The Info List - Shōgun

A shōgun (将軍, [ɕoːɡɯɴ] ( listen)) was the military dictator of Japan
during the period from 1185 to 1868 (with exceptions). In most of this period, the shōguns were the de facto rulers of the country, although nominally they were appointed by the Emperor as a ceremonial formality.[1] The shōguns held almost absolute power over territories through military means. Nevertheless, an unusual situation occurred in the Kamakura period
Kamakura period
(1199–1333) upon the death of the first shōgun, whereby the Hōjō clan's hereditary titles of shikken (1199–1256) and tokusō (1256–1333) monopolized the shogunate as dictatorial positions, collectively known as the Regent Rule (執権政治).[2] The shōguns during this 134-year period met the same fate as the Emperor and was reduced to a figurehead until a coup in 1333, when the shōgun was restored to power in the name of the Emperor.[2] The modern[clarification needed] rank of shōgun is roughly equivalent to a generalissimo. Shōgun
is the short form of Sei-i Taishōgun (征夷大将軍, "Commander-in-Chief of the Expeditionary Force Against the Barbarians"), the individual governing the country at various times in the history of Japan, ending when Tokugawa Yoshinobu relinquished the office to Emperor Meiji
Emperor Meiji
in 1867.[3] The tent symbolized the field commander but also denoted that such an office was meant to be temporary. The shōgun's officials were collectively the bakufu, and were those who carried out the actual duties of administration, while the imperial court retained only nominal authority.[4] In this context, the office of the shōgun had a status equivalent to that of a viceroy or governor-general, but in reality shōguns dictated orders to everyone including the reigning Emperor.


1 Heian period
Heian period
(794–1185) 2 Kamakura shogunate
Kamakura shogunate
(1192–1333) 3 Ashikaga shogunate
Ashikaga shogunate
(1336–1573) 4 Azuchi–Momoyama period
Azuchi–Momoyama period
(1573-1600) 5 Tokugawa shogunate
Tokugawa shogunate
(1600–1868) 6 Legacy 7 Shogunate 8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading

Heian period
Heian period
(794–1185)[edit] Main article: Heian period Originally, the title of Sei-i Taishōgun ("Commander-in-Chief of the Expeditionary Force Against the Barbarians")[5] was given to military commanders during the early Heian period
Heian period
for the duration of military campaigns against the Emishi, who resisted the governance of the Kyoto-based imperial court. Ōtomo no Otomaro was the first Sei-i Taishōgun.[6] The most famous of these shōguns was Sakanoue no Tamuramaro. In the later Heian period, one more shōgun was appointed. Minamoto
no Yoshinaka was named sei-i taishōgun during the Genpei War, only to be killed shortly thereafter by Minamoto
no Yoshitsune. Kamakura shogunate
Kamakura shogunate
(1192–1333)[edit] Main articles: Kamakura shogunate
Kamakura shogunate
and Kamakura period In the early 11th century, daimyōs protected by samurai came to dominate internal Japanese politics.[7] Two of the most powerful families – the Taira and Minamoto – fought for control over the declining imperial court. The Taira family seized control from 1160 to 1185, but was defeated by the Minamoto
in the Battle of Dan-no-ura. Minamoto no Yoritomo
Minamoto no Yoritomo
seized power from the central government and aristocracy and established a feudal system based in Kamakura in which the private military, the samurai, gained some political powers while the Emperor and the aristocracy remained the de jure rulers. In 1192, Yoritomo was awarded the title of Sei-i Taishōgun by the Emperor and the political system he developed with a succession of shōguns as the head became known as a shogunate. Yoritomo's wife's family, the Hōjō, seized power from the Kamakura shōguns.[8] When Yoritomo's sons and heirs were assassinated, the shōgun himself became a hereditary figurehead. Real power rested with the Hōjō regents. The Kamakura shogunate
Kamakura shogunate
lasted for almost 150 years, from 1192 to 1333. In 1274 and 1281, the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
launched invasions against Japan. An attempt by Emperor Go-Daigo
Emperor Go-Daigo
to restore imperial rule in the Kenmu Restoration in 1331 was unsuccessful, but weakened the shogunate significantly and led to its eventual downfall.[9] The end of the Kamakura shogunate
Kamakura shogunate
came when Kamakura fell in 1333, and the Hōjō Regency was destroyed. Two imperial families – the senior Northern Court
Northern Court
and the junior Southern Court
Southern Court
– had a claim to the throne. The problem was solved with the intercession of the Kamakura shogunate, who had the two lines alternate. This lasted until 1331, when Emperor Go-Daigo
Emperor Go-Daigo
(of the Southern Court) tried to overthrow the shogunate to stop the alternation. As a result, Daigo was exiled. Around 1334–1336, Ashikaga Takauji
Ashikaga Takauji
helped Daigo regain his throne.[10] The fight against the shogunate left the Emperor with too many people claiming a limited supply of land. Takauji turned against the Emperor when the discontent about the distribution of land grew great enough. In 1336 Daigo was banished again, in favor of a new Emperor.[10] During the Kenmu Restoration, after the fall of the Kamakura shogunate in 1333, another short-lived shōgun arose. Prince Moriyoshi (Morinaga), son of Go-Daigo, was awarded the title of Sei-i Taishōgun. However, Prince Moriyoshi
Prince Moriyoshi
was later put under house arrest and, in 1335, killed by Ashikaga Tadayoshi. Ashikaga shogunate
Ashikaga shogunate

The tomb of Ashikaga Takauji

Main articles: Ashikaga shogunate
Ashikaga shogunate
and Muromachi period In 1338, Ashikaga Takauji, like Yoritomo a descendant of the Minamoto princes, was awarded the title of sei-i taishōgun and established the Ashikaga shogunate, which lasted until 1573. The Ashikaga had their headquarters in the Muromachi district of Kyoto, and the time during which they ruled is also known as the Muromachi period. Azuchi–Momoyama period
Azuchi–Momoyama period
(1573-1600)[edit] Further information: Azuchi–Momoyama period While the title of "Shogun" went into abeyance due to technical reasons. Oda Nobunaga
Oda Nobunaga
and his successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, occupied the office with far greater power than any of their predecessors had. Hideyoshi is considered by many historians to be among Japan's greatest rulers. Tokugawa shogunate
Tokugawa shogunate
(1600–1868)[edit] Main articles: Tokugawa shogunate
Tokugawa shogunate
and Bakumatsu

Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate

Tokugawa Ieyasu
Tokugawa Ieyasu
seized power and established a government at Edo
(now known as Tokyo) in 1600. He received the title sei-i taishōgun in 1603, after he forged a family tree to show he was of Minamoto descent.[11] The Tokugawa shogunate
Tokugawa shogunate
lasted until 1867, when Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned as shōgun and abdicated his authority to Emperor Meiji.[12] During the Edo
period, effective power rested with the Tokugawa shōgun, not the Emperor in Kyoto, even though the former ostensibly owed his position to the latter. The shōgun controlled foreign policy, the military, and feudal patronage. The role of the Emperor was ceremonial, similar to the position of the Japanese monarchy after the Second World War.[13] Legacy[edit] Upon Japan's surrender after World War II, American Army General Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
became Japan's de facto ruler during the years of occupation. So great was his influence in Japan
that he has been dubbed the Gaijin Shōgun
(外人将軍).[14] Today, the head of the Japanese government
Japanese government
is the Prime Minister; the usage of the term "shōgun" has nevertheless continued in colloquialisms. A retired Prime Minister who still wields considerable power and influence behind the scenes is called a "shadow shōgun" (闇将軍, yami shōgun), a sort of modern incarnation of the cloistered rule. Examples of "shadow shōguns" are former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka
Kakuei Tanaka
and the politician Ichirō Ozawa.[15] Shogunate[edit] The term bakufu (幕府, "tent government") originally meant the dwelling and household of a shōgun, but in time, became a metonym for the system of government of a feudal military dictatorship, exercised in the name of the shōgun or by the shōgun himself. Therefore, various bakufu held absolute power over the country (territory ruled at that time) without pause from 1192 to 1867, glossing over actual power, clan and title transfers. The shogunate system was originally established under the Kamakura shogunate by Minamoto
no Yoritomo. Although theoretically, the state (and therefore the Emperor) held ownership of all land in Japan. The system had some feudal elements, with lesser territorial lords pledging their allegiance to greater ones. Samurai
were rewarded for their loyalty with agricultural surplus, usually rice, or labor services from peasants. In contrast to European feudal knights, samurai were not landowners.[16] The hierarchy that held this system of government together was reinforced by close ties of loyalty between the daimyōs, samurai and their subordinates. Each shogunate was dynamic, not static. Power was constantly shifting and authority was often ambiguous. The study of the ebbs and flows in this complex history continues to occupy the attention of scholars. Each shogunate encountered competition. Sources of competition included the Emperor and the court aristocracy, the remnants of the imperial governmental systems, the daimyōs, the shōen system, the great temples and shrines, the sōhei, the shugo and jitō, the jizamurai and early modern daimyō. Each shogunate reflected the necessity of new ways of balancing the changing requirements of central and regional authorities.[17] See also[edit]

Feudalism History of Japan List of shōguns


^ "Shogun". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 19, 2014.  ^ a b 「執権 (一)」(『国史大辞典 6』 (吉川弘文館, 1985) ISBN 978-4-642-00506-7) ^ Totman, Conrad (1966). "Political Succession in The Tokugawa Bakufu: Abe Masahiro's Rise to Power, 1843–1845". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. 26: 102–124. doi:10.2307/2718461. JSTOR 2718461.  ^ Beasley, William G. (1955). Select Documents on Japanese Foreign Policy, 1853–1868, p. 321. ^ The Modern Reader's Japanese-English Character Dictionary, ISBN 0-8048-0408-7 ^ 征夷大将軍―もう一つの国家主権 (in Japanese). Books Kinokuniya. Retrieved March 7, 2011.  ^ "Shogun". The World Book Encyclopedia. 17. World Book. 1992. pp. 432–433. ISBN 0-7166-0092-7.  ^ "shogun Japanese title". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-08-21.  ^ Columbia University (2000). "Japan: History: Early History to the Ashikaga Shoguns". Factmonster. Retrieved 2007-04-17.  ^ a b Sansom, George (1961). A History of Japan, 1134–1615. United States: Stanford University Press.  ^ Titsingh, I. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, p. 409. ^ "Japan". The World Book Encyclopedia. World Book. 1992. pp. 34–59. ISBN 0-7166-0092-7.  ^ Wakabayashi, Bob Tadashi (Winter 1991). "In Name Only: Imperial Sovereignty in Early Modern Japan". Journal of Japanese Studies. 17 (1): 25–57. doi:10.2307/132906. JSTOR 132906.  ^ Valley, David J. (April 15, 2000). Gaijin Shogun : Gen. Douglas MacArthur Stepfather of Postwar Japan. Title: Sektor Company. ISBN 978-0967817521. Retrieved 2 June 2017.  ^ Ichiro Ozawa: the shadow shogun. In: The Economist, September 10, 2009. ^ Bentley, Jerry. Traditions and Encounters. pp. 301–302. ISBN 978-0-07-325230-8.  ^ Mass, J. et al., eds. (1985). The Bakufu in Japanese History, p. 189.

Further reading[edit]

Beasley, William G. (1955). Select Documents on Japanese Foreign Policy, 1853–1868. London: Oxford University Press. [reprinted by RoutledgeCurzon, London, 2001. ISBN 978-0-19-713508-2 (cloth)] Columbia University (2000). "Japan: History: Early History to the Ashikaga Shoguns". Factmonster. Retrieved 2007-04-17.  Brazell, Karen (November 1972). "The Changing of the Shogun 1289: An Excerpt from Towazugatari". The Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese. 8 (1): 58–65. doi:10.2307/489093. JSTOR 489093.  Brock, Karen L. (Winter 1995). "The Shogun's 'Painting Match'". Monumenta Nipponica. 50 (4): 433–484. doi:10.2307/2385589. JSTOR 2385589.  Department of Asian Art. “Shoguns and Art.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. Grossberg, Kenneth A. (August 1976). "Bakufu Bugyonin: The Size of the lower bureaucracy in Muromachi Japan". The Journal of Asian Studies. 35 (4): 651–654. doi:10.2307/2053677. JSTOR 2053677.  Grossberg, Kenneth A. (Spring 1976). "From Feudal
Chieftain to Secular Monarch. The Development of Shogunal Power in Early Muromachi Japan". Monumenta Nipponica. 31 (1): 29–49. doi:10.2307/2384184. JSTOR 2384184.  "Japan". The World Book Encyclopedia. World Book. 1992. pp. 34–59. ISBN 0-7166-0092-7.  Mass, Jeffrey P. and William B. Hauser, eds. (1985). The Bakufu in Japanese History. Stanford: Stanford University Press. McCune, George M. (May 1946). "The Exchange of Envoys between Korea and Japan
During the Tokugawa Period". The Far Eastern Quarterly. 5 (3): 308–325. doi:10.2307/2049052. JSTOR 2049052.  Ravina, Mark (November 1995). "State-Building and Political Economy in Early-modern Japan". The Journal of Asian Studies. 54 (4): 997–1022. doi:10.2307/2059957. JSTOR 2059957.  Seigle, Cecilia Segawa (December 1999). "The Shogun's Consort: Konoe Hiroko and Tokugawa Ienobu". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. 59 (2): 485–522. doi:10.2307/2652720. JSTOR 2652720.  Hurst, C. Cameron, III; Smith, Henry (November 1981). "Review of Learning from Shogun: Japanese History and Western Fantasy, by Henry Smith". The Journal of Asian Studies. 41 (1): 158–159. doi:10.2307/2055644. JSTOR 2055644.  Sansom, George. 1961. A History of Japan, 1134–1615. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-0525-7 "Shogun". The World Book Encyclopedia. 17. World Book. 1992. pp. 432–433. ISBN 0-7166-0092-7.  Sinsengumi, Bakumatuisin (2003). 仙台藩主. Bakusin (in Japanese). Retrieved 2007-04-17.  Smith, Henry (ed.) (1980). Learning from Shogun: Japanese History and Western Fantasy (PDF). Santa Barbara: University of California Program in Asian Studies. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Totman, Conrad (1966). "Political Succession in The Tokugawa Bakufu: Abe Masahiro's Rise to Power, 1843–1845". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. 26: 102–124. doi:10.2307/2718461. JSTOR 2718461.  Wakabayashi, Bob Tadashi (Winter 1991). "In Name Only: Imperial Sovereignty in Early Modern Japan". Journal of Japanese Studies. 17 (1): 25–57. doi:10.2307/132906. JSTOR 132906. 

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