Whether it's the floating world of ukiyo-e, the stately rites of sumo, the meticulous craft of netsuke, the minimalist art of Japanese gardens or the decorums of the samurai, what we today regard as the traditional values of Japan took shape in what's known as the Edo Period.

So-called because, under the Tokugawa Shogunate founded by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the political center was moved from Kyoto to Edo, present-day Tokyo, in 1603. The Tokugawa family ruled from Edo until the 15th shogun, Yoshinobu, made way for the Emperor Meiji more than 260 years later, in 1868.

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Tokugawa Shogunate, various events are being held and scheduled in Tokyo. Among these, the major "Treasures and Papers of the Tokugawa Shogunal Household" exhibition runs till Aug. 31 at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. It was there, last week, that The Japan Times talked with Makoto Takeuchi, director general of the museum and a professor at Rissho University, and Tsunenari Tokugawa, current head of the House of Tokugawa and president of the Tokugawa Memorial Foundation, which is presenting the legacy of the shogunal family at the exhibition.