Kamakura shogunate (Japanese: 鎌倉幕府,
Kamakura bakufu) was a
Japanese feudal military government that ruled from 1185 to 1333.
The heads of the government were the shōguns. The first three were
members of the Minamoto clan. The next two were members of the
Fujiwara clan. The last six were minor Imperial princes.
These years are known as the
Kamakura period. The period takes its
name from the city where the Minamoto shōguns lived.
After 1203, the
Hōjō clan held the office of shikken. In effect,
the shikken governed in the name of the shōguns.
1.2 The Hōjō Regency
1.3 Mongol invasions
1.4 Decline and fall
3 List of
3.1 List of
4 See also
6 Further reading
Before the establishment of the
Kamakura shogunate, civil power in
Japan was primarily held by the ruling emperors and their regents,
typically appointed from the ranks of the imperial court and the
aristocratic clans that vied there. Military affairs were handled
under the auspices of the civil government. However, after defeating
the Taira clan in the Genpei War,
Minamoto no Yoritomo
Minamoto no Yoritomo seized powers
from the aristocracy. In 1192, Yoritomo and the Minamoto clan
established a military government in Kamakura.
The Hōjō Regency
After Yoritomo's death, Hōjō Tokimasa, the clan chief of Yoritomo's
widow, Hōjō Masako, and former guardian of Yoritomo, claimed the
title of regent (shikken) to Yoritomo's son Minamoto no Yoriie,
eventually making that claim hereditary to the Hōjō clan.
Eventually, Tokimasa deposed Yoriie, backed up his younger brother,
Minamoto no Sanetomo, as a new shōgun, and assumed the post of
Minamoto clan remained the titular shōguns, with the
Hōjō holding the real power. In 1219, Sanetomo was assassinated by
his nephew Kugyō. Since Sanetomo died childless, the line of shōguns
Minamoto clan ended with him.
With the Regency, what was already an unusual situation became even
more anomalous when the Hōjō usurped power from those who had
usurped it from the Emperor in the first place. The new regime
nonetheless proved to be stable enough to last a total of 135 years, 9
shōguns and 16 regents.
With Sanetomo's death in 1219, his mother
Hōjō Masako became the
shogunate's real center of power. As long as she lived, regents and
shōguns would come and go, while she stayed at the helm. Since the
Hōjō family did not have the rank to nominate a shōgun from among
its members, Masako had to find a convenient puppet. The problem
was solved choosing Kujo Yoritsune, a distant relation of the
Minamoto, who would be the fourth shōgun and figurehead, while Hōjō
Yoshitoki would take care of day-to-day business. However
powerless, future shōguns would always be chosen from either Fujiwara
or imperial lineage to keep the bloodline pure and give legitimacy
to the rule. This succession proceeded for more than a century.
Emperor Go-Toba tried to regain power in what would be called
Jōkyū War (承久の乱, Jōkyū no Ran), but the attempt
failed. The power of the Hōjō remained unchallenged until 1324,
Emperor Go-Daigo orchestrated a plot to overthrow them, but the
plot was discovered almost immediately and foiled.
The Mongols under
Kublai Khan attempted sea-borne invasions in 1274
and 1281. Fifty years before, the shogunate had agreed to Korean
demands that the
Wokou be dealt with to stop their raids, and this bit
of good diplomacy had created a cooperative relationship between the
two states, such that the Koreans, helpless with a Mongol occupation
army garrisoning their country, had sent much intelligence information
to Japan, so that along with messages from Japanese spies in the
Korean peninsula, the shogunate had a good picture of the situation of
the pending Mongol invasion. The shogunate had rejected Kublai's
demands to submit with contempt. The Mongol landings of 1274 met with
some success, but the Japanese had given the Mongols more casualties
in an eight-hour engagement than they had had in fighting in China or
Korea, and there was no rout of the Japanese defenders, who in any
case greatly outnumbered the 40,000 combined invasion force of Mongols
and Korean conscripts. Noting an impending storm, the Korean admirals
advised the Mongols to re-embark so that the fleet could be protected
away from shore; however, the typhoon was so destructive that
one-third of the Mongol force was destroyed.
After the surviving forces returned to Mongol territory, Kublai was
not dissuaded from his intentions on bringing
Japan under Mongol
control, and once again sent a message demanding submission, which
infuriated the Hōjō leadership, who had the messengers executed.
They responded with decisive action for defense—a wall was built to
protect the hinterland of Hakata Bay, defensive posts were
established, garrison lists were drawn up, regular manning of the home
provinces was redirected to the western defenses, and ships were
constructed to harass the invaders' fleet when they appeared.
The Mongols returned in 1281 with a force of some 50,000
Mongol-Korean-Chinese along with some 100,000 conscripts from the
defeated Song empire in south China. This force embarked and fought
the Japanese for some seven weeks at several locations in Kyushu, but
the defenders held, and the Mongols made no strategic headway. Again,
a typhoon approached, and the Koreans and Chinese re-embarked the
combined Mongol invasion forces in an attempt to deal with the storm
in the open sea. At least one-third of the Mongol force was destroyed,
and perhaps half of the conscripted Song forces to the south over a
two-day period of August 15–16. Thousands of invading troops were
not able to embark in time and were slaughtered by the samurai. Such
losses in men, material, and the exhaustion of the Korean state in
provisioning the two invasions put an end to the Mongol's attempts to
conquer Japan. The "divine wind," or kamikaze, was credited for
Japan from foreign invasion.
For two further decades the
Kamakura shogunate maintained a watch in
case the Mongols attempted another invasion. However, the strain on
the military and the financial expenditures weakened the regime
considerably. Additionally, the defensive war left no gains to
distribute to the warriors who had fought it, leading to discontent.
Construction of defensive walls added further expenses to the strained
Decline and fall
Emperor Go-Daigo took arms against Kamakura, but was defeated
Ashikaga Takauji and exiled to Oki Island, in today's
Shimane Prefecture. A warlord then went to the exiled emperor's
rescue, and in response the Hōjō sent forces again commanded by
Takauji to attack Kyoto. Once there, however, Takauji decided to
switch sides and support Daigo. At the same time another warlord
loyal to the emperor, Nitta Yoshisada, attacked
Kamakura and took
it. About 870 Hōjō samurai, including the last three Regents,
committed suicide at their family temple, Tōshō-ji, whose ruins were
found in today's Ōmachi.
Ashikaga Takauji assumed the position of shōgun himself,
establishing the Ashikaga shogunate.
Kamakura shogunate functioned within the framework of the Heian
system of Imperial rule.
Yoritomo established a chancellery, or mandokoro, as his principal
organ of government. Later, under the Hōjō, a separate institution,
the hyōjōshū became the focus of government.
The shogunate appointed new military governors (shugo) over the
provinces. These were selected mostly from powerful families in the
different provinces, or the title was bestowed upon a general and his
family after a successful campaign. Although they managed their own
affairs, in theory they were still obliged to the central government
through their allegiance to the shōgun. The military governors
paralleled the existing system of governors and vice-governors
(kokushi) appointed by the civil government in Kyoto.
Kamakura also appointed stewards, or jitō, to positions in the manors
(shōen). These stewards received revenues from the manors in return
for their military service. They served along with the holders of
similar office, gesu, who delivered dues from the manor to the
proprietor in Kyoto. Thus the dual governmental system reached to the
manor level.
Grave of Minamoto no Yoritomo
Minamoto no Yoritomo, r. 1192–1199
Minamoto no Yoriie, r. 1202–1203
Minamoto no Sanetomo, r. 1203–1219
Fujiwara no Yoritsune, r. 1226–1244
Fujiwara no Yoritsugu, r. 1244–1252
Prince Munetaka, r. 1252–1266
Prince Koreyasu, r. 1266–1289
Prince Hisaaki, r. 1289–1308
Prince Morikuni, r. 1308–1333
Site of Hōjō Takatoki's death
Hōjō Tokimasa, r. 1203–1205
Hōjō Yoshitoki, r. 1205–1224
Hōjō Yasutoki, r. 1224–1242
Hōjō Tsunetoki, r. 1242–1246
Hōjō Tokiyori, r. 1246–1256
Hōjō Tokimune, r. 1268–1284
Hōjō Sadatoki, r. 1284–1301
Hōjō Morotoki, r. 1301–1311
Hōjō Takatoki, r. 1316–1326
This family tree illustrates the primary lines of descent and primary
connections between the
Kamakura shōguns and their successors.
Numerous other family links existed as the various clans and cadet
branches were heavily interrelated through marriage.
Emperor Ninmyō, 54th Emperor (808–850; r. 833–850)
Emperor Montoku, 55th Emperor (826–858; r. 850–858)
Emperor Seiwa, 56th Emperor (850–878; r. 858–876)
Imperial Prince Sadasumi (873–916)
Minamoto no Tsunemoto (894–961)
Minamoto no Mitsunaka (912–997)
Minamoto no Yorinobu (968–1048)
Minamoto no Yoriyoshi (988–1075)
Minamoto no Yoshiie (1039–1106)
Minamoto no Yoshichika (d. 1108)
Minamoto no Tameyoshi (1096–1156)
Minamoto no Yoshitomo (1123–1160)
I. Minamoto no Yoritomo, 1st
Kamakura shōgun (1147–1199; r.
II. Minamoto no Yoriie, 2nd
Kamakura shōgun (1182–1204; r.
Take no Goshō (1202-1234), m. IV. Kujō Yoritsune, 4th Kamakura
shōgun – see below
III. Minamoto no Sanetomo, 3rd
Kamakura shōgun (1192–1219; r.
Minamoto no Yoshikuni (1091–1155)
Minamoto (Ashikaga) no Yoshiyasu (1127–1157)
Ashikaga Yoshikane (c. 1154–1199)
Ashikaga Yoshiuji (1189–1255)
Ashikaga Yasuuji (1216–1270)
Ashikaga Yoshiuji (1240–1262)
Ashikaga Ietoki (1260–1284)
Ashikaga Sadauji (c. 1277–1331)
Ashikaga Takauji, founder of the Ashikaga shōgunate
Emperor Kōkō, 58th Emperor (830–887; r. 884–887)
Emperor Uda, 59th Emperor (867–931; r. 887–897)
Emperor Daigo, 60th Emperor (884–930; r. 897–930)
Emperor Murakami, 62nd Emperor (926–967; r. 946–967)
Emperor En'yū, 64th Emperor (959–991; r. 969–984)
Emperor Ichijō, 66th Emperor (980–1011; r. 986–1011)
Emperor Go-Suzaku, 69th Emperor (1009–1045; r. 1036–1045)
Emperor Go-Sanjō, 71st Emperor (1034–1073; r. 1068–1073)
Emperor Shirakawa, 72nd Emperor (1053–1129; r. 1073–1087)
Emperor Horikawa, 73rd Emperor (1078–1107; r. 1087–1107)
Emperor Toba, 74th Emperor (1103–1156; r. 1107–1123)
Emperor Go-Shirakawa, 77th Emperor (1127–1192; r. 1155–1158)
Emperor Takakura, 80th Emperor (1161–1181; r. 1168–1180)
Emperor Go-Toba, 82nd Emperor (1180–1239; r. 1183–1198)
Emperor Tsuchimikado, 83rd Emperor (1196–1231; r. 1198–1210)
Emperor Go-Saga, 88th Emperor (1220–1272; r. 1242–1246)
VI. Imperial Prince Munetaka, 6th
Kamakura shōgun (1242–1274; r.
VII. Imperial Prince Koreyasu, 7th
Kamakura shōgun (1264–1326; r.
Emperor Go-Fukakusa, 89th Emperor (1243–1304; r. 1246–1260)
VIII. Imperial Prince Hisaaki, 8th
Kamakura shōgun (1276–1328; r.
IX. Imperial Prince Morikuni, 9th
Kamakura shōgun (1301–1333; r.
Emperor Kameyama, 90th Emperor (1249–1305; r. 1259–1274)
Emperor Go-Uda, 91st Emperor (1267–1324; r. 1274–1287)
Emperor Go-Daigo, 96th Emperor (1288–1339; r. 1318–1339)
Imperial Prince Moriyoshi, 1st Kenmu shōgun (1308–1335; r. 1333)
Imperial Prince Narinaga, 2nd Kenmu shōgun (1326–1338?/1344?; r.
Imperial Prince Tomohira (964–1009)
Minamoto no Morofusa (1008–1077)
Minamoto no Akifusa (1037–1094)
Minamoto no Moroko (1070–1149), m. Fujiwara no Tadazane
(1078–1162), and had issue:
Fujiwara no Tadamichi (1097–1164)
Fujiwara no Kanazane (1149–1207)
Kujō Yoshitsune (1169–1206)
Kujō Michiie (1193–1252)
IV. Kujō Yoritsune, 4th
Kamakura shōgun (1218–1256; r.
V. Kujō Yoritsugu, 5th
Kamakura shōgun (1239–1256; r.
History of Japan
Lists of incumbents
Mongol invasions of Japan
Goryeo military regime
^ a b c d Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kamakura-jidai" in
Japan Encyclopedia, p. 459.
^ Nussbaum, "Shogun" at pp. 878–879.
^ Nussbaum, "Minamoto" at pp. 632–633.
^ Nussbaum, "Fujiwara" at pp. 200–201.
^ Nussbaum, "Hōjō" at pp. 339–340.
^ Nussbaum, "Shikken" at p. 857.
^ a b c d e "A Guide to Kamakura". History. January 2006. Retrieved
^ a b c d "Encyclopædia Britannica online". The Hojo Regency.
^ a b c d Kamakura: History & Historic Sites - The Kamakura
Kamakura Citizen Net, accessed on April 27, 2008
^ Turnbull, Stephen R. (1987). Samurai Warriors, p. 38; Turnbull,
(1966). Samurai Warfare, p. 98–99
^ Sansom, George Bailey. (1958). A History of
Japan to 1334, p.
^ Murdoch, James. (1964). A History of Japan, Vol. I, p. 511–513.
^ Sansom, p. 443–450.
^ Murdoch, p. 525.
^ Mass, Jeffrey P. (1996). "The
Kamakura Bakufu" in Warrior Rule in
Japan (Marius Jansen, ed.), p. 1.
^ Nussbaum, "Minamoto no Yoritomo" at p. 635.
^ Nussbaum, "Minamoto no Yoriie" at p. 635.
^ Nussbaum, "Minamoto no Yoritomo" at pp. 633–634.
^ Nussbaum, "Fujiwara no Yoritsune" at p. 212; "Kujō Yoritsune" at p.
571 linking "Hōjō Masako" at p. 340
^ Nussbaum, "Fujiwara no Yoritsugu" at p. 212.
^ Nussbaum, "Munetaka Shinnō" at p. 666.
^ Nussbaum, "Koreyasu Shinnō" at p. 561.
^ Nussbaum, "Hisaakira Shinnō" at p. 321.
^ Nussbaum, "Morikuni Shinnō" at p. 660.
^ Nussbaum, "Hōjō Tokimasa" at p. 340.
^ Nussbaum, "Hōjō Yoshitoki" at p. 341.
^ Nussbaum, "Hōjō Yasutoki" at p. 341.
^ Nussbaum, "Hōjō Tsunetoki" at p. 341.
^ Nussbaum, "Hōjō Tokiyori" at p. 341.
^ Nussbaum, "Hōjō Tokimune" at p. 341.
^ Nussbaum, "Hōjō Sadatoki" at p. 340.
^ Nussbaum, "Hōjō Morotoki" at p. 340.
^ Nussbaum, "Hōjō Takatoki" at p. 340.
^ Genealogy, showing the different lines of descent from Emperor
Ninmyō and the main family links between the
Kamakura Shōguns (jp)
^ Fujiwara-Ichijō genealogy (jp)
Mass, Jeffrey P. (1976). The
Kamakura bakufu : a study in
documents. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
__________. (1974). Warrior government in early medieval Japan :
a study of the
Kamakura Bakufu, shugo and jitō. New Haven: Yale
Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan
encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128
Kamakura bakufu 鎌倉幕府. Tokyo: Shōgakkan
Coordinates: 35°19′N 139°33′E / 35.317°N 139.550°E