Episode 43 – The Great Traitor

This week, we’ll be doing our second shogunal biography. We’re going to discuss the life and legacy of the man who destroyed the Hojo family, established the Ashikaga bakufu, and who was until very recently reviled as the worst traitor in Japanese history: Ashikaga Takauji.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Sansom, George. A History of Japan, Volume 2: 1334-1615.

Totman, Conrad. A History of Japan.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Ashikaga Takauji in full battle gear.
Ashikaga Takauji in full battle gear.
The statue of Nitta Yoshisada erected by the Meiji government.
The statue of Nitta Yoshisada erected by the Meiji government.
Kusunoki Masahige, Go-Daigo's loyal servant to the end. His valorous death earned him a statue in the Imperial Palace, but Ashikaga Takauji earned nothing but scorn in the Meiji Period.
Kusunoki Masahige, Go-Daigo’s loyal servant to the end. His valorous death earned him a statue in the Imperial Palace, but Ashikaga Takauji earned nothing but scorn in the Meiji Period.
The twin capitols of Nanbokucho Japan: Kyoto (home to the Ashikaga-backed Northern Court) and Yoshino (home to Go-Daigo's Southern Court)
The twin capitols of Nanbokucho Japan: Kyoto (home to the Ashikaga-backed Northern Court) and Yoshino (home to Go-Daigo’s Southern Court)
Kumazawa Hiromichi (center) claimed to be the true emperor of Japan after World War II owing to his line of descent from the Southern Court (the current Imperial line comes from the Northern Court).
Kumazawa Hiromichi (center) claimed to be the true emperor of Japan after World War II owing to his line of descent from the Southern Court (the current Imperial line comes from the Northern Court).
The box art for NHK's 1991 Taiheiki, featuring Ashikaga Takauji on the front cover. The drama portrays Takauji in a more sympathetic light. Courtesy of the Nippon Hosokai.
The box art for NHK’s 1991 Taiheiki, featuring Ashikaga Takauji on the front cover. The drama portrays Takauji in a more sympathetic light. Courtesy of the Nippon Hosokai.
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