found peace or also known as the "Great Peace" throughout the country. Tokugawa shoguns found common ground with daimyo who ran the provinces. Throughout the reading, the Tokugawa appeared to be successful in which they had peace and peasants became important and successful in the dynasty.

The Ming Dynasty lasted from 1368-1644 in China. The Ming dynasty era could be defined as a period when peasants struggled with famine and ecological disasters. The Ming compared to the Tokugawa did not have closed borders and allowed trade and to have certain countries to have trading empires in ports. They were not as restrictive to Western ideas and technology as the Tokugawa were. However, according to the book Disorder Under Heaven, the author states that a majority of turmoil happens toward the end of the dynasty. Ming dynasty was unable to protect its borders from Mongol invaders which lead several peasants to recall a better time with the Song dynasty. This would signal a beginning to an end. Drought and an economic collapse caused a revolution. It was apparent that the Ming dynasty lacked strong leadership. This caused the Qing dynasty to takeover and revive the Confucian ideals. They attempted to remove any record of the Ming dynasty. With all the hardship caused by the dynasty I believe they negatively impacted their civilization.

Military horsemen and archers riding into battle

To compare the Tokugawa and Ming dynasties is not an easy task. It appears that to Tokugawa was by far the more positive and influential dynasty as compared to the Ming. However, they kept Japan isolated from Western culture for decades but at the same time prospered. The Ming were unable to keep it's lower class satisfied and had no control of the unfortunate droughts that occurred over time. If were to pick a dynasty to live under I would have to pick the Tokugawa, they appeared to be the most stable.


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