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The Tokugawa Shogunate

The Tokugawa Shogunate arose after over a century of bloodshed and uncertainty in Japan. The preceding period, known as the Sengoku-jidai, or "Age of the Warring States," and as such, it was initially conceived as a military government-- one that maintained peace through the presence of arms. Though the Shogunate was to go to great lengths to legitimate its existence and develop the ceremony and structure of a civil government, at its core it was to remain, at least in theory, founded on a "martial" (though not necessarily warring) structure.

The seniormost offices of the Shogunate included the following:

Roju (Senior Councilors): Usually chosen from the ranks of the fudai lords, who were vassals of the Tokugawa house. The duties of the roju included the oversight of national affairs, inter-domainal business, finance operations, and matters of the Tokugawa house, among a myriad of other responsibilities. One usually became roju after having served in a lower post, such as soshaban (Master of Ceremonies), or Jisha-bugyo, positions outlined below.

Wakadoshiyori (Junior Councilors): Chosen from either lords of smaller fudai domains, or from the ranks of the high-income hatamoto, or private vassals of the Shogun. The wakadoshiyori had oversight of business pertaining to the Tokugawa vassal band, namely, the upper-tier (hatamoto) and lower-tier (gokenin) vassals.

Jisha-bugyo (Magistrate of Temples and Shrines): Chosen from either the ranks of the hatamoto or the fudai daimyo. The holder of the office had administrative responsibilities with oversight of all the temples and shrines in Japan.

Machi-bugyo (City Magistrate): Post held by either a fudai daimyo or a hatamoto. This post was one which had oversight of the commoner wards of the major cities under the Shogun's control, including Edo, Kyoto, Nagasaki, Nara, Hakodate, Niigata, and others.

Kanjo-bugyo (Finance Magistrate): Drawn from the ranks of the hatamoto, the kanjo-bugyo oversaw matters of finance and taxation for the Tokugawa government.

Kinzan-bugyo (Mining Magistrate): Drawn from the ranks of the hatamoto, the Kinzan-bugyo oversaw the operations of the Shogunate's private mines.

Information on this site may not be duplicated elsewhere without explicit permission from Armen Bakalian.

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