how did the roles of women and the nature of the family evolve during the Tokugawa periodroles of women
Jessica Pope | Certified Educator
The Tokugawa period is an era lasting from the early 1600's to the mid 1800's. During this time, Japan was ruled by the aristocrats and shoguns of the Tokugawa family. Japanese society was very hierarchical under this regime. Class status dictated with whom you could interact, and climbing up the class ladder was virtually impossible. Women were treated as the legal property of husbands or fathers, and even widowed women were extremely limited in terms of mobility and autonomy. The family unit was an important legal unit in which each individual had certain legal rights and obligations based on his or her role in the family. Women and children were considered subservient to the male head of household. Many aristocratic families owned slaves, which were considered part of the family unit.