Edo, now Tokyo, was transformed from a rural fishing village to the largest city in the world by the year 1800 and was populated by over 500,000 people. The samurai transitioned from warriors to administrators and were the top of a strict social hierarchy and expected, by law, to be moral example to the populations of farmers, artists and merchants below them. Samurai were expected to lead lives of cultivation and pursue the arts of the brush and the sword.

The samurai suit, sword and other accoutrements of war were now items of prestige and beauty befitting their status. Great castle interiors were boldly painted by great schools of artists, particularly the Kano, the longest continuous artistic lineage in the world. The shogun no longer waged war but instead controlled the country through cultural supremacy and the threat of violence.