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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

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Start date : 
October, 2018
Thesis Topic: 
Petals of paulownia: sources of aristocratic legitimacy for warrior leaders in Medieval Japan.
Research Summary: 
The apex of the Muromachi shogunate is usually attributed to the late fourteenth – first half of the fifteenth century and is strongly associated with the rule of three Ashikaga shoguns: Yoshimitsu, Yoshimochi, and Yoshinori. Each of them went down in history as a warrior leader whose political success was owed much to military force. However, non-military frameworks of subjugation, such as Buddhist ritual, courtly ceremonial, and diplomatic protocol, that allowed the Ashikaga shoguns to establish their legitimacy amongst the elites, are often being overlooked. By analysing these political rituals, this dissertation investigates how the Ashikaga warrior leaders acquired recognition and authority equal to the top-tier aristocracy of Medieval Japan.