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The Muromachi period
Muromachi period
(室町時代, Muromachi jidai, also known as the Muromachi era, the Ashikaga era, or the Ashikaga period) is a division of Japanese history running from approximately 1336 to 1573. The period marks the governance of the Muromachi or Ashikaga shogunate (Muromachi bakufu or Ashikaga bakufu), which was officially established in 1338 by the first Muromachi shōgun, Ashikaga Takauji, two years after the brief Kenmu Restoration
Kenmu Restoration
(1333–36) of imperial rule was brought to a close. The period ended in 1573 when the 15th and last shogun of this line, Ashikaga Yoshiaki, was driven out of the capital in Kyoto
Kyoto
by Oda Nobunaga. From a cultural perspective, the period can be divided into the Kitayama and Higashiyama periods (later 15th – early 16th centuries). The early years from 1336 to 1392 of the Muromachi period
Muromachi period
are known as the Nanboku-chō or Northern and Southern Court period. This period is marked by the continued resistance of the supporters of Emperor Go-Daigo, the emperor behind the Kenmu Restoration. The years from 1465 to the end of the Muromachi period
Muromachi period
are also known as the Sengoku period or Warring States period.

Contents

1 Muromachi bakufu 2 Economic and cultural developments

2.1 Zen
Zen
Buddhism 2.2 Shinto

3 Provincial wars and foreign contacts

3.1 Economic effect of wars between states 3.2 Western influence 3.3 Christianity

4 Events 5 See also 6 References

Muromachi bakufu[edit]

Hana-no-gosho palace

Emperor Go-Daigo's brief attempt to restore the imperial power in the Kenmu Restoration
Kenmu Restoration
alienated the samurai class. Ashikaga Takauji obtained the samurai's strong support, and deposed Emperor Go-Daigo. In 1338 Takauji was proclaimed shōgun and established his government in Kyoto. However, Emperor Go-Daigo
Emperor Go-Daigo
escaped from his confinement and revived his political power in Nara. The ensuing period of Ashikaga rule (1336–1573) was called Muromachi from the district of Kyoto
Kyoto
in which its headquarters – the Hana-no-gosho (花の御所, Flower Palace) – were located by third shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu
Ashikaga Yoshimitsu
in 1378. What distinguished the Ashikaga shogunate
Ashikaga shogunate
from that of Kamakura was that, whereas Kamakura had existed in equilibrium with the imperial court, Ashikaga took over the remnants of the imperial government. Nevertheless, the Ashikaga shogunate
Ashikaga shogunate
was not as strong as that in Kamakura had been, and was greatly preoccupied with civil war. Not until the rule of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu
Ashikaga Yoshimitsu
(as shōgun, 1368–94, and chancellor, 1394–1408) did a semblance of order emerge.

Muromachi samurai (1538)

Yoshimitsu allowed the constables, who had had limited powers during the Kamakura period, to become strong regional rulers, later called daimyōs. In time, a balance of power evolved between the shōgun and the daimyōs; the three most prominent daimyō families rotated as deputies to the shōgun at Kyoto. Yoshimitsu was finally successful in reunifying the Northern and Southern courts in 1392, but, despite his promise of greater balance between the imperial lines, the Northern Court maintained control over the throne thereafter. The line of shoguns gradually weakened after Yoshimitsu and increasingly lost power to the daimyōs and other regional strongmen. The shōgun's influence on imperial succession waned, and the daimyōs could back their own candidates. In time, the Ashikaga family had its own succession problems, resulting finally in the Ōnin War
Ōnin War
(1467–77), which left Kyoto devastated and effectively ended the national authority of the bakufu. The power vacuum that ensued launched a century of anarchy. Economic and cultural developments[edit]

A ship of the Muromachi period
Muromachi period
(1538)

The Japanese contact with the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
(1368–1644) began when China was renewed during the Muromachi period
Muromachi period
after the Chinese sought support in suppressing Japanese pirates in coastal areas of China. Japanese pirates of this era and region were referred to as wokou by the Chinese (Japanese wakō). Wanting to improve relations with China and to rid Japan
Japan
of the wokou threat, Yoshimitsu accepted a relationship with the Chinese that was to last for half a century. In 1401 he restarted the tribute system, describing himself in a letter to the Chinese Emperor as "Your subject, the King of Japan". Japanese wood, sulfur, copper ore, swords, and folding fans were traded for Chinese silk, porcelain, books, and coins, in what the Chinese considered tribute but the Japanese saw as profitable trade.[citation needed] During the time of the Ashikaga bakufu, a new national culture, called Muromachi culture, emerged from the bakufu headquarters in Kyoto
Kyoto
to reach all levels of society, strongly influenced by Zen
Zen
Buddhism. Zen
Zen
Buddhism[edit] Zen
Zen
played a central role in spreading not only religious teachings and practices but also art and culture, including influences derived from paintings of the Chinese Song (960-1279), Yuan, and Ming dynasties. The proximity of the imperial court to the bakufu resulted in a commingling of imperial family members, courtiers, daimyō, samurai, and Zen
Zen
priests. Art of all kinds—architecture, literature, Noh
Noh
drama, Kyōgen
Kyōgen
(comedy), poetry, sarugaku (folk entertainment), the tea ceremony, landscape gardening, and flower arranging—all flourished during Muromachi times. Shinto[edit]

Music scene during the Muromachi period
Muromachi period
(1538)

There was renewed interest in Shinto, which had quietly coexisted with Buddhism
Buddhism
during the centuries of the latter's predominance. Shinto, which lacked its own scriptures and had few prayers, had, as a result of syncretic practices begun in the Nara period, widely adopted Shingon Buddhist rituals. Between the eighth and fourteenth centuries, Shintoism was nearly totally absorbed by Buddhism, becoming known as Ryōbu Shinto
Shinto
(Dual Shinto). The Mongol invasions in the late thirteenth century, however, evoked a national consciousness of the role of the kamikaze in defeating the enemy. Less than fifty years later (1339–43), Kitabatake Chikafusa (1293–1354), the chief commander of the Southern Court forces, wrote the Jinnō Shōtōki. This chronicle emphasized the importance of maintaining the divine descent of the imperial line from Amaterasu
Amaterasu
to the current emperor, a condition that gave Japan
Japan
a special national polity (kokutai). Besides reinforcing the concept of the emperor as a deity, the Jinnōshōtōki provided a Shinto
Shinto
view of history, which stressed the divine nature of all Japanese and the country's spiritual supremacy over China and India. Provincial wars and foreign contacts[edit] The Ōnin War
Ōnin War
(1467–77) led to serious political fragmentation and obliteration of domains: a great struggle for land and power ensued among bushi chieftains and lasted until the mid-sixteenth century. Peasants rose against their landlords and samurai against their overlords as central control virtually disappeared. The imperial house was left impoverished, and the bakufu was controlled by contending chieftains in Kyoto. The provincial domains that emerged after the Ōnin War
Ōnin War
were smaller and easier to control. Many new small daimyō arose from among the samurai who had overthrown their great overlords. Border defenses were improved, and well fortified castle towns were built to protect the newly opened domains, for which land surveys were made, roads built, and mines opened. New house laws provided practical means of administration, stressing duties and rules of behavior. Emphasis was put on success in war, estate management, and finance. Threatening alliances were guarded against through strict marriage rules. Aristocratic society was overwhelmingly military in character. The rest of society was controlled in a system of vassalage. The shōen (feudal manors) were obliterated, and court nobles and absentee landlords were dispossessed. The new daimyō directly controlled the land, keeping the peasantry in permanent serfdom in exchange for protection. Economic effect of wars between states[edit] Most wars of the period were short and localized, although they occurred throughout Japan. By 1500 the entire country was engulfed in civil wars. Rather than disrupting the local economies, however, the frequent movement of armies stimulated the growth of transportation and communications, which in turn provided additional revenues from customs and tolls. To avoid such fees, commerce shifted to the central region, which no daimyō had been able to control, and to the Inland Sea. Economic developments and the desire to protect trade achievements brought about the establishment of merchant and artisan guilds. Western influence[edit] Main article: Nanban trade

Nanban ships arriving for trade in Japan. 16th-century painting.

By the end of the Muromachi period, the first Europeans had arrived. The Portuguese landed in Tanegashima
Tanegashima
south of Kyūshū
Kyūshū
in 1543 and within two years were making regular port calls, initiating the century-long Nanban trade
Nanban trade
period. The Spanish arrived in 1587, followed by the Dutch in 1609. The Japanese began to attempt studies of European civilization in depth, and new opportunities were presented for the economy, along with serious political challenges. European firearms, fabrics, glassware, clocks, tobacco, and other Western innovations were traded for Japanese gold and silver. Significant wealth was accumulated through trade, and lesser daimyō, especially in Kyūshū, greatly increased their power. Provincial wars became more deadly with the introduction of firearms, such as muskets and cannons, and greater use of infantry. Christianity[edit] Main article: Kirishitan

A Japanese votive altar, Nanban style. End of 16th century. Guimet Museum.

Christianity affected Japan, largely through the efforts of the Jesuits, led first by the Spanish Francis Xavier
Francis Xavier
(1506–1552), who arrived in Kagoshima in southern Kyūshū
Kyūshū
in 1549. Both daimyō and merchants seeking better trade arrangements as well as peasants were among the converts. By 1560 Kyoto
Kyoto
had become another major area of missionary activity in Japan. In 1568 the port of Nagasaki, in northwestern Kyūshū, was established by a Christian daimyō and was turned over to Jesuit administration in 1579. By 1582 there were as many as 150,000 converts (two percent of the population) and 200 churches. But bakufu tolerance for this alien influence diminished as the country became more unified and openness decreased. Proscriptions against Christianity began in 1587 and outright persecutions in 1597. Although foreign trade was still encouraged, it was closely regulated, and by 1640, in the Edo
Edo
period, the exclusion and suppression of Christianity became national policy. Events[edit]

1336: Ashikaga Takauji
Ashikaga Takauji
captures Kyoto
Kyoto
and forces Emperor Daigo II to move to a southern court (Yoshino, south of Kyoto) 1338: Ashikaga Takauji
Ashikaga Takauji
declares himself shōgun, moves his capital into the Muromachi district of Kyoto
Kyoto
and supports the northern court 1392: The southern court surrenders to shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu
Ashikaga Yoshimitsu
and the empire is unified again 1397: Kinkaku-ji
Kinkaku-ji
is built by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.

Ryōan-ji
Ryōan-ji
rock garden

1427: Edo
Edo
is established 1450: Ryōan-ji
Ryōan-ji
is built by Hosokawa Katsumoto. 1467: The Ōnin War
Ōnin War
is split among feudal lords (daimyōs) 1489: Ginkaku-ji
Ginkaku-ji
is built by Ashikaga Yoshimasa 1543: Firearms are introduced by shipwrecked Portuguese 1546: Hōjō Ujiyasu
Hōjō Ujiyasu
who had won the Battle of Kawagoe
Battle of Kawagoe
becomes ruler of the Kantō region 1549: Catholic missionary Francis Xavier
Francis Xavier
arrives in Japan 1555: Mōri Motonari, who had won the Battle of Miyajima, becomes ruler of the Chūgoku region 1560: Battle of Okehazama 1568: The daimyō Oda Nobunaga
Oda Nobunaga
enters Kyoto
Kyoto
and ends the civil war[1] 1570: The Archbishopric of Edo
Edo
is established and the first Japanese Jesuits are ordained 1570: Battle of Anegawa 1573: Oda Nobunaga
Oda Nobunaga
overthrows the Muromachi bakufu and extends his control over all of Japan[1]:281

See also[edit]

Higashiyama period Awataguchi Takamitsu

References[edit]

^ a b Sansom, George (1961). A History of Japan, 1334–1615. Stanford University Press. p. 279. ISBN 0804705259. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/. - Japan

Preceded by Kenmu Restoration 1333–1336 History of Japan Muromachi period 1336–1573 Succeeded by Azuchi–Momoyama period 1573–1603

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Chronology, dates and paternity of the Ashikaga shōguns

Name

Lived

Reigned

Son of

1st Takauji 1305–1358 1338–1358 Sadauji

2nd Yoshiakira 1330–1368 1358–1367 Takauji

3rd Yoshimitsu 1358–1408 1367–1395 Yoshiakira

4th Yoshimochi 1386–1428 1395–1423 Yoshimitsu

5th Yoshikazu 1407–1425 1423–1425 Yoshimochi

6th Yoshinori 1394–1441 1428–1441 Yoshimitsu

7th Yoshikatsu 1433–1443 1442–1443 Yoshinori

8th Yoshimasa 1435–1490 1449–1474 Yoshinori

Name

Lived

Reigned

Son of

  9th Yoshihisa 1465–1489 1474–1489 Yoshimasa

10th Yoshitane 1465–1522

1490–1493 1508–1521

Yoshimi

11th Yoshizumi 1478–1513 1493–1508 Masatomo

12th Yoshiharu 1510–1550 1521–1545 Yoshizumi

13th Yoshiteru 1535–1565 1545–1565 Yoshiharu

14th Yosihide 1538–1568 1564–1568 Yoshitsuna

15th Yoshiaki 1537–1597 1568–1573 Yoshiharu

Related topics: Muromachi period Hana-no Gosho Nijō Castle Ashikaga clan Sei-i Taishōgun

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Ashikaga family tree

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Takauji (1) 1305–1338–1358

Yoshiakira(2) 1330–1358-1367–1368

Yoshimitsu(3) 1358–1367-1395–1408

Yoshimochi(4) 1386–1395-1423–1428

Yoshikazu(5) 1407–1423–1425

Yoshinori(6) 1394–1428–1441

Yoshikatsu(7) 1433–1442–1443

Masatomo 1435–1491

Yoshimasa(8)[i][ii] 1435–1449-1474–1490

Yoshimi 1439–1491

Yoshizumi(11)[i] 1478–1493-1508–1513

Yoshihisa(9)[i] 1465–1474–1489

Yoshitane(10)[i] 1465–1490-1493+1508-1521–1522

Yoshiharu(12) 1510–1521-1545–1550

Yoshitsuna 1509–1573

Yoshiteru(13) 1535–1545–1565

Yoshiaki(15) 1537–1568-1573–1597

Yoshihide(14) 1538–1564–1568

Notes:

^ a b c d Yoshimasa's successors were Yoshihisa (son), Yoshitane (first adopted son) and Yoshizumi (second adopted son) ^ The broken lines indicate adoptions within the shogunal clan

v t e

Japan articles

History

Chronology

Prehistory

Paleolithic

Ancient history

Jōmon Yayoi Kofun

Antiquity history

Asuka Nara Heian

Post-antiquity history

Kamakura Muromachi Azuchi–Momoyama Edo

Modern history

Bakumatsu Empire of Japan

Meiji Taishō Shōwa

Post-war Post-occupation

Heisei

By topic

Economic Education Military

Naval Imperial Army Imperial Navy Overseas actions

Geography

Addresses Archipelago Cities Districts Earthquakes Environment Extreme points Islands Lakes Prefectures Regions Rivers Towns Villages

Politics

Constitution

Pre-war

Elections Emperor

list

Foreign relations Human rights

LGBT

Judiciary Law Law enforcement National Diet

House of Councillors House of Representatives

Political parties Self-Defense Forces

Air Ground Maritime

Government

Cabinet Fiscal policy Foreign policy Ministries Prime Minister

list

Deputy Prime Minister

Economy

Agriculture, forestry, fishing Central bank International rankings Labor Manufacturing Energy

solar power

Telecommunications Transport Yen

Society

Crime Demographics Education Etiquette Gambling Housing Languages Religion Sexuality Smoking Women

Kyariaūman

Culture

Aesthetics Anime / Manga Architecture Art Bonsai Cinema Cuisine Festivals Folklore

folktales

Gardens Geisha Games Ikebana Kawaii Literature Martial arts Media Music Mythology Names Onsen / Sentō Sport Tea ceremony Television Theatre

Japa

.