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Performing the Great PeacePolitical Space and Open Secrets in Tokugawa Japan$
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Luke S. Roberts

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835132

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835132.001.0001

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Politics of the Living Dead

Politics of the Living Dead

(p.74) 3 Politics of the Living Dead
Performing the Great Peace

Luke S. Roberts

University of Hawai'i Press

Inheritance was an act of central importance to feudal politics. This chapter explores the politics of omote and uchi on occasions of daimyo inheritance by adoption, a problem at the highest levels of interaction between daimyo and the Tokugawa government. It shows how the formal system of inheritance set up by the Tokugawa government was truly dysfunctional and thus would have doomed all daimyo houses to extinction and would likely have led to an early revolution against the Tokugawa. Nevertheless, this omote dysfunction was deliberate, reducing violent conflict among samurai within domains through requiring their thespian performance of subservience to seemingly impossible omote demands. As a result of this order, the lineages of daimyo and bannermen submitted to the Tokugawa are by necessity images of omote “performance” and not of actual reality.

Keywords:   Tokugawa government, daimyo inheritance, omote, uchi, adoption, samurai, bannermen

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