- Tokugawa period
- 'Tokugawa' was the clan-name of the shoguns based at Edo, present-day Tokyo who ruled Japan from 1603-1868 (hence Tokugawa period=Edo period). The system of rule during this period of unprecedented internal stability in Japan was based on the feng-chien (Japanese: hoken) system of the Chou dynasty in China, with local authority exercised by 260-270 families of feudal lords (daimyo) under the overall control of the shogun in Edo, known by the Confucian term taikun (Great Master). The Tokugawa period had begun with the suppression of Christianity, a ban on which was maintained throughout the Edo period and enforced in two ways; by 'closure of the country' (sakoku) to keep foreign influences at bay and by compulsory registration of all parishioners— including of course shrine priests—as Buddhists; to be Japanese was to be a parishioner of a Buddhist temple. The period also saw the gradual permeation of Neo-Confucian (shushi-gaku, Oyomei) orthodoxy from the ruler and samurai class down to other sectors of society including the merchants. Confucian ideas of selfless loyalty, filial piety and proper relationships (see e.g. Kyoiku chokugo) subsequently formed the basis of the Emperor system 'restored' under the name of Shinto in the Meiji period. Most of the leading ideas now seen as integral to Shinto such as an emphasis on the emperor as the divine apex of Shinto worship and the notion of the whole nation of Japan as a 'divine land', were developed under the influence of Confucian historiography during this period. The Shinto movement started with the activities of Tokugawa, Mitsukuni (1628-1700) and the Mito-gaku historians and was developed principally by kokugaku scholars and activists working with Nara-period texts such as the Kojiki and Nihongi.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.