JAPANESE SAMURAI / Tokugawa Yoshimune


徳川吉宗 Tokugawa Yoshimune

The Samurai Leader Who Reshaped Japan into A Better Country

Who Was Tokugawa Yoshimune?

Tokugawa Yoshimune was born in 1684 in Japan. He became the eighth shogun, or military leader, of the Tokugawa shogunate from 1716 to 1745, during the time in history when Japan was ruled by samurais. Yoshimune was known for being smart and hardworking. He made many significant changes in Japan that helped many and laid the groundwork for centuries to follow.

Making Japan Better

Yoshimune wanted to make Japan a better place for everyone. He did this by creating new rules and fixing old ones. He made it easier for people to get access to education and also to grow food. He also worked to make the government more honest and fair. Yoshimune was a big fan of books! He loved to read and learn new things. He even started a big library in his home. 

Fun Fact: Did you know that Yoshimune loved to wear simple clothes? Even though he was a powerful leader, he liked to dress like ordinary people. This showed that he cared about everyone, not just the rich and powerful.

The Kyoho Reforms

One of the most important things Yoshimune achieved was called the “Kyoho Reforms.” These were a set of changes he made to bolster Japan’s economy through amending the way money and resources were used. One example is how he allocated more resources towards the people’s rice production, a fundamental part of the economy and diet in Japan. He also placed measures so that the common people were not being treated unjustly by their leaders. These reforms helped Japan become a stronger and better place. 

Fun Fact: Yoshimune loved animals! He even made a special place in his home for rare and interesting animals. He had a white deer, a peacock, and even an elephant!

The Samurai Leader Who Cared

Yoshimune was a great leader because he cared about the people of Japan. He worked hard to make things better for everyone. He was an intelligent and powerful samurai who never forgot the needs of the ordinary people.

Encouraging Education and Arts

Yoshimune believed that education and the arts were very important. He encouraged people to learn more about science, math, and other subjects. He also supported artists and musicians, helping them to create beautiful works of art and music. This culturally influenced Japan to embrace creativity and knowledge.

Fun Fact: Yoshimune was known for being a great listener. He believed that it was important to listen to the people around him and learn from their ideas and experiences.

Improving Relations with Foreign Countries

Yoshimune was interested in learning from other countries. He knew that Japan could become even better if they worked with other nations. He sent people to learn from countries like China, Korea, and the Netherlands. This helped Japan learn about new ideas, technologies, and ways of thinking. 

Fun Fact: Yoshimune was a big fan of Dutch learning, or “rangaku.” He thought it was important to learn from the Dutch, who were very advanced in science and technology.

Creating a Safer Japan

Yoshimune also worked to make Japan a safer place for everyone. He built strong castles and fortresses to protect the people from danger. He also made sure that the samurais who worked for him were well-trained and loyal. This made Japan a safer and more peaceful place for everyone to live. 

Fun Fact: Yoshimune was a master of the martial art called “kendo.” He often practiced with his samurai to make sure they were strong and skilled in battles.

Helping the People during Tough Times

During Yoshimune’s time as a shogun, Japan faced many difficult challenges like famines and natural disasters. He worked hard to help his people during these tough times. He made sure that food was shared with those in need, and he rebuilt homes and roads that were destroyed. His actions showed that he truly cared for the people of Japan. 

Fun Fact: Yoshimune created a special team of samurai called “machi-bugyo” to help with disaster relief. They were responsible for making sure that people got the help they needed during emergencies.

 Building a Legacy

Yoshimune’s hard work and dedication to Japan left a lasting impact. Many of the improvements he made continued to help the people even after he was no longer a shogun. His story is a great example of how one person can make a big difference in the lives of many. 

Fun Fact: Yoshimune’s grandson, Tokugawa Ieharu, became the 10th shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate. He continued his grandfather’s work in making Japan a better place. 

Tokugawa Yoshimune made many great changes in Japan, and there are some important lessons we can learn from him even today. Here are some fun and easy-to-understand points that can teach us a lot! 

Be a good listener: Yoshimune was known for being a great listener. He thought it was important to learn from the ideas and experiences of others. 

Share the love for learning: Yoshimune believed that learning and the arts were very important. He encouraged people to learn more about many subjects. 

Care for animals: Yoshimune loved animals and made a special place for them in his home. 

Work together with others: Yoshimune improved relations with foreign countries by sending people to learn from them. 

Help others in tough times: Yoshimune worked hard to help people during difficult times, like famines and natural disasters. 

Dress simply and be humble: Even though Yoshimune was a powerful leader, he liked to wear simple clothes. This showed that he cared about everyone, not just the rich and powerful. 

Make safety a priority: Yoshimune built strong castles and fortresses to protect people from danger. 

Share the fun: Yoshimune had a great sense of humor and loved to share fun facts.