The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising, or Yihetuan Movement was an anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, anti-Christian uprising that took place in China between 1899 and 1901, toward the end of the Qing dynasty. They were motivated by proto-nationalist sentiments and by opposition to Western colonialism and the Christian missionary activity, associated with it, it was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness, known in English as the Boxers, for many of their members had been practitioners of Chinese martial arts referred to in the west as Chinese Boxing. The uprising took place against a background that included severe drought and disruption caused by the growth of foreign spheres of influence; the original cause of the uprising was the particular jurisdictional status of European legations in Peking, which were not subject to Chinese authorities: robber gangs were formed in the out-buildings of the German legation, spreading outrage in the Chinese locals. As a result, opposition to Western colonialism and Christian missionary activity took place.
After several months of growing violence in Shandong and the North China plain against the foreign and Christian presence in June 1900, Boxer fighters, convinced they were invulnerable to foreign weapons, converged on Beijing with the slogan Support the Qing government and exterminate the foreigners. Foreigners and Chinese Christians sought refuge in the Legation Quarter. In response to reports of an armed invasion by allied American, Austro-Hungarian, French, Italian and Russian forces to lift the siege, the hesitant Empress Dowager Cixi supported the Boxers and on June 21 issued an Imperial Decree declaring war on the foreign powers. Diplomats, foreign civilians, soldiers as well as Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter were detained for 55 days by the Imperial Army of China and the Boxers. Chinese officialdom was split between those supporting the Boxers and those favoring conciliation, led by Prince Qing; the supreme commander of the Chinese forces, the Manchu General Ronglu claimed he acted to protect the besieged foreigners.
Many officials refused the imperial order to fight against foreigners in their Mutual Protection of Southeast China, because Qing had lost the First Sino-Japanese War five years before. The Eight-Nation Alliance, after being turned back, brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army, arrived at Peking on August 14, relieving the siege of the Legations. Uncontrolled plunder of the capital and the surrounding countryside ensued, along with the summary execution of those suspected of being Boxers; the Boxer Protocol of 7 September 1901 provided for the execution of government officials who had supported the Boxers, provisions for foreign troops to be stationed in Beijing, 450 million taels of silver—approximately $10 billion at 2018 silver prices and more than the government's annual tax revenue—to be paid as indemnity over the course of the next thirty-nine years to the eight nations involved. The Empress Dowager sponsored a set of institutional and fiscal changes in a failed attempt to save the dynasty.
The Righteous and Harmonious Fists arose in the inland sections of the northern coastal province of Shandong, long known for social unrest, religious sects, martial societies. American Christian missionaries were the first to refer to the well-trained, athletic young men as "Boxers", because of the martial arts and weapons training they practiced, their primary practice was a type of spiritual possession which involved the whirling of swords, violent prostrations, chanting incantations to deities. The opportunities to fight back Western encroachment and colonization were attractive to unemployed village men, many of whom were teenagers; the tradition of possession and invulnerability went back several hundred years but took on special meaning against the powerful new weapons of the West. The Boxers, armed with rifles and swords, claimed supernatural invulnerability towards blows of cannon, rifle shots, knife attacks. Furthermore, the Boxer groups popularly claimed that millions of soldiers of Heaven would descend to assist them in purifying China of foreign oppression.
These beliefs are characteristic of millenarian movements of nativist resistance the characteristic magical belief, shared by the Ghost Dancers of North America and the Kartelite Cults of Africa, that the believer could be rendered invulnerable to bullets. In 1895, in spite of ambivalence toward their heterodox practices, Yuxian, a Manchu, prefect of Caozhou and would become provincial governor, used the Big Swords Society in fighting bandits; the Big Swords, emboldened by this official support attacked their local Catholic village rivals, who turned to the Church for protection. The Big Swords responded by burning them. "The line between Christians and bandits", remarks one recent historian, "became indistinct." As a result of diplomatic pressure in the capital, Yuxian executed several Big Sword leaders, but did not punish anyone else. More martial secret societies started emerging after this; the early years saw a variety of village activities, not a broad movement with a united purpose. Martial folk religious societies such as the Baguadao prepared the way for the Boxers.
Like the Red Boxing school or the Plum Flower Boxers, the Boxers of Shandong were more concerned with traditional social and moral values, such as filial piety, than with foreign influences. One leader, Zhu Hongdeng (Red Lantern Zh
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 period classified as a transition from the Jōmon period should be reclassified as 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 and the start of an intensive rice agriculture in paddy fields. A hierarchical social class structure has its origin in China. Techniques in metallurgy based on the use of bronze and iron were introduced from China over Korea 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. During this period Japan transitioned to a settled agricultural society; the earliest archaeological evidence of the Yayoi is found on northern Kyūshū, but, still debated. Yayoi culture spread to the main island of Honshū, mixing with native Jōmon culture. A recent study that used accelerator mass spectrometry to analyze carbonized remains on pottery and wooden stakes, suggests that they dated back to 900–800 BC, 500 years earlier than believed; the name Yayoi is borrowed from a location in Tokyo where pottery of the Yayoi period was first found. Yayoi pottery was decorated and produced using the same coiling technique used in Jōmon pottery. Yayoi craft specialists made bronze ceremonial bells and weapons. By the 1st century AD, Yayoi farmers began using iron agricultural weapons; as the Yayoi population increased, the society became more complex. They wove textiles, lived in permanent farming villages, 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, 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 growth of a sedentary, agrarian society in Japan. Local political and social developments in Japan were more important than the activities of the central 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 longer forearms and lower legs, more wide-set eyes and wider faces, 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, flat brow ridges and noses. By the Kofun period all skeletons excavated in Japan except those of the Ainu are of the Yayoi type with Jomon admixture, resembling those of modern-day Japanese; the origin of Yayoi culture has long been debated. The earliest archaeological sites are Itazuke or Nabata in the northern part of Kyūshū. Contacts between fishing communities on this coast and the southern coast of Korea date from the Jōmon period, as witnessed by the exchange of trade items such as fishhooks and obsidians. During the Yayoi period, cultural features from China and Korea arrived in this area at various times over several centuries, spread to the south and east; this was a period of mixture between immigrants and the indigenous population, between new cultural influences and existing practices. Chinese influence was obvious in the bronze and copper weapons, dōkyō, dōtaku, as well as irrigated paddy rice cultivation.
Three major symbols of Yayoi culture are the bronze mirror, the bronze sword, the royal seal stone. Between 1996 and 1999, a team led by Satoshi Yamaguchi, a researcher at Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science, compared Yayoi remains found in Japan's Yamaguchi and Fukuoka prefectures with those from China's coastal Jiangsu province and found many similarities between the Yayoi and the Jiangsu remains; some scholars have concluded. Mark J. Hudson has cited archaeological evidence that included "bounded paddy fields, new types of polished stone tools, wooden farming implements, iron tools, weaving technology, ceramic storage jars, exterior bonding of clay coils in pottery fabrication, ditched settlements, domesticated pigs, jawbone rituals." The migrant transfusion from the Korean peninsula gains strength because Yayoi culture began on the north coast of Kyūshū, where Japan is closest to Korea. Yayoi pottery, burial mounds, food preservation were discovered to be similar to the pottery of southern Korea.
However, some scholars argue that the rapid increase of four million people in Japan between the Jōmon and Yayoi periods cannot be explained by migration alone. They attribute the increase to a shift from a hunter-gatherer to an agricultural diet on the islands, with the introduction
Economic history of Japan
The economic history of Japan is most studied for the spectacular social and economic growth in the 1800s after the Meiji Restoration, when it became the first non-Western great power, for its expansion after the Second World War, when Japan recovered from devastation to become the world's second largest economy behind the United States, from 2013 behind China as well. Scholars have evaluated the nation's unique economic position during the Cold War, with exports going to both U. S.- and Soviet-aligned powers, have taken keen interest in the situation of the post-Cold War period of the Japanese "lost decades". Renaissance Europeans were quite admiring of Japan when they reached the country in the 16th century. Japan was considered a country immensely rich in precious metals, a view that owed its conception to Marco Polo's accounts of gilded temples and palaces, but due to the relative abundance of surface ores characteristic of a volcanic country, before large-scale deep-mining became possible in Industrial times.
Japan was to become a major exporter of silver during the period. Japan was perceived as a sophisticated feudal society with a high culture and advanced pre-industrial technology, it was densely urbanized. Prominent European observers of the time seemed to agree that the Japanese "excel not only all the other Oriental peoples, they surpass the Europeans as well". Early European visitors were amazed by the quality of Japanese metalsmithing; this stems from the fact that Japan itself is rather poor in natural resources found in Europe iron. Thus, the Japanese were famously frugal with their consumable resources; the cargo of the first Portuguese ships that arrived in Japan consisted entirely of Chinese goods. The Japanese were much looking forward to acquiring such goods, but had been prohibited from any contacts with the Emperor of China, as a punishment for Wakō pirate raids; the Portuguese therefore found the opportunity to act as intermediaries in Asian trade. From the time of the acquisition of Macau in 1557, their formal recognition as trade partners by the Chinese, the Portuguese started to regulate trade to Japan, by selling to the highest bidder the annual "Captaincy" to Japan, in effect conferring exclusive trading rights for a single carrack bound for Japan every year.
The carracks were large ships between 1000 and 1500 tons, about double or triple the size of a large galleon or junk. That trade continued with few interruptions until 1638, when it was prohibited on the ground that the ships were smuggling priests into Japan. Portuguese trade was progressively more and more challenged by Chinese smugglers on junks, Japanese Red Seal Ships from around 1592, Spanish ships from Manila from around 1600, the Dutch from 1609, the English from 1613; the Dutch, rather than "Nanban" were called "Kōmō" by the Japanese, first arrived in Japan in 1600, on board the Liefde. Their pilot was the first Englishman to reach Japan. In 1605, two of the Liefde's crew were sent to Pattani by Tokugawa Ieyasu, to invite Dutch trade to Japan; the head of the Pattani Dutch trading post, Victor Sprinckel, refused on the ground that he was too busy dealing with Portuguese opposition in Southeast Asia. In 1609 however, the Dutch Jacques Specx arrived with two ships in Hirado, through Adams obtained trading privileges from Ieyasu.
The Dutch engaged in piracy and naval combat to weaken Portuguese and Spanish shipping in the Pacific, became the only westerners to be allowed access to Japan from the small enclave of Dejima after 1638 and for the next two centuries. The beginning of the Edo period coincides with the last decades of the Nanban trade period, during which intense interaction with European powers, on the economic and religious plane, took place. At the beginning of the Edo period, Japan built her first ocean-going Western-style warships, such as the San Juan Bautista, a 500-ton galleon-type ship that transported a Japanese embassy headed by Hasekura Tsunenaga to the Americas, continued to Europe. During that period, the bakufu commissioned around 350 Red Seal Ships, three-masted and armed trade ships, for intra-Asian commerce. Japanese adventurers, such as Yamada Nagamasa, were active throughout Asia. In order to eradicate the influence of Christianization, Japan entered in a period of isolation called sakoku, during which its economy enjoyed stability and mild progress.
But not long after, in the 1650s, the production of Japanese export porcelain increased when civil war put the main Chinese center of porcelain production, in Jingdezhen, out of action for several decades. For the rest of the 17th century most Japanese porcelain production was in Kyushu for export through the Chinese and Dutch; the trade dwindled under renewed Chinese competition by the 1740s, before resuming after the opening of Japan in the mid-19th century. Economic development during the Edo period included urbanization, increased shipping of commodities, a significant expansion of domestic and foreign commerce, a diffusion of trade and handicraft industries; the construction trades flourished, along with banking facilities and merchant associations. Han authorities oversaw the rising agricultural production and the spread of rural handicrafts. By the mid-18th century, Edo had a population of more than 1 million and Osaka and Ky
Geography of Japan
Japan is an island nation comprising a stratovolcanic archipelago over 3,000 km along East Asia's Pacific coast. It consists of 6,852 islands; the main islands are Honshu, Kyushu and Hokkaido. The Ryukyu Islands and Nanpō Islands are south of the main islands; the territory extends 377,973.89 km2. It is fourth largest island country in the world. Japan has the sixth longest coastline 29,751 km and the eighth largest Exclusive Economic Zone of 4,470,000 km2 in the world; the terrain is rugged and mountainous with 66% forest. The population is clustered in urban areas on the coast and valleys. Japan is located in the northwestern Ring of Fire on multiple tectonic plates. East of the Japanese archipelago are three oceanic trenches; the Japan Trench is created as the oceanic Pacific Plate subducts beneath the continental Okhotsk Plate. The continuous subduction process causes frequent earthquakes and stratovolcanoes; the islands are affected by typhoons. The subduction plates have pulled the Japanese archipelago eastward, created the Sea of Japan and separated it from the Asian continent by back-arc spreading 15 million years ago.
The climate of the Japanese archipelago varies from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical and tropical rainforest in the south. These differences in climate and landscape have allowed the development of a diverse flora and fauna, with some rare endemic species in the Ogasawara Islands. Japan extends from 122 ° to 153 ° east longitude. Japan is surrounded by sea. To the north the Sea of Okhotsk separates it from the Russian Far East, to the west the Sea of Japan separates it from the Korean Peninsula, to the southwest the East China Sea separates the Ryukyu Islands from China and Taiwan, to the east is the Pacific Ocean; the Japanese archipelago is over 3,000 km long in a north-to-southwardly direction from the Sea of Okhotsk to the Philippine Sea in the Pacific Ocean. The major islands, sometimes called the "Home Islands", are Hokkaido, Honshu and Kyushu. There are 6,852 islands in total, including the Nansei Islands, the Nanpō Islands and islets, with 430 islands being inhabited and others uninhabited.
In total, as of 2018, Japan's territory is 377,973.89 km2, of which 364,543.89 km2 is land and 13,430 km2 water. Japan has the sixth longest coastline in the world, it is fourth largest island country in the world. There are a wide range of climatic ecosystems. Due to Japan's many far-flung outlying islands and long coastline, the country has extensive marine resources; the Exclusive Economic Zone of Japan is the eighth largest in the world. It is more than 11 times the land area of the country. Japan has a population of 126,672,000 in 2016, it is the tenth most populous country in second most populous island country. 81% of the population lives on Honshu, 10% on Kyushu, 4.2% on Hokkaido, 3% on Shikoku, 1.1% in Okinawa Prefecture and 0.7% on other Japanese islands such as the Nanpō Islands. Total: 377,973.89 km2 land: 364,543.89 km2 water: 13,430 km2 notes: Includes the Bonin Islands, Daitō Islands, Minami-Tori-shima, the Ryukyu Islands, the Volcano Islands. This includes the Senkaku Islands which are owned by Japan and disputed by the PRC.
It excludes Liancourt Rocks. Location: Japan is a long island chain between the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan and the Philippine Sea, it is in East Asia and North East Asia. Japan is east of the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan. Map references: Asia, East Asia, North East Asia, Pacific Ocean Terrain: rugged and mountainous with about 70% mountainous land. Land boundaries: the ocean, no land borders. Coastline: 29,751 km Population: 126,672,000 Territorial sea: 12 nmi. Exclusive economic zone of Japan: 4,470,000 km2, it stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles from its coast. Contiguous zone: 24 nmi Climate: varies from humid continental climate in the north to humid subtropical and tropical rainforest climate in the south of the Japanese archipelago. Natural resources: small deposits of coal, oil and minerals. There is a major fishing industry and untapped marine resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Japan. Arable land: 11.65% permanent crops: 0.83% other: 87.52% Irrigated land: 25,000 km2 Total renewable water resources: 430 km3 Freshwater withdrawal: total: 90.04 km3 per year per capita: 714.3 m3 per year Japan is informally divided into eight regions from north to south: Hokkaidō Tōhoku region Kantō region Chūbu region Kansai region Chūgoku region Shikoku KyūshūEach contains several prefectures, except the Hokkaido region, which covers only Hokkaido Prefecture.
The regions are not official administrative units, but have been traditionally used as the regional division of Japan in a number of contexts. For example
The Nanboku-chō period, spanning from 1336 to 1392, was a period that occurred during the formative years of the Muromachi bakufu of Japanese history. During this period, there existed a Northern Imperial Court, established by Ashikaga Takauji in Kyoto, a Southern Imperial Court, established by Emperor Go-Daigo in Yoshino. Ideologically, the two courts fought for fifty years, with the South giving up to the North in 1392. However, in reality the Northern line was under the power of the Ashikaga shōguns and had little real independence. Since the 19th century the Emperors of the Southern Imperial Court have been considered the legitimate Emperors of Japan. Other contributing factors were the Southern Court's control of the Japanese imperial regalia, Kitabatake Chikafusa's work Jinnō Shōtōki, which legitimized the South's imperial court despite their defeat; the consequences of events in this period continue to be influential in modern Japan's conventional view of the Tennō Seika. Under the influence of State Shinto, an Imperial decree dated March 3, 1911, established that the legitimate reigning monarchs of this period were the Southern Court.
After World War II, a series of pretenders, starting with Kumazawa Hiromichi, claimed descent from the Southern Court and challenged the legitimacy of the modern imperial line, descended from the Northern Court. The destruction of the Kamakura shogunate of 1333 and the failure of the Kenmu Restoration in 1336 opened up a legitimacy crisis for the new shogunate. Furthermore, institutional changes in the estate system that formed the bedrock of the income of nobles and warriors alike decisively altered the status of the various social groups. What emerged from the exigencies of the Nanboku-chō War was the Muromachi regime, which broadened the economic base of the warriors while undercutting the noble proprietors, a trend that had started with the Kamakura bakufu; the main conflicts that contributed to the outbreak of the civil war were the growing conflict between the Hōjō family and other warrior groups in the wake of the Mongol invasions of Japan of 1274 and 1281 and the failure of the Kemmu Restoration, which triggered the struggle between the supporters of the imperial loyalists and supporters of the Ashikaga clan.
Disaffection towards the Hōjō-led Kamakura regime appeared among the warriors towards the end of the thirteenth century. This resentment was caused by the growing influence of the Hōjō over other warrior families within the regime; the Mongol invasions were the main cause behind this centralization of power that took place during the regency of Hōjō Tokimune. During the crisis, three things occurred: Hōjō family appointments to the council of state increased. Note a They narrowed down their constituents by including only Hōjō family members and direct vassals, at the expense of a broader base of support; when a coalition against the Hōjō emerged in 1331, it took only two years to topple the regime. Wealth in agrarian societies is tied to land, medieval Japan was no different. In fact, land was the main reason for much of the discontent among the warrior class. Since the rise of the warriors under the Minamoto, it was expected that victory in battle would be rewarded by land grants given to those who served on the victorious side.
However, unlike any war, fought until the Mongol invasions presented a problem since this war, seen by most Japanese as a patriotic duty, did not take place against another warrior family, but against a foreign enemy. After the foreign enemy's defeat there were no lands to hand out to the victors; this was a problem for those warriors who had fought valiantly and petitioned the Hōjō regents for land. In the beginning of the fourteenth century this discontent put a tremendous pressure on any regime that emerged, they had to satisfy this group in order to succeed. When Kamakura's rule was destroyed in 1333, Kyoto's court society emerged again to confront the warriors. In the transition from the Heian to the Kamakura period, the warriors emerged from the domination of court patrimonialism as an independent political force. With the demise of Kamakura, the imperial court attempted once again to restore its de jure power as an alternative to warrior rule; the Kemmu Restoration was the last desperate attempt on the part of the court to restore their leadership, not just to preserve their institutions.
Not until the Meiji Restoration of the 19th century did this occur again. In the spring of 1333, the Emperor Go-Daigo and his supporters believed that the moment had arrived to restore the glory of the imperial court; the Emperor Daigo, who lived at a time when the court had no rivals and effective rule was exercised directly from the throne, became Go-Daigo's adopted name and model. Of cardinal importance was the ideology that emerged with the Kemmu Restoration: it was a conscious movement to restore the imperial power vis-a-vis the warriors. Two of the movement's greatest spokesmen were Kitabatake Chikafusa. Prince Morinaga was Daigo's son, archrival to Ashikaga Takauji: he advocated the militarization of the nobles as a necessary step towards effective rule. Kitabatake Chikafusa epitomized what Prince Morinaga was looking for: a Kyoto noble who became the greatest of the imperialist generals, combining the ways of the warrior to his noble upbringing. During the long siege in Hitachi
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
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, it was initiated by the Ōnin War, which collapsed the Japanese feudal system under the Ashikaga shogunate, came to an end when the system was re-established under the Tokugawa shogunate by Tokugawa Ieyasu. During this period, although the Emperor of Japan was the ruler of his nation and every lord swore loyalty to him, he was a marginalized and religious figure who delegated power to the shōgun, a noble, equivalent to a generalissimo. In the years preceding this era the Shogunate lost influence and control over the daimyōs. Although the Ashikaga shogunate had retained the structure of the Kamakura shogunate and instituted a warrior government based on the same social economic rights and obligations established by the Hōjō with the Jōei Code in 1232, it failed to win the loyalty of many daimyōs those whose domains were far from the capital, Kyoto.
Many of these Lords began to fight uncontrollably with each other for control over land and influence over the shogunate. As trade with Ming China grew, the economy developed, the use of money became widespread as markets and commercial cities appeared. This, combined with developments in agriculture and small-scale trading, led to the desire for greater local autonomy throughout all levels of the social hierarchy; as early as the beginning of the 15th century, the suffering caused by earthquakes and famines served to trigger armed uprisings by farmers weary of debt and taxes. The Ōnin War, a conflict rooted in economic distress and brought on by a dispute over shogunal succession, is regarded as the onset of the Sengoku period; the "eastern" army of the Hosokawa family and its allies clashed with the "western" army of the Yamana. Fighting in and around Kyoto lasted for nearly 11 years, leaving the city completely destroyed; the conflict in Kyoto spread to outlying provinces. The period culminated with a series of three warlords, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who unified Japan.
After Tokugawa Ieyasu's 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 considered the starting point of the Sengoku period. There are several events which could be considered the end of it: Nobunaga's entry to Kyoto or abolition of the Muromachi shogunate, the Siege of Odawara, the Battle of Sekigahara, the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate, or the Siege of Osaka; the upheaval resulted in the further weakening of central authority, throughout Japan regional lords, called daimyōs, rose to fill the vacuum. In the course of this power shift, well-established clans such as the Takeda and the Imagawa, who had ruled under the authority of both the Kamakura and Muromachi bakufu, were able to expand their spheres of influence. There were many, whose positions eroded and were usurped by more capable underlings; this phenomenon of social meritocracy, in which capable subordinates rejected the status quo and forcefully overthrew an emancipated aristocracy, became known as gekokujō, which means "low conquers high".
One of the earliest instances of this was Hōjō Sōun, who rose from humble origins and seized power in Izu Province in 1493. Building on the accomplishments of Sōun, the Late Hōjō clan remained a major power in the Kantō region until its subjugation by Toyotomi Hideyoshi late in the Sengoku period. Other notable examples include the supplanting of the Hosokawa clan by the Miyoshi, the Toki by the Saitō, the Shiba clan by the Oda clan, in turn replaced by its underling, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a son of a peasant with no family name. Well-organized religious groups gained political power at this time by uniting farmers in resistance and rebellion against the rule of the daimyōs; the monks of the Buddhist True Pure Land sect formed numerous Ikkō-ikki, the most successful of which, in Kaga Province, remained independent for nearly 100 years. After nearly a century of political instability and warfare, Japan was on the verge of unification by Oda Nobunaga, who had emerged from obscurity in the province of Owari to dominate central Japan, when in 1582 Oda was assassinated by one of his generals, Akechi Mitsuhide.
This in turn provided Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who had risen through the ranks from ashigaru to become one of Oda's most trusted generals, with the opportunity to establish himself as Oda's successor. Toyotomi consolidated his control over the remaining daimyōs and, although he was ineligible for the title of Sei-i Taishōgun because of his common birth, ruled as Kampaku. During his short reign as Kampaku, Toyotomi attempted two invasions of Korea; the first spanning from 1592 to 1596 was successful but suffered setbacks to end in stalemate. When Toyotomi died in 1598 without leaving a capable successor, the country was once again thrust into political turmoil, this time Tokugawa Ieyasu took advantage of the opportunity. Toyotomi had on his deathbed appointed a group of the most powerful lords in Japan—Tokugawa, Maeda Toshiie, Ukita Hideie, Uesugi Kagekatsu, Mōri Terumoto—to govern as the Council of