Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Episode 7 – Descent into Chaos

This week we will be covering the fall of the Ashikaga bakufu and the beginnings of the Sengoku, or W11arring States Period. As a special bonus (not really) you get to hear me desperately try to produce coherent words while suffering from a nasty head cold.

Hopefully my mutterings are at least reasonably intelligible. Enjoy the show!

Direct link here

Sources

Totman, A History of Japan.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

This is a picture of Rennyo, the Jodo Shinshu monk whose teachings formed the basis of Ikko Ikki doctrine. Rennyo was careful to distance himself from the more violent aspects of Ikko thought; as a result, his teachings remained legal even after the Ikko were suppressed.

This is a picture of Rennyo, the Jodo Shinshu monk whose teachings formed the basis of Ikko Ikki doctrine. Rennyo was careful to distance himself from the more violent aspects of Ikko thought; as a result, his teachings remained legal even after the Ikko were suppressed.

This is the modern restoration of Kinkakuji. The original was burned down in 1950 -- the current version is an exact replica (presumably with more fireproofing).

This is the modern restoration of Kinkakuji. The original was burned down in 1950 — the current version is an exact replica (presumably with more fireproofing).

These are called Tanegashima matchlocks, after the island of Tanegashima where the Portuguese landed in 1542. This particular batch dates to the Edo Period -- after the Sengoku ended, new weapon designs were not imported until the 1800s.

These are called Tanegashima matchlocks, after the island of Tanegashima where the Portuguese landed in 1542. This particular batch dates to the Edo Period — after the Sengoku ended, new weapon designs were not imported until the 1800s.

These hand cannons are based on European designs, and operate as a sort of semi-mobile artillery. Unlike a musket they must be fired from the hip, making them extremely difficult to aim. They compensated with a shotgun-like spread effect, making them devastating at close quarters.

These hand cannons are based on European designs, and operate as a sort of semi-mobile artillery. Unlike a musket they must be fired from the hip, making them extremely difficult to aim. They compensated with a shotgun-like spread effect, making them devastating at close quarters.

This is Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the last effective shogun of the Muromachi bakufu. After the outbreak of the Onin War, Yoshimasa retreated into an escapist world of high culture based out of Higashiyama, a suburb of Kyoto removed from the fighting. The historical image of him engaging in revelry while Kyoto burned just a mile away remains one of the defining symbols of the decline of the Ashikaga.

This is Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the last effective shogun of the Muromachi bakufu. After the outbreak of the Onin War, Yoshimasa retreated into an escapist world of high culture based out of Higashiyama, a suburb of Kyoto removed from the fighting. The historical image of him engaging in revelry while Kyoto burned just a mile away remains one of the defining symbols of the decline of the Ashikaga.

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Episode 6 – A New Order

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Episode 8 – The Three Unifiers

1 Comment

  1. I recently found this site and i am listening to the episodes in order now. around 12 min in you say kyoto’s population was devastated. That it went from something like 100,000 to just a few thousand. Then you say that over the hundred year period the population of the city shrunk to “a few hundredths of 1%”. One of those statements cannot be correct lets say 3,000 out of 100,000, that is 3%, or a few hundredths of 1% of 100,000 is around 30 people. I know you probably wont bother updating this but please be careful of what you say.

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