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The daimyos were large landowners and vassals of the shogun. Each daimyo hired an army of samurai warriors to protect his family's lives and property. The daimyō were powerful Japanese feudal lords who, until their decline in the early Meiji period, ruled most of Japan from their vast, hereditary land holdings. In the term, dai (大) means "large", and myō stands for myōden (名田), meaning private land. Subordinate to the shōgun, and nominally to the Emperor and the kuge, Daimyō often hired samurai to guard their land and they paid. 1 How did the rulers of shogunate Japan gain and maintain The Tokugawa shogunate marriage between teenaged members of a powerful daimyo .. sourCe 1 A scene from the film The Last Samurai, set in the late nineteenth century.
Shinpan daimyo occasionally served as bakufu officials, typically as regents for a boy shogun.
Tozama were ineligible to become bakufu officials. The fudai domains were small and often clustered around the larger tozama domains. The first three shoguns worked to create a geographic balance by surrounding tozama domains with the presumably more trustworthy fudai, with the fudai located in positions of strategic importance.
Maintaining a balance of power, geographically and otherwise, between all potentially conflicting interests and groups was a conscious policy of the early shoguns. Such oaths would hardly have been worth the paper on which they were written had not the shogun and his government which, of course, included some daimyo--an incentive for these daimyo to preserve the bakufu held the preponderance of military and economic power.
It owned all the gold and silver mines throughout Japan. In theory at least, the daimyo ruled at the pleasure of the shogun, who formally reappointed the daimyo from time to time and had the authority to confiscate or reduce any domain.
The first three shoguns often did confiscate domains of daimyo they suspected of disloyalty or other problems. As time when on and the domains became well established, confiscations by the bakufu took place only under highly unusual circumstances. The Bakufu shogunate was a large bureaucracy. In theory, and sometimes in practice, the shogun ruled as absolute dictator. In fact, some shoguns were weak-willed, incompetent, or simply lazy.
The bakufu machinery functioned reasonably well with or without strong shogunal leadership. The two most important agencies within the bakufu were the Senior Councilors roju, literally "elders within" and the Junior Councilors wakadoshiyori, literally, "younger elders". The Senior Councilors usually consisted of four or five daimyo of a certain type.
DAIMYO, SHOGUNS AND THE BAKUFU (SHOGUNATE) | Facts and Details
The whole group met in council to decide important matters of state, such as the selection of a new shogun should the previous one die without naming a successor. The Senior Councilors also supervised several high-ranking officials such as the commissioners that administered the major cities e.
The Senior Councilors were a powerful group. Some shoguns gave them wide latitude; others tried to rein them in. They supervised inspectors, who kept watch over bakufu retainers of sub-daimyo rank. Therefore, in the pattern of confiscated holdings [ mokkan], management should proceed accordingly.
It is commanded thus. Residents shall know this and abide by it. The aforesaid person, in accordance with the will, is appointed to this shiki. As to the fixed annual tax and other services, these shall be paid in accordance with precedent.
DAIMYO, SHOGUNS AND THE BAKUFU (SHOGUNATE)
The housemen of this province are to obey Tomomasa, perform the imperial guard service, and in general show their loyalty. And he is not, under any pretext, to cause difficulties for the notables of this province. He has been apprised of these instructions. Bakufu relations with the daimyo were complex. In some respects, the shogun was simply a very large and powerful daimyo.
In other respects, such as when dealing with foreign countries, the shogun was the singular leader of all of Japan.
Shogun, Daimyo, and Samurai
The bakufu imposed numerous restrictions on daimyo, the most important of which are included in the excerpts from Laws for Warrior Households above. Daimyo were limited to a single castle and had to obtain bakufu permission to make any repairs on it.
Daimyo were forbidden to act in concert with each other on any matters of policy. Their relationships, in other words, were to be with the shogun and the people of their domains, not each other.
Even marriages were subject to shogunal approval. Should a daimyo appear to have accumulated a major surplus of wealth, the shogun might require him to build a bridge or do some other sort of work for the public good outside his own domain--in part as a way of draining off some of that wealth. Alternate attendance also kept daimyo expenses up. Bakufu inspectors visited each domain from time to time. The daimyo nevertheless governed with a high degree of autonomy within their domains.
In the second half of the 15th century the shugo daimyo were supplanted by the Sengoku daimyo i. By the late 15th century the Sengoku daimyo had divided Japan into a series of small, belligerent states as each individual daimyo competed for the control of more territory.
The Sengoku daimyo built castles in the hill country from which they controlled their vassals, who likewise were petty landowners with castles.
In the 16th century the Sengoku daimyo fought among themselves constantly, and a process of consolidation ensued, with fewer and fewer daimyo emerging from the local wars and each holding more and more territory. In Oda Nobunaga began the movement of decisive military conquest over the daimyo that was later carried on by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and completed in by Tokugawa Ieyasu. By this time roughly daimyo had been brought under the hegemony of the Tokugawa family, the head of which served as shogun.
Daimyo were joined to the shogun by oath and received their lands as grants under his vermilion seal in a governing system called the bakuhan. The bakufu carried out the shoguns' orders. The shogun government was largely a feudal military dictatorship. Directly below the shogun were the daimyo who ruled the Han clans that made up the country of Japan.
Tozama lords were not allowed to serve in the shogunal government. During the Tokugawa period, the government owned all of the territory within a day's march of Edo.Shogun : Japan's Greatest Samurai Warrior (Full Documentary)
The shogun owned more than a quarter of all cultivated land. He also controlled all major communication routes, sea ports, and the precious metal supplies. Before an individual could achieve daimyo status feudal warlord he would have to own or control enough land to produce 10, koku of rice.
Japanese History Through Film
A koku was considered enough rice to feed an individual for a year. Over fifty estates produced more thankoku, and the very largest produced an astonishing 1, koku. However, this still entitled them access to the shogun.