Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, while blending practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merging or assimilation of several discrete traditions in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths. Syncretism occurs in expressions of arts and culture as well as politics; the English word is first attested in the early 17th century, from Modern Latin syncretismus, drawing on Greek συγκρητισμός meaning "Cretan federation", but this is a spurious etymology from the naive idea in Plutarch's 1st-century AD essay on "Fraternal Love" in his collection Moralia. He cites the example of the Cretans, who compromised and reconciled their differences and came together in alliance when faced with external dangers. "And, their so-called Syncretism ". More as an etymology is sun- plus kerannumi and its related noun, "krasis," "mixture." Erasmus coined the modern usage of the Latin word in his Adagia, published in the winter of 1517–1518, to designate the coherence of dissenters in spite of their differences in theological opinions.
In a letter to Melanchthon of April 22, 1519, Erasmus adduced the Cretans of Plutarch as an example of his adage "Concord is a mighty rampart". Overt syncretism in folk belief may show cultural acceptance of an alien or previous tradition, but the "other" cult may survive or infiltrate without authorized syncresis nevertheless. For example, some Conversos developed a sort of cult for martyr-victims of the Spanish Inquisition, thus incorporating elements of Catholicism while resisting it. Syncretism was common during the Hellenistic period, with rulers identifying local deities in various parts of their domains with the relevant god or goddess of the Greek Pantheon, as a means of increasing the cohesion of the Kingdom; this practice was accepted in most locations, but vehemently rejected by the Jews who considered the identification of Yahwe with the Greek Zeus as the worst of blasphemy. The Roman Empire continued this practice - first by the identification of traditional Roman deities with Greek ones, producing a single Graeco-Roman Pantheon and identifying members of that pantheon with the local deities of various Roman provinces.
An undeclared form of Syncretism was the transfer of many attributes of the goddess Isis - whose worship was widespread in the Later Roman Empire - to the Christian Virgin Mary. Some religious movements have embraced overt syncretism, such as the case of melding Shintō beliefs into Buddhism or the amalgamation of Germanic and Celtic pagan views into Christianity during its spread into Gaul, the British Isles and Scandinavia. In times, Christian missionaries in North America identified Manitou - the spiritual and fundamental life force in the traditional beliefs of the Algonquian groups - with the God of Christianity. Similar identifications were made by missionaries at other locations in the Americas and Africa, whenever encountering a local belief in a Supreme God or Supreme Spirit of some kind. Indian influences are seen in the practice of Shi'i Islam in Trinidad. Others have rejected it as devaluing and compromising precious and genuine distinctions. Syncretism tends to facilitate coexistence and unity between otherwise different cultures and world-views, a factor that has recommended it to rulers of multi-ethnic realms.
Conversely, the rejection of syncretism in the name of "piety" and "orthodoxy", may help to generate, bolster or authenticate a sense of un-compromised cultural unity in a well-defined minority or majority. Religious syncretism exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions; this can occur for many reasons, the latter scenario happens quite in areas where multiple religious traditions exist in proximity and function in a culture, or when a culture is conquered, the conquerors bring their religious beliefs with them, but do not succeed in eradicating the old beliefs or practices. Religions may have syncretic elements to their beliefs or history, but adherents of so-labeled systems frown on applying the label adherents who belong to "revealed" religious systems, such as the Abrahamic religions, or any system that exhibits an exclusivist approach; such adherents sometimes see syncretism as a betrayal of their pure truth.
By this reasoning, adding an incompatible belief corrupts the original religion, rendering it no longer true. Indeed, critics of a specific syncretistic trend may sometimes use the word "syncretism" as a disparaging epithet, as a charge implying that those who seek to incorporate a new view, belief, or practice into a religious system distort the original faith. Non-exclusivist systems of belief, on the other hand, may feel quite free to incorporate other traditions into their own. Keith Ferdinando notes that the term "syncretism" is an elusive one, can apply to refer to substitution or modification of the central elements of a religion by beliefs or practices introduced from elsewhere; the consequence under such a definition, according to Ferdinando, can lead to a fatal "compromise" of the original religion's "integrity". In modern secular society, religious innovators sometimes construct new religions syncretically as a mechanism to reduce inter-religious tension and enmity with the effect of offend
An avatar, a concept in Hinduism that means "descent", refers to the material appearance or incarnation of a deity on earth. The relative verb to "alight, to make one's appearance" is sometimes used to refer to any guru or revered human being; the word avatar does not appear in the Vedic literature, but appears in verb forms in post-Vedic literature, as a noun in the Puranic literature after the 6th century CE. Despite that, the concept of an avatar is compatible with the content of the Vedic literature like the Upanishads as it is symbolic imagery of the Saguna Brahman concept in the philosophy of Hinduism; the Rigveda describes Indra as endowed with a mysterious power of assuming any form at will. The Bhagavad Gita expounds the doctrine of Avatara but with terms other than avatar. Theologically, the term is most associated with the Hindu god Vishnu, though the idea has been applied to other deities. Varying lists of avatars of Vishnu appear in Hindu scriptures, including the ten Dashavatara of the Garuda Purana and the twenty-two avatars in the Bhagavata Purana, though the latter adds that the incarnations of Vishnu are innumerable.
The avatars of Vishnu are important in Vaishnavism theology. In the goddess-based Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, avatars of the Devi in different appearances such as Tripura Sundari and Kali are found. While avatars of other deities such as Ganesha and Shiva are mentioned in medieval Hindu texts, this is minor and occasional; the incarnation doctrine is one of the important differences between Vaishnavism and Shaivism traditions of Hinduism. Incarnation concepts similar to avatar are found in Buddhism and other religions; the scriptures of Sikhism include the names of numerous Hindu gods and goddesses, but it rejected the doctrine of savior incarnation and endorsed the view of Hindu Bhakti movement saints such as Namdev that formless eternal god is within the human heart and man is his own savior. The Sanskrit noun is derived from the Sanskrit roots ava and tṛ; these roots trace back, states Monier-Williams, to -taritum, -tarati, -rītum. Avatar means "descent, alight, to make one's appearance", refers to the embodiment of the essence of a superhuman being or a deity in another form.
The word implies "to overcome, to remove, to bring down, to cross something". In Hindu traditions, the "crossing or coming down" is symbolism, states Daniel Bassuk, of the divine descent from "eternity into the temporal realm, from unconditioned to the conditioned, from infinitude to finitude". An avatar, states Justin Edwards Abbott, is a saguna embodiment of Atman. Neither the Vedas nor the Principal Upanishads mention the word avatar as a noun; the verb roots and form, such as avatarana, do appear in ancient post-Vedic Hindu texts, but as "action of descending", but not as an incarnated person. The related verb avatarana is, states Paul Hacker, used with double meaning, one as action of the divine descending, another as "laying down the burden of man" suffering from the forces of evil. Mahesh is an avatar of Lord Vishnu; the term is most found in the context of the Hindu god Vishnu. The earliest mention of Vishnu manifested in a human form to empower the good and fight against evil, uses other terms such as the word sambhavāmi in verse 4.6 and the word tanu in verse 9.11 of the Bhagavad Gita, as well as other words such as akriti and rupa elsewhere.
It is in medieval era texts, those composed after the sixth century CE, that the noun version of avatar appears, where it means embodiment of a deity. The idea proliferates thereafter, in the Puranic stories for many deities, with ideas such as ansha-avatar or partial embodiments; the term avatar, in colloquial use, is an epithet or a word of reverence for any extraordinary human being, revered for his or her ideas. In some contexts, the term avatara just means a "landing place, site of sacred pilgrimage", or just "achieve one's goals after effort", or retranslation of a text in another language; the term avatar is not unique to Hinduism. It is found in the Trikaya doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism, in descriptions for the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhism, many ancient cultures; the manifest embodiment is sometimes referred to as an incarnation. The translation of avatar as "incarnation" has been questioned by Christian theologians, who state that an incarnation is in flesh and imperfect, while avatar is mythical and perfect.
The theological concept of Christ as an incarnation, as found in Christology, presents the Christian concept of incarnation. According to Oduyoye and Vroom, this is different from the Hindu concept of avatar because avatars in Hinduism are unreal and is similar to Docetism. Sheth disagrees and states that this claim is an incorrect understanding of the Hindu concept of avatar. Avatars are true embodiments of spiritual perfection, one driven by noble goals, in Hindu traditions such as Vaishnavism; the concept of avatar within Hinduism is most associated with Vishnu, the preserver or sustainer aspect of God within the Hindu Trinity or Trimurti of Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu's avatars descend thereby restoring Dharma. Traditional Hindus see themselves not as Vaishnava, Shaiva, or Shakta; each of the deities has its own iconography and mythology, but common to all is the fact that the divine reality has an explicit form, a form that the worshipper can behold. An oft-quoted passage from the Bhagavad Gita describes the typical role of an avatar of Vishnu: The Vishnu avatars appear in Hindu mythology whenever the cosmos is in
Sutra in Indian literary traditions refers to an aphorism or a collection of aphorisms in the form of a manual or, more broadly, a condensed manual or text. Sutras are a genre of ancient and medieval Indian texts found in Hinduism and Jainism. In Hinduism, sutras are a distinct type of literary composition, a compilation of short aphoristic statements; each sutra is any short rule, like a theorem distilled into few words or syllables, around which teachings of ritual, grammar, or any field of knowledge can be woven. The oldest sutras of Hinduism are found in the Aranyaka layers of the Vedas; every school of Hindu philosophy, Vedic guides for rites of passage, various fields of arts and social ethics developed respective sutras, which helped teach and transmit ideas from one generation to the next. In Buddhism, sutras known as suttas, are canonical scriptures, many of which are regarded as records of the oral teachings of Gautama Buddha, they are quite detailed, sometimes with repetition. This may reflect a philological root of sukta, rather than sutra.
In Jainism, sutras known as suyas are canonical sermons of Mahavira contained in the Jain Agamas as well as some normative texts. The Sanskrit word Sūtra means "string, thread"; the root of the word is that which sews and holds things together. The word is related to sūci meaning "needle, list", sūnā meaning "woven". In the context of literature, sūtra means a distilled collection of syllables and words, any form or manual of "aphorism, direction" hanging together like threads with which the teachings of ritual, grammar, or any field of knowledge can be woven. A sūtra is states Moriz Winternitz, in Indian literature. A collection of sūtras becomes a text, this is called sūtra. A sūtra is different from other components such as Shlokas and Vyakhyas found in ancient Indian literature. A sūtra is a condensed rule which succinctly states the message, while a Shloka is a verse that conveys the complete message and is structured to certain rules of musical meter, a Anuvyakhaya is an explanation of the reviewed text, while a Vyakhya is a comment by the reviewer.
Sutras first appear in the Aranyaka layer of Vedic literature. They grow in the Vedangas, such as the Shrauta Sutras and Kalpa Sutras; these were designed so that they can be communicated from a teacher to student, memorized by the recipient for discussion or self-study or as reference. A sutra by itself is condensed shorthand, the threads of syllable are difficult to decipher or understand, without associated scholarly Bhasya or deciphering commentary that fills in the "woof"; the oldest manuscripts that have survived into the modern era, that contain extensive sutras, are part of the Vedas dated to be from the late 2nd millennium BCE through mid 1st-millennium BCE. The Aitareya Aranyaka for example, states Winternitz, is a collection of sutras, their use and ancient roots are attested by sutras being mentioned in larger genre of ancient non-Vedic Hindu literature called Gatha, Narashansi and Akhyana. In the history of Indian literature, large compilations of sutras, in diverse fields of knowledge, have been traced to the period from 600 BCE to 200 BCE, this has been called the "sutras period".
This period followed Mantra period and Brahmana period. Some of the earliest surviving specimen of sutras of Hinduism are found in the Anupada Sutras and Nidana Sutras; the former distills the epistemic debate whether Sruti or Smriti or neither must be considered the more reliable source of knowledge, while the latter distills the rules of musical meters for Samaveda chants and songs. A larger collection of ancient sutra literature in Hinduism corresponds to the six Vedangas, or six limbs of the Vedas; these are six subjects. The six subjects with their own sutras were "pronunciation, grammar, explanation of words, time keeping through astronomy, ceremonial rituals; the first two, states Max Muller, were considered in the Vedic era to be necessary for reading the Veda, the second two for understanding it, the last two for deploying the Vedic knowledge at yajnas. The sutras corresponding to these are embedded inside the Aranyaka layers of the Vedas. Taittiriya Aranyaka, for example in Book 7, embeds sutras for accurate pronunciation after the terse phrases "On Letters", "On Accents", "On Quantity", "On Delivery", "On Euphonic Laws".
The fourth and the last layer of philosophical, speculative text in the Vedas, the Upanishads, too have embedded sutras such as those found in the Taittiriya Upanishad. The compendium of ancient Vedic sutra literature that has survived, in full or fragments, includes the Kalpa Sutras, Smarta Sutras, Srauta Sutras, Dharma Sutras, Grhya Sutras, Sulba Sutras. Other fields for which ancient sutras are known include etymology and grammar; some examples of sutra texts in various schools of Hindu philosophy include: Brahma Sutras – a Sanskrit text, composed by Badarayana sometime between 200 BCE to 200 CE. The text contains 555 sutras in four chapters that summarize the philosophical and spiritual ideas in the Upanishads, it is one of the foundational texts of the Vedānta school of Hindu philos
Tōdai-ji is a Buddhist temple complex, once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples, located in the city of Nara, Japan. Though it was founded in the year 738 CE, Todai-ji was not opened until the year 572 CE, its Great Buddha Hall houses the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana, known in Japanese as Daibutsu. The temple serves as the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism; the temple is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara", together with seven other sites including temples and places in the city of Nara. The beginning of building a temple where the Kinshōsen-ji complex sits today can be dated to 728 CE, when Emperor Shōmu established Kinshōsen-ji as an appeasement for Prince Motoi, his first son with his Fujiwara clan consort Kōmyōshi. Prince Motoi died a year after his birth. During the Tenpyō era, Japan suffered from a series of epidemics, it was after experiencing these problems that Emperor Shōmu issued an edict in 741 to promote the construction of provincial temples throughout the nation.
In 743 duing the Tenpyō era the Emperor commissioned the Daibutsu to be built in 743. Tōdai-ji was appointed as the provincial temple of Yamato Province and the head of all the provincial temples. With the alleged coup d'état by Nagaya in 729, a major outbreak of smallpox around 735–737, worsened by several consecutive years of poor crops, followed by a rebellion led by Fujiwara no Hirotsugu in 740, the country was in a chaotic situation. Emperor Shōmu had been forced to move the capital four times, indicating a certain level of instability during this period. According to legend, the monk Gyōki went to Ise Grand Shrine to reconcile Shinto with Buddhism, he spent seven days and nights reciting sutras until the oracle declared Vairocana Buddha compatible with worship of the sun goddess Amaterasu. Under the Ritsuryō system of government in the Nara period, Buddhism was regulated by the state through the Sōgō. During this time, Tōdai-ji served as the central administrative temple for the provincial temples and for the six Buddhist schools in Japan at the time: the Hossō, Kegon, Jōjitsu, Sanron and Kusha.
Letters dating from this time show that all six Buddhist schools had offices at Tōdai-ji, complete with administrators and their own library. Japanese Buddhism during this time still maintained the lineage of the Vinaya and all licensed monks were required to take their ordination under the Vinaya at Tōdai-ji. In 754 CE, ordination was given by Ganjin, who arrived in Japan after traveling over 12 years and six attempts of crossing the sea from China, to Empress Kōken, former Emperor Shōmu and others. Buddhist monks, including Kūkai and Saichō received their ordination here as well. During Kūkai's administration of the Sōgō, additional ordination ceremonies were added to Tōdai-ji, including the ordination of the Bodhisattva Precepts from the Brahma Net Sutra and the esoteric Precepts, or Samaya, from Kukai's own newly established Shingon school of Buddhism. Kūkai added an Abhiseka Hall to use for initiating monks of the six Nara schools into the esoteric teachings. By 829 CE; as the center of power in Japanese Buddhism shifted away from Nara to Mount Hiei and the Tendai sect, when the capital of Japan moved to Kamakura, Tōdai-ji's role in maintaining authority declined.
In generations, the Vinaya lineage died out, despite repeated attempts to revive it. In 743, Emperor Shōmu issued a law stating that the people should become directly involved with the establishment of new Buddhist temples throughout Japan; the Emperor believed that such piety would inspire Buddha to protect his country from further disaster. Gyōki, with his pupils, traveled the provinces asking for donations. According to records kept by Tōdai-ji, more than 2,600,000 people in total helped construct the Great Buddha and its Hall; the 16m high statue was built through eight castings over three years, the head and neck being cast together as a separate element. The making of the statue was started first in Shigaraki. After enduring multiple fires and earthquakes, the construction was resumed in Nara in 745, the Buddha was completed in 751. A year in 752, the eye-opening ceremony was held with an attendance of 10,000 monks and 4,000 dancers to celebrate the completion of the Buddha; the Indian priest Bodhisena performed the eye-opening for Emperor Shōmu.
The project nearly bankrupted Japan's economy, consuming a great amount of the bronze available at the time. 48 lacquered cinnabar pillars, 1.5 m in diameter and 30 m long, support the blue tiled roof of the Daibutsu-den. Maps that include some of the original structures of Todai-ji are rare, though some still exist today; some of these structures include, the two pagodas, the library, lecture hall and the monk's quarters located behind the main hall. Todai-ji functioned not only as a place of worship and Buddhist practice, but as a place of higher learning and study. Much of what contemporaries now know about the original layout of the temple comes from the writings of monks who lived and studied there; the original complex contained two 100 m pagodas, making them some of the tallest structures at the time. They were located on one on the western and one on the eastern side; the pagodas themselves were surrounded by a walled courtyard with four gates. These were destroyed by an
Kōfuku-ji is a Buddhist temple, once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples, in the city of Nara, Japan. The temple is the national headquarters of the Hossō school and is one of the eight cats that lived a fire Kōfuku-ji has its origin as a temple, established in 669 by Kagami-no-Ōkimi, the wife of Fujiwara no Kamatari, wishing for her husband’s recovery from illness, its original site was in Yamashiro Province. In 672, the temple was moved to Fujiwara-kyō, the first planned Japanese capital to copy the orthogonal grid pattern of Chang'an. In 710 the temple was dismantled for the second time and moved to its present location, on the east side of the newly constructed capital, Heijō-kyō, today's Nara. Kōfuku-ji was the Fujiwara's tutelary temple, enjoyed prosperity for as long as the family did; the temple was not only an important center for the Buddhist religion, but retained influence over the imperial government, by "aggressive means" in some cases. When many of the Nanto Shichi Daiji such as Tōdai-ji -declined after the move of capital to Heian-kyō, Kōfuku-ji kept its significance because of its connection to the Fujiwara.
The temple was damaged and destroyed by civil wars and fires many times, was rebuilt as many times as well, although some of the important buildings, such as one of the three golden halls, the Nandaimon, Chūmon and the corridor were never reconstructed and are missing today. The rebuilding of the Central Golden Hall was completed in 2018; the following are some of the temple's treasures of note. East Golden Hall, 1425, one of the former three golden halls Central Golden Hall, 2018, the former temporary Central Golden Hall building now serves as the temporary Lecture Hall Five-storied pagoda, 1426 Three-storied pagoda, 1185-1274 North Octagonal Hall, 1210 South Octagonal Hall, 1741, Site No.9 of Saigoku 33 Pilgrimage Bath House, 1394-1427 The Devas of the Eight Classes, including dry-lacquer Ashura The Ten Great Disciples Thousand-armed Kannon Amoghapāśa attributed to Kōkei, is housed in Nan'endō Showing the original layout of the temple, with the Three-storied pagoda, Nan'en-dō, Ōyūya superimposed.
Of the buildings marked, only these three together with the Five-storied pagoda, Tōkon-dō and Hoku'en-dō remain. Nanto Shichi Daiji, Seven Great Temples of Nanto. List of National Treasures of Japan List of National Treasures of Japan List of National Treasures of Japan List of National Treasures of Japan For an explanation of terms concerning Japanese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist art, Japanese Buddhist temple architecture, see the Glossary of Japanese Buddhism. Siege of Nara John Bowring, Richard; the religious traditions of Japan. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 77–78. ISBN 0-521-85119-X. Noma, Seiroku; the Arts of Japan: Ancient and medieval. Kodansha International. Pp. 84–85. ISBN 4-7700-2977-2. Kōfuku-ji web site Kōfuku-ji web site Kohfukuji Temple, from The Official Nara Travel Guide Nara Prefecture page on Kōfuku-ji UNESCO Exhibition of artifacts from Kofukuji reviewed in The Japan Times
In Japanese beliefs, Hachiman is the syncretic divinity of archery and war, incorporating elements from both Shinto and Buddhism. Although called the god of war, he is more defined as the tutelary god of warriors, he is the divine protector of Japan, the Japanese people and the Imperial House, the Minamoto clan and most samurai worshipped him. The name means "God of Eight Banners", referring to the eight heavenly banners that signaled the birth of the divine Emperor Ōjin, his symbolic animal and messenger is the dove. Since ancient times Hachiman was worshiped by peasants as the god of agriculture and by fishermen who hoped he would fill their nets with much fish. In Shinto, he became identified by legend as the Emperor Ōjin, son of Empress Jingū, from the 3rd–4th century. After the arrival of Buddhism in Japan, Hachiman became a syncretistic deity, fusing elements of the native kami worship with Buddhism. In the Buddhist pantheon in 8th century AD, he became Hachiman Great Bodhisattva; because as Emperor Ōjin he was an ancestor of the Minamoto clan, Hachiman became the tutelary kami of the Minamoto samurai clan.
Minamoto no Yoshiie, upon coming of age at Iwashimizu Shrine in Kyoto, took the name Hachiman Taro Yoshiie and through his military prowess and virtue as a leader, became regarded and respected as the ideal samurai through the ages. After Minamoto no Yoritomo became shōgun and established the Kamakura shogunate, Hachiman's popularity grew and he became by extension the protector of the warrior class the shōgun had brought to power. For this reason, the shintai of a Hachiman shrine is a stirrup or a bow. Throughout the Japanese medieval period, the worship of Hachiman spread throughout Japan among not only samurai, but the peasantry. So much so was his popularity that presently there are 25000 Shinto shrines in Japan dedicated to Hachiman, the second most numerous after shrines dedicated to Inari. Usa Shrine in Usa, Ōita Prefecture is head shrine of all of these shrines and together with Iwashimizu Hachiman-gū, Hakozaki-gū and Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū, are noted as the most important of all the shrines dedicated to him.
The crest of Hachiman is in the design of a mitsudomoe, a round whirlpool or vortex with three heads swirling right or left. Many samurai clans used this crest as their own, including some that traced their ancestry back to the mortal enemy of the Minamoto, the Taira of the Emperor Kanmu line. Hachiman shrine Minamoto no Yoriyoshi Minamoto no Yorinobu Kamikaze Hachiman – Ancient History Encyclopedia Bender, Ross. "Metamorphosis of a Deity: The Image of Hachiman in Yumi Yawata". Monumenta Nipponica. 33: 165–78. Doi:10.2307/2384124. JSTOR 2384124. Bender, Ross. "The Political Meaning of the Hachiman Cult in Ancient and Early Medieval Japan". Dissertation. Columbia University
The Edo period or Tokugawa period is the period between 1603 and 1868 in the history of Japan, when Japanese society was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional daimyō. The period was characterized by economic growth, strict social order, isolationist foreign policies, a stable population, "no more wars", popular enjoyment of arts and culture; the shogunate was established in Edo on March 24, 1603, by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The period came to an end with the Meiji Restoration on May 1868, after the fall of Edo. A revolution took place from the time of the Kamakura shogunate, which existed with the Tennō's court, to the Tokugawa, when the samurai became the unchallenged rulers in what historian Edwin O. Reischauer called a "centralized feudal" form of shogunate. Instrumental in the rise of the new-existing bakufu was Tokugawa Ieyasu, the main beneficiary of the achievements of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Powerful, Ieyasu profited by his transfer to the rich Kantō area.
He maintained two million koku of land, a new headquarters at Edo, a strategically situated castle town, had an additional two million koku of land and thirty-eight vassals under his control. After Hideyoshi's death, Ieyasu moved to seize control from the Toyotomi clan. Ieyasu's victory over the western daimyō at the Battle of Sekigahara gave him control of all Japan, he abolished numerous enemy daimyō houses, reduced others, such as that of the Toyotomi, redistributed the spoils of war to his family and allies. Ieyasu still failed to achieve complete control of the western daimyō, but his assumption of the title of shōgun helped consolidate the alliance system. After further strengthening his power base, Ieyasu installed his son Hidetada as shōgun and himself as retired shōgun in 1605; the Toyotomi were still a significant threat, Ieyasu devoted the next decade to their eradication. In 1615, the Tokugawa army destroyed the Toyotomi stronghold at Osaka; the Tokugawa period brought 250 years of stability to Japan.
The political system evolved into what historians call bakuhan, a combination of the terms bakufu and han to describe the government and society of the period. In the bakuhan, the shōgun had national authority and the daimyō had regional authority; this represented a new unity in the feudal structure, which featured an large bureaucracy to administer the mixture of centralized and decentralized authorities. The Tokugawa became more powerful during their first century of rule: land redistribution gave them nearly seven million koku, control of the most important cities, a land assessment system reaping great revenues; the feudal hierarchy was completed by the various classes of daimyō. Closest to the Tokugawa house were the shinpan, or "related houses", they were twenty-three daimyō on the borders of Tokugawa lands. The shinpan held honorary titles and advisory posts in the bakufu; the second class of the hierarchy were the fudai, or "house daimyō", rewarded with lands close to the Tokugawa holdings for their faithful service.
By the 18th century, 145 fudai controlled the greatest assessed at 250,000 koku. Members of the fudai class staffed most of the major bakufu offices. Ninety-seven han formed the tozama, former opponents or new allies; the tozama were located on the peripheries of the archipelago and collectively controlled nearly ten million koku of productive land. Because the tozama were least trusted of the daimyō, they were the most cautiously managed and generously treated, although they were excluded from central government positions; the Tokugawa shogunate not only consolidated their control over a reunified Japan, they had unprecedented power over the emperor, the court, all daimyō and the religious orders. The emperor was held up as the ultimate source of political sanction for the shōgun, who ostensibly was the vassal of the imperial family; the Tokugawa helped the imperial family recapture its old glory by rebuilding its palaces and granting it new lands. To ensure a close tie between the imperial clan and the Tokugawa family, Ieyasu's granddaughter was made an imperial consort in 1619.
A code of laws was established to regulate the daimyō houses. The code encompassed private conduct, dress, types of weapons and numbers of troops allowed. Although the daimyō were not taxed per se, they were levied for contributions for military and logistical support and for such public works projects as castles, roads and palaces; the various regulations and levies not only strengthened the Tokugawa but depleted the wealth of the daimyō, thus weakening their threat to the central administration. The han, once military-centered domains, became mere local administrative units; the daimyō did have full administrative control over their territory and their complex systems of retainers and commoners. Loyalty was exacted from religious foundations greatly weakened by Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, through a variety of control mechanisms. Like Hideyoshi, Ieyasu encouraged foreign trade but was suspicious of outsiders, he wanted to make Edo a major port, but once he learned that the Europeans favored ports in Kyūshū and that China had rejected his plans for official trade, he moved to control existing trade