HIS 112
Unit 3: East Asia in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Edo Castle

Edo Castle (now the Imperial Palace in Tokyo) was built in 1457 and during the Edo period, or the Tokugawa Shogunate, served as the capital of Japan. The castle suffered much damage over the years from fires, earthquakes and war, and then during World War II, U.S. bombing raids destroyed more. This is a photo of moat, wall and building; photo courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Blue Separator Bar
What you must do in this unit
  • Read chapter 21 in the textbook and watch the short video on Japan. (It is not the best video that I've ever made, mostly because I am far from being a specialist in Japanese history!)
  • Check the course notes on East Asia and Japan: The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
  • Study the Questions to Consider and the Key Terms for the unit.
  • Post (or respond) with your thoughts/ideas/comments about this unit's reading in the discussion board in Canvas: Why did Japan close itself to foreign contact in the seventeenth century (5 points)?
What you can do in this unit Some videos that you can watch for this unit Extra Credit Options
  • For up to 25 points of extra credit, some of the best portrayals/recreations of Tokugawa Japan can be found in the films of Akira Kurosawa (1910-1999), the great Japanese director.  I can heartily recommend his Seven Samurai (1954) or Kagemusha (1980) as capturing the complexities of early modern Japan.  Consider watching either of these films for extra credit.  In a one-page paper, comment upon the historical accuracy of the film that you have watched.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, read the decrees on the Seclusion of Japan and then submit the Japan paragraph.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, in a long paragraph consider a comparison of way of the samurai (see Tsunetomo Yamamoto, Hagakure, which is sometimes called the "way of the samurai") with the way of the medieval knight (for example in the Song of Roland).  Please be sure to cite your sources.  (You may consider writing a longer essay for more extra credit, but only if the second page is very good.)
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, read K'ang-Hsi: The Sacred Edicts (1670) and write a paragraph in which you comment upon the philosophy of government expressed there.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, read Honda Toshiaki, A Secret Plan for Government (1798), and write a paragraph in which you comment upon the philosophy of government expressed there.  (If you want even more extra credit, consider comparing Honda Toshiaki and K'ang-Hsi.)
  • For up to 5 points of extra credit, answer the Japan paragraph study sheet questions.
  • For extra credit, please suggest a relevant website for this unit of the course.  Send your instructor the title of the site, the URL and a brief explanation why you find the information interesting and applicable to the material being studied this unit.
Unit Learning Objectives
  • Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to (1) demonstrate knowledge and evolution of historical developments in Japan and East Asia.

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