(redirected from Bakuhu)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


(shō`gŭn'), title of the feudal military administrator who from the 12th cent. to the 19th cent. was, as the emperor's military deputy, the actual ruler of Japan. The title itself, Sei-i-tai Shogun [barbarian-subduing generalissimo], dates back to 794 and originally meant commander of the imperial armies who led the campaigns against the AinuAinu
, aborigines of Japan who may be descended from a Caucasoid people who once lived in N Asia. More powerful invaders from the Asian mainland gradually forced the Ainu to retreat to the northern islands of Japan and Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands in what is now the Russian
..... Click the link for more information.
 in N Japan. The shogunate as a military administrative system was established by YoritomoYoritomo
(Yoritomo Minamoto) , 1148–99, Japanese warrior and dictator, founder of the Kamakura shogunate. After a prolonged struggle he led his clan, the Minamoto, to victory over the Taira in 1185.
..... Click the link for more information.
 after 1185 and was known as the Bakufu [literally, army headquarters]. The imperial court at Kyoto continued to exist, but effective power and actual administration were in the hands of the hereditary shoguns. The shogunate was held in turn by the Minamoto family and their successors, with their capital at Kamakura (1192–1333); the Ashikaga, with their capital at Kyoto (1338–1597); and the TokugawaTokugawa
, family that held the shogunate (see shogun) and controlled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Founded by Ieyasu, the Tokugawa regime was a centralized feudalism. The Tokugawa themselves held approximately one fourth of the country in strategically located parcels, which they
..... Click the link for more information.
, with their capital at Yedo (Tokyo) after 1603. The overthrow of the shogun in 1867 brought the Meiji restorationMeiji restoration,
The term refers to both the events of 1868 that led to the "restoration" of power to the emperor and the entire period of revolutionary changes that coincided with the Meiji emperor's reign (1868–1912).
..... Click the link for more information.
 and the beginning of modern Japan. See daimyodaimyo
[Jap.,=great name], the great feudal landholders of Japan, the territorial barons as distinguished from the kuge, or court nobles. Great tax-free estates were built up from the 8th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.


See J. P. Mass and W. B. Hauer, The Bakufu in Japanese History (1985).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



originally, a military rank bestowed on troop commanders sent from the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto (He-ian) between 794 and 811 to subdue the Ebisu (Emishi) people in the northeastern section of the island of Honshu. When de facto power passed from the emperor to the feudal house of Mi-namoto in 1192, the rank of shogun was bestowed on the head of the house, Minamoto Yoritomo. Thereafter, the title came to be applied to military-feudal rulers of Japan, who ruled in the name of the emperor, from the feudal dynasties of Minamoto (1192–1333), Ashikaga (1335[1338]–l573), and Tokugawa (1603–1867). The last shogun was Tokugawa Yoshinobu (Keiki), who was overthrown as a result of the incomplete bourgeois revolution of 1867–68.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.