In the early 1600s, the Japanese feudal lord Tokugawa Ieyasu (1544-1616) emerged victorious after many years of war to unify Japan and establish a new regime, the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Tokugawa family continued to rule Japan until 1868. During the early 1600s, the new ruler was looking for a governing ideology to maintain the legitimacy of his rule and preserve social harmony. During the early 1600s, Japanese elites became very interested in Neo-Confucian teachings and began to adapt Neo-Confucianism to the Japanese situation.You are a Japanese merchant who has recently traveled to the Ming territory to conduct trade in Hangzhou, Ningbo, Guangzhou (Canton), and Beijing. On account of your broad knowledge of Chinese society, the shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu has requested that you submit a report analyzing the contemporary situation in Ming China. He is particularly interesting in understanding the influence of the Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian teachings on Chinese society as well as the effect of trade with the Western countries (Spain, Portugal, and Holland). Should the Tokugawa support Neo-Confucian teachings? If we promote neo-Confucianism, what might the ramifications be for elites, common people, the family, the organization of government and society, culture, morals, etc.?Use your knowledge of the Ming court, trade, the books of Zhu Xi, Wu Jingzi, Yüan Ts’ai, and your various interactions with Ming subjects to support your argument before the shogun.
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