Isolationism in Japan: the Tokugawa Shogunate
Edward R. Murrow High School
Brooklyn, New York City
Aim: Did isolation have a negative or positive effect on
Japan? Case Study: the Tokugawa Shogunate
Objectives: SWBAT identify Tokugawa shogunate; closed country
law; explain the causes and effects of the Tokugawa policy of isolationism;
assess whether isolation helps or harms a nation.
Vocabulary: isolation, missionary, ethnocentric
MOTIVATION: OVERHEAD OF CHRISTIANITY IN JAPAN (download
the overhead here)
1. Describe what you see.
2. How did Christianity spread to Japan?
3. How do you think the Japanese government felt about foreign ideas?
4. Why would a country adopt a policy of isolation?
TASKS: HANDOUT READ A (download
the handout here)
1. Describe the map.
2. How did the Tokugawa Shogunate unite Japan?
READ DOCUMENT B - Shogun's Laws Restricting Christianity
1. Why would the Shogun fear Christianity?
2. Why would Christianity be a threat to the Shogun?
3. Would the Shogun's power be threatened by the spread of Western
4. As a Japanese Christian, how would you have responded to the
Shogun's laws? What if you were a Japanese merchant?
READ DOCUMENT C - Closed Country Policy
1. Describe the closed country policy.
2. Why did the Shogun create this policy?
3. How did this close Japan off from the rest of the world?
4. How would this change Japan economically and/or socially?
READ DOCUMENT D - System of Sankin-Kotai (alternate attendance)
1. Describe how the sankin-kotai system affected the Daimyo?
2. How did the Shoguns benefit from this system? What about the
READ DOCUMENT E - SAMURAI
1. Describe the role of the Samurai under Tokugawa peace.
2. How would you feel if you were a Samurai living under the Tokugawa
DOCUMENT F - Haiku
1. Describe Haiku poetry.
- Students will create a Haiku poem about Japan under Tokugawa from
different view points (daimyo, Japanese merchant, foreign merchant,
missionary, samurai, peasant).
- Answer the question stated in the aim in one paragraph.