ASIA212Varley

Hideyoshi probably the greatest military commander in

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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 the west.” 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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