Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism; the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; the earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country; this name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises"; the message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Another form of Wa, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word
Imperial Court in Kyoto
The Imperial Court in Kyoto was the nominal ruling government of Japan from 794 AD until the Meiji period, after which the court was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo and integrated into the Meiji government. The shogunate system came after the Imperial Court, with Minamoto no Yoritomo being the first to establish the post of the shōgun as hereditary, in 1192. Since Minamoto no Yoritomo launched the shogunate, true power was in the hand of the shōguns, who were mistaken several times for the Emperors of Japan by western countries. Five regent houses Heian Palace Kyoto Gosho
A gokenin was a vassal of the shogunate of the Kamakura and the Muromachi periods. In exchange for protection and the right to become shugo or jitō, in times of peace a gokenin had the duty to protect the imperial court and Kamakura, in case of war had to fight with his forces under the shōgun’s flag. From the middle of the thirteenth century, the fact that gokenin were allowed to become de facto owners of the land they administered, coupled to the custom that all gokenin children could inherit, brought to the parcelization of the land and to a consequent weakening of the shogunate; the gokenin class ceased to be a significant force during the Muromachi period and was supplanted by the figure of the daimyō. During the successive Edo period, the term came to indicate a direct vassal of the shōgun below an omemie, meaning that they did not have the right to an audience with the shōgun; the terms gokenin and kenin are etymologically related but have different meanings. Confusion can arise because in documents sometimes this last word is used together with the honorific -go prefix.
Under the ritsuryō legal system in use in Japan from the seventh to the tenth century, a kenin was a human being who, while property of a family, could be inherited but not sold and, unlike a slave, had some rights. For example, the inventory of a temple's wealth mentions thirteen kenin, among them four women, who were in effect servants. From the beginning of the Japanese Middle Ages, the relationship between lords and vassals tended in the absence of real blood ties, to be seen as an ancestral bond where each side inherited the rights and duties of the previous generation. Both sides thought of and spoke of their relationship in terms suggesting kinship, hence the use of the term gokenin, the prefix "go-" denoting prestige having been added after the Heian period; this social class evolved during the Kamakura shogunate based on the personal and military relationship between the shōgun and individual gokenin. Until it was assumed Kamakura shōgun Minamoto no Yoritomo coined the word and the role when he started his campaign to gain power in 1180.
The Azuma Kagami, diary of the shogunate, uses the term from its first entries. The first reliable documentary evidence of a formal gokenin status and of actual vassal registers however dates to the early 1190s, it seems therefore that the vassalage concept remained vague for at least the first decade of the shogunate's life. In any event, by that date the three main administrative roles created by the Kamakura shogunate were in existence; the right to appoint them was the basis of Kamakura's power and legitimacy. Gokenin vassals were descendants of former shōen owners, former peasants or former samurai who had made a name for themselves in Minamoto no Yoritomo's army during his military campaigns against the Taira clan and were rewarded after victory, they and the bands of samurai they hired provided the shōgun with the military force. They collected local taxes and ruled over territories they were entrusted with, but nominally didn't own; because the shōgun had usurped the emperor's power to nominate them, they owed loyalty only to him.
The gokenin title was earned by participating to an initiation ceremony, writing one's name in a register and making an oath of vassalage. The Kamakura government retained the power to appoint and dismiss, but otherwise left gokenin shugo and jitō alone and free to use tax income as they saw fit; as long as they remained faithful, they had considerable autonomy from the central government. In time, because gokenin officials were dismissed, their powers and land ownership became in practice hereditary. By the end of the shogunate, the government was little more than a coalition of semi-autonomous states. After the fall of the Kamakura in 1333, changes in the balance of power forced the Ashikaga to try to modify the state's economy and structure; the process of reversing the extreme parcelization of the land would occupy the next couple of centuries. The dynasty tried to eradicate local warlords and concentrate power in its hands, but this in fact only increased the level of hostility, it seized the lands of the Hōjō clan, former rulers of Kamakura, of all defeated gokenin but, at seeing the Ashikaga keep those lands for themselves, to the point where they had direct control of 25% of the country, their own allies started fearing for themselves and their heirs.
The ensuing turmoil gave inadvertently rise to the figure of the daimyō feudal lord, although the term wouldn't be in wide use for the first half a century. Many daimyōs were shugo or jitō of gokenin extraction or noblemen, but most were new faces who had supplanted their superiors. Crucially, because resisting the Ashikaga required a strong central power and a smooth succession, among them inheritance was no longer shared, but passed on intact to a single heir, not a blood relative, but a promising man adopted to be heir. In the Edo period, gokenin were the lowest-ranking vassals of the Tokugawa shogunate, next to the hatamoto. Unlike a hatamoto, a gokenin was not of omemie-ijō status – in other words, he was not allowed to have an audience with the shōgun. Deal, William. Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan. Facts on File. ISBN 978-0-8160-5622-4. John Whitney Hall, Peter Duus. Yamamura Kozo, ed; the Cambridge History of Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-22354-6.
Iwanami Kōjien Japanese dictionary, 5th Edition, CD version Mass, Jeffrey. Antiquity and Anachronism in Japanese History. Stanford Univer
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
A steward is an official, appointed by the legal ruling monarch to represent them in a country, may have a mandate to govern it in their name. From Old English stíweard, stiȝweard, from stiȝ "hall, household" + weard "warden, keeper"; the Old English term stíweard is attested from the 11th century. Its first element is most stiȝ- "house, hall". Old French estuard and Old Norse stívarðr are adopted from the Old English; the German and Dutch term is a parallel but independent formation corresponding to obsolete English stead holder. In medieval times, the steward was a servant who supervised both the lord's estate and his household; however over the course of the next century, other household posts arose and involved more responsibilities. This meant that in the 13th century, there were two stewards in each house—one who managed the estate and the other, the majordomo, to manage domestic routine. Stewards earned up to 3 to 4 pounds per year. Stewards took care of their lord's castles. Stewards checked on the taxes of the serfs on his lord's manor.
The Lord High Steward of England held a position of power in the 12th to 14th centuries, the Lord Steward is the first dignitary of the court. The Stewart family traces its appellation to the office of the High Steward of Scotland. Lord High Steward of Ireland is a hereditary office held since the 15th century. In the Netherlands, it developed into a rare type of de facto hereditary head of state of the thus crowned Dutch Republic. Stadtholders were appointed by feudal lords to govern parts of their territory. Stadtholders could be appointed for the whole or parts of their territory by the local rulers of the independent provinces in the Low Countries, e.g. the Duke of Gelre appointed a stadtholder to represent him in Groningen. In the Low Countries from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, this was an honorary title awarded by the Spanish Habsburg kings to major noblemen in each province, but its nature changed drastically. In Denmark, a ministerial high office of royal governor in the capital, at Copenhagen Castle In Norway the office of Statholder existed both during the Dano-Norwegian personal union from 1536 to 1814 and during the Swedish-Norwegian personal union from 1814 until it was abolished in 1873, while the union lasted until 1905.
During the latter, the office was known as Rigsstatholder, i.e. Lieutenant of the Realm; the Statholder governed Norway on behalf of the King. As Norway was a separate kingdom with its own laws and institutions, it was arguably the most influential office in both Denmark-Norway and in the Swedish-Norwegian realm second to that of the king; the office was sometimes held by the Crown Prince, styled as Viceroy. The term Statholder means "place holder", i.e. the one governing on behalf of the king. The modern Norwegian spelling is stattholder; the Croatian office of the Ban was equivalent of a viceroy. Ban was appointed by the monarch with a mandate to govern a part of country, or whole country, in the name of the King of Dalmatia and Slavonia. Bosnia was a banate of the Kingdom of Hungary 1136–1377. During that period Bosnia was governed by an autonomous hereditary viceroy, called ban; the last of them, became the first king of the Kingdom of Bosnia. The Russian equivalent of "stadtholder" is posadnik.
Although there were such legendary posadniks as Gostomysl, the term first appeared in the Primary Chronicle under the year of 997 to denote the most senior official of an Eastern Slavic town. The earliest posadniks of the city of Novgorod include a dynasty composed of Dobrynya, his son Konstantin Dobrynich and Ostromir; the office of Steward or Grand Steward is an elected office of merit in Freemasonry. The main duty of the Steward is to assist other Officers in their duties; the Grand Stewards may provide special assistance at Lodge Installations. The Stewards Jewel consists of a cornucopia with compasses above. Bailli Ban of Croatia Butler Castellan Chamberlain Mayor of the Palace Seneschal Viceroy
The Kamakura shogunate was a Japanese feudal military government of imperial-aristocratic rule that ruled from 1185 to 1333. The heads of the government were the shōguns; the first three were members of the Minamoto clan. The next two were members of the Fujiwara clan; the last six were minor Imperial princes. These years are known as the Kamakura period; the period takes its name from the city. After 1203, the Hōjō clan held the office of shikken. In effect, the shikken governed in the name of the shōguns. Before the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate, civil power in Japan was held by the ruling emperors and their regents appointed from the ranks of the imperial court and the aristocratic clans that vied there. Military affairs were handled under the auspices of the civil government. However, after defeating the Taira clan in the Genpei War, Minamoto no Yoritomo seized powers from the aristocracy. In 1192, Yoritomo and the Minamoto clan established a military government in Kamakura. After Yoritomo's death, Hōjō Tokimasa, the clan chief of Yoritomo's widow, Hōjō Masako, former guardian of Yoritomo, claimed the title of regent to Yoritomo's son Minamoto no Yoriie making that claim hereditary to the Hōjō clan.
Tokimasa deposed Yoriie, backed up his younger brother, Minamoto no Sanetomo, as a new shōgun, assumed the post of shikken. The Minamoto clan remained the titular shōguns, with the Hōjō holding the real power. In 1219, Sanetomo was assassinated by his nephew Kugyō. Since Sanetomo died childless, the line of shōguns from the Minamoto clan ended with him. With the Regency, what was an unusual situation became more anomalous when the Hōjō usurped power from those who had usurped it from the Emperor, descending from Emperor Kōkō, who usurped it from the children of Emperor Seiwa; the new regime nonetheless proved to be stable enough to last a total of 135 years, 9 shōguns and 16 regents. With Sanetomo's death in 1219, his mother Hōjō Masako became the shogunate's real center of power; as long as she lived, regents and shōguns would go, while she stayed at the helm. Since the Hōjō family did not have the rank to nominate a shōgun from among its members, Masako had to find a convenient puppet; the problem was solved choosing Kujo Yoritsune, a distant relation of the Minamoto, who would be the fourth shōgun and figurehead, while Hōjō Yoshitoki would take care of day-to-day business.
However powerless, future shōguns would always be chosen from either Fujiwara or imperial lineage to keep the bloodline pure and give legitimacy to the rule. This succession proceeded for more than a century. In 1221 Emperor Go-Toba tried to regain power in what would be called the Jōkyū War, but the attempt failed; the power of the Hōjō remained unchallenged until 1324, when Emperor Go-Daigo orchestrated a plot to overthrow them, but the plot was discovered immediately and foiled. The Mongols under Kublai Khan attempted sea-borne invasions in 1274 and 1281. Fifty years before, the shogunate had agreed to Korean demands that the Wokou be dealt with to stop their raids, this bit of good diplomacy had created a cooperative relationship between the two states, such that the Koreans, helpless with a Mongol occupation army garrisoning their country, had sent much intelligence information to Japan, so that along with messages from Japanese spies in the Korean peninsula, the shogunate had a good picture of the situation of the pending Mongol invasion.
The shogunate had rejected Kublai's demands to submit with contempt. The Mongol landings of 1274 met with some success, but the Japanese had given the Mongols more casualties in an eight-hour engagement than they had had in fighting in China or Korea, there was no rout of the Japanese defenders, who in any case outnumbered the 40,000 combined invasion force of Mongols and Korean conscripts. Noting an impending storm, the Korean admirals advised the Mongols to re-embark so that the fleet could be protected away from shore. After the surviving forces returned to Mongol territory, Kublai was not dissuaded from his intentions on bringing Japan under Mongol control, once again sent a message demanding submission, which infuriated the Hōjō leadership, who had the messengers executed, they responded with decisive action for defense—a wall was built to protect the hinterland of Hakata Bay, defensive posts were established, garrison lists were drawn up, regular manning of the home provinces was redirected to the western defenses, ships were constructed to harass the invaders' fleet when they appeared.
The Mongols returned in 1281 with a force of some 50,000 Mongol-Korean-Chinese along with some 100,000 conscripts from the defeated Song empire in south China. This force embarked and fought the Japanese for some seven weeks at several locations in Kyushu, but the defenders held, the Mongols made no strategic headway. Again, a typhoon approached, the Koreans and Chinese re-embarked the combined Mongol invasion forces in an attempt to deal with the storm in the open sea. At least one-third of the Mongol force was destroyed, half of the conscripted Song forces to the south over a two-day period of August 15–16. Thousands of invading troops were slaughtered by the samurai; such losses in men and the exhaustion of the Korean state in provisioning the two invasions put an end to the Mongol's attempts to conquer Japan. The "divine wind," or kamikaze, was credited for saving Japan from foreign invasion. For two further decades the Kamakura shogunate maintained a watch in case the Mongols attempted another invasion.
However, the s