Feudal Japan

The beginning of the feudal era of Japan dates back to 1185, the year that marks the end of the prosperous Heian period, following the so-called Genpei Civil War between the Minamoto and Taira clans. Feudal Japan saw the succession of three main shogunates: Kamakura, Ashikaga and Tokugawa. The shogun distributed the land to its most loyal officers, called jito or shugo, who would control and rule it in its name. The position was often hereditary and unlike in European feudalism, the land did not become their property. As time passed, however, the shugos exercised their functions far from the central government, and gradually gained more and more power to become the lords owners of their lands, also called daimyos.

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