Q. 7 A

Answer the following in detail

Discuss the emergence of Japan under the Shogunate.

Answer :

Shotuku Taishi of the Soga family was succeeded by the Fujiwara family. They drove out the Soga family and strengthened the central government in Japan, having been influenced by Chinese methods. Led by Nakatom no Kamatari, they established the capital at Nara, although it became Kyoto in 794 AD.

• The Fujiwara family ruled for some two hundred years, but in the later years of their reign, the emperors began to retire from official rule to spend their lives in monasteries. However, they still held a great deal of authority.


• A new class of people began to emerge under the Fujiwara rule, a class of landholder-military men, called Daimyos (meaning ‘great name-lords’. As they gathered soldiers and retainers, their power began to grow. They ignored the Kyoto government and began to squabble among themselves.


• Two chief Daimyo families fought, the Tara and the Minamoto families. The latter won, led by a man named Yoritomo. In 1192 AD, the Emperor named him Sei-i-tai-Shogun (or ‘Barbarian-subduing-Great-General). It was a powerful, hereditary post and the Shogun became the de facto ruler.


• Yoritomo’s military capital was at Kamakura (also known as the First Shogunate). The Emperor’s post became purely ceremonial. The government became a feudal military system led by samurai (or warriors).


• Even the Mongols, the nomads who terrified Europe, were compelled to keep their distance from Japan at this stage of its military growth.


• However, the Kamakura Shogunate began to decline in 1338 AD, and it was succeeded by the Ashikaga Shogunate. This rule lasted for 235 years, but was not peaceful.


• Japan’s civil war conflict was settled by three men, Borbunaga (a Daimyo), Hideyoshi (a peasant) and Tokugawa Iyeyasu (a nobleman).


Therefore, by the latter half of the 16th century, Japan was united once again, and the Shogunate rule had ended.


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