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13 October 2009 @ 10:38 am
LESSON #2 - KAMAKURA JIDAI (1185 -1333)  
Minamoto no Yoritomo came off to a strong beginning as the first shogun; however, as he could not seize control of the northern tracts of land which were owned by the Fujiwara, he gradually became weaker and weaker until his sudden death. Afterwards, his son, Minamoto no Yoriie took over, and did a poor job continuing his father's legacy. After a period of poor government, the shogunate was taken over by the Hojo clan, an ally of the Minamoto.

At this time, the two pinnacle points of Japanese government and authority were located in Kamakura (from which the era gets its name) and the capitol, Heiankyou (modern-day Kyoto). Due to discrepancies relating to power struggles between the Emperor and the Shogun, Japan broke into civil war (again) with the Joukyuu War; the Hojo clan (the Shogunate) won over the imperial armies and seized control of Japan as a whole at last.

During this time, several very important laws were made that set the legal system of Japanese society for the next seven hundred years, including laws that that stressed the duties of stewards and constables, provided means for settling land disputes, and established rules governing inheritances. It was the first military code of law, and had very clear stipulations as to punishments for law-breakers.

Buddhism also flourished in popularity during this time and separated into several different sects. Many Buddhist monks held political power, but due to the separation between the sects, the power Buddhism held on the whole was scattered.

After further unsuccessful entreaties, the first Mongol invasion took place in 1274. More than 600 ships carried a combined Mongol, Chinese, and Korean force of 23,000 troops armed with catapults, combustible missiles, and bows and arrows. In fighting, these soldiers grouped in close cavalry formations against samurai, who were accustomed to one-on-one combat. After only one day of fighting, a powerful typhoon hit and destoryed all Mongol ships; the Mongols realised that their failure was due not to the Japanese military's power, but to the power of nature, and so, not too long after, decided to attack Japan yet again. During the second attack, after few weeks of fighting, yet ANOTHER typhoon hit and destoryed the Mongol fleets; this is where the term "kamikaze" originated, as the Japanese deemed the typhoons as gifts from god ("divine winds"). The attacks further increased Japanese adversity towards China and Korea, and so further discouraged foreign affairs with China. The Japanese victory, however, gave the samurai warriors a sense of fighting superiority that remained with Japan's soldiers until 1945. The victory also convinced the warriors of the value of the shogunate form of government. (Later on, after the war, Japan entered an economic depression that strained the power of the Shogunate, who could no longer supply for all of the samurai they had under their power; this is when the "ronin" or wandering samurai came onto the stage, as the government could not afford their fiefs.)

BASICALLY: THE BEGINNING OF A 700-YEAR PERIOD OF WARFARE. REAL TALK.

God, I hate all of these periods until the 1600s. SORRY GUYS. 8(
-13 October 2009
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Feeling: peaceful
Music: "Kaleidoscope" - dj Tiesto