Episode 516 – From the Ashes

This week: Go-Daigo’s regime collapses, and a second samurai government, the Muromachi bakufu, emerges. How did Ashikaga Takauji successfully establish Japan’s second shogunate–and perhaps set it up for long term failure in the bargain?


Hall, John Whitney, “The Muromachi Bakufu” and Keiji Nagahara, “The Decline of the Shoen System” in The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol III: Medieval Japan

Goble, Andrew Edmund. “Go-Daigo, Takauji, and the Muromachi Shogunate” in Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850


This map gives you an idea of the relative proximity of the two courts. Despite this, Yoshino’s mountainous location made it hard for the Ashikaga to take militarily.
The tomb of Ashikaga Takauji at Toji-in. Takauji would not live to see the end of the Nanbokucho Wars, which continued for four more decades after his death. 
Kinkakuji, the “retirement home” of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Built as a Buddhist temple in the style popular on the Chinese mainland.
Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the third Ashikaga shogun and the one to end the war. Note the shaved head and Buddhist prayer beads; we’ll have more to say about his religion later.