The Info List - Sengoku Period

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The Sengoku period
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
Warring States period
in China.[1] It was initiated by the Ōnin War, which collapsed the Japanese feudal system under the Ashikaga shogunate, and came to an end when the system was re-established under the Tokugawa shogunate
Tokugawa shogunate
by Tokugawa Ieyasu.[2][3]


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

Summary[edit] During this period, although the Emperor of Japan
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 shōgun, 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
Ashikaga shogunate
had retained the structure of the 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,[clarification needed] it failed to win the loyalty of many daimyōs, especially those whose domains were far from the capital, Kyoto. Many of these Lords began to fight uncontrollably with each other for control over land and influence over the shogunate. As trade with Ming China grew, the economy developed, and the use of money became widespread as markets and commercial cities appeared. This, combined with developments in agriculture and small-scale trading, led to the desire for greater local autonomy throughout all levels of the social hierarchy. As early as the beginning of the 15th century, the suffering caused by earthquakes and famines often served to trigger armed uprisings by farmers weary of debt and taxes. The Ōnin War
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 Kyoto
lasted for nearly 11 years, leaving the city almost completely destroyed. The conflict in Kyoto then spread to outlying provinces.[2][4] 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. Timeline[edit] The Ōnin War
Ōnin War
in 1467 is usually considered the starting point of the 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
Siege of Osaka

Time Event

1467 Beginning of Ōnin War

1477 End of Ōnin War

1488 The Kaga Rebellion

1493 Hosokawa Masamoto
Hosokawa Masamoto
succeeds in the Coup of Meio

Hōjō Sōun
Hōjō Sōun
seizes Izu Province

1507 Beginning of Ryo Hosokawa War (the succession dispute in the Hosokawa family)

1520 Hosokawa Takakuni
Hosokawa Takakuni
defeats Hosokawa Sumimoto

1531 Hosokawa Harumoto defeats Hosokawa Takakuni

1535 Battle of Idano The forces of the Matsudaira defeat the rebel Masatoyo

1543 The Portuguese land on Tanegashima, becoming the first Europeans to arrive in Japan, and introduce the arquebus into Japanese warfare

1549 Miyoshi Nagayoshi
Miyoshi Nagayoshi
betrays Hosokawa Harumoto

1551 Tainei-ji incident: Sue Harukata betrays Ōuchi Yoshitaka, taking control of western Honshu

1554 The tripartite pact among Takeda, Hōjō and Imagawa is signed

1555 Battle of Itsukushima: Mōri Motonari
Mōri Motonari
defeats Sue Harukata and goes on to supplant the Ōuchi as the foremost daimyo of western Honshu

1560 Battle of Okehazama: The outnumbered Oda Nobunaga
Oda Nobunaga
defeats and kills Imagawa Yoshimoto
Imagawa Yoshimoto
in a surprise attack

1568 Oda Nobunaga
Oda Nobunaga
marches toward Kyoto

1570 Beginning of Ishiyama Hongan-ji War

1573 The end of Ashikaga shogunate

1575 Battle of Nagashino: Oda Nobunaga
Oda Nobunaga
decisively defeats the Takeda cavalry with innovative arquebus tactics

1580 End of Ishiyama Hongan-ji War

1582 Akechi Mitsuhide
Akechi Mitsuhide
assassinates Oda Nobunaga
Oda Nobunaga
(Honnō-ji Incident); Hashiba Hideyoshi
Hashiba Hideyoshi
defeats Akechi at the Battle of Yamazaki

1585 Hashiba Hideyoshi
Hashiba Hideyoshi
is granted title of Kampaku, establishing his predominant authority; he is granted the surname Toyotomi a year after.

1590 Siege of Odawara: Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Toyotomi Hideyoshi
defeats the Hōjō clan, unifying Japan under his rule

1592 First invasion of Korea

1597 Second invasion of Korea

1598 Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Toyotomi Hideyoshi

1600 Battle of Sekigahara: The Eastern Army under Tokugawa Ieyasu
Tokugawa Ieyasu
defeats the Western Army of Toyotomi loyalists

1603 The establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate

1615 Siege of Osaka: The last of the Toyotomi opposition to the Tokugawa shogunate is stamped out


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".[2] 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 Hōjō clan remained a major power in the Kantō region
Kantō region
until its subjugation by Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Toyotomi Hideyoshi
late in the Sengoku period. Other notable examples include the supplanting of the Hosokawa clan
Hosokawa clan
by the Miyoshi, the Toki by the Saitō, and the Shiba clan
Shiba clan
by the Oda clan, which was in turn replaced by its underling, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a son of a peasant with no family name. 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. Unification[edit] 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 Aichi Prefecture) to dominate central Japan, when in 1582 Oda was assassinated by one of his generals, Akechi Mitsuhide. This in turn provided Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who had risen through the ranks from ashigaru (footsoldier) to become one of Oda's most trusted generals, with the opportunity to establish himself as Oda's successor. Toyotomi eventually consolidated his control over the remaining daimyōs and, although he was ineligible for the title of Sei-i Taishōgun because of his common birth, ruled as Kampaku
(Imperial Regent). During his short reign as Kampaku, Toyotomi attempted two invasions of Korea. The first spanning from 1592 to 1596 was initially successful but suffered setbacks to end in stalemate; the second begun in 1597 was less successful (as the Koreans and their Ming Chinese allies were prepared for the Japanese the second time around) and ended with Toyotomi's call for retreat from Korea on his deathbed in 1598. When Toyotomi died in 1598 without leaving a capable successor, the country was once again thrust into political turmoil, and this time Tokugawa Ieyasu
Tokugawa Ieyasu
took advantage of the opportunity.[3] 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
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
Siege of Osaka
in 1615. Tokugawa Ieyasu
Tokugawa Ieyasu
received the title Sei-i Taishōgun in 1603, and abdicated in favour of his son Tokugawa Hidetada
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
Meiji Restoration
in 1868. Notable people[edit] Main article: List of daimyōs from the Sengoku period

Japan in the late 16th century

Gun workman, Sakai, Osaka

Ōzutsu (Big Gun)

Three unifiers of Japan[edit]

Oda Nobunaga Toyotomi Hideyoshi Tokugawa Ieyasu

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. See also[edit]

History of Japan List of daimyōs from the Sengoku period List of Japanese battles Horses in East Asian warfare Warring States period
Warring States period
- a similar period in Chinese history Crisis of the Third Century
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. doi:10.2307/2050818. JSTOR 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. 

External links[edit]

Samurai Archives Japanese History page (in Japanese) Sengoku Expo: Japanese Design, Culture in the Age of Civil Wars held in Gifu Prefecture, 2000-2001 (in Japanese) List of the Sengoku Daimyos

Preceded by Nanboku-chō period
Nanboku-chō period
(1334−1392) (of Muromachi Period) History of Japan Sengoku period 1467–1573 (of Muromachi Period) Succeeded by Azuchi–Momoyama period 1573–1603

v t e

Prominent people of the Sengoku period

Three major daimyōs

Oda Nobunaga Toyotomi Hideyoshi Tokugawa Ieyasu


Ashikaga Yoshiharu Ashikaga Yoshiteru Ashikaga Yoshihide Ashikaga Yoshiaki Tokugawa Hidetada


Go-Kashiwabara Go-Nara Ōgimachi Go-Yōzei

Other daimyōs

List of daimyōs from the Sengoku period


Hikita Bungorō Kamiizumi Nobutsuna Miyamoto Musashi Sasaki Kojirō Tadashima Akiyama Tsukahara Bokuden Tsutsumi Hōzan Yagyū Munenori Yagyū Munetoshi

Ninja, rogues and mercenaries

Fūma Kotarō Hattori Hanzō Ishikawa Goemon Katō Danzō Kirigakure Shikaemon Kōzuki Sasuke Nakamura Chōbei Ohama Kagetaka Saika Magoichi

Suzuki Sadayu Suzuki Shigehide Suzuki Shigetomo

Suzuki Magoroku Igasaki Dōshun

Monks and other religious figures

Ankokuji Ekei Hongan-ji Kennyo Hon'inbō Sansa Ishin Sūden Jion Nankōbō Tenkai Rennyo Sessai Chōrō Shimozuma Chūkō Shimozuma Rairen Shimozuma Rairyū Takuan Sōhō


Ii Naotora Ikeda Sen Kaihime Komatsuhime Maeda Matsu Ōhōri Tsuruhime Tachibana Ginchiyo Otatsu No Kata Myorin Otsune

Other women

Asahihime Chacha Chikurin-in Dota Gozen Gotokuhime Hosokawa Gracia Izumo no Okuni Kitsuno Kyōgoku Maria Kyōgoku Tatsuko Nene Nōhime Oeyo Oichi Ohatsu Okaji no Kata Lady Kasuga Lady Saigō Lady Tsukiyama Senhime Sentōin Tobai-in Tokuhime

See also

List of samurai from