English summary of the inventory of the archives of the Dutch factory in Japan, 1609-1860

Fonds Specifications


Biographical History (Sketch of the Record Creator)

3. The Government of Japan.
At the end of the sixteenth century the daimyo of Japan were involved in a struggle for power, from which in 1600 Ieyasu, of the house of Tokugawa, emered victorious after the battle of Sekigahara. He recieved the title 'Shogun' from the Emperor and made Edo (Dutch:"Jedo"; the later Tokyo) his capital. The Emperor ('Mikado'; 'Tenno') remained in Miako (the later Kyoto). He did not have any governing power but must be seen as a symbol of the continuity of the Shinto-religion. The relation between the Emperor and the Shogun can be compared more or less with that between the Merovingian King and his Majordomus. A number of important provinces and cities, among which the five big cities Edo, Miako, Osaka, Sakai and Nagasaki, stood under direct control of the so-called 'Bakufu'. The most imported government council was the Go Roju or council of five elders (Dutch; "Ordinaire Rijksraad"), with 4 or 5 members. The other cities and the rest of the country were governed by officials, arising from the daimyo class. In the course of years these functions became hereditary. The daimyo-vassals of the Shogun- were obliged to military service, the yielding of gifts and the yearly alternating recidence in Edo. A number of 'metsuke' (secret police; "dwarskijckers" in the language of the company) controlled both the fedural lords and the officials.This rigid system of government could be maintained for centuries because the closed-country police repelled all foreigh influences