A History of Japan, 1334-1615 by George Sansom

By George Sansom

This is an easy narrative of the advance of eastern civilization from 1334 to 1615 via the writer of Japan: a quick Cultural History. whereas entire in itself, it's also the 1st quantity of a three-volume paintings so as to be the 1st large-scale, complete historical past of Japan.

Taken as an entire, the projected historical past represents the end result of the existence paintings of maybe the main unusual historian now writing on Japan. in contrast to the well known Short Cultural History, it really is involved frequently with political and social phenomena and merely by the way touches on faith, literature, and the humanities. The therapy is essentially descriptive and genuine, however the writer deals a few pragmatic interpretations and indicates comparisons with the heritage of different peoples.

A heritage of Japan: 1334-1615 describes the expansion of a brand new feudal hierarchy, the ebb and circulate of civil conflict, the increase and fall of serious households, and the advance amidst severe political ailment of outstanding new beneficial properties in institutional and fiscal existence. this can be the interval of increasing kinfolk with different elements of Asia and of the arriving of investors and missionaries from ecu countries—the first touch of Japan with the West. the quantity ends with an account of the abortive invasion of Korea and the final outburst of the civil conflict that used to be terminated in 1615 by means of the victory of the 1st of the Tokugawa Shoguns, Ieyasu.

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After Go-Daigo was exiled the situation grew less tense in the capital, but anxiety now spread to the surrounding country, where it was known that emissaries of Kusunoki and Morinaga were more than ever active in stirring up warriors and circulating orders to join the imperial forces. By the end of the year 1332 the garrison in Kyoto was showing signs of alarm. In the diary of the abdicated Hanazono, who was living in Kyoto under surveillance, there is an entry towards the end of No­ vember saying that Kusunoki had recovered from his losses and was about to take the offensive with the help of Morinaga; that the guards at the gates had suddenly been strengthened; and that the warriors were in full battle dress.

The struggle went on in the streets. ” On the last of those five days (Ju ly 5 ) Takatoki set fire to the Bakufu buildings and with several hundred men withdrew to a monastery called Toshoji, where all committed suicide. Although Nitta Yoshisada was the man who planned and carried out the defeat of the Hojo in the East, and in fact brought about their destruction, there is no doubt that he had the moral support and en­ couragement of Ashikaga Takauji. Indeed it is doubtful whether he would have taken the risk of acting against Takauji’s wishes.

The opposing armies at Austerlitz each num­ bered 80,000. For a further discussion of the numbers engaged in the civil wars, see pp. 120-21 below. The defence of Chihaya is discussed in detail on pp. 123-24. THE REIGN OF GO-DAIGO 15 3. G o-Daigo s Return Some historians argue that Kusunoki had deliberately tempted the Bakufu army to concentrate upon the siege of Chihaya so that other parts of the country could be held by the loyalist volunteers. This may be an exaggerated view, but it is true that the Bakufu found it increasingly difficult to hold Kyoto in face of the rising fortunes of the loyalists, and that the levies of the three Bakufu generals on the vassals in and near the Home Provinces left wide areas open for the movement of adherents to the cause of Go-Daigo.

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