The yen is the official currency of Japan. It is the third most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar and the euro, it is widely used as a reserve currency after the U. S. dollar, the euro, the pound sterling. The concept of the yen was a component of the Meiji government's modernization program of Japan's economy. Before the Meiji Restoration, Japan's feudal fiefs all issued their own money, hansatsu, in an array of incompatible denominations; the New Currency Act of 1871 did away with these and established the yen, defined as 1.5 g of gold, or 24.26 g of silver, as the new decimal currency. The former han became prefectures and their mints private chartered banks, which retained the right to print money. To bring an end to this situation the Bank of Japan was founded in 1882 and given a monopoly on controlling the money supply. Following World War II the yen lost much of its prewar value. To stabilize the Japanese economy the exchange rate of the yen was fixed at ¥360 per $1 as part of the Bretton Woods system.
When that system was abandoned in 1971, the yen was allowed to float. The yen had appreciated to a peak of ¥271 per $1 in 1973 underwent periods of depreciation and appreciation due to the 1973 oil crisis, arriving at a value of ¥227 per $1 by 1980. Since 1973, the Japanese government has maintained a policy of currency intervention, the yen is therefore under a "dirty float" regime; this intervention continues to this day. The Japanese government focuses on a competitive export market, tries to ensure a low yen value through a trade surplus; the Plaza Accord of 1985 temporarily changed this situation from its average of ¥239 per US$1 in 1985 to ¥128 in 1988 and led to a peak value of ¥80 against the U. S. dollar in 1995 increasing the value of Japan’s GDP to that of the United States. Since that time, the yen has decreased in value; the Bank of Japan maintains a policy of zero to near-zero interest rates and the Japanese government has had a strict anti-inflation policy. Yen derives from the Japanese word 圓, which borrows its phonetic reading from Chinese yuan, similar to North Korean won and South Korean won.
The Chinese had traded silver in mass called sycees and when Spanish and Mexican silver coins arrived, the Chinese called them "silver rounds" for their circular shapes. The coins and the name appeared in Japan. While the Chinese replaced 圓 with 元, the Japanese continued to use the same word, given the shinjitai form 円 in reforms at the end of World War II; the spelling and pronunciation "yen" is standard in English. This is because when Japan was first encountered by Europeans around the 16th century, Japanese /e/ and /we/ both had been pronounced and Portuguese missionaries had spelled them "ye"; some time thereafter, by the middle of the 18th century, /e/ and /we/ came to be pronounced as in modern Japanese, although some regions retain the pronunciation. Walter Henry Medhurst, who had neither been to Japan nor met any Japanese, having consulted a Japanese-Dutch dictionary, spelled some "e"s as "ye" in his An English and Japanese, Japanese and English Vocabulary. In the early Meiji era, James Curtis Hepburn, following Medhurst, spelled all "e"s as "ye" in his A Japanese and English dictionary.
That was the first full-scale Japanese-English/English-Japanese dictionary, which had a strong influence on Westerners in Japan and prompted the spelling "yen". Hepburn revised most "ye"s to "e" in the 3rd edition in order to mirror the contemporary pronunciation, except "yen"; this was already fixed and has remained so since. In the 19th century, silver Spanish dollar coins were common throughout Southeast Asia, the China coast, Japan; these coins had been introduced through Manila over a period of two hundred and fifty years, arriving on ships from Acapulco in Mexico. These ships were known as the Manila galleons; until the 19th century, these silver dollar coins were actual Spanish dollars minted in the new world at Mexico City. But from the 1840s, they were replaced by silver dollars of the new Latin American republics. In the half of the 19th century, some local coins in the region were made in the resemblance of the Mexican peso; the first of these local silver coins was the Hong Kong silver dollar coin, minted in Hong Kong between the years 1866 and 1869.
The Chinese were slow to accept unfamiliar coinage and preferred the familiar Mexican dollars, so the Hong Kong government ceased minting these coins and sold the mint machinery to Japan. The Japanese decided to adopt a silver dollar coinage under the name of'yen', meaning'a round object'; the yen was adopted by the Meiji government in an Act signed on June 27, 1871. The new currency was introduced beginning from July of that year; the yen was therefore a dollar unit, like all dollars, descended from the Spanish Pieces of eight, up until the year 1873, all the dollars in the world had more or less the same value. The yen replaced a complex monetary system of the Edo period based on the mon.. The New Currency Act of 1871, stipulated the adoption of the decimal accounting system of yen and rin, with the coins being round and manufactured using Western machinery; the yen
Japanese currency has a history covering the period from the 8th century to the present. After the traditional usage of rice as currency medium, Japan's currency was characterized by an early adoption of currency systems and designs from China before developing a separate system of its own. Before the advent of the 7-8th century CE, Japan used commodity money for its exchanges, it consisted of material, compact transportable and had a recognized value. Commodity money was a great improvement over simple barter, in which commodities were exchanged against others. Ideally, commodity money had to be accepted portable and storable, combined and divided in order to correspond to different values; the main items of commodity money in Japan were rice grains and gold powder. This contrasted somewhat with countries like China, where one of the most important item of commodity money came from the Southern seas: shells. Since however, the shell has become a symbol for money in many Chinese and Japanese ideograms.
The earliest coins to reach Japan were Chinese Ban Liang and Wu Zhu coins as well as the coins produced by Wang Mang during the first centuries of the first millennium, these coins have been excavated all over Japan but as Japan's economy wasn't sufficiently developed at the time it is likely that these coins were more to be used as precious objects rather than a means of exchange as rice and cloth served as the main currency of Japan at the time. The first coins produced in Japan are called the mumonginsen and the copper alloy Fuhonsen which were all introduced in the late seventh century, these currencies were based on the Chinese system and were therefore based on the Chinese units of measurement. In modern times the usage of Fuhonsen has been interpreted as charms rather than currency but recent discoveries have uncovered that these copper coins were in fact the first government-made coinage of Japan. Japan's first formal currency system was the Kōchōsen, it was exemplified by the adoption of the Wadōkaichin.
It was first minted in 708 CE on order of Japan's 43rd Imperial ruler. "Wadōkaichin" is the reading of the four characters printed on the coin, is thought to be composed of the era name Wadō, which could alternatively mean "happiness", "Kaichin", thought to be related to "Currency". The pronunciation of "Kaichin" sounds similar to "happiness" in Chinese "开心"; this coinage was inspired by the Tang coinage named Kaigentsūhō, first minted in Chang'an in 621 CE. The Wadokaichin had the same specifications as the Chinese coin, with a diameter of 2.4 cm and a weight of 3.75g. The main items of commodity money in Japan were arrowheads, rice grains, gold powder, as well as hemp cloth; this contrasted somewhat with countries like China, where one of the important items of commodity money came from the Southern seas: shells. Since however, the shell has become a symbol for money in many Japanese ideograms. Japan's contacts with the Chinese mainland became intense during the Tang period, with many exchanges and cultural imports occurring.
The first Japanese embassy to China is recorded to have been sent in 630, following with Japan, who adopted numerous Chinese cultural practices. The importance of metallic currency appeared to Japanese nobles leading to some coin minting at the end of the 7th century, such as the Tomimotosen coinage, discovered in 1998 through archaeological research in the area of Nara. An entry of the Nihon Shoki dated April 15, 683 mentions: "From now on, copper coins should be used, but silver coins should not be used", thought to order the adoption of the Tomimotosen copper coins; the first official coinage was struck in 708. The Wadōkaichin soon became debased, as the government issued coins with progressively lesser metallic content, local imitations thrived. In 760, a reform was put in place, in which a new copper coin called Mannentsūhō was worth 10 times the value of the former Wadōkaichin, with a new silver coin named Taiheigenbō with a value of 10 copper coins, as well as a new gold coin named Kaikishōhō with a value of 10 silver coins.
Silver minting was soon abandoned however. A variety of coin types are known, altogether 12 types, including one coin type in gold; the Kōchōsen Japanese system of coinage became debased, with its metallic content and value decreasing. By the middle of the 9th century, the value of a coin in rice had fallen to 1/150th of its value of the early 8th century. By the end of the 10th century, compounded with weaknesses in the political system, this led to the abandonment of the national currency, with the return to rice as a currency medium; the last official Japanese coin emission occurred in 958, with low quality coins called Kangendaihō, which soon fell into disuse. The last Kōchōsen coins produced after the Wadōkaichin include: From the 12th century, the expansion of trade and barter again highlighted the need for a currency. Chinese coinage came to be used as the standard currency of Japan, for a period lasting from the 12th to the 17th century. Coins were obtained from China through "Wakō" piracy.
Coins were imported from Annam and Korea. As the Chinese coins were not in sufficient number as trade and economy expanded, local Japanese imitations of Chinese coins were made from the 14th century imitations of Ming coins, with inscribed nam
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The protein fiber of silk is composed of fibroin and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons; the best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity. The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fibre, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles, thus producing different colors. Silk is produced by several insects. There has been some research into other types of silk. Silk is produced by the larvae of insects undergoing complete metamorphosis, but some insects, such as webspinners and raspy crickets, produce silk throughout their lives. Silk production occurs in Hymenoptera, mayflies, leafhoppers, lacewings, fleas and midges. Other types of arthropods produce most notably various arachnids, such as spiders; the word silk comes from Old English: sioloc, from Ancient Greek: σηρικός, translit.
Sērikós, "silken" from an Asian source — compare Mandarin sī "silk", Manchurian sirghe, Mongolian sirkek. Several kinds of wild silk, which are produced by caterpillars other than the mulberry silkworm, have been known and used in China, South Asia, Europe since ancient times. However, the scale of production was always far smaller than for cultivated silks. There are several reasons for this: first, they differ from the domesticated varieties in colour and texture and are therefore less uniform. Thus, the only way to obtain silk suitable for spinning into textiles in areas where commercial silks are not cultivated was by tedious and labor-intensive carding. Commercial silks originate from reared silkworm pupae, which are bred to produce a white-colored silk thread with no mineral on the surface; the pupae are killed by either dipping them in boiling water before the adult moths emerge or by piercing them with a needle. These factors all contribute to the ability of the whole cocoon to be unravelled as one continuous thread, permitting a much stronger cloth to be woven from the silk.
Wild silks tend to be more difficult to dye than silk from the cultivated silkworm. A technique known as demineralizing allows the mineral layer around the cocoon of wild silk moths to be removed, leaving only variability in color as a barrier to creating a commercial silk industry based on wild silks in the parts of the world where wild silk moths thrive, such as in Africa and South America. Silk was first developed in ancient China; the earliest example of silk has been found in tombs at the neolithic site Jiahu in Henan, dates back 8,500 years. Silk fabric from 3630 BC was used as wrapping for the body of a child from a Yangshao culture site in Qingtaicun at Xingyang, Henan. Legend gives credit for developing silk to Leizu. Silks were reserved for the Emperors of China for their own use and gifts to others, but spread through Chinese culture and trade both geographically and and to many regions of Asia; because of its texture and lustre, silk became a popular luxury fabric in the many areas accessible to Chinese merchants.
Silk was in great demand, became a staple of pre-industrial international trade. In July 2007, archaeologists discovered intricately woven and dyed silk textiles in a tomb in Jiangxi province, dated to the Eastern Zhou Dynasty 2,500 years ago. Although historians have suspected a long history of a formative textile industry in ancient China, this find of silk textiles employing "complicated techniques" of weaving and dyeing provides direct evidence for silks dating before the Mawangdui-discovery and other silks dating to the Han Dynasty. Silk is described in a chapter of the Fan Shengzhi shu from the Western Han. There is a surviving calendar for silk production in an Eastern Han document; the two other known works on silk from the Han period are lost. The first evidence of the long distance silk trade is the finding of silk in the hair of an Egyptian mummy of the 21st dynasty, c.1070 BC. The silk trade reached as far as the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and North Africa; this trade was so extensive that the major set of trade routes between Europe and Asia came to be known as the Silk Road.
The Emperors of China strove to keep knowledge of sericulture secret to maintain the Chinese monopoly. Nonetheless sericulture reached Korea with technological aid from China around 200 BC, the ancient Kingdom of Khotan by AD 50, India by AD 140. In the ancient era, silk from China was the most lucrative and sought-after luxury item traded across the Eurasian continent, many civilizations, such as the ancient Persians, benefited economically from trade. Chinese silk making process Silk has a long history in India, it is known as Resham in eastern and north India, Pattu in southern parts of India. Recent archaeological discoveries in Harappa and Chanhu-daro suggest that sericulture, employing wild silk threads from native silkworm species, existed in South Asia during the time of the Indus Valley Civilization dating between 2450 BC and 2000 BC, while "hard and fast evidence" for silk production in China dates back to around 2570 BC. Shelagh Vainker, a s
An alloy is a combination of metals and of a metal or another element. Alloys are defined by a metallic bonding character. An alloy may be a mixture of metallic phases. Intermetallic compounds are alloys with a defined crystal structure. Zintl phases are sometimes considered alloys depending on bond types. Alloys are used in a wide variety of applications. In some cases, a combination of metals may reduce the overall cost of the material while preserving important properties. In other cases, the combination of metals imparts synergistic properties to the constituent metal elements such as corrosion resistance or mechanical strength. Examples of alloys are steel, brass, duralumin and amalgams; the alloy constituents are measured by mass percentage for practical applications, in atomic fraction for basic science studies. Alloys are classified as substitutional or interstitial alloys, depending on the atomic arrangement that forms the alloy, they can be heterogeneous or intermetallic. An alloy is a mixture of chemical elements, which forms an impure substance that retains the characteristics of a metal.
An alloy is distinct from an impure metal in that, with an alloy, the added elements are well controlled to produce desirable properties, while impure metals such as wrought iron are less controlled, but are considered useful. Alloys are made by mixing two or more elements, at least one of, a metal; this is called the primary metal or the base metal, the name of this metal may be the name of the alloy. The other constituents may or may not be metals but, when mixed with the molten base, they will be soluble and dissolve into the mixture; the mechanical properties of alloys will be quite different from those of its individual constituents. A metal, very soft, such as aluminium, can be altered by alloying it with another soft metal, such as copper. Although both metals are soft and ductile, the resulting aluminium alloy will have much greater strength. Adding a small amount of non-metallic carbon to iron trades its great ductility for the greater strength of an alloy called steel. Due to its very-high strength, but still substantial toughness, its ability to be altered by heat treatment, steel is one of the most useful and common alloys in modern use.
By adding chromium to steel, its resistance to corrosion can be enhanced, creating stainless steel, while adding silicon will alter its electrical characteristics, producing silicon steel. Like oil and water, a molten metal may not always mix with another element. For example, pure iron is completely insoluble with copper; when the constituents are soluble, each will have a saturation point, beyond which no more of the constituent can be added. Iron, for example, can hold a maximum of 6.67% carbon. Although the elements of an alloy must be soluble in the liquid state, they may not always be soluble in the solid state. If the metals remain soluble when solid, the alloy forms a solid solution, becoming a homogeneous structure consisting of identical crystals, called a phase. If as the mixture cools the constituents become insoluble, they may separate to form two or more different types of crystals, creating a heterogeneous microstructure of different phases, some with more of one constituent than the other phase has.
However, in other alloys, the insoluble elements may not separate until after crystallization occurs. If cooled quickly, they first crystallize as a homogeneous phase, but they are supersaturated with the secondary constituents; as time passes, the atoms of these supersaturated alloys can separate from the crystal lattice, becoming more stable, form a second phase that serve to reinforce the crystals internally. Some alloys, such as electrum, an alloy consisting of silver and gold, occur naturally. Meteorites are sometimes made of occurring alloys of iron and nickel, but are not native to the Earth. One of the first alloys made by humans was bronze, a mixture of the metals tin and copper. Bronze was an useful alloy to the ancients, because it is much stronger and harder than either of its components. Steel was another common alloy. However, in ancient times, it could only be created as an accidental byproduct from the heating of iron ore in fires during the manufacture of iron. Other ancient alloys include pewter and pig iron.
In the modern age, steel can be created in many forms. Carbon steel can be made by varying only the carbon content, producing soft alloys like mild steel or hard alloys like spring steel. Alloy steels can be made by adding other elements, such as chromium, vanadium or nickel, resulting in alloys such as high-speed steel or tool steel. Small amounts of manganese are alloyed with most modern steels because of its ability to remove unwanted impurities, like phosphorus and oxygen, which can have detrimental effects on the alloy. However, most alloys were not created until the 1900s, such as various aluminium, titanium and magnesium alloys; some modern superalloys, such as incoloy and hastelloy, may consist of a multitude of different elements. As a noun, the term alloy is used to describe a mixture of atoms in which the primary constituent is a metal; when used as a verb, the term refers to the act of mixing a metal with other elements. The primary metal is called the matrix, or the solvent; the secondary constituents are called s
Toi gold mine
The Toi gold mine was an important gold mine of Japan, located within the city of Toi, Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture. Small-scale gold mining is said to have started at Toi around 1370 during the period of the Ashikaga Bakufu; the gold mine was operated on a large scale from the time of Tokugawa Ieyasu in the late 16th century. Several mines were open in 1577, but Tokugawa Ieyasu endeavored to their development from 1601, he put the exploitation of the mine under the responsibility of Gold Mine Minister Ōkubo. Toi was one of several goldmines of the Izu Peninsula, such as Yugashima or Nawaji, totaling about 60 gold mines in Izu alone; the gold and silver produced by these mines permitted the production of Tokugawa coinage, allowed for the prosperity of the Tokugawa. The city of Toi itself became prosperous, with numerous trades flooding in to service the workers and the administration at the gold mine, so that Toi became known as "Toi Sengen"; the mine became less productive. Workers were killed because of the exhausting conditions due to seeping hot springs, poor oxygen content of air, leading to the installation of water pumps and ventilators at numerous intervals.
In 1917, gold was again discovered at the mine, exploitation continued under the company Toi Kinzan KK. In 1931, the mine entered Sumitomo Group, passed under Toi Kōgyō KK in 1942; the mine was closed in 1965 and reopened for tourism. Toi was the second most productive gold mine in Japan, after the gold mine of Sado in Niigata Prefecture. During its period of exploitation, it produced in total 40 tons of gold and 400 tons of silver, whereas Sado produced as much as 80 tons of gold. One ton of rock would produce in average 5 to 10 grams of gold, although 30 grams ore was common, some rock has yielded as much as 600 g of gold per ton; the galleries of the mine total about 100 kilometers in length, over a surface of 37 hectares, go as deep as 180 meters below sea level. The area visible for tourism is about 350m long, goes about 150 meters deep into mountain rock; the mine is now open for visits, has become a tourist attraction. A "Shrine of the mine gods" is visible inside the galleries; the Toi Gold Museum has been built nearby, which describes the history of the mine and gold mining in Japan.
The museum received some fame for housing the world's largest gold bar, weighing 250 kg, representing a value of about $14.7 million in January 2012. The bar obtained an official Guinness record certificate for "The largest manufactured pure gold bar": "The largest manufactured pure gold bar weighs 250 kg and was made by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation on 11 June 2005 at the Naoshima Smelter and Refinery, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan"
Japanese mon (currency)
The mon was the currency of Japan from the Muromachi period in 1336 until the early Meiji period in 1870. It co-circulated with the new sen until 1891; the Kanji for mon is 文 and the character for currency was used in the Chinese-character cultural sphere, e.g. Chinese wen, Korean mun. Throughout Japanese history, there were many different styles of currency of many shapes, designs and materials, including gold, bronze, etc. Coins denominated in mon were cast in copper or iron and circulated alongside silver and gold ingots denominated in shu, bu and ryō, with 4000 mon = 16 shu = 4 bu = 1 ryo. In 1869, due to depreciation against gold, the new fixing was set for 1 ryo/yen = equal to 10.000 mon. The yen started to replace the old duodecimal denominations in 1870: in 3rd quarter of 1870, the first new coins appeared, namely 5, 10, 50 sen silver and 2, 5, 10, 20 Yen. Smaller sen coins did not appear before spring, 1873. So the mon coins remained a necessity for ordinary peoples commodities and were allowed to circulate until 1891.12.31.
Only from Jan. 1, 1954 onward the mon became invalid: postwar inflation had removed sen, mon etc. denominations smaller than 1 Yen. Due to the missing small coinage, the Japanese posts e.g. issued their first stamps in mon and fixed postal rates in mon until April, 1872. During the co-existence of the mon with the sen between 1870 and 1891, the metal content of the old currency became important. Official exchange for coins from 1871.6.27: 4 copper mon = 2 rin, 1 bronze mon = 1 rin. So while not all mon were valued their metal kind counted after the transition to decimal sen: bronze was valued more than copper; the first physical rin denomination was introduced 1873 with the 1 rin coin, as until that time the rin had existed only as an accounting unit. The most current coin, the Tempō Tsūhō was valued at only 8 rin in that sen period. Though the production of copper and gold coins had started in the eighth century, they weren’t used as a medium for exchange until when the Japanese started importing Chinese coins, which replaced the Japanese barter economy.
As internal trade grew due to agricultural and handicraft developments, the people started preferring coinage over barter, leading to a growth of demand in copper coins. The Southern Song dynasty prohibited the export of its coinage in 1179 due to its problem with the outflow of currency, but shiploads of Chinese coins would still enter Japan annually through Ningbo. Since the trade had begun with Japan, they received payment in Chinese coins for Japanese goods, they stopped minting their own copper coinage until 1587; the Ashikaga shogunate imported Kōbu Tsūhō, Eiraku Tsūhō, Katei Tsūhō from the Ming dynasty, which they referred to as Toraisen or Minsen, but the high demand for copper coinage inspired local and private production of copper coins. An example of a Shichūsen used for trade with China and the Ryukyu Kingdom would be a Kōbu Tsūhō coin minted by Satsuma domain which included the character “治” on the reverse indicating that it was minted at the town of Kajiki, while still using the inscription of the Hongwu Emperor of Ming China.
Some Shichūsen would bear the inscriptions of coins from the Song dynasty, although it was not uncommon for many coins to be recasts and copies of older Song and Ming dynasty coins in the form of Iutsushi or by adding extra carvings on existing circulating Chinese coins. Bitasen refers to the Shichūsen coinage produced in Japan by the nobility and private local mints, not by the imperial government or before the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate which were poor in appearance, as well as damaged and worn out imported Chinese coins. Over time these coins would become damaged, this made sellers more discriminating in what coins they would accept at face value accepting them only at ¼ of a good quality coin. Though Chinese coins would continue to circulate in Eastern Japan, the confusion and chaos caused by the Bitasen coinage caused rice to replace copper coinage in Western Japan. From 1608 onwards it was illegal to pay with Bitasen, the shogunate opened more mines for the production of copper and gold coinages.
Despite this, Bitasen continued to circulate within Japan, but from 1670 the Eiraku Tsūhō was prohibited from circulation and depreciated in favour of the Kan'ei Tsūhō. In 1636, the Kan'ei Tsūhō coin was introduced by the government of the Tokugawa shogunate as a means to standardise copper coins and keep up a sufficient supply of copper coinage, being the first government minted copper coin in 700 years, despite this however they were introduced in the Mito domain 10 years prior during the 3rd year of the Kan'ei era; these coins would become the daily currency of the common people and would be used for small payments. Due to the isolationist policies of the Tokugawa shogunate the outflow of currency halted and Kan'ei Tsūhō coins would continue to stay the main coin circulating in Japan, Kan'ei Tsūhō were minted for 230 years despite the fact that the Kan’ei era ended in 1643, Kan'ei Tsūhō coins would continue to bear the Kan’ei legend when a new denomination of the coin was introduced a century though they weren’t all uniform as the shogunate outsourced the mintage to regional and local merchants who would cast them at varying weights and sizes, as well as having local mint marks, by the 1650s 16 private mints were opened for the production of Kan'ei Tsūhō coins all over Jap
The Shōgun was the military dictator of Japan during the period from 1185 to 1868. The shogunate was their government. In most of this period, the shōguns were the de facto rulers of the country, although nominally they were appointed by the Emperor as a ceremonial formality; the shōguns held absolute power over territories through military means. An unusual situation occurred in the Kamakura period upon the death of the first shōgun, whereby the Hōjō clan's hereditary titles of shikken and tokusō dominated the shogunate as dictatorial positions, collectively known as the Regent Rule; the shōguns during this 134-year period met the same fate as the Emperor and were reduced to figurehead status until a coup d'état in 1333, when the shōgun was restored to power in the name of the Emperor. Shōgun is the short form of Sei-i Taishōgun, the individual governing the country at various times in the history of Japan, ending when Tokugawa Yoshinobu relinquished the office to Emperor Meiji in 1867; the tent symbolized the field commander but denoted that such an office was meant to be temporary.
The shōgun's officials were collectively the bakufu, were those who carried out the actual duties of administration, while the imperial court retained only nominal authority. In this context, the office of the shōgun had a status equivalent to that of a viceroy or governor-general, but in reality, shōguns dictated orders to everyone including the reigning Emperor. In contemporary terms, the role of the shōgun was equivalent to that of a generalissimo; the title of Sei-i Taishōgun was given to military commanders during the early Heian period for the duration of military campaigns against the Emishi, who resisted the governance of the Kyoto-based imperial court. Ōtomo no Otomaro was the first Sei-i Taishōgun. The most famous of these shōguns was Sakanoue no Tamuramaro. In the Heian period, one more shōgun was appointed. Minamoto no Yoshinaka was named sei-i taishōgun during the Genpei War, only to be killed shortly thereafter by Minamoto no Yoshitsune. In the early 11th century, daimyō protected by samurai came to dominate internal Japanese politics.
Two of the most powerful families – the Taira and Minamoto – fought for control over the declining imperial court. The Taira family seized control from 1160 to 1185, but was defeated by the Minamoto in the Battle of Dan-no-ura. Minamoto no Yoritomo seized power from the central government and aristocracy and established a feudal system based in Kamakura in which the private military, the samurai, gained some political powers while the Emperor and the aristocracy remained the de jure rulers. In 1192, Yoritomo was awarded the title of Sei-i Taishōgun by the Emperor and the political system he developed with a succession of shōguns as the head became known as a shogunate. Yoritomo's wife's family, the Hōjō, seized power from the Kamakura shōguns; when Yoritomo's sons and heirs were assassinated, the shōgun himself became a hereditary figurehead. Real power rested with the Hōjō regents; the Kamakura shogunate lasted for 150 years, from 1192 to 1333. In 1274 and 1281, the Mongol Empire launched invasions against Japan.
An attempt by Emperor Go-Daigo to restore imperial rule in the Kenmu Restoration in 1331 was unsuccessful, but weakened the shogunate and led to its eventual downfall. The end of the Kamakura shogunate came when Kamakura fell in 1333, the Hōjō Regency was destroyed. Two imperial families – the senior Northern Court and the junior Southern Court – had a claim to the throne; the problem was solved with the intercession of the Kamakura shogunate, who had the two lines alternate. This lasted until 1331, when Emperor Go-Daigo tried to overthrow the shogunate to stop the alternation; as a result, Daigo was exiled. Around 1334 -- 1336, Ashikaga Takauji helped; the fight against the shogunate left the Emperor with too many people claiming a limited supply of land. Takauji turned against the Emperor when the discontent about the distribution of land grew great enough. In 1336 Daigo was banished again, in favor of a new Emperor. During the Kenmu Restoration, after the fall of the Kamakura shogunate in 1333, another short-lived shōgun arose.
Prince Moriyoshi, son of Go-Daigo, was awarded the title of Sei-i Taishōgun. However, Prince Moriyoshi was put under house arrest and, in 1335, killed by Ashikaga Tadayoshi. In 1338, Ashikaga Takauji, like Minamoto no Yoritomo, a descendant of the Minamoto princes, was awarded the title of sei-i taishōgun and established the Ashikaga shogunate, which lasted until 1573; the Ashikaga had their headquarters in the Muromachi district of Kyoto, the time during which they ruled is known as the Muromachi period. While the title of Shōgun went into abeyance due to technical reasons, Oda Nobunaga and his successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who obtained the position of Imperial Regent, gained far greater power than any of their predecessors had. Hideyoshi is considered by many historians to be among Japan's greatest rulers. Tokugawa Ieyasu seized power and established a government at Edo in 1600, he received the title sei-i taishōgun in 1603, after he forged a family tree to show he was of Minamoto descent.
The Tokugawa shogunate lasted until 1867, when Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned as shōgun and abdicated his authority to Emperor Meiji. Ieyasu set a precedent in 1605 when he retired as shōgun in favour of his son Tokugawa Hidetada, though he maintained power from b