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was 'pushed out' as a result of agricultural modernisa­

tion. The bakufu system of administration, as well as that of the han, were firmly based on agriculture, with commerce given only marginal importance. Due to a straitjacket of a self-imposed

With fast increasing wealth the merchants, not bound by the spartan outlook on life as the feudal class, began to flaunt their wealth in luxurious displays, outshining in Edo even some mighty daimyō. Merchants developed their own style of culture for which the Kabuki drama and the Ukiyo-e paintings are the best-known testimonies-The merchants' high, and often enough morally lax, life-style finally evoked a drastic clamping-down by the bakufu. The Genroku period (1688-1703) of merchant luxury was followed by a valiant attempt, under Yoshimune (1716-45) to return to a simple life with agriculture at the centre. He proscribed innova­ tions in his shinki hatto edict, made efforts to stamp out corrup­ tion, and on the whole restored order and frugality based on a strictly neo-Confucian idea of society.