The word "shogun" is a title that was granted by the Emperor to the country's top military commander. During the Heian period the members of the military gradually became more powerful than the court officials, and eventually they took control of the whole government. In , a military leader called Minamoto Yoritomo had the Emperor appoint him shogun; he set up his own capital in Kamakura, far to the east of the Emperor's capital in Kyoto, near present-day Tokyo. For almost years after that, Japan was ruled mainly by a succession of shoguns, whose titles were usually passed on from father to son. Sometimes the shogun's family would become weak, and a rebel leader would seize power from them, after which he would be named shogun and would start a new ruling family.
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Shogun was the name given to the title for a military commander or general in ancient Japan, between the 8th and 12th centuries, leading vast armies. This state of affairs would continue until when the Emperor once again became the leader of Japan. The word "shogun" was first used during the Heian Period from to Military commanders at that time were called "Sei-i Taishogun," which can be translated roughly as "commander-in-chief of expeditions against the barbarians. The Japanese at this time was fighting to wrest land away from the Emishi people and from the Ainu, who were driven to the cold northern island of Hokkaido. The first Sei-i Taishogun was Otomo no Otomaro. The best known was Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, who subjugated the Emishi during the reign of Emperor Kanmu. Once the Emishi and the Ainu were defeated, the Heian court dropped the title. By the early 11th century, politics in Japan were getting complicated and violent once more.
The title was first used during the Heian period , when it was occasionally bestowed on a general after a successful campaign. In Minamoto Yoritomo gained military control of Japan; seven years later he assumed the title of shogun and formed the first bakufu , or shogunate see Kamakura period. Ashikaga Takauji received the title of shogun in and established the Ashikaga shogunate see Muromachi period , but his successors enjoyed even less control over Japan than had the Kamakura shoguns, and the country gradually fell into civil war. Since the title of shogun ultimately came from the emperor , he became a rallying point for those who brought down the shogunate in the Meiji Restoration. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback.
Japanese military leaders who ruled the country from the twelfth to the nineteenth centuries. There was still an emperor in Japan under the shoguns, but he was reduced to a mere figurehead. See note on the tombs of the Shoguns , at the end of the story. Eventually all the military power fell into the hands of the shoguns , and the mikado was seen no more at the head of his army.