Unformatted text preview: òjò regents were particularly enthusiastic patrons of Zen and
sought to make Kamakura its center as part of a larger effort to elevate
the cultural life of the new militar y capital. One way in which the Hòjò
promoted Zen was by welcoming to Kamakura prominent Zen (Ch’an)
priests who fled China as it came under the control of invading Mongols
in the thirteenth century (the Sung dynasty was finally overthrown by
the Mongols in 1279). These Chinese priests became the leaders of the
Zen establishment in Kamakura and served as the founding abbots of The Canons of Medieval Taste 105 such great Zen temples as Kenchòji and Engakuji. In the fourteenth century, when the Kamakura shogunate was destroyed and the seat of military power was shifted to Kyoto upon the founding of the Ashikaga or
Muromachi shogunate (1336–1573), Kyoto superseded Kamakura as the
country’s Zen center. But the Kamakura period remained the time when
Zen, emanating from Kamakura, was probably propagated in its purest
form. Once Kyoto became its principal home, Zen was strongly influenced by the older Buddhist traditions of the imperial capital, especially
On the whole, the Hòjò regents exercised firm and just rule over
samurai society through most of the thirteenth century. Unlike Minamoto Yoritomo, who had governed in a highly autocratic way, the Hòjò
opened a Council of State to enable chieftains of the other great samurai
families of the east to participate in the decision making of the shogunate. Moreover, the Hòjò based their rule on an epochal formulary, the
Jòei Code of 1232, which contained detailed provisions dealing with
those matters that were of most concern to the members of a warrior
class, including the duties of land stewards and constables, the distribution of fiefs, and the settlement of armed disputes.
Even while the Hòjò were thus placing the shogunate on a firm institutional basis, events were occurring on the continent that were to present
Japan with its only major foreign threat in premodern historical times.
In the ea...
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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 UBC.
- Spring '13