The Nara period of the history of Japan covers the years from AD 710 to 794. Empress Genmei established the capital of Heijō-kyō. Except for a five-year period, when the capital was moved again, it remained the capital of Japanese civilization until Emperor Kanmu established a new capital, Nagaoka-kyō, in 784, before moving to Heian-kyō, modern Kyoto, a decade in 794. Most of Japanese society during this period was centered on villages. Most of the villagers followed a religion based on the worship of natural and ancestral spirits called kami; the capital at Nara was modeled after Chang the capital city of Tang dynasty. In many other ways, the Japanese upper classes patterned themselves after the Chinese, including adopting Chinese written system and the religion of Buddhism. Concentrated efforts by the imperial court to record and document its history produced the first works of Japanese literature during the Nara period. Works such as the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki were political in nature, used to record and therefore justify and establish the supremacy of the rule of the emperors within Japan.
With the spread of written language, the writing of Japanese poetry, known in Japanese as waka, began. The largest and longest-surviving collection of Japanese poetry, the Man'yōshū, was compiled from poems composed between 600 and 759 CE. This, other Nara texts, used Chinese characters to express the sounds of Japanese, known as man'yōgana. Before the Taihō Code was established, the capital was customarily moved after the death of an emperor because of the ancient belief that a place of death was polluted. Reforms and bureaucratization of government led to the establishment of a permanent imperial capital at Heijō-kyō, or Nara, in AD 710, it is to be noted that the capital was moved shortly to Kuni-kyō in 740–744, to Naniwa-kyō in 744–745, to Shigarakinomiya in 745, moved back to Nara in 745. Nara was Japan's first urban center, it soon had some 10,000 people worked in government jobs. Economic and administrative activity increased during the Nara period. Roads linked Nara to provincial capitals, taxes were collected more efficiently and routinely.
Coins were minted, if not used. Outside the Nara area, there was little commercial activity, in the provinces the old Shōtoku land reform systems declined. By the mid-eighth century, shōen, one of the most important economic institutions in prehistoric Japan, began to rise as a result of the search for a more manageable form of landholding. Local administration became more self-sufficient, while the breakdown of the old land distribution system and the rise of taxes led to the loss or abandonment of land by many people who became the "wave people"; some of these "public people" were employed by large landholders, "public lands" reverted to the shōen. Factional fighting at the imperial court continued throughout the Nara period. Imperial family members, leading court families, such as the Fujiwara, Buddhist priests all contended for influence. Earlier this period, Prince Nagaya seized power at the court after the death of Fujiwara no Fuhito. Fuhito was succeeded by four sons, Umakai and Maro, they put the prince by Fuhito's daughter, on the throne.
In 729, they regained control. However, as a major outbreak of smallpox spread from Kyūshū in 735, all four brothers died two years resulting in temporary shrinking of Fujiwara's dominance. In 740, a member of the Fujiwara clan, Hirotsugu launched a rebellion from his base in Fukuoka, Kyushu. Although defeated, it is without doubt that the Emperor was shocked about these events, he moved the palace three times in only five years from 740, until he returned to Nara. In the late Nara period, financial burdens on the state increased, the court began dismissing nonessential officials. In 792 universal conscription was abandoned, district heads were allowed to establish private militia forces for local police work. Decentralization of authority became the rule despite the reforms of the Nara period. To return control to imperial hands, the capital was moved in 784 to Nagaoka-kyō and in 794 to Heian-kyō, about twenty-six kilometers north of Nara. By the late eleventh century, the city was popularly called Kyoto, the name it has had since.
Some of Japan's literary monuments were written during the Nara period, including the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, the first national histories, compiled in 712 and 720 respectively. Another major cultural development of the era was the permanent establishment of Buddhism. Buddhism was introduced by Baekje in the sixth century but had a mixed reception until the Nara period, when it was heartily embraced by Emperor Shōmu. Shōmu and his Fujiwara consort were fervent Buddhists and promoted the spread of Buddhism, making it the "guardian of the state" and a way of strengthening Japanese institutions. During Shōmu's reign, the Tōdai-ji was built. Within it was placed the Great Buddha Daibutsu: a 16-metre-high, gilt-bronze statue; this Buddha was identified with the Sun Goddess, a gradual syncretism of Buddhism and Shinto ensued. Shōmu declared himself the "Servant of the Three Treasures" of Buddhism: the Buddha, the law or teachings of B
The Emishi or Ebisu constituted an ethnic group of people who lived in northeastern Honshū in the Tōhoku region, referred to as michi no oku in contemporary sources. The first mention of them in literature dates to AD 400, in which they are mentioned as "the hairy people" from the Chinese records; some Emishi tribes resisted the rule of the Japanese Emperors during the late Nara and early Heian periods. The origin of the Emishi is disputed, they are thought to have descended from some tribes of the Jōmon people. Some historians believe that they were related to the Ainu people, but others disagree with this theory; the Emishi were represented by different tribes, some of whom became allies of the Japanese and others of whom remained hostile. The Emishi in northeastern Honshū relied on their horses in warfare, they developed a unique style of warfare in which horse archery and hit-and-run tactics proved effective against the slower contemporary Japanese imperial army that relied on heavy infantry.
Their livelihood was based on hunting and gathering as well as on the cultivation of grains such as millet and barley. It has been thought that they practiced rice cultivation in areas where rice could be grown; the first major attempts to subjugate the Emishi in the 8th century were unsuccessful. The imperial armies, which were modeled after the mainland Chinese armies, were no match for the guerrilla tactics of the Emishi, it was the development of horse archery and the adoption of Emishi tactics by the early Japanese warriors that led to the Emishi defeat. The success of the gradual change in battle tactics came at the end of the 8th century in the 790s under the command of the general Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, they either submitted themselves to imperial authority as fushu and ifu or migrated further north, some to Hokkaidō. By the mid-9th century, most of their land in Honshū was conquered, they ceased to be independent. However, they continued to be influential in local politics as subjugated, though powerful, Emishi families created semi-autonomous feudal domains in the north.
In the two centuries following the conquest, a few of these domains became regional states that came into conflict with the central government. The record of Emperor Jimmu in the Nihon Shoki mentions the "Emishi" with ateji—whom his armed forces defeated before he was enthroned as the Emperor of Japan. According to Nihon Shoki, Takenouchi no Sukune in the era of Emperor Keikō proposed that they should subjugate Emishi of Hitakami no Kuni in eastern Japan; the first mention of Emishi from a source outside Japan was in the Chinese Book of Song in 478 which referred to them as "hairy people". The book refers to "the 55 kingdoms of the hairy people of the East" as a report by King Bu—one of the Five kings of Wa. Most by the 7th century AD, the Japanese used this kanji to describe these people, but changed the reading from kebito or mōjin to Emishi. Furthermore, during the same century, the kanji character was changed to 蝦夷, composed of the kanji for "shrimp" and for "barbarian"; this is thought to refer to the long whiskers of a shrimp.
The barbarian aspect described an outsider, living beyond the border of the emerging empire of Japan, which saw itself as a civilizing influence. This kanji was first seen in the T'ang sources that describe the meeting with the two Emishi that the Japanese envoy brought with him to China; the kanji character may have been adopted from China, but the reading "Ebisu" and "Emishi" were Japanese in origin and most came from either the Japanese "yumishi" which means bowman or "emushi", sword in the Ainu tongue. Other origins—such as the word enchiu for "man" in the Ainu tongue—have been proposed. However, the way it sounds is phonetically identical to emushi so it may most have had an Ainoid origin. "Ainoid" distinguishes the people who are related to, or who are ancestors of, the Ainu, who first emerge as "Ezo" in Hokkaido in the Kamakura period and become known as Ainu in the modern period. The Nihon Shoki's entry for Emperor Yūryaku known as Ohatsuse no Wakatakeru, records an uprising, after the Emperor's death, of Emishi troops, levied to support an expedition to Korea.
Emperor Yūryaku is suspected to be King Bu, but the date and the existence of Yūryaku are uncertain, the Korean reference may be anachronistic. However, the compilers felt that the reference to Emishi troops was credible in this context. In 658, Abe no Hirafu's naval expedition of 180 ships reaches Watarishima. An alliance with Aguta Emishi, Tsugaru Emishi and Watarishima Emishi was formed by Abe who stormed and defeated a settlement of Mishihase a people of unknown origin; this is one of the earliest reliable records of the Emishi people extant. The Mishihase may have been another ethnic group who competed with the ancestors of the Ainu for Hokkaidō; the expedition happens to be the furthest northern penetration of the Japanese Imperial army until the 16th century, that settlement was from a local Japanese warlord, independent of any central control. In 709, the fort of Ideha was created close to present day Akita; this was a bold move since the intervening territory between Akita and the northwestern countries of Japan was not under government control.
The Emishi of Akita in alliance with Michinoku attacked Japanese settlements in response. Saeki no Iwayu was appointed Sei Echigo Emishi shōgun, he used 100 ships from the Japan sea side countries along with soldi
Emperor Kammu was the 50th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Kammu reigned from 781 to 806. Kammu's personal name was Yamabe, he was the eldest son of Prince Shirakabe, was born prior to Shirakabe's ascension to the throne. According to the Shoku Nihongi, Yamabe's mother, Yamato no Niigasa, was a 10th generation descendant of Muryeong of Baekje. After his father became emperor, Kammu's half-brother, Prince Osabe was appointed to the rank of crown prince, his mother was a daughter of Emperor Shōmu. After Inoe and Prince Osabe were confined and died in 775, Osabe's sister – Kammu's half-sister Princess Sakahito – became Kammu's wife; when he ascended to the throne in 781, Kammu appointed his young brother, Prince Sawara, whose mother was Takano no Niigasa, as crown prince. Hikami no Kawatsugu, a son of Emperor Tenmu's grandson Prince Shioyaki and Shōmu's daughter Fuwa, attempted to carry out a coup d'état in 782, but it failed and Kawatsugu and his mother were sent into exile.
In 785 Sawara was died in exile. Kammu had 16 empresses and consorts, 32 imperial sons and daughters. Among them, three sons would ascend to the imperial throne: Emperor Heizei, Emperor Saga and Emperor Junna; some of his descendants took the Taira hereditary clan title, in generations became prominent warriors. Examples include Taira no Masakado, Taira no Kiyomori, the Hōjō clan; the waka poet Ariwara. Kammu is traditionally venerated at his tomb. Kammu was an active emperor who attempted to consolidate government functions. Kammu appointed Sakanoue no Tamuramaro to lead a military expedition against the Emishi. 737: Kammu was born. 773: Received the title of crown prince. April 30, 781: In the 11th year of Kōnin's reign, he abdicated. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Kammu is said to have ascended to the throne. During his reign, the capital of Japan was moved from Nara to Nagaoka-kyō in 784. Shortly thereafter, the capital would be moved again in 794. July 28, 782: The sadaijin Fujiwara no Uona was involved in an incident that resulted in his removal from office and exile to Kyushi.
Claiming illness, Uona was permitted to return to the capital. In the same general time frame, Fujiwara no Tamaro was named Udaijin. During these days in which the offices of sadaijin and udaijin were vacant, the major counselors and the emperor assumed responsibilities and powers which would have been otherwise delegated. 783: The udaijin Tamaro died at the age of 62 years. 783: Fujiwara no Korekimi became the new udaijin to replace the late Fujiwara no Tamaro. 793: Under the leadership of Dengyō, construction began on the Enryaku Temple. 794: The capital was relocated again, this time to Heian-kyō, where the palace was named Heian no Miya. November 17, 794: The emperor traveled by carriage from Nara to the new capital of Heian-kyō in a grand procession; this marks the beginning of the Heian period. 806: Kammu died at the age of 70. Kammu's reign lasted for 25 years; the years of Kammu's reign are more identified by more than one era name. Ten'ō Enryaku Earlier Imperial sponsorship of Buddhism, beginning with Prince Shōtoku, had led to a general politicization of the clergy, along with an increase in intrigue and corruption.
In 784 Kammu shifted his capital from Nara to Nagaoka-kyō in a move, said to be designed to edge the powerful Nara Buddhist establishments out of state politics—while the capital moved, the major Buddhist temples, their officials, stayed put. Indeed, there was a steady stream of edicts issued from 771 right through the period of Kūkai's studies which, for instance, sought to limit the number of Buddhist priests, the building of temples; however the move was to prove disastrous and was followed by a series of natural disasters including the flooding of half the city. In 785 the principal architect of the new capital, royal favourite, Fujiwara no Tanetsugu, was assassinated. Meanwhile, Kammu's armies were pushing back the boundaries of his empire; this led to an uprising, in 789 a substantial defeat for Kammu's troops. In 789 there was a severe drought and famine—the streets of the capital were clogged with the sick, people avoiding being drafted into the military, or into forced labour. Many disguised themselves as Buddhist priests for the same reason.
In 794 Kammu shifted the capital again, this time to Heian-kyō, modern day Kyoto. The new capital was started early the previous year, but the change was abrupt and led to more confusion amongst the populace. Politically Kammu shored up his rule by changing the syllabus of the university. Confucian ideology still provided the raison d'être for the Imperial government. In 784 Kammu authorised the teaching of a new course based on the Spring and Autumn Annals based on two newly imported commentaries: Kung-yang and Ku-liang; these commentaries used political rhetoric to promote a state in which
Japanese names in modern times consist of a family name, followed by a given name. More than one given name is not used. Japanese names are written in kanji, which are characters Chinese in origin but Japanese in pronunciation; the kanji for a name may have a variety of possible Japanese pronunciations, hence parents might use hiragana or katakana when giving a birth name to their newborn child. Names written in hiragana or katakana are phonetic renderings, so lack the visual meaning of names expressed in the logographic kanji. Japanese family names are varied: according to estimates, there are over 100,000 different surnames in use today in Japan; the three most common family names in Japan are Satō, Takahashi. This diversity is in stark contrast to the situation in other nations of the East Asian cultural sphere, which reflects a different history: while Chinese surnames have been in use for millennia and were reflective of an entire clan or adopted from nobles and were thence transferred to Korea and Vietnam via noble names, the vast majority of modern Japanese family names date only to the 19th century, following the Meiji restoration, were chosen at will.
The recent introduction of surnames has two additional effects: Japanese names became widespread when the country had a large population instead of dating to ancient times, since little time has passed, Japanese names have not experienced as significant a surname extinction as has occurred in the much longer history in China. Surnames occur with varying frequency in different regions. Many Japanese family names derive from features of the rural landscape. While family names follow consistent rules, given names are much more diverse in pronunciation and character usage. While many common names can be spelled or pronounced, many parents choose names with unusual characters or pronunciations, such names cannot in general be spelled or pronounced unless both the spelling and pronunciation are given. Unusual pronunciations have become common, with this trend having increased since the 1990s. For example, the popular masculine name 大翔 is traditionally pronounced "Hiroto", but in recent years alternative pronunciations "Haruto", "Yamato", "Taiga", "Sora", "Taito", "Daito", "Masato" have all entered use.
Male names end in -rō -ta or -o, or contain ichi, kazu, ji, or dai. Female names end in -ko or -mi. Other popular endings for female names include -ka and -na; the majority of Japanese people have one surname and one given name with no other names, except for the Japanese imperial family, whose members bear no surname. The family name – myōji, uji or sei – precedes the given name, called the "name" – or "lower name"; the given name may be referred to as the "lower name" because, in vertically written Japanese, the given name appears under the family name. People with mixed Japanese and foreign parentage may have middle names. Myōji, uji and sei had different meanings. Sei was the patrilineal surname, why up until now it has only been granted by the emperor as a title of male rank; the lower form of the name sei being tei, a common name in Japanese men, although there was a male ancestor in ancient Japan from whom the name'Sei' came. There were few sei, most of the medieval noble clans trace their lineage either directly to these sei or to the courtiers of these sei.
Uji was another name used to designate patrilineal descent, but merged with myōji around the same time. Myōji was what a family chooses to call itself, as opposed to the sei granted by the emperor. While it was passed on patrilineally in male ancestors including in male ancestors called haku, one had a certain degree of freedom in changing one's myōji. See Kabane. Multiple Japanese characters have the same pronunciations, so several Japanese names have multiple meanings. A particular kanji itself can have multiple meanings and pronunciations. In some names, Japanese characters phonetically "spell" a name and have no intended meaning behind them. Many Japanese personal names use puns. Few names can serve either as surnames or as given names. Therefore, to those familiar with Japanese names, which name is the surname and, the given name is apparent, no matter which order the names are presented in; this thus makes it unlikely that the two names will be confused, for example, when writing in English while using the family name-given name naming order.
However, due to the variety of pronuncia
The Heian period is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. The period is named after modern Kyōto, it is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism and other Chinese influences were at their height. The Heian period is considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art poetry and literature. Although the Imperial House of Japan had power on the surface, the real power was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan, a powerful aristocratic family who had intermarried with the imperial family. Many emperors had mothers from the Fujiwara family. Heian means "peace" in Japanese; the Heian period was preceded by the Nara period and began in 794 CE after the movement of the capital of Japan to Heian-kyō, by the 50th emperor, Emperor Kanmu Kanmu first tried to move the capital to Nagaoka-kyō, but a series of disasters befell the city, prompting the emperor to relocate the capital a second time, to Heian. A rebellion occurred in China in the last years of the 9th century, making the political situation unstable.
The Japanese missions to Tang China was suspended and the influx of Chinese exports halted, a fact which facilitated the independent growth of Japanese culture called kokufu bunka. Therefore, the Heian Period is considered a high point in Japanese culture that generations have always admired; the period is noted for the rise of the samurai class, which would take power and start the feudal period of Japan. Nominally, sovereignty lay in the emperor but in fact, power was wielded by the Fujiwara nobility. However, to protect their interests in the provinces, the Fujiwara, other noble families required guards and soldiers; the warrior class made steady political gains throughout the Heian period. As early as 939 CE, Taira no Masakado threatened the authority of the central government, leading an uprising in the eastern province of Hitachi, simultaneously, Fujiwara no Sumitomo rebelled in the west. Still, a true military takeover of the Japanese government was centuries away, when much of the strength of the government would lie within the private armies of the shogunate.
The entry of the warrior class into court influence was a result of the Hōgen Rebellion. At this time Taira no Kiyomori revived the Fujiwara practices by placing his grandson on the throne to rule Japan by regency, their clan, the Taira, would not be overthrown until after the Genpei War, which marked the start of the Kamakura shogunate. The Kamakura period began in 1185 when Minamoto no Yoritomo seized power from the emperors and established the shogunate in Kamakura; when Emperor Kanmu moved the capital to Heian-kyō, which remained the imperial capital for the next 1,000 years, he did so not only to strengthen imperial authority but to improve his seat of government geopolitically. Nara was abandoned after only 70 years in part due to the ascendancy of Dōkyō and the encroaching secular power of the Buddhist institutions there. Kyōto had good river access to the sea and could be reached by land routes from the eastern provinces; the early Heian period continued Nara culture. Kanmu endeavored to improve the Tang-style administrative system, in use.
Known as the ritsuryō, this system attempted to recreate the Tang imperium in Japan, despite the "tremendous differences in the levels of development between the two countries". Despite the decline of the Taika–Taihō reforms, imperial government was vigorous during the early Heian period. Kanmu's avoidance of drastic reform decreased the intensity of political struggles, he became recognized as one of Japan's most forceful emperors. Although Kanmu had abandoned universal conscription in 792, he still waged major military offensives to subjugate the Emishi, possible descendants of the displaced Jōmon, living in northern and eastern Japan. After making temporary gains in 794, in 797, Kanmu appointed a new commander, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, under the title Sei-i Taishōgun. By 801, the shōgun had defeated the Emishi and had extended the imperial domains to the eastern end of Honshū. Imperial control over the provinces was tenuous at best, however. In the ninth and tenth centuries, much authority was lost to the great families, who disregarded the Chinese-style land and tax systems imposed by the government in Kyoto.
Stability came to Japan, but though succession was ensured for the imperial family through heredity, power again concentrated in the hands of one noble family, the Fujiwara which helped Japan develop more. Following Kanmu's death in 806 and a succession struggle among his sons, two new offices were established in an effort to adjust the Taika–Taihō administrative structure. Through the new Emperor's Private Office, the emperor could issue administrative edicts more directly and with more self-assurance than before; the new Metropolitan Police Board replaced the ceremonial imperial guard units. While these two offices strengthened the emperor's position temporarily, soon they and other Chinese-style structures were bypassed in the developing state. In 838 the end of the imperial-sanctioned missions to Tang China, which had begun in 630, marked the effective end of Chinese influence. Tang China was in a state of decline, Chinese Buddhists were persecuted, undermining Japanese respect for Chinese institutions.
Japan began to turn inward. As the Soga clan had taken control of the throne in the sixth century, the Fujiwara by the ninth century had intermarried with the imperial family, one of their members was the first head of the Emperor's Private O
The Shōgun was the military dictator of Japan during the period from 1185 to 1868. The shogunate was their government. 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; the shōguns held absolute power over territories through military means. An unusual situation occurred in the Kamakura period upon the death of the first shōgun, whereby the Hōjō clan's hereditary titles of shikken and tokusō dominated the shogunate as dictatorial positions, collectively known as the Regent Rule; the shōguns during this 134-year period met the same fate as the Emperor and were reduced to figurehead status until a coup d'état in 1333, when the shōgun was restored to power in the name of the Emperor. Shōgun is the short form of Sei-i Taishōgun, the individual governing the country at various times in the history of Japan, ending when Tokugawa Yoshinobu relinquished the office to Emperor Meiji in 1867; the tent symbolized the field commander but denoted that such an office was meant to be temporary.
The shōgun's officials were collectively the bakufu, were those who carried out the actual duties of administration, while the imperial court retained only nominal authority. 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. In contemporary terms, the role of the shōgun was equivalent to that of a generalissimo; the title of Sei-i Taishōgun was given to military commanders during the early 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. The most famous of these shōguns was Sakanoue no Tamuramaro. In the 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. In the early 11th century, daimyō protected by samurai came to dominate internal Japanese politics.
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 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; 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 lasted for 150 years, from 1192 to 1333. In 1274 and 1281, the Mongol Empire launched invasions against Japan.
An attempt by Emperor Go-Daigo to restore imperial rule in the Kenmu Restoration in 1331 was unsuccessful, but weakened the shogunate and led to its eventual downfall. The end of the Kamakura shogunate came when Kamakura fell in 1333, the Hōjō Regency was destroyed. Two imperial families – the senior Northern Court and the junior 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 tried to overthrow the shogunate to stop the alternation; as a result, Daigo was exiled. Around 1334 -- 1336, Ashikaga Takauji helped; 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. During the Kenmu Restoration, after the fall of the Kamakura shogunate in 1333, another short-lived shōgun arose.
Prince Moriyoshi, son of Go-Daigo, was awarded the title of Sei-i Taishōgun. However, Prince Moriyoshi was put under house arrest and, in 1335, killed by Ashikaga Tadayoshi. In 1338, Ashikaga Takauji, like Minamoto no 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, the time during which they ruled is known as the Muromachi period. While the title of Shōgun went into abeyance due to technical reasons, Oda Nobunaga and his successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who obtained the position of Imperial Regent, gained far greater power than any of their predecessors had. Hideyoshi is considered by many historians to be among Japan's greatest rulers. Tokugawa Ieyasu seized power and established a government at Edo in 1600, he received the title sei-i taishōgun in 1603, after he forged a family tree to show he was of Minamoto descent.
The Tokugawa shogunate lasted until 1867, when Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned as shōgun and abdicated his authority to Emperor Meiji. Ieyasu set a precedent in 1605 when he retired as shōgun in favour of his son Tokugawa Hidetada, though he maintained power from b