Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Gempei wars 1180 – 1185

By the 1170s two warrior families, the Minamoto (also called the Genji)and the Taira (also called the Heike or Heism),had emerged as the most powerful of the warrior clans. The Genji were based in the eastern provinces of Honshu, and the Heike landholdings were concentrated in western Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku.

The Taira clan (originally a provincial military house) descended from a prince who had been reduced to commoner status in the practice of dynastic shedding common throughout Japan’s classical age. In this case, the prince was a son of the Sovereign Kanmu (r. 781-806), and he was given the surname “Taira”; his descendants are referred to as the Kanmu Heike.

The Minamoto similarly originated with the son of a sovereign—in this case Sovereign Seiwa (r.858-76). They are known consequently as the “Seiwa Genji.” In both cases, the sloughed-off princes were given provincial holdings, in effect removing them from the upper aristocracy that held central governmental positions in the capital.

Rivalry between the two families and their retainers erupted into a full scale civil war in 1180. The Gempei War, which lasted from 1180 until 1185, is the most celebrated of all the encounters fought between samurai. It was the consummation of the samurai ideal, a fight to the death between two entire clans. In its time the Gempei War price a handful of the greatest samurai heroes Japan has ever seen.

The Gempei War was fought between the Taira and the Minamoto clans, with many other allied families joining in.

The winning side, the Minamoto, established itself as the de facto political authority in the country and consolidated landholdings and civil power at the expense of the upper aristocracy, while the losing side, the Taira, were effectively destroyed as an independent political force.
Gempei wars 1180 – 1185
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

The most popular articles

Other interesting articles

  • Cereal grains have been the principal component of human diet for thousands of years and have played a major role in shaping human civilization. Around the...
  • The world is becoming a global market for an ever-increasing and varied number of companies with a common aim: to sell their products to as many consumers ...
  • A sword is a weapon with a straight double-edged blade, generally pointed at its tip, and can be used for both cutting and thrusting; the hilt of a sword i...

TIME.com: Top Stories

Latest articles in Shortnotes of History