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Unformatted text preview: in daimyo houses based in Kyushu and the region of the Inland Sea.
We have observed that the Zen priest and artist Sesshû, although formally
associated with the Shòkokuji Temple in Kyoto, left the capital during the
Ònin War to take up residence in the Òuchi domain and subsequently
journeyed to China under Òuchi auspices. Sesshû was simply the most
outstanding personality attracted by the Òuchi during these years in
their attempt to make Yamaguchi, their domainial capital, the “Kyoto of
Although the age of provincial wars was a time of great upheaval and
seemingly endless disorder, we can see in retrospect that important institutional processes were under way, especially in the evolution of rule at
the regional level of Japanese society, that were to make possible a rapid
unification of the country at the end of the sixteenth century. Certain
daimyos, such as the Òuchi, had managed to weather the Ònin War and
its aftermath; but most of the other great daimyo houses of the early
Muromachi period were destroyed in the final decades of the fifteenth
century. Gradually, during the early sixteenth century, a new class of
regional barons emerged as the masters of domains which, although
generally smaller than the territorial possessions of the pre-Ònin War
daimyos, were more tightly organized as autonomous units capable of
survival in a time of constant civil strife.
These new daimyos of the age of provincial wars were a sturdy and in
many ways progressive breed of men, who devoted all their energies to
strengthening and expanding their domainial rule. They gathered their
vassals into more permanent fighting units, compiled legal codes to cover
the altered conditions of the age, and adopted a variety of policies to
encourage both agricultural and commercial development and even to
exploit, through mining operations and the like, the nonagrarian natural
resources of their domains.
By mid-sixteenth century, much of Japan had been brought under the
control of this new class of daimyos, and...
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- Spring '13