Yoritomo(Yoritomo Minamoto) (yōrē`tōmō mēnä`mōtō), 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. He became (1192) the first shogunshogun
, 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
..... Click the link for more information. , established his bakufu (headquarters) at Kamakura, and rewarded his retainers with estates strategically located throughout the country. These fiefs later became the basis of the power of the 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. . Aided by scholars drawn from the imperial court, which Yoritomo controlled, he set up an administrative network that soon became the only effective central government. His shogunate marked the beginning of a vigorous period in Japanese history. Zen Buddhism was officially sponsored, and the military virtues of bushidobushido
[Jap.,=way of the warrior], code of honor and conduct of the Japanese nobility. Of ancient origin, it grew out of the old feudal bond that required unwavering loyalty on the part of the vassal. It borrowed heavily from Zen Buddhism and Confucianism.
..... Click the link for more information. were cultivated. Yoritomo's system of centralized feudalism set the pattern of military rule in Japan until the mid-19th cent.
See J. P. Mass, Court and Bakufu in Japan: Essays in Kamakura History (1982).
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