Basically, the period of more-or-less peace from 1600 to 1867 is called the Tokugawa Period or the Edo Period (Edo was the Shoguns' capital during this period). With peace came economic and cultural development. In other words, free from the fear of random warfare, the peasants could grow more crops, the townspeople could engage in more business, and artists and intellectuals had more opportunities to do whatever they did. Thus the history of the Edo period is mostly economic and cultural. Of course there were peasant rebellions, famines, scandals, and all the other problems facing governments anywhere, and well look at a few of them here. In international relations, the Edo period is the famous period of seclusion. The government closed the country in the mid-1600s and didnt open it again until the 1850s. Only a handful of Dutch, and some Chinese and Koreans, were allowed to enter the country, and that was solely to trade (and it was a small part of the national economy). For Japanese, trying to leave the country or, conversely, trying to reenter the country were capital offenses. This anti-social behavior continued until the middle of the nineteenth century. Commodore Perry of the American Navy is credited (mostly by Americans) with finally forcing open Japan. Shortly afterwards, internal problems combined with external pressures to end the Tokugawa hold on power and initiate the age of "modern" Japan. Thats the nutshell version of Japans Tokugawa Period. Now, on to the prelude.