Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire – Ep.2 The Will of the Shogun

With Ieyasu in control, peace settles over Japan, and a new society based on the samurai ethics of obedience and loyalty is established. In 1600, William Adams becomes the first Englishman to set foot in Japan. Impressed by European trading vessels, Ieyasu asks Adams to help him build his own fleet. Aware that the English have no interest in converting the Japanese to Christianity, Ieyasu decides to expel the Portugese and Spanish who often combine missionary work with trade. (55 min)

As Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu has united the daimyo warlords. When he dies at 72, his vision of a strictly controlled class system based on the rule of the samurai is a reality. But his grandson, Iemitsu, will rule more harshly. With no wars to fight, Iemitsu tightens control over the power of the daimyo and their restless samurai armies.

Foreign missionaries have been expelled from Japan, but still Iemitsu fears the influence of Christianity. Impoverished peasants and persecuted Christians explode in anger. The Shimabara Rebellion in 1637 results in the deaths of thousands. In order to prevent further dissention resulting from foreign influence, Iemitsu closes Japan to the western world. It will be more than 200 years before the nation will open its doors again.

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