A peasant wife was responsible for the family's economic well-being.
She worked with her husband in the fields if she was poor or mediocre.
If they worked for wages, the wife earned less than her husband.
The wives of farmers never worked in the fields, but they helped with any family business and supervised the maids.
When cotton spread to Japan in the 16th century, women took on the jobs of spinning and weaving it.
Japanese women tended the children regardless of their economic status.
Customs among the upper class was different from peasant practices.
The husband alone could initiate divorce among the elite.
The wife could not insist on keeping her children despite the stigma of divorce.
The wives and divorcees of the samu rai elite were not expected to remarry.
The Tokugawa could simply leave her husband's home if she wanted to.
It was possible to get a divorce in order to prevent a return to social and political instability.
China and Japan were connected by maritime trade and piracy in the 1400s.
As with Korea, China and Japan traded extensively with each other.
China launched overseas expeditions during the 15th century.
A major source of pirates was Japan.
European traders were interested in Chinese porcelains and silks.
Despite initial successes, Christian mis sionaries were later banned in both Japan and China.
Portuguese, Dutch, and British traders dominated the international makeup of European traders in East Asia due to political changes in Europe.
A series of voyages to the Indian Ocean under the command of the Muslim eunuch Zheng He was authorized to invite more countries to send missions.
Between 1405 and 1433, Zheng led seven voyages that followed old Arab trade routes.
Hundreds of ships and thousands of men were involved in each expedition.
In the later voyages, Hormuz (on the coast of Persia) and East Africa were included.
At each stop, he went to visit rulers, transmit messages of China's peaceful intentions, and give lavish gifts.
The rulers were offered a place to stay on the way back from China.
Chinese pirates were brought under control by Zheng He's fleet near the Straits of Malacca.
He deposing rulers in Java, Sumatra, and Sri Lanka was one of the shows of force he made.
giraffes and lions from Africa, fine cotton cloth from India, and gems and spices from Southeast Asia were some of the exotic things the fleet brought back.
These expeditions were not voyages of discov ery, they were diplomatic missions.
The officials complained about their costs and returns.
After 1474, all of the ships with three or more masts were broken up and used for lumber.
The Chinese government did not promote trade in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, leaving the initiative to private merchants and migrants.
The piracy problem along the China coast was one of the goals of the expeditions.
In the 13th century social disorder and banditry in Japan had expanded into seaborne banditry, some of it within the Japanese islands around the Inland Sea, but also in the straits between Korea and Japan.
Japanese "sea bandits" would raid the Korean coast to steal goods.
The Chinese coastal cities were attacked and held for ransom in the 16th century.
Sea bandits, not all of them Japanese, attacked ships to steal their cargo as maritime trade grew more lively.
After his victories in unifying Japan, Hideyoshi decided to extend his territory across the seas.
In 1590, Hideyoshi sent a letter to the Koreans asking them to allow his armies to pass through their country.
The Spanish governor of the Philippines was one of the countries he sent demands for submission to.
Hideyoshi equipped 158,000 soldiers and 9,200 sailors with muskets and cannons for his invasion in 15 92.
Within three weeks, his forces reached both Korean cities.
In the middle of winter, Chinese armies arrived to help defend Korea, and Japanese forces were pushed back from North Korea.
New troops were sent by Hideyoshi.
The Korean navy and the Ming army were able to defeat the Japanese.
The Korean navy had to defend against Japanese pirates for a long time, and it was able to keep the Japanese from supplying or reinforcing their troops.
After Hideyoshi's death, the Japanese army drew, leaving Korea devastated.