This week, we turn our attention to two of the defining institutions of the Heian period, both of which will be very important for us going forward. First are the shoen, or private estates, the growth of which led to the fragmentation and decentralization of the government. The second is the rising power of the warrior class–known to history as the samurai.
Segal, Ethan, “The Shoen System” and Karl F. Friday, “The Dawn of the Samurai” in Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850
Morris, Dana, “Land and Society” and Cornelius J. Kiley, “Provincial Administration and Land Tenure in Early Heian” and Rizo Takeuchi, “The Rise of the Warriors” in The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol II: Heian Japan