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Updated:June 25, 2014

Medieval Times

Medieval Times "War and Peace"

Shinano produced fine horses and the samurai in Shinano wielded power as excellent horsemen.
When fighting broke out between the Genji and the Heike clans, Yoshinaka Kiso raised an army in Shinano, brought down the Heike regime and took the lead in establishing military rule. Shinano samurai played a central role in Yoshinaka's army, but in the end, Yoshinaka's radicalism was not acceptable to the court nobles or samurai.

Yoritomo Minamoto who established the Kamakura Shogunate chose coexistence between the court nobles and the samurai, and the Shinano samurai bands came under the control of a powerful vassal of the Shogun from the Kanto region.

When Regent Hojo of the Kamakura Shogunate controlled Shinano as the lord, Zen culture flourished in Shiodadaira where Hojo lived, to the extent that it came to be called the "Kamakura of Shinshu". In order to unite the Shinano samurai bands, Hojo used their faith in Zenkoji Temple and Suwa Shrine. This partly accounted for the widespread growth of faith in Zenkoji Temple and Suwa Shrine at that time.

When the Kamakura Shogunate collapsed, ushering in the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties and the Muromachi period, leading samurai of the province such as Suwa and Murakami joined with the Kamakura government in opposing the control of the Muromachi Shogunate in Kyoto and Ogasawara, the protector. In particular, at the Battle of Otou which occurred in 1400, the people of Shinano rose in revolt and ousted Ogasawara from his position as lord. Due to the strongly independent nature of the Shinano samurai, it was impossible for a lord to achieve stable control of Shinano and the country entered a period of civil strife.

During the age of civil strife, no strong feudal lords from Shinano emerged, and Takeda from Kai province and Uesugi from Echigo province came to a fierce confrontation over control of Shinano.

 

Letter of decress from the government office of Toba

Letter of decress from the government office of Toba (Nagano prefectural treasure)

 

Gate of Zenkoji Temple built in the Kamakura period

Gate of Zenkoji Temple built in the Kamakura period (Displayed in Nagano Prefectural Museum of History)

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