Japan 1789 CE

The Tokugawa shogunate has isolated Japan from the rest of the world - but has brought stability and prosperity.

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What is happening in Japan in 1789CE

The Tokugawa shogunate has continued to rule a Japan, which it has isolated from the rest of the world, bringing it political stability and peace.

The long peace has resulted in greatly increased prosperity. A vibrant internal market has developed, centred on Edo and Osaka, both of which have grown to be amongst the largest cities in the world of the time (Edo is larger than any European city, with 500,000 inhabitants). As a result of  commercial activity, new agricultural land has been opened up, and even the peasants have shared in the prosperity.

This is also a time of cultural progress, seeing the rise of Kabuki theatre, known for its elaborate make-up and stylized acting, and Ukiyo-e painting. By this period, perhaps half of all Japanese, including the peasantry, are literate.

There are danger signs, however. The growing population experiences more numerous years of food shortages, sparking off regular bouts of rural unrest. At the same time, economic changes have left segments of the population worse off. Many poor peasants have lost their land to big farmers, and many poor samurai have fallen on hard times, some even having to stoop to manual work to make ends meet.

Next map, Japan in 1837

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