East Asia in the 16th Century

By the late 1500s, China’s Ming Dynasty had existed for nearly three centuries. As it had for centuries, China’s imperial government was based around a Confucian understanding of the importance of order and proper behavior.

In Japan, the Tokugawa Shogunate had consolidated its power, ending a long period of civil war. During what, for Europeans, was the “Early Modern” age, Japan’s leaders struggled with the presence of Christian missionaries in their country.

The documents linked below (from Columbia University’s Asia for Educators project) illustrate the rival forces of continuity and change during the time.

China: The Ledger of Merit and Demerit
Japan responds to Christian missionaries