display | more...


The Kamakura shogunate (sometimes aka "Hojo shogunate") was Japan's first military dictatorship presided over by shoguns (military dictators ruling on behalf of the emperor), and ruled the country from 1192 until being overthrown by forces loyal to Emperor Go-Daigo in 1333. Based in the town of Kamakura, the Kamakura shogunate lends its name to the Kamakura Period of Japanese history, and marked the first time that Japan was ruled by warriors (rather than the Imperial house or the nobility), establishing a pattern of rule which would later be imitated by the Ashikaga and Tokugawa shogunates.

The Kamakura shogunate was established by Minamoto Yoritomo in 1192, when he was granted the title of sei-i-tai-shogun ("Barbarian-subduing Generalissimo") following his defeat of the rival Taira warrior clan in the Gempei War. The title had been traditionally given to generals dispatched by the Imperial Court in Kyoto to fight Emishi barbarians in northwestern Japan, but under Yoritomo and his successors it became a means of legitimating their rule over the country in lieu of the court, and the title of "shogun" would later be used in the same manner by the Ashikaga and Tokugawa regimes.

After Yoritomo's death, his widow, Hojo Masako, saw to it that members of her own clan, the Hojo were named as regents (Shikken) for future Minamoto shoguns, insuring that while the shoguns remained Minamoto, they were actually powerless puppets to a regime dominated by the Hojo clan.

The Kamakura shogunate presided over many political and legal innovations, as a system of warrior rule was layered on top of a preexisting (and still functional) system of rule by the aristocracy, in what historian Jeffrey Mass called a "dual polity." Most notable among these developments were the creation of the offices of jito and shugo to allow warriors to oversee the operation of individual shoen estates, and provincial governments, respectively.

The crowning achievement of the Kamakura shogunatate, which was the successful repelling of two Mongol Invasions in the late 13th century, was also the origin of its downfall, as the costly endeavor impoverished the regime and the lack of new land to reward the warriors who fought off the Mongols led to widespread discontent. Eventually it was some of these disaffected warrior clans that helped Emperor Go-Daigo overthrow the shogunate in his short-lived attempt to restore direct Imperial rule over Japan, now known to history as the Kemmu Restoration.

Kamakura Shoguns

Minamoto Yoritomo    (1192-1199)
Minamoto no Yoriie   (1202-1203)
Minamoto no Sanetomo (1203-1219)
Kujo Yoritsune       (1226-1244)
Kujo Yoritsugu       (1244-1252)
Prince Munetaka      (1252-1266)
Prince Koreyasu      (1266-1289)
Prince Hisaaki       (1289-1308)
Prince Morikuni      (1308-1333)

Hojo Regents

Hojo Tokimasa        (1203-1205)
Hojo Yoshitoki       (1205-1224)
Hojo Yasutoki        (1224-1242)
Hojo Tsunetoki       (1242-1246)
Hojo Tokiyori        (1246-1256)
Hojo Nagatoki        (1256-1264)
Hojo Masamura        (1264-1268)
Hojo Tokimune        (1268-1284)
Hojo Sadatoki        (1284-1301)
Hojo Morotoki        (1301-1311)
Hojo Munenobu        (1311-1312)
Hojo Hirotoki        (1312-1315)
Hojo Mototoki        (1315)
Hojo Takatoki        (1316-1326)
Hojo Sadaaki         (1326)
Hojo Moritoki        (1327-1333)

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.