MINAMOTO YORITOMO
(1147-1199)
Shogun
This is NOT an official site of
the Nichiren Shoshu Shoshin-kai
KAMAKURA ERA
(Excerpted from Japan Guide.com)
In 1185, the Minamoto family took over the control over Japan after defeating the Taira clan in
the Gempei war. Minamoto Yoritomo established a new military government, the
Kamakura
Bakufu
, in Kamakura and was appointed shogun in the year 1192.

After Yoritomo's death in 1199, quarrels for supremacy started between the
Kamakura Bakufu
and the Imperial court in Kyoto. Those quarrels for supremacy found an end in the
Jokyu
disturbance in 1221 when Kamakura defeated the Imperial army in Kyoto, and the Hojo regents
in Kamakura achieved complete control over Japan. By redistributing the land gained during the
Jokyu disturbance, they were able to achieve loyalty among all the powerful people throughout
the country. The emperor and the remaining governmental offices in Kyoto lost practically all
effective power.

Chinese influence [that existed prior to the Kamakura era], continued to be relatively strong
during this period. New Buddhist sects were introduced: the Zen sect (introduced in 1191) found
large numbers of followers among the samurai, which were now the leading social class.
Another new Buddhist sect, the Lotus Sutra sect  [which have described as intolerant] was
founded in 1253 by Nichiren [Daishonin].

In 1232 a legal code, the
Joei Shikimoku was promulgated. It stressed Confucian values such as
the importance of loyalty to the master, and generally attempted to suppress a decline of morals
and discipline. Tight control was maintained by the Hojo clan, and any signs of rebellions were
destroyed immediately.

The shogun stayed in Kamakura without much power while his deputies were located in Kyoto
and Western Japan. Stewards and constables controlled the provinces tightly and loyally.
The Hojo regents were able to bring several decades of peace and economic expansion
to the country until an external power began to threaten Japan.

By 1259, the Mongols had conquered China and became also interested in Japan. Several
threatening messages of the powerful Mongols were ignored by Kamakura. This resulted in the
first Mongol invasion attempt in 1274 on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan. After only a
few hours of fighting, however, the large naval invasion fleet, was forced to pull back because
of bad weather conditions. This was very fortunate for the Japanese since their odds against the
large and modern Mongol force were not favorable at all.

Due to good preparations, the Japanese were able to maintain a strong defence for several weeks
during a second invasion attempt which occurred in 1281. But again, the Mongols were finally
forced to withdraw mainly because of bad weather. Kyushu remained in alert for a possible third
invasion attempt, but the Mongols soon had too many problems on the mainland in order to care
about Japan.

The consequences of the many years of war preparations against the Mongols were fatal to the
Kamakura government since they resulted only in expenditures and no profits. Many of the loyal
men who were fighting for Kamakura, were now waiting for rewards that the government could
not pay. Hence, financial problems and decreasing loyalty among the powerful lords were some
of the reasons for the fall of the Kamakura government.

By 1333 the power of the Hojo regents had declined to such a degree that the emperor Go-Daigo
was able to restore imperial power and overthrow the Kamakura Bakufu.


Source: Japan-Guide.com
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