Medieval Japan Timeline

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  • 1147 - 1199
    Life of Minamoto no Yoritomo, clan leader of the Minamoto and first shogun of Japan.
  • 1168
    Taira no Kiyomori significantly remodels the Itsukushima Shrine.
  • 1180 - 1185
    The Genpei War in Japan between the Taira and Minamoto clans.
  • 1183 - 1198
    Reign of Japan's Emperor Go-Toba.
  • 1185
    Battle of Dannoura where the Minamoto defeat the rival Taira. The young emperor Antoku drowns.
  • 1185 - 1333
  • 1192 - 1333
    The Kamakura Shogunate rules Japan.
  • 1192 - 1199
    Minamoto no Yoritomo is shogun in Japan.
  • 1195
    The Todaiji temple at Nara, Japan, is restored by the Minamoto clan.
  • 1202 - 1203
    Minamoto no Yorie is shogun of Japan.
  • 1203 - 1219
    Minamoto no Sanetomo is shogun of Japan.
  • 1203 - 1205
    Hojo Tokimasa acts as regent to Japan's shogun, the first of 16 such regents
  • c. 1218
    The Tale of the Heike (Heike monogatari) is first published in Japan.
  • 1219
    Hojo Masako and Hojo Tokimasa take over as regents for the Japanese shogun, thus permanently transferring power from the Minamoto to Hojo clans.
  • 1221
    The Jokyu Disturbance - Japan's emperor Go-Toba launches a failed coup against the Kamakura Shogunate.
  • 1225
    The position of vice-regent to the shogun (rensho) is created in Japan.
  • 1232
    A new law code, the Joei Code (Joei shikimoku), is established in Japan.
  • 1246 - 1259
    Reign of Japan's Emperor Go-Fukakusa.
  • 1249
    A High Court, the Hikitsukeshu, is formed in Japan.
  • 1249 - 1253
    The Kenchoji Zen Buddhism monastery is built in Kamakura, Japan.
  • 1254
    The large gilded wood statue of Kannon is sculpted at Sanjusangendo, Heiankyo (Kyoto), Japan.
  • 1259 - 1274
    Reign of Japan's Emperor Kameyama.
  • 1274
    The first invasion of Japan by the Mongol ruler Kublai Khan fails.
  • 1281
    The second invasion of Japan by the Mongol ruler/Yuan dynasty emperor Kublai Khan fails.
  • 1283
    The Engakuji Zen Buddhist monastery is established at Kamakura, Japan by Hojo Tokimune.
  • 1318 - 1339
    Go-Daigo reigns as emperor of Japan.
  • 1327 - 1333
    Hojo Moritoki reigns as shogun in Japan, the last of the Kamakura Shogunate.
  • 1333 - 1573
  • c. 1333
    Nitta Yoshisada attacks and destroys Kamakura, capital of Japan's Kamakura Shogunate.
  • 1333 - 1336
    The Kemmu Restoration when the Japanese emperor Go-Daigo uses rebel warlords to oust the Kamakura Shogunate.
  • 1333
    The position of deputy shogun (kanrei) is created in Japan.
  • 1336
    Ashikaga Takauji captures Heiankyo (Kyoto).
  • 1337 - 1392
    Japan has two competing emperors: the 'Northern and Southern Courts.
  • 1338
    Ashikaga Takauji becomes the new shogun in Japan, it is the beginning of the Ashikaga (Muromachi) Shogunate.
  • 1338 - 1573
    The Ashikaga (Muromachi) Shogunate rules Japan.
  • 1338 - 1358
    Ashikaga Takauji rules as shogun in Japan.
  • 1359 - 1368
    Ashikaga Yoshiakira rules as shogun in Japan.
  • 1395 - 1423
    Ashikaga Yoshimochi rules as shogun in Japan.
  • 1397
    The Kinkakuji or 'Golden Pavilion' is built in Heiankyo (Kyoto) by the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.
  • 1401
    Japan joins the tribute system of China's Ming Dynasty.
  • 1407
    The five-story Buddhist pagoda is added to the Shinto Itsukushima Shrine.
  • 1420 - 1506
    Life of the celebrated Zen priest and artist Sesshu (real name Toyo)
  • 1429 - 1441
    Ashikaga Yoshinori rules as shogun in Japan.
  • 1449 - 1474
    Ashikaga Yoshimasa rules as shogun in Japan.
  • 1460 - 1483
    Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion) is built in Heiankyo (Kytoto) Japan by Ashikaga Yoshimasa.
  • 1467 - 1477
    The Onin War between rival warlords rages in Japan.
  • 1467 - 1568
  • 1473
    Ryoanji in Heiankyo (Kyoto) becomes a Zen Buddhism temple.
  • 1474 - 1489
    Ashikaga Yoshihisa rules as shogun in Japan.
  • 1494 - 1508
    Ashikaga Yoshizumi rules as shogun in Japan.
  • 1508 - 1521
    Ashikaga Yoshitane rules in his second spell as shogun of Japan.
  • 1521 - 1546
    Ashikaga Yoshiharu rules as shogun in Japan.
  • 1543
    The first European contact is made with Japan when three Portuguese traders have their ship blown onto the shores of southern Kyushu.
  • 1546 - 1565
    Ashikaga Yoshiteru rules as shogun in Japan.
  • 1549
    Oda Nobunaga adds a specialist corps of 500 musketeers to his army.
  • 1560
    Oda Nobunaga defeats the warlord of Mikawa, Imagawa Yoshimoto, at the Battle of Okehazama.
  • 1568 - 1582
    Oda Nobunaga seizes Heiankyo (Kyoto) and is the dominant military leader in central Japan.
  • 1568 - 1600
  • 1568
    Ashikaga Yoshihide rules as shogun in Japan.
  • 1568 - 1588
    Ashikaga Yoshiaki rules as shogun in Japan (but is exiled by Oda Nobunaga from 1573 CE).
  • 1571
    Oda Nobunaga attacks the Buddhist Enryakuji monastic complex near Kyoto.
  • 1573
    Oda Nobunaga exiles the last Ashikaga shogun, Yoshiaki.
  • 1575
    Oda Nobunaga wins the Battle of Nagashino.
  • 1576
    Oda Nobunaga instigates a 'sword hunt' to confiscate all weapons from the Japanese peasantry.
  • 1579
    Oda Nobunaga establishes a new headquarters at Azuchi castle.
  • 1582 - 1598
    Toyotomi Hideyoshi is the military leader of Japan.
  • 1582 - 1598
    Oda Nobunaga and his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi conduct an extensive land ownership survey across Japan.
  • 1586
    Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds the huge Osaka castle.
  • 1588
    Toyotomi Hideyoshi prohibits commoners from carrying weapons, including swords.
  • 1588
    Toyotomi Hideyoshi rules that only full-rank samurai may carry two swords.
  • 1591
    Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds the massive Odoi ("Great rampart") fortification wall around Heiankyo (Kyoto).
  • 1591
    Toyotomi Hideyoshi redefines the class system of Japan.
  • 1591
    Samurai are no longer permitted to farm their own land making them dependent on their lords for income.
  • 1592
    Toyotomi Hideyoshi sends an army to invade Korea. It is not successful.
  • 1594
    Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds the Fushimi Castle outside Heiankyo (Kyoto).
  • 1597
    Toyotomi Hideyoshi passes his second edict to remove Christian missionaries from Japan and executes 26 Christians in Nagasaki.
  • 1597
    Toyotomi Hideyoshi sends a second army to invade Korea. It is not successful.
  • 18 Sep 1598
    Death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the military leader of Japan.
  • 1600
    Tokugawa Ieyasu wins the Battle of Skeigahara against those generals who supported Toyotomi Hideyoshi's son. End of the Azuchi-Momoyama Period.
  • 1603 - 1868
    The Tokugawa Shogunate rules Japan.
  • 1603 - 1605
    Tokugawa Ieyasu rules as shogun in Japan.