What is a Samurai?

Introduction Samurai (侍, /ˈsæmʊraɪ/) were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan from the 12th century to their abolition in the 1870s. They were the well-paid retainers of the daimyo (the great feudal landholders). They had high prestige and special privileges such as wearing two swords. They cultivated the bushido… Read More

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What was the Shogunate?

Introduction Shogun (将軍)was the title of the military dictators of Japan during most of the period spanning from 1185 to 1868. Nominally appointed by the Emperor, shoguns were usually the de facto rulers of the country, though during part of the Kamakura period shoguns were themselves figureheads. The office of shogun was in practice hereditary,… Read More

What was the Meiji Restoration?

Introduction The Meiji Restoration (Japanese: 明治維新, Hepburn: Meiji Ishin), referred to at the time as the Honorable Restoration (御一新, Goisshin), and also known as the Meiji Renovation, Revolution, Reform, or Renewal, was an event that restored practical imperial rule to the Empire of Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji. Although there were ruling Emperors before… Read More

What was the Battle of Sekigahara (1600)?

Introduction The Battle of Sekigahara (Shinjitai: 関ヶ原の戦い; Kyūjitai: 關ヶ原の戰い, Hepburn romanization: Sekigahara no Tatakai) was a decisive battle on 21 October 1600 (Keichō 5, 15th day of the 9th month), this battle was the biggest and one of the most important battles in Japanese feudal history, that preceded the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate. Tokugawa… Read More

What is a Daimyo?

Introduction Daimyo (大名, Daimyō, Japanese pronunciation: [daimʲoː]) were powerful Japanese magnates, feudal lords who, from the 10th century to the early Meiji period in the middle 19th century, ruled most of Japan from their vast, hereditary land holdings. They were subordinate to the shōgun and nominally to the emperor and the kuge. In the term,… Read More