Terms and Names
Essential Question 1
Build on What You Know
As you read in Lesson 1, an emperor ruled Japan. But wealthy noble families often held the real power. Nobles would battle one another to gain the power the emperors no longer had. Nobles Gain Power
ESSENTIAL QUESTION Who lost power in Japan?
Japan remained strong and united after Prince Shotoku’s rule ended with his death in 622. It was a time of relative peace. The emperor still headed the central government. But he was only a figurehead—someone who appeared to have power but did not. In the 800s, wealthy nobles of the Fujiwara (FOO FOO•jee•WAH•ruh) clan, or family, became the real rulers of Japan. They remained Japan’s most powerful family for 300 years.
The Central Government Grows Weak During the 1100s, the power of the central government and the Fujiwaras declined. The government was running out of money. It began to lose authority over larger landholders. These estate owners, called daimyo (DY•mee•OH OH), paid no taxes to the government. They also had their own private armies of trained warriors called samurai (SAM•uh•RY RY), whom you read about in Starting with a Story.Warriors for Japan were called . Wealthy nobles who owned large estates were called .
Check for Understanding 1
Feudalism Begins in Japan Daimyo hired samurai warriors both to protect themselves and to attack other daimyo. Powerful families, such as the Taira and the Minamoto, had large armies of samurai. Daimyo often fought among themselves to try to gain more land to increase their wealth and power.
As the power of the daimyo increased, the central government weakened and lawlessness increased. Small landowners wanted protection. To win the aid of a more powerful lord, they pledged their loyalty to that lord. Often, their loyalty included military service. A person who received land and protection from a lord in return for loyalty was called a vassal. This lord-vassal system increased the power of large landowners. It also marked the start of feudalism in Japan. This was a system of local rule similar to ancient China and medieval Europe. (You will read about European feudalism in Chapter 9.
A person who received land and protection from a lord in return for loyalty was called a .
ESSENTIAL QUESTION Who lost power in Japan? the emperor and the government
REVIEW Why did power shift from the central government to the nobles? As the central government grew , wealthy families hired their own armies and fought among themselves to gain power.
Essential Question 2
While nobles fought among themselves, the emperor remained in office. But the emperor no longer held real power. This continued the pattern begun early in Japan’s history.
The Emperor and the Shoguns Now military leaders called shoguns shoguns had taken control. Shogun means “supreme commander of the army.” A shogun ruled on the emperor’s behalf. But usually his own interest came first. Minamoto Yoritomo (MIH MIH•nah•MOH•toh YOH YOH•ree•TOH•moh) became the first shogun in 1192. As shogun, he led more than just the army—he ruled the country. Japan would be under a shogunate, or military government, for nearly 700 years.
The Samurai and the Warrior Code
The Samurai and the Warrior Code Samurai were fearsome warriors. They vowed to fight for their lord, even if it meant that they could not protect their own family. Dying an honorable death was more important to them than a long life. Women in warrior families learned to handle weapons to protect their families from bandits when the men were away fighting. At this time, women had higher status than at earlier times. Some inherited land. A few even became samurai.
Samurai lived by an unwritten code of honor called bushido. This warrior code called for honor, loyalty, and bravery. It was similar to the chivalry code followed by knights in medieval Europe. Samurai pledged to show respect for the gods and generosity toward the poor. Zen Buddhism was an important aspect of their lives. Samurai values and traditions continued to appeal to the Japanese into the 1900s.
Samurai lived by an unwritten code of honor called .
Check for Understanding 2
ESSENTIAL QUESTION How did Japan become a military society? When the lost power, military leaders took control.
REVIEW Who held power in Japan’s military society? Military leaders called took control.
Essential Question 3
ESSENTIAL QUESTION How did powerful military leaders unify Japan?
A succession of three strong military leaders helped to unify the country. They ended the fighting between rival daimyo.
Oda Nobunaga In the mid-1500s, a daimyo named Oda Nobunaga (OH•dah• NOH NOH•boo•NAH•gah) began to reunite Japan. He was a fierce warrior who recognized the importance of the guns European traders had introduced into Japan. His soldiers were the first Japanese to use guns in battle and defeated armies that were many times larger than his own. Through wars and negotiations, Nobunaga won control of nearly half of Japan before his death in 1582
Check for Understanding 3
Toyotomi Hideyoshi Shortly after Nobunaga died, his best general, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (TOH TOH•yoo•TOH•mee HEE HEE•deh•YOH•shee), took his place. Hideyoshi was born a peasant. Under Nobunaga, he had risen from a common soldier to become a superb military leader. Through force and political alliances, Hideyoshi controlled all of Japan when he died in 1598. Then his generals fought wars among themselves to rule Japan.
Tokugawa Ieyasu In 1603, the winner of the wars, Tokugawa Ieyasu (TOH TOH•goo•GAH•wah EE EE•yeh•YAH•soo), was named shogun. He founded a dynasty that held power in Japan until 1868. He established his capital at Edo, later called Tokyo. The rule of Ieyasu and his successors in the Tokugawa family was called the Tokugawa Shogunate.
When Ieyasu became shogun, Japan had growing ties with Europe. Traders and missionaries brought Western ideas and goods to Japan. But Ieyasu and his successors worried about changes foreign influence would bring to Japan. So they drove out foreign merchants and missionaries. They banned Christianity and executed Japanese Christians. They also forbade the Japanese to leave Japan and ended nearly all foreign trade.
In the mid-1600s, Japan went into a period of isolation, or separation from the world, which would last until the 1850s.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION How did powerful military leaders unify Japan? Three strong military leaders ended ﬁghting between rival and brought unity to Japan.
REVIEW What was the result of the unification of Japan? Uniﬁcation of Japan brought a period of and stability.
• As Japan’s central government grew weak, violence increased and noble families hired samurai for protection.
• Japan had a military government for centuries.
• In the mid-1500s, three powerful military leaders began to unite Japan.
Why It Matters Now . . . Japan remains a strongly united country today. It continues to limit immigration and control the country’s dealings with foreigners.
Terms and Names Quiz
a Japanese lord with large landholdingsdaimyo
a trained warriorsamurai
person who receives land and protection from a lord in return for loyaltyvassal
supreme commander of the army who ruled Japan for the emperoshogun
rule of Tokugawa Ieyasu and his successorsTokugawa Shogunate