- Dec 15, 2004
You are right.Eh, the Shoguns were a kind military dictator or governor or lord protector - whatever you prefer.
There certainly were emperors around at the same time. In fact the power of the Shogun was based on the emperor - the first duty being to protect the emperors sacred person.
That the emperors and the court were basically confined to perpetual house arrest in Kyoto is another matter.
It was only when Japan was forced to open up for foreign trade in the 1860's (at gun-point) that the emperor got a more public role.
According to Sansom, shogun is the title conferred upon a military dictator. Pre-Sengoku Jidai, the Imperial family was often guests in a country seat of different influential families. They were not confined to Kyoto all the time. Shoguns of those times failed to stop petty fighting between daimyos and unify the country. The situation was addressed by Lord Oda Nobunaga and his allies such as Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was for establishing a centralised government. This would allow Emperor to focus on the divine matters and Shogun to protect Emperor from harm and deal with earthly affairs. Shoguns were permitted to use all means available to allow Emperor not to worry about mundane things. Such tradition has been maintained by all Shoguns and Prime Ministers ever since.
On a different note ... Although Lord Oda did not live to see his ideas to come true and had no official title, he is said to be the first Shogun.