The Tokugawa Shogunate known as the Tokugawa Bakufu and the Edo Bakufu, was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1603 and 1867. The head of government was the shōgun, each was a member of the Tokugawa clan; the Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo Castle and the years of the shogunate became known as the Edo period. This time is called the Tokugawa period or pre-modern. Following the Sengoku period, the central government had been re-established by Oda Nobunaga during the Azuchi–Momoyama period. After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, central authority fell to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Society in the Tokugawa period, unlike in previous shogunates, was based on the strict class hierarchy established by Toyotomi Hideyoshi; the daimyō were at the top, followed by the warrior-caste of samurai, with the farmers and traders ranking below. In some parts of the country smaller regions, daimyō and samurai were more or less identical, since daimyō might be trained as samurai, samurai might act as local rulers.
Otherwise, the inflexible nature of this social stratification system unleashed disruptive forces over time. Taxes on the peasantry were set at fixed amounts that did not account for inflation or other changes in monetary value; as a result, the tax revenues collected by the samurai landowners were worth less and less over time. This led to numerous confrontations between noble but impoverished samurai and well-to-do peasants, ranging from simple local disturbances to much larger rebellions. None, proved compelling enough to challenge the established order until the arrival of foreign powers. A 2017 study found that peasant rebellions and collective desertion lowered tax rates and inhibited state growth in the Tokugawa shogunate. In the mid-19th century, an alliance of several of the more powerful daimyō, along with the titular Emperor, succeeded in overthrowing the shogunate after the Boshin War, culminating in the Meiji Restoration; the Tokugawa shogunate came to an official end in 1868 with the resignation of the 15th Tokugawa shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu, leading to the "restoration" of imperial rule.
Notwithstanding its eventual overthrow in favor of the more modernized, less feudal form of governance of the Meiji Restoration, the Tokugawa shogunate oversaw the longest period of peace and stability in Japan's history, lasting well over 260 years. The bakuhan taisei was the feudal political system in the Edo period of Japan. Baku is an abbreviation of bakufu, meaning "military government"—that is, the shogunate; the han were the domains headed by daimyō. Vassals provided military service and homage to their lords; the bakuhan taisei split feudal power between the shogunate in Edo and provincial domains throughout Japan. Provinces had a degree of sovereignty and were allowed an independent administration of the han in exchange for loyalty to the shōgun, responsible for foreign relations and national security; the shōgun and lords were all daimyōs: feudal lords with their own bureaucracies and territories. The shōgun administered the most powerful han, the hereditary fief of the House of Tokugawa.
Each level of government administered its own system of taxation. The emperor, nominally a religious leader, held no real power; the shogunate had the power to discard and transform domains. The sankin-kōtai system of alternative residence required each daimyō to reside in alternate years between the han and the court in Edo. During their absences from Edo, it was required that they leave family as hostages until their return; the huge expenditure sankin-kōtai imposed on each han helped centralize aristocratic alliances and ensured loyalty to the shōgun as each representative doubled as a potential hostage. Tokugawa's descendants further ensured loyalty by maintaining a dogmatic insistence on loyalty to the shōgun. Fudai daimyō were hereditary vassals of Ieyasu, as well as of his descendants. Tozama became vassals of Ieyasu after the Battle of Sekigahara. Shinpan were collaterals of Tokugawa Hidetada. Early in the Edo period, the shogunate viewed the tozama as the least to be loyal. In the end, it was the great tozama of Satsuma, Chōshū and Tosa, to a lesser extent Hizen, that brought down the shogunate.
These four states are called Satchotohi for short. The number of han fluctuated throughout the Edo period, they were ranked by size, measured as the number of koku of rice that the domain produced each year. One koku was the amount of rice necessary to feed one adult male for one year; the minimum number for a daimyō was ten thousand koku. Regardless of the political title of the Emperor, the shōguns of the Tokugawa family controlled Japan; the administration of Japan was a task given by the Imperial Court in Kyoto to the Tokugawa family, which returned to the court in the Meiji Restoration. While the Emperor had the prerogative of appointing the shōgun, he had no say in state affairs; the shogunate appointed a liaison, the Kyoto Shoshidai, to deal with the Emperor and nobility. Towards the end of the shogunate, after centuries of the Emperor having little say in state affairs and being secluded in his Kyoto palace, in the wake of the reigning shōgun, Tokugawa Iemochi, marrying the sister of Emperor Kōmei, in 1862, the Imperial Court in Kyoto
The Meiji period, or Meiji era, is an era of Japanese history which extended from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. This era represents the first half of the Empire of Japan, during which period the Japanese people moved from being an isolated feudal society at risk of colonisation by European powers to the new paradigm of a modern, industrialised nationstate and emergent great power, influenced by Western scientific, philosophical, political and aesthetic ideas; as a result of such wholesale adoption of radically-different ideas, the changes to Japan were profound, affected its social structure, internal politics, economy and foreign relations. The period corresponded to the reign of Emperor Meiji and was succeeded upon the accession of Emperor Taishō by the Taishō period. On February 3, 1867, the 14-year-old Prince Mutsuhito succeeded his father, Emperor Kōmei, to the Chrysanthemum Throne as the 122nd emperor. On November 9, 1867, then-shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu tendered his resignation to the Emperor, formally stepped down ten days later.
Imperial restoration occurred the next year on January 3, 1868, with the formation of the new government. The fall of Edo in the summer of 1868 marked the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, a new era, was proclaimed; the first reform was the promulgation of the Five Charter Oath in 1868, a general statement of the aims of the Meiji leaders to boost morale and win financial support for the new government. Its five provisions consisted of: Establishment of deliberative assemblies. Implicit in the Charter Oath was an end to exclusive political rule by the bakufu, a move toward more democratic participation in government. To implement the Charter Oath, a rather short-lived constitution with eleven articles was drawn up in June 1868. Besides providing for a new Council of State, legislative bodies, systems of ranks for nobles and officials, it limited office tenure to four years, allowed public balloting, provided for a new taxation system, ordered new local administrative rules; the Meiji government assured the foreign powers that it would follow the old treaties negotiated by the bakufu and announced that it would act in accordance with international law.
Mutsuhito, to reign until 1912, selected a new reign title—Meiji, or Enlightened Rule—to mark the beginning of a new era in Japanese history. To further dramatize the new order, the capital was relocated from Kyoto, where it had been situated since 794, to Tokyo, the new name for Edo. In a move critical for the consolidation of the new regime, most daimyōs voluntarily surrendered their land and census records to the Emperor in the abolition of the Han system, symbolizing that the land and people were under the Emperor's jurisdiction. Confirmed in their hereditary positions, the daimyo became governors, the central government assumed their administrative expenses and paid samurai stipends; the han were replaced with prefectures in 1871, authority continued to flow to the national government. Officials from the favored former han, such as Satsuma, Chōshū, Hizen staffed the new ministries. Old court nobles, lower-ranking but more radical samurai, replaced bakufu appointees and daimyo as a new ruling class appeared.
In as much as the Meiji Restoration had sought to return the Emperor to a preeminent position, efforts were made to establish a Shinto-oriented state much like it was 1,000 years earlier. Since Shinto and Buddhism had molded into a syncretic belief in the prior one-thousand years and Buddhism had been connected with the shogunate, this involved the separation of Shinto and Buddhism and the associated destruction of various Buddhist temples and related violence. Furthermore, a new State Shinto had to be constructed for the purpose. In 1871, the Office of Shinto Worship was established, ranking above the Council of State in importance; the kokutai ideas of the Mito school were embraced, the divine ancestry of the Imperial House was emphasized. The government supported a small but important move. Although the Office of Shinto Worship was demoted in 1872, by 1877 the Home Ministry controlled all Shinto shrines and certain Shinto sects were given state recognition. Shinto was released from Buddhist administration and its properties restored.
Although Buddhism suffered from state sponsorship of Shinto, it had its own resurgence. Christianity was legalized, Confucianism remained an important ethical doctrine. However, Japanese thinkers identified with Western ideology and methods. A major proponent of representative government was Itagaki Taisuke, a powerful Tosa leader who had resigned from the Council of State over the Korean affair in 1873. Itagaki sought peaceful, rather than rebellious, he started a school and a movement aimed at establishing a constitutional monarchy and a legislative assembly. Such movements were called People's Rights Movement. Itagaki and others wrote the Tosa Memorial in 1874, criticizing the unbridled power of the oligarchy and calling for the immediate establishment of representative government. Between 1871 and 1873, a series of land and tax laws were enacted as the basis for modern fiscal policy. Private ownership was legalized, deeds were issued, lands were assessed at fair market value with taxes paid in cash rather than in k
Townsend Harris was a successful New York City merchant and minor politician, the first United States Consul General to Japan. He negotiated the "Harris Treaty" between the US and Japan and is credited as the diplomat who first opened the Empire of Japan to foreign trade and culture in the Edo period. Harris was born in Washington County in upstate New York, he moved early to New York City, where he became a successful importer from China. In 1846 Harris joined the New York City Board of Education, serving as its president until 1848, he was an avid and critical reader and taught himself French and Spanish. He founded the Free Academy of the City of New York, which became the City College of New York, to provide education to the city's working people. A city high school bearing Harris's name, Townsend Harris High School, soon emerged as a separate entity out of the Free Academy's secondary-level curriculum. Townsend Harris High School was re-created in 1984 as a public magnet school for the humanities.
In 1848 he went to California and during the following six years made trading voyages to China and the Dutch and British Indies, becoming acquainted with many Asian customs and societies. He acted for a time as American vice-consul at the Chinese treaty port of Ningpo. Harris, though anxious to get to his new post in Japan, went first to Bangkok, to update the 1833 Roberts Treaty. In his formal audience with the English-speaking and Western-oriented Second King, Phra Pin Klao, Harris stated America's position:The United States does not hold any possessions in the East, nor does it desire any; the form of government forbids the holding of colonies. The United States therefore cannot be an object of jealousy to any Eastern Power. Peaceful commercial relations, which give as well as receive benefits, is what the President wishes to establish with Siam, such is the object of my mission. Finalization of the British Bowring Treaty of 1855 delayed Harris for a month, but he had only to negotiate minor points to transform it into the Harris Treaty of 1856.
Re-designated the Treaty of Amity and Navigation, the amendments granted Americans extraterritorial rights in addition to those in the Roberts Treaty. American missionary Stephen Matoon, who had acted as translator, was appointed the first United States consul to Siam. President Franklin Pierce named Harris the first Consul General to Tokugawa Japan in July, 1856, where he opened the first US Consulate at the Gyokusen-ji Temple in the city of Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture, some time after Commodore Perry had first opened trade between the US and Japan in 1854. Harris demanded the courtesies due to an accredited envoy, refused to deliver his president's letter to any one but the Shogun in Edo, to him personally. After prolonged negotiations lasting 18 months, Harris received a personal audience of the Shogun in the palace. After another four months, he negotiated the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, or the "Harris Treaty of 1858," securing trade between the US and Japan and paving the way for greater Western influence in Japan's economy and politics.
Harris served during the first Japanese Embassy to the United States, during which a false report reached the US of his death. Harris returned home in 1861. Upon his departure, senior Japanese diplomat Moriyama wrote to him "You have been more than a friend. You have been our teacher. Your spirit and memory will live forever in the history of Japan."Harris was favorably impressed by his experiences in Japan at the end of its self-imposed period of isolation. He wrote: "The people all appeared clean and well fed... well clad and happy looking. It is more like the golden age of simplicity and honesty than I have seen in any other country". According to a persistent legend, Harris adopted a 17-year-old geisha known as Okichi, whose real name was Kichi Saitou; the legend has it that she was pressured into the relationship by Japanese authorities and ostracized after Harris' departure committing suicide in 1892. However, it appears that Okichi was one of Harris' housekeepers, the Kodansha Encyclopedia states that Harris fired her after just three days of work.
As reported in The New York Times, when he was interviewed in 1874 by the author William Elliot Griffis who had returned from Japan, his first question was, "What do the Japanese think of me?" Masao Miyoshi asserts in his book As We Saw Them: The First Japanese Embassy to the United States that the restrictive lifestyle for Townsend Harris as ambassador in Japan "had forever molded the opener of Japan into a hermit" for the rest of his life while in New York City. Harris is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in New York. In 1986, the nation of Japan presented a gift of a refurbished gravesite including paving stones, a stone lantern, a cherry tree, a dogwood tree, two commemorative stones, in commemoration of the continuing respect and affection of the Japanese people for Harris. Harris was portrayed by John Wayne in the 1958 movie The Barbarian and the Geisha, directed by John Huston. Although the primary plot, dealing with Harris' attempt diplomatically to achieve détente between the U. S. and Japan, is accurate, the subplot dealing with the love affair between Harris and Okichi is fictionalHarris appears as the main character of several episodes of the satirical Japanese manga-based anime, Gag Manga Biyori as a desperate man with a thick accent attempting to outshine Commodore Perry's arrival in a black-hulled ship in 1853, while maki
Shukuba were post stations during the Edo period in Japan located on one of the Edo Five Routes or one of its sub-routes. They were called shuku-eki; these post stations were places. They were created based on policies for the transportation of goods by horseback that were developed during the Nara and Heian periods; these post stations were first established by Tokugawa Ieyasu shortly after the end of the Battle of Sekigahara. The first post stations were developed along the Tōkaidō. In 1601, the first of the Tōkaidō's fifty-three stations were developed, stretching from Shinagawa-juku in Edo to Ōtsu-juku in Ōmi Province. Not all the post stations were built at the same time, however, as the last one was built in 1624; the lodgings in the post stations were established for use by public officials and, when there were not enough lodgings, nearby towns were put into use. The post station's toiyaba and sub-honjin were all saved for the public officials, it was hard to receive a profit as the proprietor of these places, but the shōgun provided help in the form of various permits, rice collection and simple money lending, making it possible for the establishments to stay open.
The hatago, retail stores, tea houses, etc. which were designed for general travelers, were able to build a profit. Ai no shuku were intermediate post stations. Speaking, as the Meiji period arrived and brought along the spread of rail transport, the number of travelers visiting these post stations declined, as did the prosperity of the post stations. Toiyaba: General offices that helped manage the post town. Honjin: Rest areas and lodgings built for use by samurai and court nobles. Honjin were not businesses. Waki-honjin: These facilities were for use by samurai and court nobles, but general travelers could stay here if there were vacancies. Hatago: Facilities that offered accommodations to general travelers and served food. Kichin-yado: Facilities that offered accommodations to general travelers, but did not serve food. Chaya: Rest areas that sold tea and alcohol to travelers. Shops: General shops built to sell wares to travelers. Kōsatsu: Signboards on which the shōgun's proclamations were posted.
Nationally designated Architectural Preservation Sites Aizu Nishi Kaidō's Ōuchi-juku Hokkoku Kaidō's Unno-juku Nakasendō's Narai-juku Nakasendō's Tsumago-juku Tōkaidō's Seki-juku Saba Kaidō's Kumagawa-shuku Inaba Kaidō's Hirafuku-shuku Inaba Kaidō's Ōhara-shuku Inaba Kaidō's Chizu-shuku Tōkaidō's Ishibe-juku Ai no shuku Castle town Edo Five Routes
Yoshida Shōin named Torajirō, was one of Japan's most distinguished intellectuals in the late years of the Tokugawa shogunate. He devoted himself to nurturing many ishin shishi who in turn made major contributions to the Meiji Restoration. Born Sugi Toranosuke in Hagi in the Chōshū region of Japan, he was the second son of Sugi Yurinosuke, a modest rank Samurai and his wife Kodama Taki. Yurinosuke had Yoshida Daisuke and Tamaki Bunnoshin. Sugi Toranosuke's eldest brother was Sugi Umetarō, his four younger sisters were Sugi Yoshiko, Sugi Hisa, Sugi Tsuya, Sugi Fumi, his youngest brother was Sugi Toshisaburō. Sugi Toranosuke was adopted at the age of four by Yoshida Daisuke and was renamed to Yoshida Shōin; the process of adopting younger sons from the Sugi house was established generations before Shoin's birth. To avoid financial insolvency, the Sugi house controlled two additional samurai lineages-the Tamaki and the Yoshida lineages; the oldest male became the Sugi heir and the younger Sugi sons were adopted by the Tamaki and Yoshida lines as their heirs-to ensure the Sugi succession was protected, this required the head of the house in the Yoshida line and most generations the Tamaki line to remain unmarried.
Daisuke in ill health, died one year at the age of 28, leaving Yoshida Shoin as the heir of the Yoshida lineage at five years of age. His house was the instructor to the daimyō in military studies. Due to Shōins young age, four men were appointed to represent the Yoshida house as instructors. Shōin's younger uncle, set about accelerating Shōin's education to prepare the boy for his eventual duties as Yamaga instructor; this period of intense study suggests a formative experience that shaped Shoin into an educator and activist that helped spur the Meiji Restoration. At the end of 1851, Yoshida left for a four-month trip across Northeastern Japan, he had been granted verbal permission from the Chōshū government but left before receiving his written permission in an act of defiance. This act of defiance was a serious offense known as dappan or "fleeing the han", he returned to Hagi in 1852. His punishment from the daimyō was sweet for Shōin, he was stripped of his stipend of 57 koku with it. His father, Sugi Yurinosuke, was appointed as his guardian.
Shōin was granted 10 years of leisure in which he could study in any part of Japan that he chose. On January 16, 1853, Yoshida Shōin was granted permission to return to Edo to continue his studies, his timing for his return to Edo turned out to coincide with Matthew Perry’s arrival in Japan. Matthew Perry visited Japan in 1853 and 1854. Several months after Perry's arrival at Uraga, Sakuma Shōzan petitioned the Bakufu to allow promising candidates to go to the United States to study the ways of the West; the petition was denied but Sakuma and Shoin resolved that Shoin would stow away onboard Perry's ship to visit the west for study. Shortly before Perry left, Yoshida and a friend went to Shimoda where Perry's Black Ships were anchored, tried to gain admittance, they first presented a letter asking to be let aboard one of his ships. In the dead of night Yoshida tried to secretly climb aboard the ship USS Powhatan. Perry's troops noticed them, they were refused. Shortly thereafter, they were caged by Tokugawa bakufu troops.
In a cage, they managed to smuggle a written message to Perry. Yoshida Shōin was sent to a jail in Edo to one in Hagi where he was sentenced to house arrest. Yoshida had never introduced himself to Perry. While in jail, he ran a school. After his release, he took over his uncle's tiny private school, Shōka Sonjuku to teach the youth military arts and politics. Since he was forbidden from travelling, he had his students travel Japan as investigators. By 1858, Ii Naosuke, the bakufu Tairō who signed treaties with the Western powers, began to round up sonnō jōi rebels in Kyōto, the provinces. Many of Yoshida Shoin's followers were caught up in the dragnet; that year, Yoshida Shōin took up the sword. When Ii Naosuke sent a servant to ask the emperor to support one of his treaties with the foreigners, Yoshida Shōin led a revolt, calling on rōnin to aid him, but received little support. Nonetheless, he and a small band of students attempted to kill Ii's servant in Kyoto; the revolt failed, Yoshida Shoin was again imprisoned in Chōshū.
In 1859, Chōshū was ordered to send its most dangerous insurgents to Edo's prisons. Once there, Yoshida Shōin confessed the assassination plot, from jail, continued to plot the rebellion, he did not expect to be executed. In October 15, he asked for a piece of tissue paper to clear his nasal passage recited his final death poem:'Parental love exceeds one’s love for his parents. How will they take the tidings of today?'. Two days in October 17, he was informed of his death sentence; when it was Yoshida's turn in November 21, he was brought to an open courtyard adjacent to the prison, led to the scaffold. With perfect composure he kneeled atop a straw mat, beyond, a rectangular hole dug in the rich, dark earth to absorb the blood. Upon his death by decapitation, his executioner Yamada Asaemon said, he was 29 years old. After his execution, he was first buried by Itō Hirobumi and his Chōshū comrades near the execution site. In 1863, he was reburied by his supporters at Wakabayashi, Edo. At least six of his st
The Russian Empire known as Imperial Russia or Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917. The third largest empire in world history, at its greatest extent stretching over three continents, Europe and North America, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires; the rise of the Russian Empire coincided with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the Golden Horde, the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. It played a major role in 1812–1814 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe and expanded to the west and south; the House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, its matrilineal branch of patrilineal German descent the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov ruled from 1762. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, into Alaska and Northern California in America on the east.
With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics and religion. There were numerous dissident elements. Economically, the empire had a predominantly agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, Russian peasants; the economy industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility from the 10th through the 17th centuries, subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III laid the groundwork for the empire that emerged, he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, laid the foundations of the Russian state. Emperor Peter the Great fought numerous wars and expanded an huge empire into a major European power, he moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political mores with a modern, Europe-oriented, rationalist system.
Empress Catherine the Great presided over a golden age. Emperor Alexander II promoted numerous reforms, most the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861, his policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That connection by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, the United Kingdom, Serbia, against the German and Ottoman empires; the Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy on principles of Orthodoxy and Nationality until the Revolution of 1905 and became a de jure constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917 as a result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War. Though the Empire was only proclaimed by Tsar Peter I following the Treaty of Nystad, some historians would argue that it was born either when Ivan III of Russia conquered Veliky Novgorod in 1478, or when Ivan the Terrible conquered the Khanate of Kazan in 1552. According to another point of view, the term Tsardom, used after the coronation of Ivan IV in 1547, was a contemporary Russian word for empire.
Much of Russia's expansion occurred in the 17th century, culminating in the first Russian colonization of the Pacific in the mid-17th century, the Russo-Polish War that incorporated left-bank Ukraine, the Russian conquest of Siberia. Poland was divided in the 1790 -- 1815 era, with much of the population going to Russia. Most of the 19th-century growth came from adding territory in Asia, south of Siberia. Peter I the Great played a major role in introducing Russia to the European state system. While the vast land had a population of 14 million, grain yields trailed behind those of agriculture in the West, compelling nearly the entire population to farm. Only a small percentage lived in towns; the class of kholops, close in status to slavery, remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter converted household kholops into house serfs, thus including them in poll taxation. Russian agricultural kholops were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. Peter's first military efforts were directed against the Ottoman Turks.
His attention turned to the North. Peter still lacked a secure northern seaport, except at Archangel on the White Sea, where the harbor was frozen for nine months a year. Access to the Baltic was blocked by Sweden. Peter's ambitions for a "window to the sea" led him to make a secret alliance in 1699 with Saxony, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark against Sweden, resulting in the Great Northern War; the war ended in 1721. Peter acquired four provinces situated east of the Gulf of Finland; the coveted access to the sea was now secured. There he built Russia's new capital, Saint Petersburg, to replace Moscow, which had long been Russia's cultural center. In 1722, he tur
The Tōkaidō road, which means "eastern sea route," was the most important of the Five Routes of the Edo period in Japan, connecting Kyoto to Edo. Unlike the inland and less travelled Nakasendō, the Tōkaidō travelled along the sea coast of eastern Honshū, hence the route's name; the standard method of travel was by foot, as wheeled carts were nonexistent and heavy cargo was sent by boat. Members of the higher class, travelled by kago. Women had to be accompanied by men. Other restrictions were put in place for travellers, while severe penalties existed for various travel regulations, most seem not to have been enforced. Along the Tōkaidō, there were government-sanctioned post stations for travellers in; these stations consisted of porter stations and horse stables, as well as lodging and other places a traveller may visit. The original Tōkaidō was made up of 53 stations between the termination points of Kyoto; the 53 stations were taken from the 53 Buddhist saints that Buddhist acolyte Sudhana visited to receive teachings in his quest for enlightenment.
The route passed through several provinces, each administered by a daimyō, the borders of whose regions were delineated. Numerous checkpoints had been set up by the government where travellers had to present travelling permits to pass or be turned back. There were no bridges over the larger, fast flowing rivers, forcing travelers to be ferried across by boat or be carried by watermen porters. Additionally, at one point in Nagoya the road was barred by several rivers and voyagers had to take a boat across the sea for 17 miles to reach Kuwana station; these water crossings were a potential source of delay: In ideal weather the entire Tōkaidō journey on foot could be made in about a week, but if conditions were bad a trip might take up to a month to complete. Travel along the Tōkaidō, was a popular topic in art and literature at the time. A great many guidebooks of famous places were published and distributed at this time, a culture of virtual tourism through books and pictures thrived. Jippensha Ikku's Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige, translated as "The Shank's Mare", is one of the more famous novels about a journey along the Tōkaidō.
The artist Hiroshige depicted each of the 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō in his work The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō, the haiku poet Matsuo Bashō travelled along the road. The Tōkaidō gojūsan tsui, created in 1845, is one of the most well-known and fascinating examples of woodblock prints inspired by the road. Japan's three leading print designers of the nineteenth century - Kuniyoshi and Kunisada - paired each Tōkaidō rest station with an intriguing, cryptic design. Due to the harsh and punitive Tenpō-era reforms which attempted to impose a defined morality, prints of celebrity actors and entertainers were outlawed during this time. Crafted to outwit the artistic restrictions imposed by the reforms, the woodcuts in the Parallel Series became popular visual puzzles that were reproduced; because of the ingenious approach to the Tōkaidō theme, the Tōkaidō gojūsan tsui has been praised as one of the most innovative and important works from the late Edo period. Its three designers followed their individual interests and strengths, yet shared a common composition - dominant figures against distant landscapes.
They used a variety of motifs, including stories from kabuki theater, famous tales, legends and local specialties. In the early 1980s, inspired by Hiroshige, American artist Bill Zacha travelled the Tokaido stations, he created a series of 55 serigraphs, each depicting one stop along the Tokaido way, printed 100 copies of each design. These were collected in the 1985 book Tokaido Journey, along with Bill's recollections of travelling the road and the people he encountered; the British painter Nigel Caple travelled along the Tōkaidō Road between 1998 and 2000, making drawings of the 53 stations along the Tōkaidō. His inspiration was the Hoeido Edition of woodblock prints entitled The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō by Utagawa Hiroshige; these drawings by Nigel Caple formed the basis for a series of paintings and culminated in a touring exhibition and lectures during 2001 and 2002. Locations included The British Museum; the exhibition was part of the UK’s Japan Festival 2001. The video game Tōkaidō Gojūsan-tsugi, released by Sunsoft for the Famicom in July 1986 and ported to other Nintendo platforms, features a firework maker protagonist who must travel the Tōkaidō to visit his fiancee, while thwarting attacks from a rival businessman.
The 2012 board game Tōkaidō, designed by Antoine Bauza, is set in the Edo period. Players can take on the roles of artists travelling the East Sea Road, among other things, panoramas of its views as they journey toward Edo. In 1619, the Ōsaka Kaidō was established as a spur of the Tōkaidō; this addition extended the route to Kōraibashi in Osaka. This spur was called the Kyōkaidō, or it was described as being a part of the 57 stations of the Tōkaidō. Today, the Tōkaidō corridor is the most travelled transportation corridor in Japan, connecting Greater Tokyo to Nagoya, to Osaka via Kyoto; the Tokyo-Nagoya-Kyoto-Osaka route is followed by the JR Tōkaidō Main Line and Tōkaidō Shinkansen, as well as the Tōmei and Meishin expressways. A few portions of the original road can still be found, in modern times a