Early modern rulers in asia and europe frequently sought to secure a better grasp of the land and other resources that provided them with the economic resources t o maintain their governments, expand their power, and permit them to conquer new lands (see, for example, Tilly 1985; Hellie 1971; Ali 1966). The “reunification” of Japan and consolidation of authority in the hands of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his Tokugawa successors is generally viewed in this same light. There is widespread scholarly agreement that Hideyoshi's authority and that of the early Tokugawa shoguns represented a new, unprecedented level of political centralization in Japan. Hideyoshi's edicts on class separation, pacification of the countryside through sword hunts, and inventories of daimyo financial resources are all taken as emblematic of this new authority. So, too, are the Laws of the Military Houses, Tokugawa edicts compelling the destruction of castles, and related measures.

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