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Mentone Girls' Grammar School | Kerferd Library

Japan under the Shôguns: Economy

Year 8 History: Middle Ages and early exploration | Japan under the Shoguns (c.794 – 1867)

Source: A True View of a Trading House of a Yokohama Merchant - 1st month, 1861. Utagawa (Gountei) Sadahide (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2020)

Level 1 resource"The third shôgun, Tokugawa Iemitsu,... enforced isolation from much of the rest of the world in the seventeenth century, believing that influences from abroad (meaning trade, Christianity, and guns) could shift the balance that existed between the shôgun and the feudal lords. He was proven right two centuries later, when change came in the form of Perry's ships." (Asia for Educators, Columbia University, 2009)

Referencing Notice Don't forget to cite and reference your sources. For help see the Junior School or Senior School referencing guides, and / or CiteMaker.
Resource Key

When accessing content use the numbers below to guide you:


Brief, basic information laid out in an easy-to-read format. May use informal language. (Includes most news articles)


Provides additional background information and further reading. Introduces some subject-specific language.

Level 3 resourceLEVEL

Lengthy, detailed information. Frequently uses technical/subject-specific language. (Includes most analytical articles)

General Capabilities

Replace the following with the Victorian Curriculum General Capabilities from teacher's documentation on Rubicon Atlas.

Enduring Understandings

Students will form some understanding of Japanese history and culture. They will come to understand the implications of contact between cultures and the threat caused to non-European cultures of European imperialism.

Essential Questions
  • What was Japanese society like before and during the reign of the shoguns?
  • What led to the rise of the Shoguns?
  • How did Japan change under the rule of the shoguns?

Japan under the Shoguns | Economy: Keywords

Level 1Keywords
Click on the terms to access a simple definition from Lexico, the online Oxford Dictionary.

  • Sakoku 鎖国 [national seclusion] period from the Sakoku Edict of 1635 to 1854 and the arrival of Commodore Perry when Japan restricted foreign trade and influence.
  • Yottsu no kuchi [four portals] four restricted entry points for foreign trade: Matsumae for trade with China via the Ainu people of Hokadio, Tsushima for trade with Korea, Satsuma for trade with China via the kingdom of Ryūkyū, and the island of Dejima at Nagasaki for Dutch merchants trading from Europe.

Japan under the Shoguns | Economy: Introduction

Level 1"Upon seeing Perry's fleet sailing into their harbour, the Japanese called them the "black ships of evil mien (appearance)." Many leaders wanted the foreigners expelled from the country, but in 1854 a treaty was signed between the United States and Japan which allowed trade at two ports. In 1858 another treaty was signed which opened more ports and designated cities in which foreigners could reside. The trade brought much foreign currency into Japan disrupting the Japanese monetary system. Because the ruling shôgun seemed unable to do anything about the problems brought by the foreign trade, some samurai leaders began to demand a change in leadership." (Asia for Educators, Columbia University, 2009)

Japan under the Shoguns | Economy: Articles

Level 2Article

Pre 1850 Japan
Post 1850 Japan

Japan under the Shoguns | Economy: Online resources

Level 2 resourceWeb sites

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