Thursday, August 21, 2008


This Day in the History of Changes in Government

On this day in 1192, Minamoto Yoritomo founded the Japanese Shogunate, which would rule Japan until 1868 and the Meiji Restoration.


That's really not right at all. It's very much like saying that Hastings marked the beginning of Norman rule in England that would continue to the present and ignoring the Stuarts, the English Civil War, William of Orange, etc.

The first shogunate marked a permanent decline in the power of the Emperor, but there were long stretches without any real central authority at all, and stretches with no Shogun with even nominal power.

The rise of Tokugawa Ieyasu to Shogun following the battle of Sekigahara in 1600* marked the end of the warring states (sengoku jidai) period and the reestablishment of the shogunate. That new shogunate would rule until the Meiji restoration.

* As an aside, this required the forgery of documents "proving" that Tokugawa was descended from the "right people" (the Minamoto or the Fujiwara).
Sure, there were different Shoguns, and ruling families, and waxing and waning of each's power because Japan was often in a serial state of civil war during the period--not unlike the waring dukedoms in Italy and the Holy Roman Empireduring this same time. Still, for nearly 700 years of history reduced to a sentence, I stand by it. Thanks for the challenge, Doug.
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