But proximity to the court in kyoto gave the ise

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Unformatted text preview: though the provincial warriors never lost their awe and admiration for the culture of the imperial court, their fundamental values were the antithesis of those of the Heian courtiers. They were samurai—men who “served”—and they behaved in accordance with an unwritten code that stressed manly arrogance, fighting prowess, unswerving loyalty to one’s overlord, and a truculent pride in family lineage.1 Paradoxical though it may sound, the greatest samurai leaders came from a background of courtier society itself. The rise of the Fujiwara to preponderant power in Kyoto stifled opportunity for others at court, including those from the less privileged branches of the Fujiwara and even members of the imperial family. Many of these individuals left Kyoto to accept appointments to offices in the provincial governments. Settling permanently in the provinces after expiration of their terms of office, they took up warrior ways, became the leaders of bands, and attracted The Advent of a New Age 79 members of lesser samurai families as their supporters and vassals. Ultimately, two great clans descended from princely forebears—the Taira and Minamoto—emerged to the forefront of samurai society and became the principal contenders for warrior supremacy of the land.2 Although at first there was no clear territorial division of influence, by the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries one of the main branches of the Minamoto came to exert sway over the Kantò, having honed its martial powers in two long, grueling wars fought in the late 1100s against independent-minded satraps in Mutsu and Dewa provinces to the north.3 Meanwhile, a branch of the Taira from Ise province steadily acquired land and influence in the central and western provinces. Control of the fertile Kantò, a region some ten times greater than the plain of the central provinces, eventually proved decisive in enabling the Minamoto to found the first warrior government in Japan at Kamakura in 1185. But proximity to the court in Kyoto gave the Ise Taira an early advantage over the Minamoto in the protracted competition and conflict that ensured between these t...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.

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