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OCTUBRE 23

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Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1573 - 1603)



Oda Nobunaga obtained control of the province of Owari (around the modern city of Nagoya) in the year 1559. As many other daimyo, he was very interested in uniting Japan. Strategically advantageously situated, he succeeded in capturing the capital in 1568.

After based himself in Kyoto, Nobunaga perpetuated to eliminate his enemies. Between them were some militant Buddhist sects, particularly the Ikko sect (Pure Land Sect) which had transformed very powerful in many provinces. Nobunaga liquidated the Enryakuji monastery near Kyoto entirely in 1571. His fight against the Ikko sect persisted until 1580.

Very favored was Nobunaga in relation to two of his most dangerous rivals in the East: Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin. These were died before they were able to challenge Nobunaga. After Shingen's death, Nobunaga undertook the Takeda clan in the battle of Nagashino (1575), making use of modern warfare.

In the year 1582, general Akechi murdered Nobunaga and apprehended his Azuchi castle. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a general combatted for Nobunaga quickly, after Akechi was defeated, and took the power. Hideyoshi remained to eliminate to all rivals. He controlled the Northern provinces and Shikoku in 1583 and Kyushu in 1587. After defeating the Hojo family in Odawara in 1590, Japan was definitively reunited.

For to have the country under complete control, Hideyoshi destroyed several castles that were built in the country during the era of civil wars. In the year 1588 he confiscated the arms of all the farmers and religious institutions in the "Sword Hunt". He prohibited the samurais to live as farmers and forced them to move into the castle towns. An evident distinction among the social classes should the government's control over the people. Besides, a land survey was initiated in 1583, and a census was made in 1590. In the corresponding year, Hideyoshi's large castle, the Osaka Castle, was completed.

In the year 1587, Hideyoshi emitted an edict expelling Christian missionaries. However, Franciscans entered the country in 1593, and the Jesuits remained alive in Western Japan. In 1597 Hideyoshi accentuated the persecution of Christian missionaries, prohibited further conversions, and executed 26 Franciscans as a warning.

After conjunction the country, Hideyoshi aspired to realize his rather megalomaniac dream of conquering China. In the year 1592, his armies penetrated Korea and apprehended Seoul within a few weeks; nonetheless, they were pushed back again by Chinese and Korean forces in the following year. Hideyoshi persistently didn't give in until the final evacuation from Korea in 1598, the same year in which he died.

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