On Tairo Doi Toshikatsu

1. Can a regime "stop" or halt history? If so, for how long?


2. How heavily must the peasants be taxed, and what form should this tax take?

"In principle no man could rise above the class in which he was born, for it was the purpose of the rulers by legislating against change to found a self-perpetuating state. This was by no means a new concept... The four classes were in descending order the Soldier, the Farmer, the Artisan, the Trader.

"The attitude of the ruling class was grimly expressed by an observation attributed to Tairo Doi Toshikatsu, who was the greatest man in the land after the Shogun. In 1640 he is said to have visited his estate after an absence of ten years and, finding the villagers in well-built houses instead of the hovels which he remembered, to have exclaimed: "These people are too comfortable. They must be more heavily taxed."

-George Sansom, History of Japan 1615-1867 (Stanford, 1963), 29.

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