Rise of the Samurai In ancient Japan, the population was divided into social strata as a result of the abundant paddy production and the commercial appreciation of surplus products. This stratification naturally gave rise to rich and poor families. Began to be led by a leader;
Wealthy families of bloodlines and low-class warriors were called “uji”. The uji, which we can call clans, tribes, or small principalities, fought each other for centuries. Eventually, one of them grew stronger. Yamato Clan, MS. He rolled up his sleeves to establish a centralized political structure by winning the struggle he had with others in the 400s. The leaders of the family, the ancestors of today’s Japanese emperors, They did not neglect to base their lineage on gods in order to gain legitimacy. According to legends,
Ameterasu, the goddess of the sun, sent her grandson from the skies to rule the “land of fertile rice fields”. Yamato leaders were descendants of this god-born being sent to earth. The Yamato Emperors, who set up a central structure based on the Tang dynasty in China,
Despite the resistance of the ugi, it grew stronger in the 7th century and spread its influence and authority to much of today’s Japan. With the new system, Yamato leaders became sole owners and masters of both land and people. The emperor who resided in Kyoto and became isolated from
the public after a certain period of time, daimyo, who we can think of as feudal lords or landlords, who, with the authority they received from the emperor, while losing their say in the country, militarily gained strength. The daimyo, who had more say in the politics of the country in the 8th and 9th centuries, began to gather warriors around them to defend themselves and their land.
These collected warriors formed the basis of Samuraiism, one of the first concepts that come to mind when it comes to Japanese culture and history. The term Samurai, which was first used in the documents in the 10th century, was used primarily for warriors who served the emperor. It started to be used for warriors that overlords gathered around. With the rise of the war culture as a result of the religious,
The Ōnin War (1467–77) || Sengoku Jidai
political and social trends in the country, the value given to the samurai, who turned into a social group, gradually increased. While some of the samurai families and societies that have formed are descendants of ancient Japanese lords Some of them consisted of warriors who proved themselves on the battlefields and reached this level. When we came to the 11th century,
these samurai families who had sworn allegiance to the emperor guided the Japanese politics. Fujiwara and the Taira and Minamoto families that followed him as power constituted the most popular and powerful families of the period mentioned. The palace’s disregard for these landowners and their loyal samurai, When it caused unrest in the provinces, great riots began against the center.
These rebellions, which were undertaken to take over the country, were shaped by the large samurai families Taira, Fujiwara and Minamoto. The 1156 Hôgen and 1159 Heiji Uprisings resulted in the slaughter of the Fujiwara and Minamoto clans. Taira no Kiyomori,
who took over the administration, made a big mistake and spared the lives of Minamoto no Yoshitomo’s two sons. These two brothers retreated to the Izu region, gathering strength for 20 years. He rebelled in 1180, tying the overlords to the east. The Genpei War, which took place between 1180 and 1185 between the Taira and Minamoto clan, became a touchstone for samurai. The events of this war,
the rituals performed, the war strategies applied, the weapons used, the armor worn, the loyalty of the warriors to their masters, signs of courage, understanding of art, oaths taken, seppuks made and many other things; it led to the formation of samurai philosophy and tradition.
Minamoto no Yoritomo, who destroyed and took over the Taira after the war, entered the capital and received the title of “shogun” from the emperor in 1192. With this title temporarily given to samurai leaders to suppress revolts against the empire, Minamoto no Yoritomo established a military samurai regime. This management was called the Minamoto Shogunate or Kamakura Bakufu because the actual center was Kamakura.
Yoritomo, in order to make permanent the title of temporary shogunate and to leave this authority to his son after him, He succeeded in transforming his military dictatorship into a tradition that was passed on from father to son by making the relevant regulations. Thus, while the emperor was pushed to the position of a clergyman even though he preserved his divinity, the feudal era began in Japan, which would last for about 700 years.
After Yoritomo’s death, the Hojo samurai clan emerged, this time guiding the government in Kamukura as he wanted, although his sons were shoguns. The Hojos began to rule the country by creating the “shikken” position instead of using the Shogun title, which they accepted as belonging to the Minamotos. The second turning point in shaping the samurai culture coincided with the ruling years of the Hojos.
The eighth shikken Hôjô Tokimune one day received a letter from the Mongol leader Kublai in China. This letter was a harbinger of the Mongol invasion reaching the borders of Japan. When the dates point to 1274, the Mongols started their first attempt to invade the samurai island where the sun rises.
The invasion attempt on the southern islands was followed by a second in 1281. With the success of the samurai and the help of natural conditions, the Mongol invasion was prevented. The storm that helped the samurai “kamikaze” was referred to as the “Wind of the Gods” in Japanese culture. Just as laws formed the foundations of the samurai pantheon in the Genpei War The Mongolian invasion also made additions to this pantheon,
making it even more pronounced and important. Weakened by internal revolts and the betrayal of clans they trusted, Hojo family members ended their lineage by collectively doing seppuku in 1333. As the civil war continued, this time the Ashikaga samurai family began to stand out. In the “Battle of Two Thrones”, the Ashikaga clan,
which controlled the Emperor in the north, overwhelmed the emperor in the south and took the power completely. and established the Ashikaga Shogunate. But the rule of this shogunate was not as effective as that of the Minamotos. There were many samurai families and daimyo in the country.
These provincial principalities, all of which were getting too rich, were constantly in revolt and fighting between them. During this unstable period when samurai was on the rise, the central authority of the shogunate disappeared. The ability to manage and unite samurai families from a single center has reached an impossible point. When it came to the 15th century, the political life of Japan turned into a rivalry between samurai families. Ikki revolts with a high power of destruction arose on top of it. Ikkiller; The Battle of Bourgtheroulde 1124 AD
They were communities of low-level samurai who did not serve shoguns or daimyo to protect each other. In these communities were Ashigaru troops, the lowest ranked samurai, made up of impoverished peasant-farmers. The gradual increase of this samurai class and the inclusion of daimyo in their armies increased the power of the parties in the ongoing conflicts. By 1467, the fire, which broke out, got out of control and the flames engulfed the height of the shogunate…. War of Ten Ashikaga Yoshimasa,
who came to the position of shogunate in 1443, chose his brother Yoshimi as the next person. However, in the following years, the shogun had a son named Yoshihisa. With this birth,
Yoshimasa decided to choose his son as his heir. This change of decision suddenly turned into a succession dispute. Katsumoto of the Hosokawa clan, a government adviser, wanted to see the shogun’s brother first Yamana Sôzen, one of the powerful daimyo, supported the young son of the shogun.
The aim of both daimyo was to personally rule the country after the puppet leaders they chose. While both clans gathered strength for war with their allies, they also set up their men near the capital, Kyoto. The enemy forces, who had set up camps in the surrounding hills and temples, scattered the streets of the city to gain an advantage in the apocalypse that would break out.
The first friction between samurai who threatened each other with spears in their hands was the burning of Katsumoto’s mansion in the city. and thus the War of Onin, which will last 10 years, started in March 1467…. As the parties fought on the city streets for months, hundreds of historical buildings and residences in the capital were destroyed. The western army dominated the city south and west,
while the eastern army was trapped in the rest. Katsumoto made Sôzen a traitor by seizing the Emperor and the shogun. This was humiliating for the samurai fighting in the western army, but Sozen picked up the situation and prevented his soldiers from dispersing. Using swords, arrows and spears, samurai fought in the capital and the battles around it, using three types of conflict models: Ambush,
arson, and melee sequences that take place piecemeal. In addition to these, the buildings in the city were demolished, allowing the old-style horse archers to intervene in the battle. Kyoto was turning to ashes and more than 10,000 soldiers from all over the country perished around the corner. Towards the end of the year, the parties took a long break from the street fighting. Although the conflict in the capital stopped,
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the conflicts and political moves between the vassals of the daimyo continued unabated. In the year 1469, while the Shogun appointed his son as his official heir with the support of the Hosokawa, his brother Yoshimi took refuge in the Yamanas. This was a strange and confusing change of sides.
Clans had traded the men they opposed to coming to power at the beginning of the war as if nothing had happened. But this did not lower the tensions of the war. At that moment it was clearly understood that the war was not a war of succession, but a personal showdown of samurai clans.
The parties became more militarized and pulled the elements in the countryside into turmoil for the continuation of the war, which was in a stalemate despite the great deaths. The chaos environment, where plunder and lawlessness became chronic, turned into local causes at some point, independent of the War of the Ten. Although both Katsumoto and Sozen died in 1473, his vassals exacerbated this meaningless war.
Honestly, nobody had won the war either. The only thing the factional groups did was to reduce the number of opponents in this atmosphere of disrupted social order. The clashes ended as a result of the fighters around Kyoto leaving this region and withdrawing to their state. Finally, one of the Yamana bannermen, Ōuchi Masahiro, burned part of Kyoto and left the area in December 1477. Thus the Battle of Onin was over …
While the city was burning, the shogun was now reading poems and was reviewing the plans of the silver tower he was going to build. In fact, the war was not over, only the place and form had changed. The war that started around Kyoto and is now moving away has spread to the countryside and all of Japan. No camp escaped violence and destruction … As a result, with the Battle of Onin, Sengogu Jidai, the “warring clans period” that will include major military changes and last more than 100 years, has begun… ..