A Japanese institution under which government was in the hands of a Sei-i dai-shogun (‘barbarian-conquering great general’). The shoguns exercised civil and military power in the name of emperors, who became figure-heads. The shogunate as a form of government originated with Minamoto Yoritomo's appointment without any limit to his authority (1192). After he died the Hojo regents took control of affairs, but in theory they remained subject both to the emperor and the shogun. During the Ashikaga period the shoguns were independent of any other authority though their rule was ineffective. Under the Tokugawa the power of the shogunate was decisive in national politics. Japan had been effectively ruled by the Tokugawa since the beginning of the 17th century, but from the 1840s it was progressively undermined by political pressures unleashed by increasing foreign incursions into Japanese territory. Resistance to the shogunate's conservative policies coalesced around advocates of a return to full imperial rule, and between 1866 and 1869 the Tokugawa armies were gradually defeated by an alliance of provincial forces from Choshu, Satsuma, and Tosa acting for the Meiji emperor, who formally resumed imperial rule in January 1868.
Subjects: World History.