The SENGOKU PERIOD (戦国時代, _Sengoku jidai_, "Age of Warring States"; c. 1467 – c. 1603) is a period in Japanese history marked by social upheaval, political intrigue and near-constant military conflict. Japanese historians named it after the otherwise unrelated Warring States period in China. It is initiated by Ōnin War , which collapsed the Japanese feudal system under Ashikaga shogunate , and came to an end when the system was re-established under the Tokugawa shogunate by Tokugawa Ieyasu .
* 1 Summary * 2 Timeline * 3 _Gekokujō_ * 4 Unification
* 5 Notable people
* 5.1 Three unifiers of Japan
* 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 9 External links
During this period, although the
Emperor of Japan was officially the
ruler of his nation and every lord swore loyalty to him, he was
largely a marginalised, ceremonial, and religious figure who delegated
power to the
Shogun , a noble who was roughly equivalent to a
Generalissimo . In the years preceding this era the Shogunate
gradually lost influence and control over the _daimyōs _ (local
lords). Although the
Ashikaga shogunate had retained the structure of
Kamakura shogunate and instituted a warrior government based on
the same social economic rights and obligations established by the
Hōjō with the _Jōei_ Code in 1232, it failed to win the loyalty of
many _daimyōs_, especially those whose domains were far from the
Ōnin War (1467–1477), a conflict rooted in economic distress
and brought on by a dispute over shogunal succession, is generally
regarded as the onset of the Sengoku period. The "eastern" army of the
Hosokawa family and its allies clashed with the "western" army of the
Yamana . Fighting in and around
The period culminated with a series of three warlords, Oda Nobunaga , Toyotomi Hideyoshi , and Tokugawa Ieyasu , who gradually unified Japan. After Tokugawa Ieyasu's final victory at the siege of Osaka in 1615, Japan settled down into several centuries of peace under the Tokugawa Shogunate .
The Ōnin War in 1467 is usually considered the starting point of Sengoku period. There are several events which could be considered the end of it: The Siege of Odawara (1590) , the Battle of Sekigahara (1600), the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603), or the Siege of Osaka (1615).
1467 Beginning of Ōnin War
1477 End of Ōnin War
1488 The Kaga Rebellion
1493 Hosokawa Masamoto succeeds in the Coup of Meio
1507 Beginning of Ryo Hosokawa War (the succession dispute in the Hosokawa family)
1531 Hosokawa Harumoto defeats Hosokawa Takakuni
1543 The Portuguese lands on Tanegashima , becoming the first Europeans to arrive in Japan, and introduces the arquebus into Japanese warfare
1549 Miyoshi Nagayoshi betrays Hosokawa Harumoto
1554 The tripartite pact among Takeda , Hōjō and Imagawa is signed
1570 Beginning of Ishiyama Hongan-ji War
1573 The end of Ashikaga shogunate
1580 End of Ishiyama Hongan-ji War
1592 First invasion of Korea
1597 Second invasion of Korea
1598 Toyotomi Hideyoshi dies
1600 Battle of Sekigahara : The Eastern Army under Tokugawa Ieyasu defeats the Western Army of Toyotomi loyalists
1603 The establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate
Japan in 1570
The upheaval resulted in the further weakening of central authority, and throughout Japan regional lords, called _daimyōs _, rose to fill the vacuum. In the course of this power shift, well-established clans such as the Takeda and the Imagawa , who had ruled under the authority of both the Kamakura and Muromachi _bakufu_, were able to expand their spheres of influence. There were many, however, whose positions eroded and were eventually usurped by more capable underlings. This phenomenon of social meritocracy, in which capable subordinates rejected the status quo and forcefully overthrew an emancipated aristocracy, became known as _gekokujō _ (下克上), which means "low conquers high".
One of the earliest instances of this was
Hōjō Sōun , who rose
from relatively humble origins and eventually seized power in Izu
Province in 1493. Building on the accomplishments of Sōun, the Late
Well-organized religious groups also gained political power at this time by uniting farmers in resistance and rebellion against the rule of the _daimyōs_. The monks of the Buddhist True Pure Land sect formed numerous _ Ikkō-ikki _, the most successful of which, in Kaga Province , remained independent for nearly 100 years.
Main article: Azuchi–Momoyama period
After nearly a century of political instability and warfare, Japan
was on the verge of unification by
Oda Nobunaga , who had emerged from
obscurity in the province of Owari (present-day
When Toyotomi died in 1598 without leaving a capable successor, the country was once again thrust into political turmoil, and this time Tokugawa Ieyasu took advantage of the opportunity.
Toyotomi had on his deathbed appointed a group of the most powerful lords in Japan—Tokugawa, Maeda Toshiie , Ukita Hideie , Uesugi Kagekatsu , and Mōri Terumoto —to govern as the Council of Five Regents until his infant son, Hideyori, came of age. An uneasy peace lasted until the death of Maeda in 1599. Thereafter a number of high-ranking figures, notably Ishida Mitsunari , accused Tokugawa of disloyalty to the Toyotomi regime.
This precipitated a crisis that led to the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, during which Tokugawa and his allies, who controlled the east of the country, defeated the anti-Tokugawa forces, which had control of the west. Generally regarded as the last major conflict of the Sengoku period, Tokugawa's victory at Sekigahara effectively marked the end of the Toyotomi regime, the last remnants of which were finally destroyed in the Siege of Osaka in 1615.
Tokugawa Ieyasu received the title _ Seii Taishogun _ in 1603, and abdicated in favour of his son Tokugawa Hidetada in 1605 (while retaining real control himself), to emphasize the family's hereditary hold on the post; he thereby established Japan's final shogunate, which lasted until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
THREE UNIFIERS OF JAPAN
The contrasting personalities of the three leaders who contributed the most to Japan's final unification—Oda, Toyotomi, and Tokugawa—are encapsulated in a series of three well known _senryū _:
* _Nakanu nara, koroshite shimae, hototogisu_ (If the cuckoo does not sing, kill it.) * _Nakanu nara, nakasete miyō, hototogisu_ (If the cuckoo does not sing, coax it.) * _Nakanu nara, naku made matō, hototogisu_ (If the cuckoo does not sing, wait for it.)
Oda, known for his ruthlessness, is the subject of the first; Toyotomi, known for his resourcefulness, is the subject of the second; and Tokugawa, known for his perseverance, is the subject of the third verse.
* History of Japan * List of daimyōs from the Sengoku period * List of Japanese battles * Horses in East Asian warfare * Warring States period - a similar period in Chinese history * Crisis of the Third Century - a similar period in Roman history
* ^ Sansom, George B. 2005. _A History of Japan: 1334–1615_. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Publishing. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "Sengoku period". _Encyclopedia of Japan_. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 56431036 . Retrieved 2012-08-15. * ^ _A_ _B_ "誕". _Kokushi Daijiten_ (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 683276033 . Retrieved 2012-08-15. * ^ "Ōnin War". _Encyclopedia of Japan_. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 56431036 . Retrieved 2012-08-15.
* Hane, Mikiso (1992). _Modern Japan: A Historical Survey_. Westview Press. * Hall, John Whitney (May 1961). "Foundations of The Modern Japanese Daimyo". _The Journal of Asian Studies_. Association for Asian Studies. 20 (3): 317–329. JSTOR 2050818 . doi :10.2307/2050818 . * Jansen, Marius B. (2000). _The Making of Modern Japan_. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674003349 /ISBN 9780674003347 . OCLC 44090600 . * Lorimer, Michael James (2008). _Sengokujidai: Autonomy, Division and Unity in Later Medieval Japan_. London: Olympia Publishers. ISBN 1-905513-45-3 .
* Samurai Archives Japanese History page * (in Japanese)