The Meiji period, known as the Meiji era, is a Japanese era which extended from October 23,1868 through July 30,1912. This period represents the first half of the Empire of Japan during which Japanese society moved from being a feudal society to its modern form. Fundamental changes affected its structure, internal politics, military. The period corresponded with the reign of Emperor Meiji after 1868 and it was succeeded by the Taishō period upon the accession of Emperor Taishō to the throne. On February 3,1867, the 14-year-old Prince Mutsuhito succeeded his father, Emperor Kōmei, on November 9,1867, then-Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu tendered his resignation to the Emperor, and formally stepped down ten days later. Imperial restoration occurred the year on January 3,1868. The fall of Edo in the summer of 1868 marked the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, and a new era, was proclaimed. The first reform was the promulgation of the Five Charter Oath in 1868, implicit in the Charter Oath was an end to exclusive political rule by the bakufu, and a move toward more democratic participation in government.
To implement the Charter Oath, a rather short-lived constitution with eleven articles was drawn up in June 1868, the Meiji government assured the foreign powers that it would follow the old treaties negotiated by the bakufu and announced that it would act in accordance with international law. Mutsuhito, who was to reign until 1912, selected a new reign title—Meiji, to further dramatize the new order, the capital was relocated from Kyoto, where it had been situated since 794, to Tokyo, the new name for Edo. Confirmed in their positions, the daimyo became governors. The han were replaced with prefectures in 1871, and authority continued to flow to the national government, officials from the favored former han, such as Satsuma, Chōshū, and Hizen staffed the new ministries. Formerly old court nobles, and lower-ranking but more radical samurai, replaced bakufu appointees, in as much as the Meiji Restoration had sought to return the Emperor to a preeminent position, efforts were made to establish a Shinto-oriented state much like it was 1,000 years earlier.
Furthermore, a new State Shinto had to be constructed for the purpose, in 1871, the Office of Shinto Worship was established, ranking even above the Council of State in importance. The kokutai ideas of the Mito school were embraced, and the ancestry of the Imperial House was emphasized. The government supported Shinto teachers, a small but important move, although the Office of Shinto Worship was demoted in 1872, by 1877 the Home Ministry controlled all Shinto shrines and certain Shinto sects were given state recognition. Shinto was released from Buddhist administration and its properties restored, although Buddhism suffered from state sponsorship of Shinto, it had its own resurgence. Christianity was legalized, and Confucianism remained an important ethical doctrine, however, Japanese thinkers identified with Western ideology and methods
The Heian period is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. The period is named after the city of Heian-kyō, or modern Kyōto. It is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism, the Heian period is considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art, especially poetry and literature. Although the Imperial House of Japan had power on the surface, the power was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan. Many emperors actually had mothers from the Fujiwara family, the Heian period was preceded by the Nara period and began in 794 A. D. 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, 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, 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. Nominally, sovereignty lay in the emperor but in power was wielded by the Fujiwara nobility. However, to protect their interests in the provinces, the Fujiwara and other noble families required guards, the warrior class made steady political gains throughout the Heian period. Still, a military takeover of the Japanese government was centuries away. The entry of the 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 and their clan, the Taira, would not be overthrown until after the Genpei War, which marked the start of the shogunate. The Kamakura period began in 1185 when Minamoto no Yoritomo seized power from the emperors, 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 access to the sea and could be reached by land routes from the eastern provinces.
The early Heian period continued Nara culture, the Heian capital was patterned on the Chinese Tang capital at Changan, as was Nara, Kanmu endeavoured to improve the Tang-style administrative system which was in use. Known as the ritsuryō, this attempted to recreate the Tang imperium in Japan. Despite the decline of the Taika–Taihō reforms, imperial government was vigorous during the early Heian period, Kanmus avoidance of drastic reform decreased the intensity of political struggles, and he became recognized as one of Japans most forceful emperors
The Meiji Restoration, known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, Reform, or Renewal, was an event of change that restored practical imperial rule to Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji. Although there were Emperors before the Meiji Restoration, the events restored practical abilities, Meiji government made education compulsory for both boys and girls at minimal fees. The goals of the government were expressed by the new emperor in the Charter Oath. The Restoration led to changes in Japans political and social structure. In Japan however, unlike China, foreign ideas were not associated with opium addiction. Figures like Shimazu Nariakira concluded that if we take the initiative, we can dominate, if we do not, we will be dominated, leading Japan to throw open its doors to foreign technology. Observing Japans response to the powers, Li Hongzhang considered Japan Chinas principal security threat as early as 1863. The word Meiji means enlightened rule and the goal was to modern advances with traditional eastern values.
The main leaders of this were Itō Hirobumi, Matsukata Masayoshi, Kido Takayoshi, Itagaki Taisuke, Yamagata Aritomo, Mori Arinori, Ōkubo Toshimichi, and Yamaguchi Naoyoshi. The foundation of the Meiji restoration was the 1866 Satsuma-Chōshū Alliance between Saigō Takamori and Kido Takayoshi, leaders of the reformist elements in the Satsuma Domain and Chōshū Domain. These two leaders supported the Emperor Kōmei and were brought together by Sakamoto Ryōma for the purpose of challenging the ruling Tokugawa shogunate, after Emperor Kōmeis death on January 30,1867, Emperor Meiji ascended the throne on February 3. This period saw Japan change from being a society to having a market economy. The Tokugawa Shogunate came to its end on November 9,1867, when Tokugawa Yoshinobu. Shortly thereafter in January 1868, the Boshin War started with the Battle of Toba–Fushimi in which Chōshū and this forced the Emperor to strip Yoshinobu of all power, setting the stage for official restoration. We shall henceforward exercise supreme authority in all the internal and external affairs of the country, consequently the title of Emperor must be substituted for that of Taikun, in which the treaties have been made.
Officers are being appointed by us to the conduct of foreign affairs and it is desirable that the representatives of the treaty powers recognize this announcement. All Tokugawa lands were seized and placed under control, thus placing them under the prerogative of the new Meiji government. With Fuhanken sanchisei, the areas were split into three types, urban prefectures, rural prefectures and the already existing domains
Occupation of Japan
The Allied occupation of Japan at the end of World War II was led by General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, with support from the British Commonwealth. Unlike in the occupation of Germany, the Soviet Union was allowed little to no influence over Japan and this foreign presence marked the only time in Japans history that it had been occupied by a foreign power. It transformed the country into a democracy that recalled New Deal priorities of the 1930s politics by Roosevelt. Japan surrendered to the Allies on August 14,1945, when the Japanese government notified the Allies that it had accepted the Potsdam Declaration. At Yalta, Stalin made sure Roosevelt was clear on the promise he had made that urged assistance from the USSR on intervening in the war in Japan with the U. S, (On the following day, Emperor Hirohito announced Japans unconditional surrender on the radio. The announcement was the emperors first ever planned radio broadcast and the first time most citizens of Japan ever heard their sovereigns voice.
This date is known as Victory over Japan, or V-J Day, and marked the end of World War II, Japanese officials left for Manila, Philippines on August 19 to meet MacArthur and to be briefed on his plans for the occupation. On August 28,1945,150 US personnel flew to Atsugi and they were followed by USS Missouri, whose accompanying vessels landed the 4th Marine Division on the southern coast of Kanagawa. MacArthur arrived in Tokyo on August 30, and immediately decreed several laws, No Allied personnel were to assault Japanese people. No Allied personnel were to eat the scarce Japanese food, flying the Hinomaru or Rising Sun flag was initially severely restricted. This restriction was lifted in 1948 and completely lifted the following year. On September 2,1945, Japan formally surrendered with the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, on September 6, US President Truman approved a document titled US Initial Post-Surrender Policy for Japan. The document set two main objectives for the occupation, eliminating Japans war potential and turning Japan into a nation with pro-United Nations orientation.
At the head of the Occupation administration was General MacArthur, who was supposed to defer to an advisory council set up by the Allied powers. Looking back to his work in Japan, MacArthur described the Japanese reactions as acting similar to a boy of twelve and were at odds of putting away their troubled past. On V-J Day, US President Harry Truman appointed General Douglas MacArthur as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, during the war, the Allied Powers had planned to divide Japan amongst themselves for the purposes of occupation, as was done for the occupation of Germany. The Soviet Union had some intentions of occupying Hokkaidō, had this occurred, there might have eventually been a communist state in the Soviet zone of occupation. However, unlike the Soviet occupations of East Germany and North Korea, even with these measures, millions of people were still on the brink of starvation for several years after the surrender
The Nara period of the history of Japan covers the years from AD710 to 794. Empress Genmei established the capital of Heijō-kyō, most of Japanese society during this period was agricultural in nature and 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 Changan, the capital city of Tang China. In many other ways, the Japanese upper classes patterned themselves after the Chinese, including adopting Chinese written system, 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, with the spread of written language, the writing of Japanese poetry, known in Japanese as waka, began. Over time, personal collections were referenced to establish the first large collection of Japanese poetry known as Manyōshū sometime after 759, Chinese characters were used to express sounds of Japanese until kana were invented.
The Chinese characters used to express the sounds of Japanese are known as manyōgana, 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 AD710. 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, Nara was Japans first truly urban center. It soon had a population of 200,000 and some 10,000 people worked in government jobs and administrative activity increased during the Nara period. Roads linked Nara to provincial capitals, and taxes were collected more efficiently and routinely, coins were minted, if not widely used. Outside the Nara area, there was little commercial activity, by the mid-eighth century, shōen, one of the most important economic institutions in medieval Japan, began to rise as a result of the search for a more manageable form of landholding.
Some of these formerly public people were employed by large landholders. Factional fighting at the court continued throughout the Nara period. Imperial family members, leading families, such as the Fujiwara. 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 Emperor Shōmu, the prince by Fuhitos daughter, on the throne, in 729, they arrested Nagaya and regained control. However, as the first outbreak of smallpox spread from Kyūshū in 735 and it is without doubt that the Emperor was heavily shocked about this disaster, and he moved the palace three times in only five years since 740, until he eventually returned to Nara
Bakumatsu refers to the final years of the Edo period when the Tokugawa shogunate ended. Between 1853 and 1867 Japan ended its isolationist foreign policy known as sakoku, the major ideological-political divide during this period was between the pro-imperial nationalists called ishin shishi and the shogunate forces, which included the elite shinsengumi swordsmen. Although these two groups were the most visible powers, many other factions attempted to use the chaos of Bakumatsu to seize personal power, the second was to be expressed in the phrase sonnō jōi, or revere the Emperor, expel the barbarians. The turning point of the Bakumatsu was during the Boshin War, frictions with foreign shipping led Japan to take defensive actions from the beginning of the 19th century. Western ships were increasing their presence around Japan due to whaling activities and they were hoping for Japan to become a base for supply or at least a place where shipwrecks could receive assistance. The violent demands made by the British frigate Phaeton in 1808 shocked many in Japan, in 1825, the Edict to expel foreigners at all cost was issued by the Shogunate, prohibiting any contacts with foreigners, it remained in place until 1842.
Meanwhile, Japan endeavoured to learn about foreign sciences through rangaku and these domains studied the manufacture of Western weapons. By 1852 Satsuma and Saga had reverbatory furnaces to produce the necessary for firearms. Following the Morrison incident involving the Morrison under Charles W. King in 1837, after the victory of the British over the Chinese in the 1840 Opium War, many Japanese realized that traditional ways would not be sufficient to repel Western intrusions. To resist Western military forces, Western guns were studied and demonstrations made in 1841 by Takashima Shūhan to the Tokugawa Shogunate, a national debate was already taking place about how to better avoid foreign domination. Some like Egawa claimed that it was necessary to use the techniques to repel them. Others, such as Torii Yōzō argued that only traditional Japanese methods should be employed and reinforced, Egawa argued that just as Confucianism and Buddhism had been introduced from abroad, it made sense to introduce useful Western techniques.
A theoretical synthesis of Western knowledge and Eastern morality would be accomplished by Sakuma Shōzan and Yokoi Shōnan, after 1839, traditionalists tended to prevail. Students of Western sciences were accused of treason, put under house arrest, forced to commit ritual suicide, Perrys four-ship squadron appeared in Edo Bay in July 1853, the bakufu was thrown into turmoil. Commodore Perry was fully prepared for hostilities if his negotiations with the Japanese failed and he gave them two white flags, telling them to hoist the flags when they wished a bombardment from his fleet to cease and to surrender. To demonstrate his weapons, Perry ordered his ships to several buildings around the harbor. The ships of Perry were equipped with new Paixhans shell guns, fortifications were established at Odaiba in Tokyo Bay in order to protect Edo from an American incursion. Industrial developments were soon started in order to build modern cannons
The Japanese Paleolithic period is the period of human inhabitation in Japan that lasted from around 40,000 BCE to 14,000 BCE, which corresponds to the beginning of the Mesolithic Jōmon period. The earliest human bones were discovered in Hamamatsu, radiocarbon dating has shown that the fossils date back to around 14, 000–18,000 years ago. It is not known why such tools were created so early in Japan, although the period is associated with a warmer climate worldwide, because of this originality, the Japanese Paleolithic period in Japan does not exactly match the traditional definition of Paleolithic based on stone technology. Japanese Paleolithic tool implements thus display Mesolithic and Neolithic traits as early as 30,000 BCE, skeletal characteristics point to many similarities with other aboriginal people of the Asian continent. Dental structures belong to the Sundadont group, mainly distributed in ancient populations of South-East Asia, skull features tend to be stronger, with comparatively recessed eyes.
Genetic analysis on todays populations is not clear-cut and tends to indicate a fair amount of genetic intermixing between the earliest populations of Japan and arrivals. The study of the Paleolithic period in Japan was not begun until quite recently, due to the previous assumption that humans did not live in Japan before the Jōmon period, excavations usually stopped at the beginning of the Jōmon stratum, and were not carried on further. However, since that first Paleolithic find by Tadahiro Aizawa, around 5,000 Paleolithic sites have been discovered, a very important such layer is the AT pumice, which covered all Japan around 21, 000–22,000 years ago. In 2000 the reputation of Japanese archaeology of the Paleolithic was heavily damaged by a scandal and he admitted the fabrication in an interview with the newspaper. The Japanese Archaeological Association disaffiliated Fujimura from its members, a special investigation team of the Association revealed that almost all the artifacts which he had found were his fabrication.
Harvard Asia Quarterly Politics and Personality, Japans Worst Archaeology Scandal, Volume VI, summer The history of human populations in the Japanese Archipelago inferred from genome-wide SNP data with a special reference to the Ainu and the Ryukyuan populations
Naval history of Japan
Japans current navy falls under the umbrella of the Japan Self-Defense Forces as the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. It still one of the top navies in the world in term of budget, although it is denied any role by the nations Constitution. This allowed for the transmission of fauna and flora, including the establishment of the Jōmon culture, after that period however, Japan became an isolated island territory, depending entirely on sporadic naval activity for its interactions with the mainland. History books do have records of Wu Taibo sending 4000 males and 4000 females to Japan, the first major naval contacts occurred in the Yayoi period in the 3rd century BCE, when rice-farming and metallurgy were introduced, from the continent. The 14 AD incursion of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, is the earliest Japanese military action recorded in Samguk Sagi, according to that record, Wa sent one hundred ships and led an incursion on the coastal area of Silla before being driven off. According to the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, Empress Jingū is claimed to have invaded Korea in the 3rd century, whether Japan actually ruled a part of Korea in ancient times is debated.
Other than the expedition of Empress Jingū, battle of Hakusukinoe, Japan sent 32,000 troops and possibly as much as 1,000 ships to Korea to support the declining Baekje kingdom against Silla and Tang Dynasty China. They were defeated by the Tang-Silla combined force, Naval battles of a very large scale, fought between Japanese clans and involving more than 1000 warships, are recorded from the 12th century. These battles consisted first of long-range archery exchanges, giving way to combat with swords. Ships were used largely as floating platforms for what were largely land-based melee tactics, the first major references to Japanese naval actions against other Asian powers occur in the accounts of the Mongol invasions of Japan by Kublai Khan in 1281. Japan had no navy which could challenge the Mongol navy. Groups of samurai, transported on small boats, are recorded to have boarded, taken over. During the following centuries, wakō pirates actively plundered the coast of the Chinese Empire, the first raid by wakō on record occurred in the summer of 1223, on the south coast of Goryeo.
At the peak of activity around the end of the 14th century, fleets of 300 to 500 ships, transporting several hundred horsemen and several thousand soldiers. For the next half-century, sailing principally from Iki Island and Tsushima, between 1376 and 1385, no fewer than 174 instances of pirate raids were recorded in Korea. However, when Joseon Dynasty was founded in Korea, wakō took a hit in one of their main homeland of Tsushima during the Oei Invasion. The peak of activity was during the 1550s, when tens of thousands of pirates raided the Chinese coast in what is called the Jiajing wakō raids. Wakō piracy ended for the most part in the 1580s with its interdiction by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, official trading missions, such as the Tenryūji-bune, were sent to China around 1341
The Yayoi period is an Iron Age era in the history of Japan traditionally dated 300 BC–300 AD. Since the 1980s, scholars have argued that a previously classified as a transition from the Jōmon period should be reclassified are Early Yayoi. The date of the beginning of this transition is controversial, with estimates ranging from the 10th to the 6th centuries BC, the period is named after the neighborhood of Tokyo where archaeologists first uncovered artifacts and features from that era. Distinguishing characteristics of the Yayoi period include the appearance of new Yayoi pottery styles, a hierarchical social class structure dates from this period. Techniques in metallurgy based on the use of bronze and iron were introduced to Japan in this period, the Yayoi followed the Jōmon period and Yayoi culture flourished in a geographic area from southern Kyūshū to northern Honshū. Archaeological evidence supports the idea that during this time, an influx of farmers from the Asian continent to Japan absorbed or overwhelmed the native hunter-gatherer population, the Yayoi period is traditionally dated from 300 BC to 300 AD.
The earliest archaeological evidence of the Yayoi is found on northern Kyūshū, Yayoi culture quickly spread to the main island of Honshū, mixing with native Jōmon culture. Yayoi pottery was decorated and produced using the same coiling technique previously used in Jōmon pottery. Yayoi craft specialists made bronze ceremonial bells and weapons, by the 1st century AD, Yayoi farmers began using iron agricultural tools and weapons. As the Yayoi population increased, the society became more stratified and they wove textiles, lived in permanent farming villages, and constructed buildings with wood and stone. They accumulated wealth through land ownership and the storage of grain, such factors promoted the development of distinct social classes. Contemporary Chinese sources described the people as having tattoos and other bodily markings which indicated differences in social status, Yayoi chiefs, in some parts of Kyūshū, appear to have sponsored, and politically manipulated, trade in bronze and other prestige objects.
That was possible by the introduction of an irrigated, wet-rice culture from the Yangtze estuary in southern China via the Ryukyu Islands or Korean Peninsula, wet-rice agriculture led to the development and growth of a sedentary, agrarian society in Japan. Local political and social developments in Japan were more important than the activities of the authority within a stratified society. Direct comparisons between Jōmon and Yayoi skeletons show that the two peoples are noticeably distinguishable, the Jōmon tended to be shorter, with relatively longer forearms and lower legs, more wide-set eyes and wider faces, and much more pronounced facial topography. They have strikingly raised brow ridges and nose bridges, Yayoi people, on the other hand, averaged an inch or two taller, with close-set eyes and narrow faces, and flat brow ridges and noses. By the Kofun period, almost all excavated in Japan except those of the Ainu are of the Yayoi type with Jomon admixture. The earliest archaeological sites are Itazuke or Nabata in the part of Kyūshū
History of Japan
It is widely accepted that first Human habitation in the Japanese archipelago traced back to prehistoric times. The Jōmon period, named after its cord-marked pottery, was followed by the Yayoi in the first millennium BC, during this period, in the first century AD, the first known written reference to Japan was recorded in the Chinese Book of Han. Between the fourth century and the century, Japans many kingdoms and tribes gradually came to be unified under a centralized government. The imperial dynasty established at this time continues to reign over Japan to this day, in 794, a new imperial capital was established at Heian-kyō, marking the beginning of the Heian period, which lasted until 1185. The Heian period is considered an age of classical Japanese culture. Japanese religious life from time and onwards was a mix of Buddhism. Over the following centuries the power of the Emperor and the imperial court gradually declined and passed to the military clans, the Minamoto clan under Minamoto no Yoritomo emerged victorious from the Genpei War of 1180–85.
After seizing power, Yoritomo set up his capital in Kamakura, in 1274 and 1281, the Kamakura shogunate withstood two Mongol invasions, but in 1333 it was toppled by a rival claimant to the shogunate, ushering in the Muromachi period. During the Muromachi period regional warlords called daimyō grew in power at the expense of the shogun, Japan descended into a period of civil war. Over the course of the sixteenth century, Japan was reunified under the leadership of the daimyō Oda Nobunaga. After Hideyoshis death in 1598, Tokugawa Ieyasu came to power and was appointed shogun by the Emperor, the Tokugawa shogunate, which governed from Edo, presided over a prosperous and peaceful era known as the Edo period. The Tokugawa shogunate imposed a strict class system on Japanese society, the American Perry Expedition in 1853–54 ended Japans seclusion, this in turn contributed to the fall of the shogunate and the return of power to the Emperor in 1868. The new national leadership of the following Meiji period transformed their isolated, underdeveloped island country into an empire that closely followed Western models and became a world power.
Although democracy developed and modern civilian culture prospered during the Taishō period, Japans powerful military had great autonomy, the military invaded Manchuria in 1931, and from 1937 the conflict escalated into a prolonged war with China. Japans attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 led to war with the United States, Japans forces soon became overextended, but the military held out in spite of Allied air attacks that inflicted severe damage on population centers. Japans unconditional surrender was announced by Emperor Hirohito on 14 August 1945 following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Allies occupied Japan until 1952, during which a new constitution was enacted in 1947 that transformed Japan into a constitutional monarchy, after 1955, Japan enjoyed very high economic growth, and became a world economic powerhouse. Since the 1990s, economic stagnation has been a major issue, an earthquake and tsunami in 2011 caused massive economic dislocations and a serious nuclear power disaster
The Sengoku period 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 in China and it came to an end when all political power was unified under the Tokugawa shogunate. In the years preceding this era the Shogunate gradually lost influence, many of these Lords began to fight uncontrollably with each other for control over land and influence over the shogunate. As trade with China grew, the developed, and the use of money became widespread as markets. This, combined with developments in agriculture and small-scale trading, led to the desire for local autonomy throughout all levels of the social hierarchy. As early as the beginning of the 15th century, the caused by earthquakes and famines often served to trigger armed uprisings by farmers weary of debt. The Ōnin War, a conflict rooted in economic distress and brought on by a dispute over succession, is generally regarded as the onset of the Sengoku period.
The eastern army of the Hosokawa family and its allies clashed with the army of the Yamana. Fighting in and around Kyoto lasted for nearly 11 years, leaving the city almost completely destroyed, the conflict in Kyoto spread to outlying provinces. The period culminated with a series of three warlords, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, who gradually unified Japan, after Tokugawa Ieyasus final victory at the siege of Osaka in 1615, Japan settled down into several centuries of peace under the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Ōnin War in 1467 is usually considered the point of Sengoku period. There are several events which could be considered the end of it, The Siege of Odawara, the Battle of Sekigahara, the upheaval resulted in the further weakening of central authority, and throughout Japan regional lords, called daimyōs, rose to fill the vacuum. There were many, whose positions eroded and were usurped by more capable underlings. One of the earliest instances of this was Hōjō Sōun, who rose from humble origins.
Building on the accomplishments of Sōun, the Late Hōjō clan remained a power in the Kantō region until its subjugation by Toyotomi Hideyoshi late in the Sengoku period. Well-organized religious groups gained power at this time by uniting farmers in resistance. The monks of the Buddhist True Pure Land sect formed numerous Ikkō-ikki and this in turn provided Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who had risen through the ranks from ashigaru to become one of Odas most trusted generals, with the opportunity to establish himself as Odas successor. Toyotomi eventually consolidated his control over the remaining daimyōs and, although he was ineligible for the title of Seii Taishogun because of his common birth, during his short reign as Kampaku, Toyotomi attempted two invasions of Korea
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan was the historical Japanese nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan. Imperial Japans rapid industrialization and militarization under the slogan Fukoku Kyōhei led to its emergence as a world power, after several large-scale military successes during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War, the Empire gained notoriety for its war crimes against the peoples it conquered. A period of occupation by the Allies followed the surrender and reconstruction continued well into the 1950s, eventually forming the current nation-state whose full title is the State of Japan or simply rendered Japan in English. The historical state is referred to as the Empire of Japan or the Japanese Empire or Imperial Japan in English. In Japanese it is referred to as Dai Nippon Teikoku, which translates to Greater Japanese Empire and this is analogous to Großdeutsches Reich, a term that translates to Greater German Empire in English and Dai Doitsu Teikoku in Japanese.
This meaning is significant in terms of geography, encompassing Japan, due to its name in kanji characters and its flag, it was given the exonym Empire of the Sun. After two centuries, the policy, or Sakoku, under the shoguns of the Edo period came to an end when the country was forced open to trade by the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854. The following years saw increased trade and interaction, commercial treaties between the Tokugawa shogunate and Western countries were signed. In large part due to the terms of these Unequal Treaties, the Shogunate soon faced internal hostility, which materialized into a radical, xenophobic movement. In March 1863, the Emperor issued the order to expel barbarians, although the Shogunate had no intention of enforcing the order, it nevertheless inspired attacks against the Shogunate itself and against foreigners in Japan. The Namamugi Incident during 1862 led to the murder of an Englishman, Charles Lennox Richardson, the British demanded reparations but were denied.
While attempting to exact payment, the Royal Navy was fired on from coastal batteries near the town of Kagoshima and they responded by bombarding the port of Kagoshima in 1863. For Richardsons death, the Tokugawa government agreed to pay an indemnity, shelling of foreign shipping in Shimonoseki and attacks against foreign property led to the Bombardment of Shimonoseki by a multinational force in 1864. The Chōshū clan launched the coup known as the Kinmon incident. The Satsuma-Chōshū alliance was established in 1866 to combine their efforts to overthrow the Tokugawa bakufu, in early 1867, Emperor Kōmei died of smallpox and was replaced by his son, Crown Prince Mutsuhito. On November 9,1867, Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned from his post and authorities to the Emperor, while Yoshinobus resignation had created a nominal void at the highest level of government, his apparatus of state continued to exist. On January 3,1868, Satsuma-Chōshū forces seized the palace in Kyoto. On January 17,1868, Yoshinobu declared that he would not be bound by the proclamation of the Restoration, on January 24, Yoshinobu decided to prepare an attack on Kyoto, occupied by Satsuma and Chōshū forces