Medieval Japan


The medieval period of Japan is considered by most historians to stretch from 1185 to 1603 CE. Stand out features of the period include the replacement of the aristocracy by the samurai class as the most powerful social group, the establishment of shogun military rulers and their regents, the decline in power of the emperors and Buddhist monasteries, and a stratification of feudal society into lords and vassals as well as a lasting class differentiation based on profession. The country witnessed long periods of civil wars as warlords and large estate owners (daimyo) fought for prominence and the central government struggled to unify Japan. On the other hand, there were developments in agriculture, commerce, and trade. The arts flourished, especially ink painting and performance arts. Finally, Japan's presence on the international stage became more involved with the Mongol Empire attacking Japan in the late 13th century CE and Japan invading Korea in the late 16th century CE, both campaigns ending in failure. All in all, then, a busy period of development and one which saw the population of Japan rise from around 7 million at the beginning to around 25 million at the end of it.

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