Displaying Authority: Guns, Political Legitimacy, and Martial Pageantry in Tokugawa Japan, 1600-1868 Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 22, 2019
  • Lauro, Daniele
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • From the end of the sixteenth century on, firearms in Japan are increasingly found in contexts other than the battlefield. A perusal of the Records of the Tokugawa Family (Tokugawa Jikki) - the military clan that ruled Japan from 1603 to 1868 - reveals, for instance, that guns were often involved in ritual practices performed by the warrior elite, such as weddings, funerals, hunting parades, and celebrations of the New Year. Moreover, it was common for both the shogun and the domainal lords (daimyô) to display firearms and other weapons during public audiences and military parades. By considering different ritual practices that involved the display of military power such as daimyo processions to Edo, shogunal pilgrimages to Nikko, military reviews, large-scale hunts and other pageants, this paper argues that during the Tokugawa period guns were often used by the warrior elite as tools to shore up authority, legitimize the political order, and reinforce ideals of warrior identity.
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  • In Copyright
  • Includes supplemental PDF.
  • Pitelka, Morgan
  • Master of Arts
Graduation year
  • 2013

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