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Ashikaga Takauji(足利尊氏) was one of the main people those who ended Kamakura Bakufu and started Nanboku-Cho period (North and South dynasty, discussed in 18|Nanboku Cho Time History (North and South Dynasty History) 1333-1393
His grandson, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (often called Shogun Yoshimitsu 義満) built a new beautiful Palace at Muromachi (室町) in Kyoto. The palace became the center of the government called Muromachi Bakufu (室町幕府), This is the beginning of the Muromachi period. Ashikaga Yoshimitsu built the famous “Kinkaku-Ji Temple” (golden pavilion)*.
Kinkaku-Ji Temple (金閣寺) Golden Pavillion—————-Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (足利義満) built Kinkaku-Ji in 1397. Later became Rinzai-Shu (臨済宗) school Buddhistic temple, but it was originally built as his second house. Today it is designated as a world heritage site. This temple was burnt down by the arsonist in 1950 and rebuilt in 1955. The novelist Mishima Yukio wrote the novel “Kinkaku-Ji” related to the Golden Pavillion and an arsonist. The famous quote in his book, “ The golden bird (Hou-ou in Japanese, it is a Chinese version phoenix) on the roof of the Kinkaku-Ji temple is stationary but fly through the space of the time eternally”
In the Muromachi period, the emperor’s power became weaker, shogun (将軍) held all the political power. Little by little, several groups of samurai who were called Shugo Daimyo (守護大名) started to gain the political power and economic power by holding the important offices in the Muromachi Bakufu (government). They also owned a large land. Some of the names of Shugo Daimyo were the Hosokawa family and the Yamana family.
Ashikaga family made a great effort to make the Muromachi Bakufu a sound political power through the political maneuver. Yet by the time Ashikaga Yoshimasa (義政 8th Ashikaga Shogun) became the Shogun, the Bakufu was corrupted very badly. Shogun Yoshimasa did not pay attention to his job as a politician. Instead, he was chasing women (his mother had to scold him for that), spend a huge amount of money to build a Silver Pavilion called “Ginkaku-Ji” and retreated himself in there. Shogun Yoshimasa did not have an heir. Therefore his brother, Yoshimi was decided to be the next Shogun. But later, Yoshimasa’s wife Hino Tomiko (日野富子)* had a son, Yoshihisa (義尚). Now, brother Yoshimi (義視) allied with the Hosokawa family (細川) who was a high official in Muromachi Bakufu, and Yoshihisa (the son) allied with the Yamana (山名) family who was another high official in Muromachi Bakufu and several other smaller groups of Samurai allied with either side, started a big battle. This is called Onin -no-Ran (応仁の乱) in 1467 and spread all over and continued for 11years.
Hino Tomiko (日野富子)*——————The wife of Shogun Yoshimasa. She took advantage of her political privileges to raise a large amount of money by doing things like investing in the rice commodity market to raise the price of rice and sold with a high profit. Then she loans the money to the high officials with high interest. The corruption reached an uncontrollable level.
As a result of this battle, beautiful Kyoto was burnt down to ashes. The authority of Muromachi Bakufu was reduced only to the vicinity of the small surrounding area of Kyoto.
The photo was taken in May 2019, a family trip to Kyoto