Thursday, November 1, 2007

Azuchi-Momoyama period
History of Japan
The Azuchi-Momoyama period (安土桃山時代 azuchi momoyama jidai) came at the end of the Warring States Period in Japan, when the political unification that preceded the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate took place. It spans the years from approximately 1568 to 1603, during which time Oda Nobunaga and his successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, imposed order upon the chaos that had pervaded since the collapse of the Ashikaga Shogunate. The name of this period is taken from Nobunaga's castle, Azuchi Castle, in the present-day town of Azuchi, Shiga Prefecture and Hideyoshi's castle, Momoyama Castle (also known as Fushimi Castle), in Kyoto.
In broad terms, this period begins with Nobunaga's entry into Kyoto in 1568, when he led his army to the imperial capital in order to install Ashikaga Yoshiaki as the 15th, and ultimately final, shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate, and lasts until the coming to power of Tokugawa Ieyasu after his victory over supporters of the Toyotomi clan at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.

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                Economic historyAzuchi-Momoyama period Educational history Military history Naval history Hideyoshi completes the unification

                Japan under Hideyoshi
                With all of Japan now under Hideyoshi's control, a new structure for national government was configured. The country was unified under a single leader, but the day-to-day governance of the people remained decentralized. The basis of power was distribution of territory as measured by rice production in units of koku. In 1598, a national survey was instituted and assessed the national rice production at 18.5 million koku, 2 million of which was controlled directly by Hideyoshi himself. In contrast, Tokugawa Ieyasu, whom Hideyoshi had transferred to the Kanto region, held 2.5 million koku.
                The surveys, carried out by Hideyoshi both before and after he took the title Taiko, have come to be known as the "Taikō surveys" (Taikō kenchi).

                Land survey
                A number of other administrative innovations were instituted to encourage commerce and stabilize society. In order to facilitate transportation, toll booths and other checkpoints along roads were largely eliminated as were unnecessary military strongholds. Measures that effectively froze class distinctions were instituted, including the requirement that different classes live separately in different areas of a town and a prohibition on the carrying or the owning of weapons by farmers. Hideyoshi ordered the collection of weapons in a great "sword hunt" (katanagari).

                Control measures
                Hideyoshi sought to secure his position by rearranging the holdings of the daimyo to his advantage. In particular, he reassigned the Tokugawa family to the Kanto region, far from the capital, and surrounded their new territory with more trusted vassals. He also adopted a hostage system in which the wives and heirs of daimyo resided at his castle town in Osaka.
                He also attempted to provide for an orderly succession by taking the title Taikō, or "retired Kanpaku," in 1591 and turned the regency over to his nephew and adopted son Toyotomi Hidetsugu. Only later did he attempt to formalize the balance of power by establishing administrative bodies. These included the Council of Five Elders, who were sworn to keep peace and support the Toyotomi, the five-member Board of House Administrators, who handled routine policy and administrative matters, and the three-member Board of Mediators, who were charged with keeping peace between the first two boards.

                Main article: Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598)
                Hideyoshi's last major ambition was to conquer the Ming Dynasty of China, and in April, 1592 he sent an army of 200,000 to invade Korea, a flourishing kingdom that enjoyed an alliance with China. During the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598), the Japanese occupied Seoul in May, 1592, and within three months reached Pyongyang together with large numbers of Korean collaborators who at first viewed them as liberators from the corrupt aristocracy. The King of the Joseon Dynasty turned to China for military support, and the Japanese forces were forced to retreat as far south as Seoul by January, 1593. During peace talks, Hideyoshi demanded a division of Korea, free-trade status, and a Chinese princess as consort for the emperor. The Chinese saw no reason, however, to treat the invaders as equals, and peace efforts reached an impasse. A second invasion began in 1597, but was terminated abruptly with Hideyoshi's death the following year 1598.

                Korea campaigns
                Hideyoshi had on his deathbed appointed a group of the most powerful lords in Japan—Tokugawa, Maeda, Ukita, Uesugi, Mori—to govern as the Council of Five Regents until his infant son, Hideyori, came of age. An uneasy peace lasted until the death of Maeda Toshiie in 1599. Thereafter, Ishida Mitsunari accused Ieyasu of disloyalty to the Toyotomi name, precipitating a crisis that led to the Battle of Sekigahara. Generally regarded as the last major conflict of the Azuchi-Momoyama period and sengoku-jidai, Ieyasu's victory at Sekigahara marked the end of the Toyotomi reign. Three years later, Ieyasu received the title Seii Taishogun, and established the Edo bakufu, which lasted until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

                Sekigahara and the end of the Toyotomi reign
                The Momoyama period was a period of interest in the outside world, which also saw the development of large urban centers and the rise of the merchant class. The ornate castle architecture and interiors adorned with painted screens embellished with gold leaf were a reflection of a daimyo's power but also exhibited a new aesthetic sense that marked a clear departure from the somber monotones favored during the Muromachi period. A specific genre that emerged at this time was called the Namban style—exotic depictions of European priests, traders, and other "southern barbarians."
                The art of the tea ceremony also flourished at this time, and both Nobunaga and Hideyoshi lavished time and money on this pastime, collecting tea bowls, caddies, and other implements, sponsoring lavish social events, and patronizing acclaimed masters such as Sen no Rikyū.
                Hideyoshi had occupied Nagasaki in 1587, and thereafter sought to take control of international trade and to regulate the trade associations that had contact with the outside world through this port. Although China rebuffed his efforts to secure trade concessions, Hideyoshi commercial missions called to present-day Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand in Red seal ships were successful. He was also suspicious of Christianity in Japan, which he saw as potentially subversive and some missionaries were crucified by his regime.

                Famous Senryu

                1568: Nobunaga enters Kyoto, marking the beginning of the Azuchi-Momoyama period
                1571: Ohama Kagetaka begins his piracy in the Ise Bay area, working as a naval general for Takeda Shingen and later Tokugawa Ieyasu
                1573: Nobunaga overthrows the Muromachi bakufu and exerts control over central Japan
                1575: Nobunaga defeats the Takeda clan the Battle of Nagashino
                1580: The Ikkō-ikki finally surrender their fortress of Ishiyama Honganji to Nobunaga, after enduring an 11-year siege.
                1582: Nobunaga is assassinated by Akechi Mitsuhide, who is then defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi at the Battle of Yamazaki.
                1584: Hideyoshi fights Tokugawa Ieyasu to a standstill at the Battles of Komaki and Nagakute .
                1586: Osaka castle is built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
                1590: Hideyoshi defeats the Hōjō clan, effectively unifying Japan.
                1592: Hideyoshi invades Korea.
                1598: Hideyoshi dies.
                1600: Ieyasu is victorious at the Battle of Sekigahara, marking the end of the Azuchi-Momoyama period.

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