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By George Sansom

This is a simple narrative of the advance of jap civilization from 1334 to 1615 by means of the writer of Japan: a quick Cultural History. whereas whole in itself, it's also the 1st quantity of a three-volume paintings so one can be the 1st large-scale, finished background of Japan.

Taken as an entire, the projected historical past represents the end result of the lifestyles paintings of possibly the main wonderful historian now writing on Japan. in contrast to the well known Short Cultural History, it's involved more often than not with political and social phenomena and basically by the way touches on faith, literature, and the humanities. The remedy is essentially descriptive and actual, however the writer deals a few pragmatic interpretations and indicates comparisons with the background of alternative peoples.

A historical past of Japan: 1334-1615 describes the expansion of a brand new feudal hierarchy, the ebb and move of civil warfare, the increase and fall of serious households, and the advance amidst severe political ailment of outstanding new beneficial properties in institutional and financial existence. this can be the interval of increasing kin with different components of Asia and of the arriving of investors and missionaries from ecu countries—the first touch of Japan with the West. the amount ends with an account of the abortive invasion of Korea and the final outburst of the civil struggle that was once terminated in 1615 by way of the victory of the 1st of the Tokugawa Shoguns, Ieyasu.

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Extra info for A History of Japan, 1334-1615

Example text

The only meas­ ures of Go-Daigo which might be described as a return to early prin­ ciples are his firm refusal to appoint a Shogun with the full powers that had been granted to Yoritomo and his abolition of the office of Kampaku. There is no doubt that the Constables and the Stewards abused their power deplorably; but in the programme of reform as it was worked out by Go-Daigo and his advisers there was no serious effort to regulate, far less to abolish, the manors. There was some attempt to control the activities of Constables and Stewards in specific cases, but not in general as a matter of principle.

H e reentered the capital as if returning from a journey. He had the Imperial Seal with him and there was no need for an accession cere­ mony. H e treated the young Kazuhito (th e Emperor Kogon accord­ ing to the Hojo view) quite generously, according him the privileges of an ex-emperor and transferring to him and other royal personages of the senior line a fair share of the estates left by Go-Saga, including the rich Chokodo domain. H e then set about the great task of gov­ ernment, upon lines that showed the best of intentions and the worst of qualifications—an ignorance of political realities.

In April of the following year (1 3 3 2 ), Go-Daigo with a few fol­ lowers was banished to the island of Old. T he outlook for the junior line was dark, but there were a few encouraging prospects. Kusunoki was able to use guerrilla tactics in a rough country which he knew well, and he was in constant touch with Prince Morinaga, Go-Daigo’s son, who had given up his prelacy on Hiyeizan and was now engaged in political activity and in recruiting supporters for the loyalist cause. W hile Kusunoki was giving Hojo commanders great trouble by his raids, Morinaga was taking advantage of the discontent of many war­ riors who disliked the H ojo rulers.

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