Japan, today, has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy since 1868, after the Meiji Restoration, after the Boshin War, ended shogunate and returned the main power to the Emperor.
At that time, the samurai class lost its prestige and its reputation declined to the point of being persecuted and extinguished, the shogun had his lands and power taken by the Emperor and finally, after six centuries, a civil government was reestablished.
Before that, Japan was a feudal military government directly governed by the shogun, who was a kind of military dictator who controlled all of Japan and was the governor in fact of the whole country as the Emperor, was the ruler de swear.
The Shogunate emerged after the seizure of power by Kamakura clan. Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147 - 1199) became the first ruling shogun and began the period now known as the Kamakura Period, establishing a feudal system where samurai, who were once simple soldiers belonging to a low position in the military hierarchy, rose to power and were placed above the aristocracy to serve the shogun directly.
However, there were times when the shogunate was overthrown by a coup d'état perpetrated by another clan to seize the power of the clan that ruled Japan, starting another shogunate, causing the shogunate to be divided into three periods: Kamakura period (1185 - 1333), Ashikaga Period (1336 - 1573) and Tokugawa Period (1603 - 1868).
The first shogunate, Kamakura shogunate, started after Minamoto no Yorimoto usurped the power of the Emperor and became the military governor of Japan.
During that time, there were power struggles between the Kamakura clan and the Houjou clan, whose clans were influential under the shogun.
The Kamakura Shogunate came to an end with its fall caused by Emperor Go-Daigo (1288 - 1339), who unsuccessfully tried to overthrow the shogunate through a coup in order to establish a civilian government.
As a result, Go-Daigo had lost the throne, was banished from the aristocracy and exiled. Despite Go-Daigo's failure, the shogunate weakened and fell in 1333.
The military Ashikaga Takauji (1305 - 1358) he tried to help Go-Daigo recover his throne only to later betray him and, after being named the new shogun, to start the Ashikaga Shogunate, the second shogunate.
During the Ashikaga Period, Japan maintained political and trade relations with Korea and China.
Thanks to the tension between daimyos, the feudal lords of Japan, who competed for power during the Onin War (civil war that lasted between 1467 and 1477), loyalty to the shogun severely weakened and resulted in the Sengoku Period, marked by political and social instability , conflicts and riots between the military.
The Sengoku Period was the cause of the fall of the Ashikaga Shogunate which ended with the expulsion of Ashikaga Yoshiaki (1537 - 1597) by the daimyo Oda Nobunaga (1534 - 1582) in 1573.
As a result, Nobunaga gained control of power and of all of Japan.
Nobunaga managed to rule the whole of Japan until 1582, when he was betrayed and killed by the samurai Akechi Mitsuhide (1528 - 1582).
Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537 - 1598), Nobunaga's apprentice, resolved to avenge the death of his master at the Battle of Yamazaki. Defeating Mitsuhide who had become a shogun after murdering Nobunaga, Toyotomi became the new shogun.
However, Toyotomi's shogunate weakened when Japan's invasions of Korea were a fiasco. As a consequence, his clan lost power and influence in Japan. Thus, the shogunate fell in 1598, after Toyotomi's death.
After his death, no one was nominated as a shogun and this left a vacuum in the Japanese government's power.
In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, the military Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543 - 1616) defeated the Western Army together with his army, the Eastern Army. And so, he took power becoming the new shogun, thus starting the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603 - 1868).
The Tokugawa Period was marked by Japan's policy of isolation. Avoiding any kind of political and economic relationship with foreigners, Japan has become a closed country to the rest of the world.
End of the Shogunate and the Meiji Restoration
With the country under pressure from foreign trade and remittances, Japan has opened up to foreigners.
However, the shogunate took steps to prevent the country from having any kind of relationship with foreign forces. The Ikokusen Muninen Uchiharairei, also known as the “Policy of not thinking twice”, to isolate Japan.
However, to keep foreigners away, the Japanese would have to learn about the science of foreigners. Thus, they began to obtain firearms through the Dutch. And then, we studied the fabrication of these firearms to produce them in the same type and quality.
After conflict with foreign forces, Japan had to negotiate treaties to prevent the country from continuing to be attacked. In this way, the "Policy of not thinking twice."
Subsequently, through these treaties, foreigners were allowed to establish commercial relations with the Japanese. This made the shogun feel upset and used the samurai to stop these trade relations.
In 1868, samurai from the Satsuma clan gathered in favor of the Emperor to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate. And so they did, resulting in the resignation of Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837 - 1913), the last shogun.
And then, the shogunate was abolished, returning power to the Emperor, opening Japan to the world, abolishing the samurai class and installing a constitutional parliamentary monarchical government based on western monarchies.
Modernization of Japan
Later, with the abolition of the shogunate, Japan quickly industrialized and militarized. As such, it became a power whose conquered territories across Asia.
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