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Azuchi-Momoyama Period Timeline

Azuchi-Momoyama Period Timeline

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  • 1568 - 1582

    Oda Nobunaga seizes Heiankyo (Kyoto) and is the dominant military leader in central Japan.

  • 1568 - 1600

  • 1571

    Oda Nobunaga attacks the Buddhist Enryakuji monastic complex near Kyoto.

  • 1573

    Oda Nobunaga exiles the last Ashikaga shogun, Yoshiaki.

  • 1575

    Oda Nobunaga wins the Battle of Nagashino.

  • 1576

    Oda Nobunaga instigates a 'sword hunt' to confiscate all weapons from the Japanese peasantry.

  • 1579

    Oda Nobunaga establishes a new headquarters at Azuchi castle.

  • 1580

    Oda Nobunaga attacks the Buddhist temple-fortress of Ishiyama Honganji in Osaka using ship-mounted cannons.

  • 1581

    The first version of Himeji Castle was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

  • 1582 - 1598

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi is the military leader of Japan.

  • 1582 - 1598

    Oda Nobunaga and his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi conduct an extensive land ownership survey across Japan.

  • 21 Jun 1582

  • 1586

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds the huge Osaka castle.

  • 1587

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi passes his first edict to banish Christian missionaries from Japan.

  • 1588

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi prohibits commoners from carrying weapons, including swords.

  • 1588

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi rules that only full-rank samurai may carry two swords.

  • 1591

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds the massive Odoi ("Great rampart") fortification wall around Heiankyo (Kyoto).

  • 1591

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi redefines the class system of Japan.

  • 1591

    Samurai are no longer permitted to farm their own land making them dependent on their lords for income.

  • 1592

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi sends an army to invade Korea. It is not successful.

  • 1594

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds the Fushimi Castle outside Heiankyo (Kyoto).

  • 1597

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi passes his second edict to remove Christian missionaries from Japan and executes 26 Christians in Nagasaki.

  • 1597

    Toyotomi Hideyoshi sends a second army to invade Korea. It is not successful.

  • 18 Sep 1598

    Death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the military leader of Japan.

  • 1600

    Tokugawa Ieyasu wins the Battle of Skeigahara against those generals who supported Toyotomi Hideyoshi's son. End of the Azuchi-Momoyama Period.

  • 1603 - 1868

    The Tokugawa Shogunate rules Japan.

Tag: Azuchi Momoyama period

The red circle above indicate the time we discuss in this chapter

The Bakumatsu period is the last part of the Edo period on sword history. See the circle on the middle timeline above. However, political history does not divide the Edo period and the Bakumatsu period. There is not a clear-cut date for the Bakumatsu period.

The AzuchiMomoyam period (安土桃山) is between the time when Oda Nobunaga (織田信長) deposed Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (将軍足利義昭) in 1573 and the time when Tokugawa Iyeyasu became the shogun in 1603 or when Tokugawa Iyeyasu won the battle against Toyotomi Hideyori (Hideyoshi’s son) at Osaka Summer Campaign in 1615. The Azuchi-Momoyama period was a short period when Oda Nobunaga(織田信長), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉), and Tokugawa Iyeyasu (徳川家康) were maneuvering the intricate political struggles. During this time, the country flourished culturally and economically. After a long wartime period, people finally saw the country reunite and the peaceful life waiting ahead.

The stories of Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Iyeyasu have been the most popular stories for the Japanese. Often the stories around this time are depicted on TV programs and in movies. The Edo period was the time when the Tokugawa family ruled Japan.

The Tokugawa government was called the Tokugawa Bakufu. Throughout the Edo period, the Tokugawa family’s direct line, usually the firstborn sons, became the shogun. Yet, the emperors co-existed at the same time. Even though they did not have political power, the emperor’s family still held imperial status.

During the Edo period, it was a very peaceful time. Unlike the previous period, there were no wars. Yet, later in the time, the long-last Edo period (last approximately 260 years) became stagnated and began showing structural and financial problems in the ruling. This is the Bakumatsu (幕末) time, which means the last part of the Edo Bakufu.

In the previous chapter, Chapter 25, Edo Period History explained that the Edo Bakufu closed the country to the outside world for most of the era. The only place in Japan with access to foreign countries was Dejima in Nagasaki (Southern part of Japan). During the Bakumatsu period, several European ships came to Japan asking (more like demanding) Japan to open ports for water and other whaling ships’ supplies. Also, some countries wanted to trade with Japan. Those countries were England, Russia, America, and France, etc.

In 1792, the Russian government sent an official messenger to Japan demanding it to open up for trades. In 1853, Commodore Perry from the U.S. appeared with four massive warships at a port called Uraga (浦賀: Kanagawa prefecture now) and demanded Japan to open ports for water, fuel, and other supplies for the U.S. whaling ships.

At the end of the Bakumatsu time, the Tokugawa Bakufu faced political and financial difficulties governing the country. Also, intellectual people were afraid that Japan might get into trouble like China, the Opium War(1840 -1842), with England. The pressures to open the county were building up. It became apparent that Japan could no longer continue to close the country. In such a time, Commodore Perry appeared at Uraga with four huge black warships that demanded Japan to open the country. These warships scared the Japanese and excelled the big wave of the anti-Bakufu movement. The Meiji Revolution was ready to happen, and Perry’s warships were the last blow.

Tokugawa Bakufu made treaties with several foreign countries and opened a few ports for trades. The Bakufu’s authority was lost, and Japan was divided into several different political groups. Those political groups fought chaotically, and the Meiji Restoration movement continued. In 1868, the Tokugawa Bafuku moved out of the Edo Castle in Edo (now Tokyo), and the Meiji Emperor moved in. The Meiji Shin Seifu (Meiji new government) was established centering the Meiji Emperor, and the Tokugawa Bakufu ended.

File:Commodore-Perry-Visit-Kanagawa-1854.jpg From黒船 Public Domain

Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s visit of Kanagawa, near the site of present-day Yokohama on March 8, 1854. Lithography. New York: E. Brown, Jr.

Shoin Rooms

A shoin is a type of audience hall in Japanese architecture that was developed during the Muromachi period and refined during the Momoyama period.

Learning Objectives

Discuss the changes in Japanese shoin rooms during the Momoyama Period

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Shoin originally referred to a study and a place for lectures on the sūtra within a temple, but later it came to mean simply a drawing room or study.
  • The emerging architecture of the Muromachi period was subsequently influenced by the increasing use and appearance of shoin. One of the most noticeable changes in architecture to arise from the shoin came from the practice of lining the floors of the room with tatami mats.
  • The architecture surrounding and influenced by the shoin quickly developed many distinguishing features, such as the tokonoma (an elevated recess built into the wall to display art) and chigaidana (shelving structures built into the tokonoma to display smaller objects).
  • Occurring at the same time as the development of shoin architecture was the rise in popularity of fusuma, or sliding doors used to divide rooms.

Key Terms

  • tatami: Straw matting, in a standard size, used as a floor covering in Japanese houses.
  • sūtra: An aphorism (or line, rule, formula) or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual or, more broadly, a text in Hinduism or Buddhism.
  • tokonoma: A recess in a domestic interior in which a hanging scroll, flower arrangement, or other art is displayed.
  • fusuma: A vertical rectangular sliding panel, often painted or decorated, used in Japan as a door or movable wall.


A shoin (書, drawing room or study) is a type of audience hall in Japanese architecture that was developed during the Muromachi period. The term originally referred to a study and a place for lectures within a temple, but later it came to mean simply a drawing room or study. The shoin-zukuri style takes its name from these rooms. In a shoin-zukuri building, the shoin is the room dedicated to the reception of guests.

The Shiro-shoin at Hongan-ji: Shoin is a type of audience hall in Japanese architecture.

Development of the Shoin

The foundations for the design of today’s traditional Japanese residential houses were established in the late Muromachi period and refined during the ensuing Momoyama period. Shoin-zukuri, a new architectural style influenced by Zen Buddhism, developed during that time from the earlier Heian period’s palaces and the subsequent residential style favored by the warrior class during the Kamakura period.

One of the most noticeable changes in architecture to arise from the shoin came from the practice of lining floors with tatami mats. Since tatami mats have a standardized size, the floor plans for shoin rooms had to be developed around the proportions of the tatami mat this in turn affected the proportions of doors, the height of rooms, and other aspects of the structure. Before the shoin popularized the practice of lining floors with tatami mats, it had been standard to only bring out a single tatami mat for the highest-ranking person in the room to sit on.

The architecture surrounding and influenced by the shoin quickly developed many other distinguishing features. Because guests sat on the floor rather than on furniture, they were positioned at a lower vantage point than their Chinese counterparts at that time, who were accustomed to using furniture. This lower vantage point generated such developments as suspended ceilings, which functioned to make the room feel less expansive and also resulted in the ceilings rafters no longer being visible, as they were in China. The new suspended ceilings also allowed for more elaborate and ornate decoration.

Other characteristics to arise from the lower vantage point were the tokonoma and chigaidana. The tokonoma was an elevated recess built into the wall to create a space for displaying Chinese art, which was popular at the time, at a comfortable eye level. The chigaidana, or “staggered shelves,” were shelving structures built into the tokonoma to display smaller objects. Fusuma, or sliding doors, were also becoming a popular means to divide rooms. As a result, columns began to be created that were square-shaped to accommodate the sliding doors.

The asymmetry of the tokonoma and chigaidana pair, as well as the squared pillars, differentiated the shoin design from the contemporary Chinese design of the time, which preferred symmetric pairs of furniture and round pillars. Soon after its advent, shoin architecture became associated with these evolving elements as it developed into the predominant format for formal gathering rooms.

  • 1568 (Eiroku 11): Nobunaga entered Kyoto
  • 1573 (Genki 4): Oda Nobunaga causes the Ashikaga Yoshiaki to flee Kyoto the Ashikaga shogunate is ended [4]
  • 1576 (Tenshō 3, 5th month): Battle of Nagashino. [5]
  • 1582 (Tenshō 10): Nobunaga was assassinated by Akechi Mitsuhide[6]
  • 1583 (Tenshō 12, 4th month): Battle of Komaki and Nagakute. [7]
  • 1592 (Bunroku 1): Hideyoshi invaded Korea., [8] This event was known as Bunroku-Keichō no Eki[9] and it was also known as the Imjin War.
  • September 18, 1598 (Keichō 3, 18th day of the 8th month): Hideyoshi died at the age of 63. [8]
  • October 21, 1600 (Keichō 5, 15th day of the 9th month): Battle of Sekigahara, [8]
  • 1603 (Keichō 8): Tokugawa Ieyasu was named Shogun. [10]
  • 1614 ( Keichō 19): Battle of Osaka (Osaka Fuyu no Jin) [11]
  • 1615 ( Keichō 20): Battle of Osaka (Osaka Natsu no Jin) [12]

The times when Toyotomi grasped the government are called Momoyama period ( 桃山時代 , Momoyama-jidai) , and the culture that prospered mainly on this time is called Momoyama culture ( 桃山文化 , Momoyama-bunka) .

A new merchant class grew in cities at this time. Consumption and luxurious culture increased among the wealthy.

Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568 – 1603)

The Azuchi-Momoyama Period was a brief period at the end of the Warring States Era when Oda Nobunaga and his successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, imposed order on the nation in the aftermath of the crumbling of the Ashikaga shogunate. In fact, the period takes its name from Nobunaga’s and Hideyoshi’s respective headquarters, both near Kyōto. It can be said to have begun with Nobunaga’s entry into Kyōto to install Ashikaga Yoshiaki as the fifteenth Ashikaga shōgun in 1568, and to have ended with the victory of the forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu (whose headquarters was at Mikawa) over those of Hideyoshi at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.

Culturally, the Azuchi-Momoyama Period was marked by the increasing growth of the merchant class, and the patronizing of arts such as the tea ceremony by the warrior class. Despite, or perhaps because of, an increasing interest in European culture and religion, Hideyoshi sometimes attempted to suppress Christian religious expression.

  • 1568 (Eiroku 11): Nobunaga entered Kyoto
  • 1573 (Genki 4): Oda Nobunaga causes the Ashikaga Yoshiaki to flee Kyoto the Ashikaga shogunate is ended [4]
  • 1576 (Tenshō 3, 5th month): Battle of Nagashino. [5]
  • 1582 (Tenshō 10): Nobunaga was assassinated by Akechi Mitsuhide[6]
  • 1583 (Tenshō 12, 4th month): Battle of Komaki and Nagakute. [7]
  • 1592 (Bunroku 1): Hideyoshi invaded Korea., [8] This event was known as Bunroku-Keichō no Eki[9] and it was also known as the Imjin War.
  • September 18, 1598 (Keichō 3, 18th day of the 8th month): Hideyoshi died at the age of 63. [8]
  • October 21, 1600 (Keichō 5, 15th day of the 9th month): Battle of Sekigahara, [8]
  • 1603 (Keichō 8): Tokugawa Ieyasu was named Shogun. [10]
  • 1614 ( Keichō 19): Battle of Osaka (Osaka Fuyu no Jin) [11]
  • 1615 ( Keichō 20): Battle of Osaka (Osaka Natsu no Jin) [12]

The times when Toyotomi grasped the government are called Momoyama period ( 桃山時代 , Momoyama-jidai) , and the culture that prospered mainly on this time is called Momoyama culture ( 桃山文化 , Momoyama-bunka) .

A new merchant class grew in cities at this time. Consumption and luxurious culture increased among the wealthy.


Painting was the visual art form that offered the most varied opportunities in the new age and, in fact, the most notable area of achievement. A breakdown of the comparatively rigid lines that had previously defined the various painting styles began in the Muromachi period and continued in the Momoyama. The Kanō school developed two distinctive styles: one featuring bright, opaque colours on gold or silver backgrounds, brilliantly amalgamating bright colour and bold brushwork, and the other a more freehanded, mannered, and bold interpretation of traditional ink monochrome themes. Other schools varied these two styles into distinctive lineage voices, but the Kanō group under Eitoku dominated the period through sheer talent and by amassing important commissions.

At Eitoku’s death several other figures who had worked either in secondary collaboration or in competition with the Kanō atelier emerged as strong individualist painters. Kaihō Yūshō probably trained in the Kanō studio, but his independent style, most characteristically revealed in richly nuanced ink monochrome on gold or silver background, owed much to a careful study of Zen painting. Hasegawa Tōhaku arrived in Kyōto from the Noto Peninsula region to the north on the Sea of Japan (East Sea). His training was thoroughly eclectic, with experience in Buddhist polychrome themes, portraiture, and ink monochrome. Through the offices of the tea master Sen Rikyū, Tōhaku gained access to important collections of Chinese painting that had greatly influenced Muromachi aesthetics. His acknowledged masterworks are in both the full-blown but delicately nuanced polychrome style and the more subtle, contemplative ink monochrome format. The latter style is exemplified by the hauntingly depicted pine trees obscured by a mist that he painted on a pair of sixfold screens. Ultimately individualists with no long-term significant school following, Yūshō and Tōhaku nevertheless provided a brilliant sense of creative variation to the Kanō dominance.

The subject matter favoured by the military patrons was bold and aggressive, as overtly suggested in paintings of birds of prey, lions, and tigers. Slightly more subtle but equally assertive renderings of majestic rocks or trees were also popular. Some Confucian themes, reflective of the ideology that would be favoured even more forcefully under Tokugawa rule, were beginning to appear. Yet another theme endorsed by rulers and townspeople was a style of genre painting that celebrated the new prosperity and stability, both urban and agrarian. Panoramic and carefully detailed screen paintings laid out the bustling life of Kyōto emerging from the destruction of civil-war life. The observation of prosperity and pleasure-seeking spawned a style of genre painting that developed during the Edo period into quite specialized observations of the pleasure quarters of the urban centres.

An aberrational but richly interesting thematic interlude involved the presence of Iberian merchants, diplomats, and missionaries. These Westerners were part of the vast exploration, trade, and colonization effort that reached South America, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. From the time of the foreigners’ first arrival in 1543 until their expulsion in the 1630s, there was a modest amount of cultural transmission. During this time the Japanese commissioned liturgical implements from the West and acquired some training in Western painting techniques. Perhaps most memorably, it became fashionable to depict Western themes and screen panoramas of the foreigners active in various Japanese settings—walking in the streets of Kyōto or arriving at ports in galleons. Unlike paintings with Japanese or Chinese themes, which are read from right to left, a telling curiosity of these screens is that they are read from left to right, suggesting by composition that the foreigners would depart. This exposure to the West seems to have had little long-term effect on the Japanese visual arts. (Later, however, via the Dutch trading settlement at Deshima in Nagasaki Harbour, Western copperplates, Chinese adaptations of Western artworks and techniques, and other secondary expressions made Japanese artists more aware of such techniques as shading, modeling, and single-point perspective.) The Iberian presence is one striking example of the spirit of the Momoyama period. Such great cultural variety, curiosity, and experimentation was no longer tolerated when the Tokugawa clan completed the unification and centralization of political leadership.

If the Kanō school and related interpreters advanced the themes and styles of the Muromachi period to accommodate the expansive sensibilities of the new ruling class and new social phenomena in general, yet another alignment of artistic talent offered a reexamination of the themes and expressive modes of the Heian court. The renaissance of courtly taste experimented with word and image, intermixing poetry, painting or design, lush decorative papers reminiscent of famous Heian secular and religious works, and countless narrative illustrations or allusive references to the Tales of Ise and to The Tale of Genji. It was during the late Momoyama and early Edo periods that a canonical body or stock of standardized referent classical illustrations began to coalesce.

The courtly themes were tackled by all schools but perhaps most effectively by the creative partnership of Hon’ami Kōetsu and Tawaraya Sōtatsu. Although, strictly speaking, they created most of their greatest works in the Edo period, Sōtatsu and Kōetsu developed their aesthetic sensibilities in Kyōto during the Momoyama period, and the inspiration for their later works can be found in the great creative freedom characteristic of that time.

Kōetsu was raised in a family of sword experts, a discipline that required extensive knowledge of lacquer, metal, and leather. It implied an eye acutely attuned to delicate nuance in discerning the working of a blade. Kōetsu expanded his interests and training to include calligraphy and ceramics. He functioned as an impresario, bringing together talented craftsmen and artists to work on projects. None was more central to and intertwined with his reputation than Sōtatsu, a painter of fans. Both men, especially Kōetsu, had excellent connections with the aristocracy but came from artisan or merchant families. Working in collaboration, with Kōetsu acting as calligrapher, they created paintings and decorative backgrounds recalling the rich opaque texturing of an earlier illuminated sutra style. While both men, in other contexts, demonstrated mastery of the ink monochrome form, their works in polychromy featured a trait that would be characteristic of their followers throughout the Edo period: their images are formed through arrangements of colour patterns rather than being defined by ink outlines and embellished with colour. Ink was used more sparingly and allusively than, for example, by the Kanō painters. The effect was softening, textured, and suggestive of textile patterning. Sōtatsu’s lush screen painting, said to describe the scene at Matsushima Bay on Japan’s northeast Pacific coast, is a superb statement of elemental power couched in a decorative mode. Reference to the various planes of Chinese painting—near, middle, and far distance—were largely abandoned, as exposition of the surface of a material became the foremost concern.

Sōtatsu and Kōetsu worked in collaboration with the wealthy merchant Suminokura Soan, beginning in 1604, to produce images and calligraphy for a series of luxury-edition printed books featuring renderings of classical and Noh drama texts. This collaboration marked the earliest and one of the most beautiful efforts at a wider dissemination of the Japanese classics to an increasingly literate audience. The energies and talents that these men and their followers infused into the Japanese visual arts were thoroughly unique. It may be suggested, however, that their initial training in art forms other than painting brought new pragmatism and perspective to the painting world.

Azuchi-Momoyama period

The Azuchi Momoyama Period
The Azuchi Momoyama period (1568 - 1603) is one of the age classifications in Japan, referring to the period in which Nobunaga ODA and Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI held the right to rule Japan (Oda government, Toyotomi government). This period is also referred to as the Shokuho (織豊) period or the Azuchi Osaka period. Also, because the name of the era used for most of the Azuchi Momoyama period was Tensho (天正), it is sometimes referred to as the Tensho period.

The name given to this period is based on the name of the castle where Nobunaga ODA resided, Azuchi-jo Castle, and the name of the castle where Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI resided, Momoyama-jo Castle (also known as Fushimi-jo Castle). Particularly, the latter half of this period, when the Toyotomi family tried to control the entire country, is referred to as the Momoyama period, and the culture that flourished in this age is called the Momoyama culture. However, the name of Momoyama (meaning peach mountain) was taken from the fact that peach trees were grown on the site of Fushimi-jo Castle, which was destroyed in the Edo Period, which indicates that a castle called Momoyama-jo Castle existed. Therefore, if we are to respect the historical background, the "Fushimi Period" will be a more appropriate name, but in the first place Azuchi-jo Castle existed only for slightly more than three years after its completion, and in the case of Fushimi-jo Castle (Mt. Kohata), Hideyoshi died just two years after its completion consequently, the time both rulers stayed within the respective castles was short, and thus some assert that the use of the name of the castles to symbolize the period is not appropriate. Because of such reasons, the name of Shokuho Period is also spreading in recent years, and some suggest the names of Azuchi Osaka Period or Tensho Period.

There are several opinions regarding the start and end of the Azuchi Momoyama period. As for the start, a strong view is that the period started in 1568 when Nobunaga ODA obeyed Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA and arrived in Kyoto, but others assert that it was in 1573, when Yoshiaki was banished from Kyoto, or 1576, when the construction of Azuchi-jo Castle started. Regarding the end, there are such views as it was in 1598, when Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI died, or in 1600 when Ieyasu TOKUGAWA won the Battle of Sekigahara, or in 1603 when Ieyasu established the Edo Bakufu, etc. In any case, it is a matter of where to divide &aposthe period of Oda/Toyotomi,&apos but the definition of this period has become complicated because it overlaps the Muromachi period and the age of civil war (Japan).

Establishment of government by Nobunaga ODA
Among the daimyos of the age of civil war, Nobunaga ODA&aposs powers gradually became extremely strong, and by obeying Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA and arriving in Kyoto, government by Nobunaga began. When he exiled Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA from Kyoto in 1573, Muromachi Bakufu virtually collapsed, and the Oda government was established in name and reality. Furthermore, the start of construction of Azuchi-jo Castle in 1576 announced to the world that the trend toward Tenka Fubu (天下布武) was gradually becoming a fact. In such an environment, a new culture was starting to bloom it was centered on Kyoto, which was regaining peace through control by Nobunaga. Subsequently, Nobunaga further expanded his power and eventually controlled central Japan however, in 1582, when it seemed he was very close to unifying Japan, he was defeated in the Honnoji Incident.

The Unification of Japan by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI
Upon the occurrence of the Honnoji Incident, Hideyoshi HASHIBA arrived in Kyoto before anyone else and defeated the leader, Mitsuhide AKECHI, in the Battle of Yamazaki. Consequently, Hideyoshi seized leadership within the Oda government and strengthened his position as Nobunaga&aposs successor through the Kiyosu Meeting and the Battle of Shizugatake then, in 1583, he started the construction of Osaka-jo Castle. Hideyoshi was in 1586 appointed as grand minister of state and chief adviser to the Emperor, and was given the surname Toyotomi by the Emperor in 1590 he unified Japan and endeavored to stabilize his government by conducting land surveys and sword hunts throughout the country. Also, in 1592 he conducted the Bunroku-Keicho War, seeking to conquer Ming, but the situation reached a deadlock in Korea, which was supposed to be the only route through to Ming. On the other hand, peace came to Japan as the result of unification various daimyos endeavored to manage their countries, and cities in various parts of Japan prospered. Hideyoshi based his activities in Kyoto and directly and aggressively engaged in cultural activities such as tea ceremony, etc. In addition to the above, through contact with different cultures via trade with Spain and Portugal, the spread of manufacturing techniques of Korean pottery, etc. , culture entered a new era and came to be referred to as the "Momoyama culture. "

The end of the Toyotomi period
When Hideyoshi died in 1598, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, who was the leader of the Council of Five Elders (五大老), started to distinguish himself and took the lead in negotiations for peace through the withdrawal of the army, which had advanced into Korea subsequently, he became the person who virtually controlled the government. Anti-Ieyasu powers led by Mitsunari ISHIDA opposed such moves by Ieyasu, resulting in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, which divided the entire country into two parties. Ieyasu, who won the war, strengthened the base of his government and was appointed by the Emperor as Seii Taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") in 1603. With this the Azuchi Momoyama period ended completely, and an unprecedented age of peace--the Edo period--was born.

The Momoyama culture
In the Azuchi Momoyama period, newly emerging merchants who were considered wealthy merchants rose in power, and a tendency toward a luxurious and large-scale culture emerged, supported by their wealth. Also, as a result of Nobunaga&aposs policies, the power exercised by the Buddhists weakened at the center of the country. Fewer works based on Buddhist themes were produced, with newer works focusing more on human beings and prepared in a more modern style.

The tea ceremony became popular, and accordingly fine utensils imported from Tang were prized on the other hand, Wabi-cha (わび茶) also developed as a resistance to such a tendency. Sometimes, utensils for the tea ceremony were given by a daimyo to his vassal as a prize, or the tea ceremony affected political events by serving to strengthen the ties between the samurai and the merchants.

One should remember the impact of European culture, which had occurred through trade with Spain and Portugal since the arrival in Japan of Francisco Xavier in 1549. It is significant that Japan had the first contact with Western culture (formally, without China, etc. , acting as an intermediary), although it was still small in scale.

Painters of the Kano school were directly connected with Nobunaga ODA, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, and other powers of the time. They represented the central power in artistic circles.

Pictures on partitions (fusuma-e): were painted on the partitions and folding screens in castles. Dami-e paintings were done in blue and green against a background of gold foil. They were characterized by rich colors and strong lines, and grand composition.

Azuchi–Momoyama period

The Azuchi–Momoyama period ( 安土桃山時代 , Azuchi–Momoyama jidai ) is the final phase of the Sengoku period ( 戦国時代 , Sengoku jidai ) in Japanese history from 1568 to 1600.

The Azuchi–Momoyama period began with Oda Nobunaga entering into Kyoto in 1568 to install Ashikaga Yoshiaki as the 15th and ultimately final shōgun of the Ashikaga Shogunate, which had collapsed after outbreak of the Ōnin War in 1467 and triggered the chaotic Sengoku period. Nobunaga overthrew Yoshiaki and dissolved the Ashikaga Shogunate in 1573, launching a war of conquest to politically unify Japan by force from his base in Azuchi. Nobunaga was forced to commit suicide in the Honnō-ji Incident in 1582, and his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi completed his campaign of unification, closing the Sengoku period and enacting reforms to consolidate his rule. Hideyoshi launched the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592, but the invasion's failure damaged his prestige, and his young son and successor Toyotomi Hideyori was challenged by Tokugawa Ieyasu after his death in 1598. The Azuchi–Momoyama period ended with Tokugawa victory at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 – unofficially establishing the Tokugawa Shogunate and beginning the Edo period. [2]

The Azuchi–Momoyama period oversaw Japanese society and culture transitioning from the Middle Ages to the early modern period. The Azuchi–Momoyama period is named after Nobunaga's Azuchi Castle and Hideyoshi's Momoyama Castle, and is also known as Shokuhō period ( 織豊時代 , Shokuhō jidai ) in some Japanese texts, abridged from the surnames of the period's two leaders in the on-reading: Shoku ( 織 ) for Oda ( 織田 ) plus ( 豊 ) for Toyotomi ( 豊臣 ) . [2]


During the period from 1576 to 1579, Nobunaga constructed on the shore of Lake Biwa at Azuchi (in present-day Shiga Prefecture) Azuchi Castle, a magnificent seven-story castle that was intended to serve not simply as an impregnable military fortification but also as a sumptuous residence that would stand as a symbol of unification. This castle gives us the first part of the name of this period.

Having secured his grip on the Kinai region, Nobunaga was now powerful enough to assign his generals the task of subjugating the outlying provinces. Shibata Katsuie was given the task of conquering the Uesugi clan in Etchū, Takigawa Kazumasu confronted the Shinano Province that a son of Shingen Takeda Katsuyori governs, and Hashiba Hideyoshi was given the formidable task of facing the Mōri clan in the Chūgoku region of western Honshū.

In 1576, Oda Nobunaga the new Arquebus, first shown to the Japanese by the European's, and beat the Takeda clan of a traditional samurai at the Battle of Nagashino. The Samurai's traditional combat style declined after this.

In 1582, after a protracted campaign, Hideyoshi requested Nobunaga's help in overcoming tenacious resistance. Nobunaga, making a stop-over in Kyoto on his way west with only a small contingent of guards, was attacked and by one of his own disaffected generals, and committed suicide.

What followed was a scramble by the most powerful of Nobunaga's retainers to avenge their lord's death and thereby establish a dominant position in negotiations over the forthcoming realignment of the Oda clan. The situation became even more urgent when it was learned that Nobunaga's oldest son and heir, Nobutada, had also been killed, leaving the Oda clan with no clear successor.

Quickly negotiating a truce with the Mōri clan before they could learn of Nobunaga's death, Hideyoshi now took his troops on a forced march toward his adversary, whom he defeated at the Battle of Yamazaki, less than two weeks later.

Although a commoner who had risen through the ranks from foot soldier, Hideyoshi was now in position to challenge even the most senior of the Oda clan's hereditary retainers, and proposed that Nobutada's infant son, Sanpōshi (who became Oda Hidenobu), be named heir rather than Nobunaga's adult third son, Nobutaka, whose cause had been championed by Shibata Katsuie. Having gained the support of other senior retainers, including Niwa Nagahide and Ikeda Tsuneoki, Sanpōshi was named heir and Hideyoshi appointed co-guardian.

Continued political intrigue, however, eventually led to open confrontation. After defeating Shibata at the Battle of Shizugatake in 1583 and enduring a costly but ultimately advantageous stalemate with Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Komaki and Nagakute in 1584, Hideyoshi managed to settle the question of succession for once and all, to take complete control of Kyoto, and to become the undisputed ruler of the former Oda domains. Daimyo of Shikoku Chōsokabe clan surrendered to Hideyoshi in July, 1585. Daimyo of Kyushu Shimazu clan also surrendered two years later. He was adopted by the Fujiwara family, given the surname Toyotomi, and granted superlative title Kanpaku in representing civil and military control of all Japan. By the following year, he had secured alliances with three of the nine major daimyo coalitions and carried the war of unification to Shikoku and Kyūshū. In 1590, at the head of an army of 200,000, Hideyoshi defeated the Hōjō clan, his last formidable rival in eastern Honshū. The remaining daimyo soon capitulated, and the military reunification of Japan was complete.

Land survey Edit

With all of Japan now under Hideyoshi's control, a new structure for national government was configured. The country was unified under a single leader, but the day-to-day governance of the people remained decentralized. The basis of power was distribution of territory as measured by rice production in units of koku. In 1598, a national survey was instituted and assessed the national rice production at 18.5 million koku, 2 million of which was controlled directly by Hideyoshi himself. In contrast, Tokugawa Ieyasu, whom Hideyoshi had transferred to the Kanto region, held 2.5 million koku.

The surveys, carried out by Hideyoshi both before and after he took the title Taiko, have come to be known as the "Taikō surveys" (Taikō kenchi).

Control measures Edit

A number of other administrative innovations were instituted to encourage commerce and stabilize society. In order to facilitate transportation, toll booths and other checkpoints along roads were largely eliminated as were unnecessary military strongholds. Measures that effectively froze class distinctions were instituted, including the requirement that different classes live separately in different areas of a town and a prohibition on the carrying or the owning of weapons by farmers. Hideyoshi ordered the collection of weapons in a great "sword hunt" (katanagari).

Unification Edit

Hideyoshi sought to secure his position by rearranging the holdings of the daimyo to his advantage. In particular, he reassigned the Tokugawa family to the Kanto region, far from the capital, and surrounded their new territory with more trusted vassals. He also adopted a hostage system in which the wives and heirs of daimyo resided at his castle town in Osaka.

He also attempted to provide for an orderly succession by taking the title Taikō, or "retired Kanpaku," in 1591 and turned the regency over to his nephew and adopted son Toyotomi Hidetsugu. Only later did he attempt to formalize the balance of power by establishing administrative bodies. These included the Council of Five Elders, who were sworn to keep peace and support the Toyotomi, the five-member Board of House Administrators, who handled routine policy and administrative matters, and the three-member Board of Mediators, who were charged with keeping peace between the first two boards.

Korean campaigns Edit

Hideyoshi's last major ambition was to conquer the Ming Dynasty of China. In April 1592, after having been refused safe passage through Korea he sent an army of 200,000 to invade and pass through Korea by force. During the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598), the Japanese occupied Seoul by May of 1592, and within three months of invading reached Pyongyang together with large numbers of Korean collaborators who at first viewed them as liberators from the corrupt aristocracy. King Seonjo of Joseon fled, and the two princes were captured by Kato Kiyomasa.

The Japanese army was defeated in the many region of the Korean peninsula by the Righteous army and Korean admiral Yi Sun-sin succeeded in attacks on the Japanese supply ships and defeating the Japanese navy at sea, and proceeded to cut off the Japanese supply line. The Japanese, cut off from their supplies and couldn't make any progress on land.

King Seonjo of Joseon dispatched an emissary to the Ming court, asking urgently for military assistance. The Chinese emperor sent admiral Chen Lin and commander Li Rusong to aid the Koreans. Li Rusong banished the Japanese from the northern part of the Korean peninsula. The Japanese were forced to retreat as far as the southern part of the Korean peninsula by January 1593. Japan and China started peace talks.

During the peace talks period that ensued between 1593 and 1597, Hideyoshi, seeing Japan as an equal of Ming China, demanded a division of Korea, free-trade status, and a Chinese princess as consort for the emperor. The Joseon and Chinese leaders saw no reason to concede to such demands, nor to treat the invaders as equals within the Ming trading system. Japan's requests were thus denied and peace efforts reached an impasse.

A second invasion began in 1597, but it too resulted in failure as Japanese forces met with better organized Korean defenses and increasing Chinese involvement in the conflict. Upon the death of Hideyoshi in 1598, Japanese forces withdrew from Korea. By this time, most of the remaining Japanese commanders were more concerned about internal battles and for the control of the shogunate.

Hideyoshi had on his deathbed appointed a group of the most powerful lords in Japan — Tokugawa, Maeda, Ukita, Uesugi, Mōri — to govern as the Council of Five Elders until his infant son, Hideyori, came of age. An uneasy peace lasted until the death of Maeda Toshiie in 1599. Thereafter, Ishida Mitsunari accused Ieyasu of disloyalty to the Toyotomi name, precipitating a crisis that led to the Battle of Sekigahara. Generally regarded as the last major conflict of the Azuchi–Momoyama period and sengoku-jidai, Ieyasu's victory at Sekigahara marked the end of the Toyotomi reign. Three years later, Ieyasu received the title Seii Taishogun, and established the Edo bakufu, which lasted until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

The Momoyama period was a period of interest in the outside world, which also saw the development of large urban centers and the rise of the merchant class. The ornate castle architecture and interiors adorned with painted screens embellished with gold leaf were a reflection of a daimyo's power but also exhibited a new aesthetic sense that marked a clear departure from the somber monotones favored during the Muromachi period. A specific genre that emerged at this time was called the Namban style—exotic depictions of European priests, traders, and other "southern barbarians."

The art of the tea ceremony also flourished at this time, and both Nobunaga and Hideyoshi lavished time and money on this pastime, collecting tea bowls, caddies, and other implements, sponsoring lavish social events, and patronizing acclaimed masters such as Sen no Rikyū.

Hideyoshi had occupied Nagasaki in 1587, and thereafter sought to take control of international trade and to regulate the trade associations that had contact with the outside world through this port. Although China rebuffed his efforts to secure trade concessions, Hideyoshi commercial missions successfully called to present-day Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand in Red seal ships. He was also suspicious of Christianity in Japan, which he saw as potentially subversive and some missionaries were crucified by his regime.

Watch the video: How to Pronounce Azuchi-Momoyama period (August 2022).