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Unformatted text preview: the stage was set for a general
competition among the more powerful of them to undertake the task of
restoring order to the entire country. Unification and the establishment
of a lasting military hegemony were ultimately carried out by three great
chieftains—Oda Nobunaga (1534–82), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536–98),
and Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542–1616)—all of whom came from the region
of modern Nagoya, midway between the central provinces and the Kantò. 142 The Country Unified Nobunaga took the first important step toward unification when he
led his armies into Kyoto in 1568. Five years later he deposed the puppet
Ashikaga shogun and thus officially dissolved the long-moribund Muromachi shogunate. Nobunaga then set about expanding his power outward
from Kyoto, dealing in turn with various enemies that included other
daimyos, the members of Buddhist sects, and militant peasant bands. A
hard and ruthless campaigner, Nobunaga often inflicted savage punishment on those who opposed him. Perhaps the most conspicuous example
of this was his attack in 1571 on the Enryakuji Temple of Mount Hiei,
whose monks had refused either to join him or to remain neutral in the
struggle for control of the central provinces. Circling Mount Hiei, Nobunaga’s forces marched up its sides, not only destroying the thousands of
buildings that constituted the temple complex but also killing everyone
they found from the monks to the many folk who had been drawn from
nearby villages for sanctuary on the mountain. Thus, in an orgy of slaughter, Nobunaga virtually obliterated the greatest scholarly and religious
center of ancient Japan.
In 1582, while he was in the process of directing his armies against the
western provinces, Nobunaga was assassinated at the age of forty-nine
by one of his generals. His death was speedily avenged by another general, Hideyoshi, who thereupon assumed the mantle of unifier and, within
eight years, brought the remainder of Japan under his control. Hideyoshi,
probably the greatest military command...
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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.
- Spring '13