ASIA212Varley

Even the northern branch although left in possession

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Unformatted text preview: ions of the country of new warrior bands that the shogunate, organized originally as a military hegemony over the eastern provinces, found increasingly difficult to control. Still another was a succession dispute that erupted between two branches of the imperial family about the time of the invasions. This dispute appeared at first to be of little significance, since the Hòjò had stripped the imperial family of nearly all political power a halfcentury earlier; and an agreement by which the so-called senior and junior branches of the family alternately provided candidates for the emperorship worked tolerably well for a number of years. Then, in 1318, Godaigo (1288–1339), a most forceful and headstrong member of the junior branch, ascended the throne and determined not only to transmit the line of succession exclusively to his own descendants but also to restore the throne to real power. Godaigo’s restorationist or loyalist movement was successful in 1333 when the forces that rallied to him, including both courtiers and samurai, overthrew the Kamakura shogunate and gave the emperor the opportunity to rule, as well as reign, that he had long sought. But the Restora- 108 The Canons of Medieval Taste tion of Godaigo lasted a scant three years and was a generally reactionary and impractical attempt to turn the course of history back to the early Heian period, before power was first taken from the throne by the Fujiwara regents. Totally unable to meet the real governing needs of the medieval age, the Restoration regime was overthrown in 1336 by Ashikaga Takauji (1305–58), the chieftain of a main branch of the great Minamoto clan. After driving Godaigo and his remnant supporters to refuge in the mountainous region of Yoshino to the south, Takauji placed a member of the senior branch of the imperial family on the throne and established a new military administration in Kyoto, known in history as the Ashikaga or Muromachi shogunate (1336–1573). The first half-century of Muromachi times, 1336 to 1392, is also desig...
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