Since 1600s till 1800s, Shoguns was the dominant power in government. Shogun means the commander of the army but during this time, they have more power than the emperor of Japan. Shoguns are the head of the central military government. From 1603 to 1861, Japan was ruled by Tokugawa family who unified Japan after the Battle of Sekigahara. The time when Tokugawa shoguns were ruling Japan was also called Edo period. Although emperors are still reign the country, but they are more likely a figurehead leader and has less power than Shoguns.
Tokugawa Family Crest
Japanese flag during Edo period
During the Edo period, the country was in prosperity. Japanese government is politically united and stable, and the country is mainly focused on agricultural production. The country is not industrialized and so they manufactured handicraft. This is a period which has rapid development on wealthy merchant class, literacy and art. However, Japan has limited contact with other countries except China. Also, they only connection between Japan and Europe was the trade ship from Dutch East India company to Nagasaki once a year. Alike China, Tokugawa has a Close Door Policy. In 1800s, America started to contact with Japan and they sent warships to Japan, and because Japan was a agricultural country, they had lack ability of military. This forced Japanese to open ports to USA and contact with outside.
The emperor regain the power in 1860s and he encouraged the contact with outside and he supported the industrialization and he sent people to America for studying the American military practices. The emperor Mutsuhito named the him Emperor Meiji, which means enlightened rule. Japan developed even faster by the effect of imperialism from USA. After that, the Japanese felt nationalism and started to imperialized other countries like China and Korea.