During this “time of the fighting countries” (Sengoku-jidai) the Shogun had only a weak authority. Towards the end of this period new territorial and political constellations had emerged, which were shaped by the territorial princes (daimyo) who ruled their lands autonomously. In 1543, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to land in Japan. This event also had due to the material goods brought with them, among others. of firearms, catalytic effect on renewed integration and centralization processes. One of the most powerful military leaders in Eastern Japan, Oda Nobunaga, was able to do so (* 1534, † 1582) prevail with a series of well-planned campaigns and beat the alliance formed against him with the Shogun in 1572/73. The last Ashikagashogun had to flee, with which in 1573 the time of the Muromachi-based shogunate came to an end.
Interregnum Nobunaga / Toyotomi (1573-1603)
After Oda Nobunaga was able to win decisive victories over strong coalitions consisting of cavalry armies thanks to his troops armed with firearms (until 1580), he made preparations for a campaign in the west. He was attacked by one of his military leaders in 1582 and died. However, his general Toyotomi Hideyoshi (* 1536, † 1598) completed the ventures successfully. In 1587 he subjugated Shimazu Yoshihisa (* 1533, † 1611) in Satsuma, in 1590 Date Masamune (* 1567, † 1636) and another sovereign of Eastern Japan. These military successes as well as a wise alliance and administrative policy allowed him to exercise rule over the country without being appointed Shogun himself. Hideyoshi began in 1592with the landing near Busan in Korea a war of conquest against China, but had to withdraw his troops after initial successes to the coast. After unsuccessful peace negotiations, he sent an army to Korea again in 1597; it was recalled without a win after his death the following year. Toyotomi Hideyoshi led Oda Nobunagas Plant also continued with the expansion of traffic routes and land surveying; this made it possible to set better standards for tax payments and lending. The establishment of the feudal social order began in 1588 with the separation of the warriors from the peasant class in the “sword hunt” and the disarming of the “non-warriors” (peasants, monks). In 1591 craftsmen and merchants were divorced. Outside of the four stands Samurai / Bushi, farmers, craftsmen, merchants (Shi, Nō, Kō, Shō) stood the court nobility (Kuge) and the “non-humans” (Hinin) or “untouchables” (Eta). Civil service and military service were reserved for the samurai, all dishonorable work was assigned to the Hinin and Eta.
Before his death (1598), Toyotomi Hideyoshi tried to secure the successor for his son. In this context, the ruling in the eastern Kantō area Tokugawa Ieyasu aroused(* 1543, † 1616) distrust, and some daimyo allied against him. In the battle of Sekigahara on October 21, 1600, however, he was victorious and soon afterwards was unreservedly master of the country.
In 1603, according to franciscogardening, Tokugawa Ieyasu was appointed Shogun. But he stayed in the Kantō area and built the then insignificant fishing village of Edo into the seat of his Bakufu or Shogunate government, which resided in the newly built castle of Edo. Tokugawa Ieyasu’s resignation in 1605 did nothing to change his political activity or influence. Toyotomi Hideyoshi had already started to set up a new central administration, but it was Tokugawa Ieyasu’s grandson, Tokugawa Iemitsu (3rd Shogun 1623–51) completed this work: Next to the Shogun there were two council bodies (the council of the elders “Rōjū” and that of the younger elders “Wakadoshiyori”), temporarily under a president; the department heads and administrators of large cities and fortresses as well as censors were subordinate to them. With a sophisticated control system, both the approximately 250 to 300 daimyō, who ruled their territories relatively autonomously, as well as the common people, grouped into groups of five families, were effectively monitored. Since 1635 the daimyo had to stay in their residences in Edo every other year (Sankin-kōtai); their families lived there permanently, which was an enormous financial burden.
The Christian mission (started in 1549 by the Spanish Jesuit Franz Xaver) and foreign relations initially developed without major problems. Christianity was initially tolerated as a counterbalance to Buddhism. However, during his campaign against Shimazu Yoshihisa in 1587, Toyotomi Hideyoshi had seen the results of the work of Christian missionaries. At that time there were about 125,000 Christians on Kyushu; He also heard rumors about human trafficking by the missionaries. Thereupon he issued a first ban on Christianity and expelled the clergy from the country, but did not act strictly. In 1614, Tokugawa banned Ieyasu the conversion of nobles and expelled the missionaries again. His advisers included the Portuguese Jesuit João Rodrigues Girão (* presumably 1561, † 1634) and the Englishman William Adams (* presumably 1564, † 1620). In 1609 the Dutch were allowed to open a trading post in Hirado, and in 1613 the English. With the sieges of Osaka Castle (1614 and 1615), the seat of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s son Hideyori, Tokugawa Ieyasu eliminated his last rivals. In 1615 the castle fell, Hideyori committed suicide and shortly afterwards his son was executed. Tokugawa Ieyasu died a year later.