Sengoku jidai- The land of war

Japan was for nearly 700 years almost in complete chaos! With the start of the Ōnin War (1467-1477) which was a civil war that lasted for 10 years but escalated into a full blown war.

The war became a power-struggle between the different clans and their daimyos and the Ashikaga shogunate, which was the clan of the Shogun. It became a long, drawn-out power-struggle over entire Japan but in the end there were three individuals that untied Japan under one rule. They were Oda Nobuaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Leyasu.


A clan was led by a daimyo and he is better described as a warlord who had control over his own province somewhere in the land. The daimyo was responsible for the welfare over his entire region and that included farming, city-building and the providing and training of his armies.

The different clans of Japan were almost numerous. Some clans had a terrifying power that even the Shogun saw as a threat, while others were weak and were soon destroyed.

Some famous clans are the Chosokabe, Date and the Hojo clan, To name a few.


I find this kind of political system to be quite fascinating. The land was ruled by a Shogun, who had been assigned his position by the emperor. Shogun translates to “a commander of force” and that pretty much sums it up. He was the top military commander (or military dictator) of all Japan; he had the biggest armies and controlled the military force in Japan at the time. The shogun did not posses any major political power, however. Since he had been assigned by the emperor, he had to obey the emperor.


What if we had it like this in Sweden?

What if our region-council did not exsist? What if we had one man at the top and he was a warring maniac, who demanded nothing but brutal violence in his name.

Imagine every Swedish region-leader killing each other over the throne in Stockholm and you have a northern version of Sengoku jidai.


Imagine that almost every capable man in a region was, in some way trained to kill and gladly die a horrible death to protect his daimyos honor and his own. This is the art of bushido which you can read more about in Erik Bennerheds text. A warrior was supposed to die before dishonouring himself and if he had dishonoured himself the only way to restore that honor was to commit suicide by hara-kiri.


Sengoku jidai was a war over power and honor, which, if combined, can kill thousands of people, which it did. Maybe if the emperor of Japan at that time would have stepped in, maybe he could have saved thousands of lives of men, women and children.

This was the political system of Japan from the year 794B.C to1867A.D and it according to me, needed some serious reformation. What do you think?


Read more about the title Shogun:

Oda Nobunaga:

Sengoku jidai:



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