Ashikaga Takauji

Portrait traditionally identified as that of Ashikaga Takauji
Tomb of Ashikaga Takauji at Tōji-in in Kyoto

The founder and first shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate.

- Ashikaga Takauji

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Emperor Go-Daigo

The 96th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.

Woodblock print triptych by Ogata Gekkō; Emperor Go-Daigo dreams of ghosts at his palace in Kasagiyama
Memorial Shinto shrine and mausoleum honoring Emperor Go-Daigo
Empress Kishi and Emperor Go-Daigo. From Taiheiki Emaki (c. 17th century), vol. 2, On the Lamentation of the Empress. Owned by Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore.
Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom

The Kenmu restoration was in turn overthrown by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336, ushering in the Ashikaga shogunate, and split the imperial family into two opposing factions between the Ashikaga backed Northern Court situated in Kyoto and the Southern Court based in Yoshino led by Go-Daigo and his later successors.

Seiwa Genji

Line of the Japanese Minamoto clan that is descended from Emperor Seiwa, which is the most successful and powerful line of the clan.

Many of the most famous Minamoto warriors, including Minamoto no Yoshiie, Minamoto no Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura shogunate; and Ashikaga Takauji, the founder of the Ashikaga shogunate, belonged to this line.

Nanboku-chō period

Period that occurred during the formative years of the Muromachi bakufu of Japanese history.

The Imperial seats during the Nanboku-chō period were in relatively close proximity, but geographically distinct. They were conventionally identified as:
Emperor Go-Daigo
Ashikaga Takauji

During this period, there existed a Northern Imperial Court, established by Ashikaga Takauji in Kyoto, and a Southern Imperial Court, established by Emperor Go-Daigo in Yoshino.

Kamakura shogunate

The feudal military government of Japan during the Kamakura period from 1185 to 1333.

This wooden Kongorikishi statue was created during the Kamakura shogunate during 14th-century Japan. It originally guarded the gate to Ebara-dera, a temple in Sakai, Osaka.
Minamoto no Yoritomo's goes to Kyoto at beginning of the Kamakura Shogunate
Grave of Minamoto no Yoritomo
Site of Hōjō Takatoki's death

The Kamakura shogunate was overthrown in the Kenmu Restoration under Emperor Go-Daigo in 1333, re-establishing Imperial rule until Ashikaga Takauji overthrew the Imperial government and founded the Ashikaga shogunate in 1336.


The title of the military dictators of Japan during most of the period spanning from 1185 to 1868.

Kanji that make up the word shogun
Sakanoue no Tamuramaro (758–811) was one of the first shoguns of the early Heian period
Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun (1192–1199) of the Kamakura shogunate
Ashikaga Takauji (1336/1338–1358) established the Ashikaga shogunate
Ukiyo-e of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate
Shogun hearing a lawsuit at Fukiage (of Edo Castle) by Toyohara Chikanobu
Imperial Seal of Japan

Around 1334–1336, Ashikaga Takauji helped Daigo regain his throne in the Kenmu Restoration.

Muromachi period

Division of Japanese history running from approximately 1336 to 1573.

Hana-no-Gosho (Flower Palace) in Kyoto
Muromachi samurai (1538)
A ship of the Muromachi period (1538)
Muromachi-era illustration to a fictional narrative
Music scene during the Muromachi period (1538)
Nanban ships arriving for trade in Japan. 16th-century painting.
A Japanese votive altar, Nanban style. End of 16th century. Guimet Museum.
Ryōan-ji rock garden

The period marks the governance of the Muromachi or Ashikaga shogunate (Muromachi bakufu or Ashikaga bakufu), which was officially established in 1338 by the first Muromachi shōgun, Ashikaga Takauji, two years after the brief Kenmu Restoration (1333–1336) of imperial rule was brought to a close.

Ashikaga shogunate

The feudal military government of Japan during the Muromachi period from 1336 to 1573.

Structure of the bakufu
Marker for the site of the Flower Palace, Kyoto

The Ashikaga shogunate was established when Ashikaga Takauji was appointed Shōgun after overthrowing the Kenmu Restoration shortly after having overthrown the Kamakura shogunate in support of Emperor Go-Daigo.

Nitta Yoshisada

Samurai lord of the Nanboku-chō period Japan.

Nitta Yoshisada
Nitta Yoshisada offering his sword to Ryūjin

Long an enemy of Ashikaga Takauji, Nitta Yoshisada is often blamed for the split between the Northern and Southern Courts, as he fought against the Ashikaga and for the emperor, Emperor Go-Daigo.

Kusunoki Masashige

Japanese samurai of the Kamakura period remembered as the ideal of samurai loyalty.

Portrait of Kusunoki Masashige by Kanō Sanraku
Equestrian statue of Kusunoki Masashige outside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
The same statue from a different angle, close-up.
Equestrian statue of Kusunoki Masashige at the entrance to Kanshin-ji in Kawachinagano, Osaka Prefecture.

Kusunoki was a leading figure of the Kenmu Restoration in 1333 and remained loyal to the unpopular Emperor Go-Daigo after Ashikaga Takauji began to reverse the restoration in the Nanboku-chō wars three years later.

Kenmu Restoration

Three-year period of Imperial rule in Japanese history between the Kamakura period and the Muromachi period from 1333 to 1336.

Emperor Go-Daigo
A portrait of Ashikaga Takauji bearing his son Yoshiakira's cipher
Prince Morinaga's statue at Kamakura-gū in Kamakura

Go-Daigo launched a second uprising, and with the assistance of the defected Kamakura general Ashikaga Takauji, defeated the Kamakura Shogunate at the siege of Kamakura in 1333.