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Sengoku Period -The Warring States- (1478-1615)

Japan in 1584 (Image wiki)
  • This is the era when the samurai had the highest social power and social status.
  • Today, Japanese people associate the samurai with the Sengoku period.
  • Around 1470s, The Ashikaga shogun had no heir and many daimyos wanted to be the next shogun.
  • Eventually the Onin War (1467) broke out and lasted for 10 years marking the beginning of the great social upheaval.
The battle of Kawanakajima between Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin. The war lasted for 10 years but ended as tie since both leaders were dead by then. (Image: Utagawa Yoshikazu, 1856)
  • For about 130 years Japan was divided into many small states.
  • There were were dozens of daimyo independently ruling their lands and always fighting against each other.
  • A-century-long wars strengthened the skills and tactics of the samurai and they were able to temporarily invade the Korean peninsula twice (1592 & 1597).
  • Most famous castles, including Osaka Castle, were built during this period.
  • In 1547 firearms were introduced to Japan through a Portuguese shipwreck. The firearms changed the armors as the samurai had to wear more metal protection to protect from the musket fire.
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