Purpose of the Alternate Residence System (Sankin-Kotai)

The Tokugawa Shogunate ordered daimyos to alternate between Edo and their hometown in a two-year cycle. Daimyos of the Tozama class (those who joined the Tokugawa side only after the Battle of Sekigahara) moved back and forth in a procession every year in April.

The number of people in the processions was regulated in terms of the annual revenue of the daimyos (domanial lords), but it was still too costly for them. Daimyos of the Tozama class (including the Satake family) were generally allocated a territory far from Edo and were forced to spend much money and time moving to and from Edo.

Processions of daimyos looked gorgeous in appearance but hid the shogunate’s true political purpose of reducing their wealth and power.

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