Portrait traditionally identified as that of Ashikaga Takauji
Emperor Go-Daigo
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A portrait of Ashikaga Takauji bearing his son Yoshiakira's cipher
Tomb of Ashikaga Takauji at Tōji-in in Kyoto
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.

- Kenmu Restoration

Go-Daigo was enthroned once more as emperor, reestablishing the primacy of the Imperial court in Kyoto and starting the so-called Kenmu Restoration.

- Ashikaga Takauji

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Emperor Go-Daigo

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

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

He successfully overthrew the Kamakura shogunate in 1333 and established the short lived Kenmu Restoration to bring the Imperial House back into power.

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.

Kanji that make up the word shogun

Shogun

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

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
Ashikaga Takauji (1336/1338–1358) established the Ashikaga shogunate

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

Ashikaga shogunate

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

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.

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

Nanboku-chō period

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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

The Nanboku-chō period (南北朝時代, Nanboku-chō jidai, "North and South court period", also known as the Northern and Southern Courts period), spanning from 1336 to 1392, was a period that occurred during the formative years of the Muromachi (Ashikaga) shogunate of Japanese history.During the early 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.

The destruction of the Kamakura shogunate of 1333 and the failure of the Kenmu Restoration in 1336 opened up a legitimacy crisis for the new shogunate.

Hana-no-Gosho (Flower Palace) in Kyoto

Muromachi period

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Division of Japanese history running from approximately 1336 to 1573.

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.

Kamakura shogunate

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

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.

Southern Court

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The Southern Court (南朝) were a set of four emperors (Emperor Go-Daigo and his line) whose claims to sovereignty during the Nanboku-chō period spanning from 1336 through 1392 were usurped by the Northern Court.

The Southern Court (南朝) were a set of four emperors (Emperor Go-Daigo and his line) whose claims to sovereignty during the Nanboku-chō period spanning from 1336 through 1392 were usurped by the Northern Court.

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

In 1333, when the Southern Emperor Go-Daigo staged the Kenmu Restoration and revolted against the Kamakura shogunate, the shōgun responded by declaring Emperor Kōgon, Go-Daigo's second cousin once removed and the son of an earlier emperor, Emperor Go-Fushimi of the Jimyōin-tō, as the new emperor.

The Northern Court established in Kyoto by Ashikaga Takauji is therefore considered illegitimate.

Portrait of Kusunoki Masashige by Kanō Sanraku

Kusunoki Masashige

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

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.

Ashikaga Tadayoshi depicted in an Edo period print

Ashikaga Tadayoshi

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Ashikaga Tadayoshi depicted in an Edo period print

Ashikaga Tadayoshi (足利 直義) was a general of the Northern and Southern Courts period (1337–92) of Japanese history and a close associate of his elder brother Takauji, the first Muromachi shōgun.

Like his brother, Tadayoshi resolutely abandoned the Kamakura shogunate to ally himself with Emperor Go-Daigo during the Kenmu Restoration of 1333.

A statue of Kusunoki Masashige outside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo

Genkō War

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Civil war fought in Japan between the Emperor Go-Daigo and the Kamakura Shogunate from 1331 to 1333.

Civil war fought in Japan between the Emperor Go-Daigo and the Kamakura Shogunate from 1331 to 1333.

A statue of Kusunoki Masashige outside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo

Meanwhile, Ashikaga Takauji, the chief general of the Hōjō, was dispatched west to fight against Go-Daigo's second uprising.

Go-Daigo triumphantly returned to Kyoto and claimed power from Emperor Kōgon in what came to be known as the Kenmu Restoration.