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Daimyō were lords in feudal Japan. They usually possessed a large amount of land and were able to retain other samurai.

During the Edo Period three types of daimyō were distinguished.

  • Shimpan-daimyō - relatives of the Tokugawas
  • Fudai-daimyō - vassals of the Tokugawas at the time of The Battle of Sekigahara
  • Tozaman-daimyō - vassals of the enemy at the time of the Battle of Sekigahara

Of these three types only the Tozaman-daimyō could not hold government positions, as they were seen as potential threats by the Tokugawas.

According to the law of alternate attendance, the daimyō spent four months of each year in the capital, and the rest on their provincial estates. When they returned to their estates, the Shōgun made them leave their wives and families in Edo as hostages. The daimyō were divided into two groups, one of which was in Edo while the other was in the country. These restrictions, which greatly humiliated the proud daimyō, effectively kept them from plotting and staging a rebellion. They also had to maintain two establishments, thereby draining their wealth into nonmilitary expenditures. Peace came with a high price, and the daimyō had paid it with their money, their pride, and their freedom.

Known Daimyō[]