Emperor Ōgimachi was the 106th Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. He reigned from October 27, 1557, to his abdication on December 17, 1586, corresponding to the transition between the Sengoku period and the Azuchi–Momoyama period, his personal name was Michihito. Ōgimachi was the first son of Emperor Go-Nara Lady-in-waiting: Madenokōji Fusako Seiko-in, Madenokōji Hidefusa’s daughter Second daughter: Princess Eikō Third daughter: Eldest son: Imperial Prince Masahito known as Prince Sanehito and posthumously named Yōkwōin daijō-tennō. Masahito's eldest son was Imperial Prince Kazuhito. Go-Yōzei elevated the rank of his father though his father's untimely death made this impossible in life. In this manner, Go-Yōzei himself could enjoy the polite fiction of being the son of an emperor. Daughter: Lady-in-waiting: Asukai Masatsuna’s daughter daughter:??? Daughter: Princess Eisho Lady-in-waiting: Dai-Naishi, Madenokōji Katafusa’s daughter First Daughter: (1539–1543） Ōgimachi became Emperor upon the death of Emperor Go-Nara.
1560: Ōgimachi was proclaimed emperor. The ceremonies of coronation were made possible because they were paid for by Mōri Motonari and others. 1560: Imagawa Yoshimoto led the armies of the province of Suruga against the Owari. Nobunaga took over the province of Owari. Tokugawa Ieyasu made himself master of Okazaki Castle. 1564: Oda Nobunaga completed the conquest of Mino. 1568: Ashikaga Yoshihide became shōgun. 1568: Shōgun Yoshihide died from a contagious disease. The finances of the emperor and his court were strained; the authority of the Imperial Court began to fall, but this trend reversed after Oda Nobunaga entered Kyoto in a show of allegiance but which indicated that the Emperor had the Oda clan's support. Using the Emperor as a mediator when fighting enemies, Nobunaga worked to unify the disparate elements to Japan. However, by around 1573, Nobunaga began demanding the Emperor's abdication. Before political power was transferred to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, in order to take advantage of Ōgimachi's authority, the power of the Imperial Family was increased.
In this way and the Imperial Family entered into a mutually beneficial relationship. In January of the year Tenshō 14, the regent had the Golden Tea Room brought to Kyoto Imperial Palace to host the emperor there. In 1586, Emperor Ōgimachi abdicated in favor of his grandson, Imperial Prince Katahito, who became the Emperor Go-Yōzei. Ōgimachi retired to the Sennōda Palace. On February 6, 1593, he died. During Ōgimachi's reign, with the assistance of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the imperial family was able to halt the political and cultural decline it had been in since the Ōnin War, began a time of recovery. Ōgimachi is enshrined with other emperors at the imperial tomb called Fukakusa no kita no misasagi in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto. Kugyō is a collective term for the few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan in pre-Meiji eras. During those years in which the court's actual influence outside the palace walls was minimal, the hierarchic organization persisted. In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time.
These were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Ōgimachi's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included: Daijō-daijin, Konoe Sakihisa, 1536–1612. Sadaijin Udaijin Naidaijin Dainagon The years of Ōgimachi's reign are more identified by more than one era name or nengō. Kōji Eiroku Genki Tenshō Emperor of Japan List of Emperors of Japan Imperial cult
The daimyō were powerful Japanese feudal lords who, until their decline in the early Meiji period, ruled most of Japan from their vast, hereditary land holdings. In the term, dai means "large", myō stands for myōden, meaning private land. Subordinate to the shōgun, nominally to the Emperor and the kuge, daimyō were powerful feudal rulers from the 10th century to the middle 19th century in Japan. From the Shugo of the Muromachi period through the Sengoku to the daimyō of the Edo period, the rank had a long and varied history; the backgrounds of daimyō varied considerably. The term daimyō sometimes refers to the leading figures of such clans called "Lord", it was though not from these warlords that a shōgun arose or a regent was chosen. Daimyō hired samurai to guard their land and they paid the samurai in land or food as few could afford to pay samurai in money; the daimyō era ended soon after the Meiji Restoration with the adoption of the prefecture system in 1871. The shugo daimyō were the first group of men to hold the title daimyō.
They arose from among the shugo during the Muromachi period. The shugo-daimyō held not only military and police powers, but economic power within a province, they accumulated these powers throughout the first decades of the Muromachi period. Major shugo-daimyō came from the Shiba and Hosokawa clans, as well as the tozama clans of Yamana, Ōuchi, Akamatsu; the greatest ruled multiple provinces. The Ashikaga shogunate required the shugo-daimyō to reside in Kyoto, so they appointed relatives or retainers, called shugodai, to represent them in their home provinces; some of these in turn came to reside in Kyoto, appointing deputies in the provinces. The Ōnin War was a major uprising. During this and other wars of the time, kuni ikki, or provincial uprisings, took place as locally powerful warriors sought independence from the shugo-daimyō; the deputies of the shugo-daimyō, living in the provinces, seized the opportunity to strengthen their position. At the end of the fifteenth century, those shugo-daimyō who succeeded remained in power.
Those who had failed to exert control over their deputies fell from power and were replaced by a new class, the sengoku-daimyō, who arose from the ranks of the shugodai and ji-samurai. Among the sengoku daimyō were many, shugo-daimyō, such as the Satake, Takeda, Rokkaku, Ōuchi, Shimazu. New to the ranks of the daimyō were the Asakura, Nagao, Miyoshi, Chōsokabe, Jimbō, Hatano and Matsunaga; these came from the ranks of their deputies. Additional sengoku-daimyō such as the Mōri, Ryūzōji arose from the ji-samurai; the lower officials of the shogunate and rōnin, provincial officials, kuge gave rise to sengoku-daimyō. The Battle of Sekigahara in the year 1600 marked the beginning of the Edo period. Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu reorganized 200 daimyō and their territories into han, which were assessed by rice production; those heading han assessed at 10,000 koku or more were considered daimyō. Ieyasu categorized the daimyō according to their relation to the ruling Tokugawa family: the shinpan were related to the Tokugawa.
The shinpan were collaterals of Ieyasu, such as the Matsudaira, or descendants of Ieyasu other than in the main line of succession. Several shinpan, including the Tokugawa of Owari and Mito, as well as the Matsudaira of Fukui and Aizu, held large han. A few fudai daimyō, such as the Ii of Hikone, held large han; the shogunate placed many fudai at strategic locations to guard the trade routes and the approaches to Edo. Many fudai daimyō took positions in the Edo shogunate, some rising to the position of rōjū; the fact that fudai daimyō could hold government positions while tozama in general, could not was a main difference between the two. Tozama daimyō held large fiefs far away from the capital, with e.g. the Kaga han of Ishikawa Prefecture, headed by the Maeda clan, assessed at 1,000,000 koku. Other famous tozama clans included the Mori of Chōshū, the Shimazu of Satsuma, the Date of Sendai, the Uesugi of Yonezawa, the Hachisuka of Awa; the Tokugawa regarded them as rebellious, but for most of the Edo period, marriages between the Tokugawa and the tozama, as well as control policies such as sankin-kōtai, resulted in peaceful relations.
Daimyō were required to maintain residences in Edo as well as their fiefs, to move periodically between Edo and their fiefs spending alternate years in each place, in a practice called sankin-kōtai. In 1869, the year after the Meiji Restoration, the daimyō, together with the kuge, formed a new aristocracy, the kazoku. In 1871, the han were abolished and prefectures were established, thus ending the daimyō era in Japan. In the wake of this change, many daimyō remained in control of their lands, being appointed as prefectural governors. Despite this, members of former daimyō families remained prominent in government and society, in some cases continue to re
Miyamoto Musashi known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman, strategist, writer and rōnin. Musashi, as he was simply known, became renowned through stories of his unique double-bladed swordsmanship and undefeated record in his 61 duels, he is considered the Kensei, sword-saint of Japan. He was the founder of the Niten-Ichi-Ryū-School or Nito-Ichi-ryū style of swordsmanship, in his final years authored The Book of Five Rings, Dokkōdō. Both documents were given to Terao Magonojō, the most important of Musashi's students, seven days before Musashi's death; the Book of Five Rings deals with the character of his Niten-Ichi-Ryū-School in a concrete sense e.g. his own practical martial art and its generic significance. The details of Miyamoto Musashi's early life are difficult to verify. Musashi himself states in The Book of Five Rings that he was born in Harima Province. Niten Ki supports the theory that Musashi was born in 1584: " was born in Banshū, in Tenshō 12, the Year of the Monkey."
The historian Kamiko Tadashi, commenting on Musashi's text, notes: "Munisai was Musashi's father... he lived in Miyamoto village, in the Yoshino district. Musashi was most born here." His childhood name was Bennosuke. Musashi gives his full name and title in The Book of Five Rings as Shinmen Musashi-no-Kami Fujiwara no Harunobu, his father, Shinmen Munisai was an accomplished martial master of the sword and jutte. Munisai, in turn, was the son of Hirata Shōgen, a vassal of Shinmen Iga no Kami, the lord of Takayama Castle in the Yoshino district of Mimasaka Province. Hirata so was allowed to use the Shinmen name; as for "Musashi", Musashi no Kami was a court title, making him the nominal governor of Musashi Province. "Fujiwara" was the lineage from descent. Munisai's tomb says he died in 1580, which conflicts with the accepted birth date of 1584 for Musashi. Further confounding his birthdate, the genealogy of the extant Miyamoto family recounts Musashi was born in 1582. Kenji Tokitsu has suggested that the accepted birth date of 1584 for Musashi is wrong, as it is based on a literal reading of the introduction to The Book of Five Rings where Musashi states that the years of his life "add up to 60", when it should be taken in a more literary and imprecise sense, indicating not a specific age but that Musashi was in his sixties when he wrote it.
There is considerable uncertainty surrounding Munisai, such as when he died and whether he was Musashi's father, less is known about Musashi's mother. The following are a few possibilities: Munisai's tomb was correct, he died in 1580, leaving son Iori. Omasa, Munisai's widow, was not Musashi's biological mother; the tomb was wrong. Munisai lived a good deal longer than 1590 possibly. Musashi was born to Munisai's first wife, Yoshiko. Munisai divorced her after Musashi's birth, whereupon she decamped for her father's house, leaving Musashi with Munisai. Musashi grew up treating Omasa as his mother; this second scenario is laid out in an entry to the Tasumi family's genealogy. The daughter of Bessho Shigeharu first married Hirata Muni and was divorced from him a few years later. After that she married Tasumi Masahisa; the second wife of Tasumi Masahisa was the mother of Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi's childhood name was Hirata Den. During his childhood, he went to Hirafuku to find his real mother, he moved in with the Tasumi family.
A variant of this second theory is based on the fact that the tombstone states that Omasa gave birth to Musashi on 4 March 1584, died of it. Munisai remarried to Yoshiko, they divorced, as in the second theory, but Yoshiko took Musashi, 7 at the time, with her, married Tasumi Masahisa. Kenji Tokitsu prefers to assume a birth date of 1581, which avoids the necessity of assuming the tombstone to be erroneous. Regardless of the truth about Musashi's ancestry, when Musashi was seven years old, the boy was raised by his uncle, Dorinbo, in Shoreian temple, three kilometers from Hirafuku. Both Dorin and Tasumi, Musashi's uncle by marriage, educated him in Buddhism and basic skills such as writing and reading; this education is the basis for Yoshikawa Eiji's fictional education of Musashi by the historical Zen monk Takuan. He was trained by Munisai in the sword, in the family art of the jutte; this training did not last for a long time, as in 1589, Munisai was ordered by Shinmen Sokan to kill Munisai's student, Honiden Gekinosuke.
The Honiden family was displeased, so Munisai was forced to move four kilometers away to the village of Kawakami. In 1592, Munisai died, although Tokitsu believes that the person who died at this time was Hirata Takehito. Musashi contracted eczema in his infancy, this adversely affected hi
Ashikaga Yoshiharu was the twelfth shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate who held the reins of supreme power from 1521 through 1546 during the late Muromachi period of Japan. He was the son of the eleventh shōgun Ashikaga Yoshizumi, his childhood name was Kameomaru. May 1, 1521: After the tenth shogun Ashikaga Yoshitane and Hosokawa Takakuni struggled for power over the shogunate and Yoshitane withdrew to Awaji Island, the way was clear for Minamoto-no Yoshiharu to be installed as shogun. 1521: Yoshiharu enters Kyoto. 1526: Shōgun Yoshiharu invited archers from neighboring provinces to come to the capital for an archery contest. Not having any political power and being forced out of the capital of Kyoto, Yoshiharu retired in 1546 over a political struggle between Miyoshi Nagayoshi and Hosokawa Harumoto making his son Ashikaga Yoshiteru the thirteenth shogun. May 20, 1550: Yoshiharu died.1568: Supported by Oda Nobunaga, his son Ashikaga Yoshiaki became the fifteenth shogun. From a western perspective, Yoshiharu is significant, as he was shogun in 1542, when the first contact of Japan with the European West took place.
A Portuguese ship, blown off its course to China, landed in Japan. Father: Ashikaga Yoshizumi Mother: Hino Akiko Wife: Keijuin, Concubines: Oodate Tsuneoki's daughter Children: Ashikaga Yoshiaki by Keijuin Ashikaga Yoshiteru by Keijuin Ashikaga Shuko Shiratori Yoshihisa daughter married Takeda Yoshimune daughter married Miyoshi Yoshitsugu daughter married Karasume Kosen Nun in Hyokoji temple Significant events shape the period during which Yoshiharu was shōgun: 1521 – Hosokawa Takakuni has Yoshiharu appointed shōgun. 1526 – Kasai rebels, Miyoshi rebels: Go-Nara succeeds. 1528 – Yoshiharu driven out by Miyoshi Nagamoto. 1533 – Ikkō rebellion. 1536 – Go-Nara enthroned. 1538 – Dissension in Koga Kubō's family. 1546 – Yoshiharu flees to Ōmi. The years in which Yoshiharu was shōgun are more identified by more than one era name or nengō. Daiei Kyōroku Tenbun Ackroyd, Joyce. Lessons from History: The Tokushi Yoron. Brisbane: University of Queensland Press. ISBN 9780702214851. Nihon Ōdai Ichiran. Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a preeminent daimyō, general and politician of the Sengoku period, regarded as Japan's second "great unifier". He succeeded his former liege lord, Oda Nobunaga, brought an end to the Warring Lords period; the period of his rule is called the Momoyama period, named after Hideyoshi's castle. After his death, his young son Hideyori was displaced by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Hideyoshi is noted for a number of cultural legacies, including the restriction that only members of the samurai class could bear arms, he financed the construction and rebuilding of many temples standing today in Kyoto. He is known for ordering the Japanese invasions of Korea. Little is known for certain about Hideyoshi before 1570 when he begins to appear in surviving documents and letters, his autobiography starts in 1577 but in it, Hideyoshi spoke little about his past. According to tradition, he was born in the home of the Oda clan, he was born of no traceable samurai lineage. He had no surname, his childhood given name was Hiyoshi-maru although variations exist.
Yaemon died in 1543, when Hideyoshi was 7, the younger of two children, his sibling being an older sister. Many legends describe Hideyoshi being sent to study at a temple as a young man, but he rejected temple life and went in search of adventure. Under the name Kinoshita Tōkichirō, he first joined the Imagawa clan as a servant to a local ruler named Matsushita Yukitsuna, he travelled all the way to the lands of Imagawa Yoshimoto, daimyō of Suruga Province, served there for a time, only to abscond with a sum of money entrusted to him by Matsushita Yukitsuna. In 1558, he joined the Oda clan, now headed by Oda Nobunaga, as an ashigaru, he became one of Nobunaga's sandal-bearers and was present at the Battle of Okehazama in 1560 when Nobunaga defeated Imagawa Yoshimoto to become one of the most powerful warlords in the Sengoku period. According to his biographers, he supervised the repair of Kiyosu Castle, a claim described as "apocryphal", managed the kitchen. In 1561, Hideyoshi married One, Asano Nagakatsu's adopted daughter.
He carried out repairs on Sunomata Castle with his younger brother Toyotomi Hidenaga and Hachisuka Masakatsu and Maeno Nagayasu. Hideyoshi's efforts were well received, he constructed a fort in Sunomata, according to legend overnight, discovered a secret route into Mount Inaba after which much of the garrison surrendered. Hideyoshi was successful as a negotiator. In 1564, he managed to convince with liberal bribes, a number of Mino warlords to desert the Saitō clan. Hideyoshi approached many Saitō clan samurai and convinced them to submit to Nobunaga, including the Saitō clan's strategist, Takenaka Shigeharu. Nobunaga's easy victory at Inabayama Castle in 1567 was due to Hideyoshi's efforts, despite his peasant origins, Hideyoshi became one of Nobunaga's most distinguished generals taking the name Hashiba Hideyoshi; the new surname included two characters, one each from Oda's two other right-hand men, Niwa Nagahide and Shibata Katsuie. Hideyoshi led troops in the Battle of Anegawa in 1570 in which Oda Nobunaga allied with Tokugawa Ieyasu to lay siege to two fortresses of the Azai and Asakura clans.
He participated in the 1573 Siege of Nagashima. In 1573, after victorious campaigns against the Azai and Asakura, Nobunaga appointed Hideyoshi daimyō of three districts in the northern part of Ōmi Province. Based at the former Azai headquarters in Odani, Hideyoshi moved to Kunitomo and renamed the city Nagahama in tribute to Nobunaga. Hideyoshi moved to the port at Imahama on Lake Biwa. From there he began work on Imahama Castle and took control of the nearby Kunitomo firearms factory, established some years by the Azai and Asakura. Under Hideyoshi's administration, the factory's output of firearms increased dramatically, he fought in the Battle of Nagashino. Nobunaga sent Hideyoshi to Himeji Castle to conquer the Chūgoku region from the Mori clan in 1576, he fought in the 1577 Battle of Tedorigawa, the Siege of Miki, the Siege of Itami, the 1582 Siege of Takamatsu. After the assassinations at Honnō-ji of Oda Nobunaga and his eldest son Nobutada in 1582 at the hands of Akechi Mitsuhide, seeking vengeance for the death of his beloved lord, made peace with the Mōri clan and defeated Akechi at the Battle of Yamazaki.
At a meeting at Kiyosu to decide on a successor to Nobunaga, Hideyoshi cast aside the apparent candidate, Oda Nobutaka and his advocate, Oda clan's chief general, Shibata Katsuie, by supporting Nobutada's young son, Oda Hidenobu. Having won the support of the other two Oda elders, Niwa Nagahide and Ikeda Tsuneoki, Hideyoshi established Hidenobu's position, as well as his own influence in the Oda clan. Tension escalated between Hideyoshi and Katsuie, at the Battle of Shizugatake in the following year, Hideyoshi destroyed Katsuie's forces. Hideyoshi had thus consolidated his own power, dealt with most of the Oda clan, controlled 30 provinces. In 1582, Hideyoshi began construction of Osaka Castle. Built on the site of the temple Ishiyama Hongan-ji destroyed by Nobunaga, the castle would become the last stronghold of the Toyotomi clan after Hideyoshi's death. Nobunaga's other son, Oda Nobukatsu, remained hostile to Hideyoshi, he allied himself with Tokugawa Ieyasu, the two sides fought at the inconclusive Battle of Komaki and Nagakute.
It resulted in a stalemate, although Hideyoshi's forces were delivered a
The Ashikaga shogunate known as the Muromachi shogunate, was a dynasty originating from one of the plethora of Japanese daimyō which governed Japan from 1338 to 1573, the year in which Oda Nobunaga deposed Ashikaga Yoshiaki. The heads of government were the shōgun; each was a member of the Ashikaga clan. This period is known as the Muromachi period, it gets its name from the Muromachi district of Kyoto. The third shōgun, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, established his residence on Muromachi Street; this residence, constructed in 1379, is nicknamed "Flower Palace" because of the abundance of flowers in its landscaping. During the preceding Kamakura period, the Hōjō clan enjoyed absolute power in the governing of Japan; this monopoly of power, as well as the lack of a reward of lands after the defeat of the Mongol invasions, led to simmering resentment among Hōjō vassals. In 1333, the Emperor Go-Daigo ordered local governing vassals to oppose Hōjō rule, in favor of Imperial restoration, in the Kenmu Restoration.
To counter this revolt, the Kamakura shogunate ordered Ashikaga Takauji to quash the uprising. For reasons that are unclear because Ashikaga was the de facto leader of the powerless Minamoto clan, while the Hōjō clan were from the Taira clan the Minamoto had defeated, Ashikaga turned against Kamakura, fought on behalf of the Imperial court. After the successful overthrow of the Kamakura regime in 1336, Ashikaga Takauji set up his own military government in Kyoto. After Ashikaga Takauji established himself as the shōgun, a dispute arose with Emperor Go-Daigo on the subject of how to govern the country; that dispute led Takauji to cause Prince Yutahito, the second son of Emperor Go-Fushimi, to be installed as Emperor Kōmyō. Go-Daigō fled, Japan was divided between a northern imperial court, a southern imperial court; this period of "Northern and Southern Courts" continued for 56 years, until 1392, when the South Court gave up during the reign of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. The Ashikaga shogunate was the weakest of the three Japanese military governments.
Unlike its predecessor, the Kamakura shogunate, or its successor, the Tokugawa shogunate, when Ashikaga Takauji established his government he had little personal territory with which to support his rule. The Ashikaga shogunate was thus reliant on the prestige and personal authority of its shōgun; the centralized master-vassal system used in the Kamakura system was replaced with the de-centralized daimyōs system, because of the lack of direct territories, the military power of the shōgun depended on the loyalty of the daimyō. On the other hand, the Imperial court was no longer a credible threat to military rule; the failure of the Kenmu Restoration had rendered the court weak and subservient, a situation the Ashikaga Takauji reinforced by establishing within close proximity of the Emperor at Kyoto. The authority of the local daimyō expanded from its Kamakura times. In addition to military and policing responsibilities, the shogunate appointed shugos now absorbed the justice and taxation powers of the local Imperial governors, while the government holdings in each province were absorbed into the personal holdings of the daimyō or their vassals.
The loss of both political clout and economic base deprived the Imperial court of much of its power, which were assumed by the Ashikaga shōgun. This situation reached its peak under the rule of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. After Yoshimitsu however, the structural weakness of the Ashikaga shogunate were exposed by numerous succession troubles and early deaths; this became more acute after the Ōnin War, after which the shogunate itself became reduced to little more than a local political force in Kyoto. The Ashikaga shogunate's foreign relations policy choices were played out in evolving contacts with Joseon on the Korean Peninsula and with imperial China; as the daimyō feuded among themselves in the pursuit of power in the Ōnin War, that loyalty grew strained, until it erupted into open warfare in the late Muromachi period known as the Sengoku period. When the shōgun Ashikaga Yoshiteru was assassinated in 1565, an ambitious daimyō, Oda Nobunaga, seized the opportunity and installed Yoshiteru's brother Yoshiaki as the 15th Ashikaga shōgun.
However, Yoshiaki was only a puppet of Nobunaga. The Ashikaga shogunate was destroyed in 1573 when Nobunaga drove Ashikaga Yoshiaki out of Kyoto. Yoshiaki fled to Shikoku. Afterwards, he received protection from the Mōri clan in western Japan. Toyotomi Hideyoshi requested that Yoshiaki accept him as an adopted son and the 16th Ashikaga shōgun, but Yoshiaki refused; the Ashikaga family survived the 16th century, a branch of it became the daimyō family of the Kitsuregawa domain. The shogunal residence known as the "Flower Palace", was in Kyoto on the block now bounded by Karasuma Street, Imadegawa Street, Muromachi Street, Kamidachiuri Street; the location is commemorated by a stone marker at the southwest corner, the Kanbai-kan of Dōshisha University contains relics and excavations of the area. Ashikaga Takauji, ruled 1338–1357 Ashikaga Yoshiakira, r. 1359–1368 Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, r. 1368–1394 Ashikaga Yoshimochi, r. 1395–1423 Ashikaga Yoshikazu, r. 1423–1425 Ashikaga Yoshinori, r. 1429–1441 Ashikaga Yoshikatsu, r.
1442–1443 Ashikaga Yoshimasa, r. 1449–1473 Ashikaga Yoshihisa, r. 1474–1489 Ashikaga Yoshitane, r. 1490–1493, 1508–1521 Ashikaga Yoshizumi, r. 1494–1508 Ashikaga Yoshiharu, r. 1521–1546 Ashikaga Yoshiteru
Seppuku, sometimes referred to as harakiri, is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. It was reserved for samurai, but was practiced by other Japanese people on to restore honor for themselves or for their families. A samurai practice, seppuku was used either voluntarily by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies, as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offenses, or performed because they had brought shame to themselves; the ceremonial disembowelment, part of a more elaborate ritual and performed in front of spectators, consists of plunging a short blade, traditionally a tantō, into the belly and drawing the blade from left to right, slicing the belly open. If the cut is performed enough it can sever the descending aorta, causing a rapid death by blood loss; the term "seppuku" is derived from the two Sino-Japanese roots setsu 切 and puku 腹. It is known as harakiri. Harakiri is in reverse order with an okurigana. In Japanese, the more formal seppuku, a Chinese on'yomi reading, is used in writing, while harakiri, a native kun'yomi reading, is used in speech.
Ross notes, It is pointed out that hara-kiri is a vulgarism, but this is a misunderstanding. Hara-kiri is Kun-yomi of the characters. So hara-kiri is a spoken term, but only to commoners and seppuku a written term, but spoken amongst higher classes for the same act; the practice of performing seppuku at the death of one's master, known as oibara or tsuifuku, follows a similar ritual. The word jigai means "suicide" in Japanese; the modern word for suicide is jisatsu. In some popular western texts, such as martial arts magazines, the term is associated with suicide of samurai wives; the term was introduced into English by Lafcadio Hearn in his Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation, an understanding which has since been translated into Japanese. Joshua S. Mostow notes that Hearn misunderstood the term jigai to be the female equivalent of seppuku; the first recorded act of seppuku was performed by Minamoto no Yorimasa during the Battle of Uji in the year 1180. Seppuku was used by warriors to avoid falling into enemy hands, to attenuate shame and avoid possible torture.
Samurai could be ordered by their daimyō to carry out seppuku. Disgraced warriors were sometimes allowed to carry out seppuku rather than be executed in the normal manner; the most common form of seppuku for men was composed of the cutting of the abdomen, when the samurai was finished, he stretched out his neck for an assistant to sever his spinal cord. It was the assistant's job to decapitate the samurai in one swing, otherwise it would bring great shame to the assistant and his family; those who did not belong to the samurai caste were never expected to carry out seppuku. Samurai could carry out the act only with permission. Sometimes a daimyō was called upon to perform seppuku as the basis of a peace agreement; this weakened the defeated clan so that resistance ceased. Toyotomi Hideyoshi used an enemy's suicide in this way on several occasions, the most dramatic of which ended a dynasty of daimyōs; when the Hōjō were defeated at Odawara in 1590, Hideyoshi insisted on the suicide of the retired daimyō Hōjō Ujimasa, the exile of his son Ujinao.
The practice was not standardised until the 17th century. In the 12th and 13th centuries, such as with the seppuku of Minamoto no Yorimasa, the practice of a kaishakunin had not yet emerged, thus the rite was considered far more painful. Seppuku's defining characteristic was plunging either the tachi, wakizashi or tantō into the gut and slicing the abdomen horizontally. In the absence of a kaishakunin, the samurai would remove the blade, stab himself in the throat, or fall with the blade positioned against his heart. During the Edo Period, carrying out seppuku came to involve a detailed ritual; this was performed in front of spectators if it was a planned seppuku, not one performed on a battlefield. A samurai was bathed, dressed in white robes, served his favorite foods for a last meal; when he had finished, the knife and cloth were given to the warrior. Dressed ceremonially, with his sword placed in front of him and sometimes seated on special clothes, the warrior would prepare for death by writing a death poem.
He would be dressed in the shini-shōzoku, a white kimono worn for death. With his selected kaishakunin standing by, he would open his kimono, take up his tantō or wakizashi —which the samurai held by the blade with a portion of cloth wrapped around so that it would not cut his hand and cause him to lose his grip—and plunge it into his abdomen, making a left-to-right cut. Prior to this, he would consume an important ceremonial drink of sake, he would give his attendant a cup meant for sake. The kaishakunin would perform kaishaku, a cut in which the warrio