Shogun is a military rank and historical title for Hereditary Commanders and Chief of the armed forces in Japan.As a title, it is the short form of shogun's office or administration is known in English as a "shogunate". In Japanese it was known as bakufu which literally means "tent office", and originally meant "house of the general", and later also suggested a private government. Bakufu could also mean "tent government" and was the way the government was run under a shogun. The tent symbolized the field commander but also denoted that such an office was meant to be temporary. The shogun's officials were as a collective the bakufu, and were those who carried out the actual duties of administration while the Imperial court retained only nominal authority.

History Edit

Heian Period (794–1185) Edit

Originally, the title seii taishōgun was given to military commanders for the campaign against the Emishi in the early Heian Period. The Emishi resisted the Imperial court based in Kyoto. The most famous of these shogun was Sakanoue no Tamuramaro who conquered the Emishi in the name of Emperor Kammu. Eventually, the title was abandoned in the later Heian period after the Ainu had been either subjugated or driven to Hokkaidō.

In the later Heian, one more shogun was appointed. Minamoto no Yoshinaka was named sei-i taishōgun during the Gempei War only to be killed shortly thereafter by Minamoto no Yoshitsune.

The samurai had their first uses under the shogun, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, though they weren't know as 'samurai'.


the most powerful families, the Taria 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 certain powers 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 Emperors and the aristocracy in Kyoto remained the de jure(and in many ways de facto) 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 shogun at the head became known as a shogunate.Yoritomo's wife's family, the Hōjō, seized the power from the Kamakura shoguns. When Yoritomo's sons and heirs were assassinated, the shogun became a hereditary figurehead. Real power rested with the Hōjō regents. The Kamakura shogunate lasted for almost 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 1331 was unsuccessful, but weakened the shogunate significantly and led to its eventual downfall. Kemmu restoration (1333–1336)The end of the Kamakura shogunate came when Kamakura fell in 1333 and the Hojo Regency was destroyed. After this two families, Go-Saga the senior line, and Go-Daigo the junior line, 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 the Go-Daigo line refused to alternate with the Go-Saga line. As a result the Go-Daigo was exiled. Around 1334-1336 Ashikaga Takauji helped the Go-Daigo line regain the throne.Ashikaga ShogunateIn 1338 Ahikaga Takauji, like Yoritomo a descendant of the Minamoto princes, was awarded the title of sei-i taishōgun and established the ashikaga shogunate.The Ashikaga had their headquarters in the Muromachi district of Kyoto, and the time period during which they ruled is also known as the Muromachi Period.Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867)The longest of the shogunates was the Tokugawa's. Started by Tokugawa Ieyasu who seized power in Edo (now Tokyo), and established a government in 1600, Ieyasu earned 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 with the fall abdigation to the emperor, and the fall of the samurai.

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