Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    CUMMINGS, William K. and NAOI, Atsushi 2007. SOCIAL BACKGROUND, EDUCATION, AND PERSONAL ADVANCEMENT IN A DUALISTIC EMPLOYMENT SYSTEM. The Developing Economies, Vol. 12, Issue. 3, p. 245.


Adoption and Samurai Mobility in Tokugawa Japan


Historians have overstated the role of adoption as a channel of upward social mobility for poor but bright young samurai in Tokugawa Japan. An analysis of family histories and public service records of four han shows that adoption helped to preserve both samurai lineages and the political system of daimyo rule. It also created opportunities for younger sons to remain in the elite class under a system of primogeniture. Adoption in the middle and upper (shi) ranks of the class was normally between related families of roughly the same social status. Where status differences were involved, the adopted son usually represented a higher status than the adopting family. The few records available for lower ranks (sotsu) reveal some marriage and adoption with commoners, but none with the higher ranks of the samurai class. In sum, adoption clearly supported the system of hereditary status, but rarely provided opportunities for poor but bright samurai to get ahead in society.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0021-9118
  • EISSN: 1752-0401
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-asian-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *