1068                           Emperor Go-Reizei dies. Go-Sanjô becomes Emperor. Fujiwara Norimichi becomes Regent (until 1075).


1072                     Go-Sanjô abdicates. Shirakawa becomes Titular Emperor and Go-Sanjô becomes Cloistered Emperor, although he soon becomes ill and dies. Although the Fujiwara still held important positions, this begins the period where the retired emperor now controls the government, also known as the inzei system.


1075                      Fujiwara Morozane becomes Regent (until 1094).


1083                      Minamoto Yoshiie is appointed governor of MutsuProvince and, with the help of Fujiwara Kiyohira, leads troops to put down an insurrection of the Kiyowara family. (This takes three years and is called The Later Three Years War – even though the final victories don’t come until 1087.)


1086                      Shirakawa abdicates in favor of his son. Horikawa becomes Titular Emperor. Shirakawa becomes Cloistered Emperor.


1091                      Because of Minamoto Yoshiie’s military successes, his power and land holdings grow extraordinarily large. In response, an imperial edict is issued which forbade farmers throughout the country to commend their lands to him and declared that his retainers could not enter the capital city with him. However, Yoshiie and his comrades return to the capital regardless after the Three Year War and he resumes his posts as Commander of the Palace Guards and the Sovereign’s Escort.


1094                      Fujiwara Moromichi becomes Regent (until 1099).


1095                      First descent of marauding monks, sohei, and yamabushi from Mt.Hiei into Kyôto.


1099                      Fujiwara Moromichi dies after being cursed by rebellious monks who had been descending from their mountain temples and causing trouble in the city until he took action to stop them. (The rebellious monks are put down, in large part, with the help of Yoshiie and his warriors.)


1105                      Fujiwara Tadazane becomes Regent (until 1121).


1107                      Horikawa dies. His son, Toba, becomes Titular Emperor. Shirakawa remains as Cloistered Emperor.


1108                      Minamoto Yoshichika (Yoshiie’s eldest son) is banished to Sanuki for an offense against the court. He escapes and returns to Izumo where he leads an uprising. This uprising is put down by Taira Masamori who, after the uprising, returns to the capital, is given court rank and is commended by the Emperor.


1121                     Fujiwara Tadamichi becomes Regent (until 1158).


1123                     Toba abdicates in favor of his son. Sutoku becomes Titular Emperor. Shirakawa remains as Cloistered Emperor.


1129                     Taira Tadamori (Masamori’s son) puts down several revolts and piracy on the inland sea. (Like his father, he is given court rank in return. Not long before, it would have been unheard of for a military officer to receive court rank, thus indicating the decline in the power of the bureaucracy and the rise of the warrior class.)


                             Shirakawa dies. Toba becomes Cloistered Emperor.


1141                      Sutoku abdicates. Konoye becomes Titular Emperor. Toba remains as Cloistered Emperor.


1153                      Taira Tadamori dies. Kiyomori becomes head of the Taira clan.


1155                      Konoye dies and a bitter succession dispute erupts with one side supporting Go-Shirakawa and the other Sutoku as Emperor. Go-Shirakawa becomes Titular Emperor. Toba remains as Cloistered Emperor.


1156-1158              Hôgen Era


1156                      Fujiwara Yorinaga collects a few hundred warriors (led by Minamoto Tameyoshi, the leader of the Minamoto) and, with Sutoku, sets up defenses in a palace in the city. Fujiwara Tadamichi (Yorinaga’s brother), with Go-Shirakawa, collects many more warriors from both the Minamoto and the Taira clans. In the battle that follows, Yorinaga is killed. (This episode is called the Hôgen no Ran/Hôgen Insurrection.) Taira Kiyomori becomes an Imperial favorite and advisor while Minamoto Tameyoshi is sentenced to death. From this time starts the struggle for supremacy between the Minamoto and Taira clans and the downfall of the direct political power of the Imperial House.


1158                     Go-Shirakawa abdicates. Nijô becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Shirakawa becomes Cloistered Emperor. Fujiwara Motozane becomes Regent (until 1166).


1160                      Minamoto Yoshitomo (Tameyoshi’s son) and Fujiwara Nobuyori conspire to overthrow the government when Kiyomori leaves the city on vacation. With about 500 well-armed men, they kidnap both Nijô and Go-Shirakawa and kill many others. Nobuyori has himself appointed Chancellor. Kiyomori returns to the capital and raises an army, later helping the Emperor and ex-Emperor to escape the palace. After weeks of fighting the uprising is crushed (with the help of armed monks from Mt.Hiei). Yoshitomo is betrayed and killed by a retainer, and the only Minamoto males remaining from the main family are his sons Yoritomo, Noriyori, and Yoshitsune. (This episode is known as the Heiji no ran/Heiji Uprising)


1165                      Nijô dies. Rokujô becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Shirakawa remains as Cloistered Emperor.


1166                      Fujiwara Motofusa becomes Regent (until 1179).


1168                           Rokujô abdicates (although in reality he was disposed by Go-Shirakawa). Takakura becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Shirakawa remains as Cloistered Emperor. Takakura’s mother is Kiyomori’s sister-in-law so the Taira’s power and prestige begin to rise rapidly at this point.)


Summer 1168         Myôan Eisai (many researchers say the kanji are pronounced Yôsai) spends the summer on pilgrimage in China studying Tendai and other exoteric Buddhist teachings.


c. 1174                  Minamoto Yoshitsune meets and defeats the yamabushi Benkei on the Gojo bridge.  The monk becomes a faithful follower.


1175                      Hônen Shônin founds the PureLand (Jôdo) sect of Buddhism.


1177                      Several Fujiwara (although none of high standing) plot to assassinate Kiyomori. Kiyomori finds out about it and kills most of the plotters, including one monk. This is called the Shishigatani Affair.


                             About one-third of the capital city is destroyed by fire. Thousands of people lose their lives.


1179                      In a passage in the Hyakirenshô, is one of the first mentions of the growth of monetary transactions in Japan. (“There is a strange sickness going round the country nowadays. It is called the money disease.”) The use of coins increased quickly and by the end of the 13th century Chinese copper cash is legal tender for the payment of taxes and for use in private transactions.


                             Fujiwara Motomichi becomes Regent (until 1183).


December 1179      Kiyomori marches into the capital with several thousand troops in retaliation for Go-Shirakawa’s having confiscated some Taira property earlier in the year (the two men had always disliked each other, this was just the final straw). Go-Shirakawa is placed under house arrest and numerous high government officials are banished or reduced in rank.


1180-1185             Genpei Wars (Gen from “Genji” or Minamoto, and Hei from “Heike” or Taira)


January 1180         Takakura abdicates (After seeing Kiyomori’s treatment of Go-Shirakawa). Antoku (Kiyomori’s grandson and only two years old) becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Shirakawa remains as Cloistered Emperor. Kiyomori becomes effective head of State.


May 1180               Minamoto Yorimasa (until now a respected member of the government because he had refrained from taking sides with the Minamoto against Kiyomori and the Taira) plots to overthrow Antoku and Kiyomori and place Prince Mochihito, the son of Go-Shirakawa, on the throne. Mochihito publicly calls for the overthrow of the Taira. Kiyomori foils the plot and while trying to escape Mochihito is captured and killed while Yorimasa is wounded and commits seppuku.


June 1180              Kiyomori forces the Emperors both Titular and Cloistered) to move his residence to Fukuwara (Fukuhara?), his residence outside of Kyôto on the Inland Sea. Provisions are made to move certain government functions there at a later date. The plans fail and the entire Court returns to the capital six months later.


August 1180           Toidaiji and Kôfukuji of Nara are attacked and burned on orders from Kiyomori (partly in fear of the monastery’s armies?).


                             Minamoto Yoritomo (who had been in exile in Izu and living under the guard of Hôjô Tokimasa, appointed by Kiyomori, since 1160) raises a small group of supporters and attacks and defeats a Taira official in Izu. (He had earlier converted Hôjô Tokimasa to his side and married his daughter, Masako.)


September 1180     Yoritomo leads a small body of troops out of Izu and over the HakonePass. They claim they are responding to the Imperial call to chastise the Taira (remember Mochihito’s call when he and Yorimasa revolted in May). Taira forces defeat Yoritomo’s troops at the Battle of Ishibashiyama. Yoritomo and his men scatter and find safety in the HakoneMountains.


November 1180      Yoritomo raise a large army from several of the eastern provinces and advances to the Fujikawa in Suruga province. Taira forces are sent again and meet him there. Taira forces are surprised by a rear attack at night from a supposed ally and retreat. Yoritomo does not follow but remains and strengthens his position.


1180 (1181?)         Yoritomo establishes the Samurai-dokoro in Kamakura, an office which regulates the affairs of the military – its privileges, obligations, property, ranks, and treatment in general. (It should be noted that at the start of the feudal period, “Samurai” was not the term used for just any fighting man, but a reserved high rank for certain warriors.)


February 1181        Taira forces defeat troops led by Minamoto Yukiie (Yoritomo’s uncle) in Mino province.


March 1181             Kiyomori dies and affairs of state are left in the hands of his son, Munemori (a man of no political talent).


                             Taira forces defeat troops led by Minamoto Yukiie at the Battle of Sunomata River.


August 1181          Government issues order calling for the pacification of the northern provinces (the Hokurikudo) where the Minamoto were rising. However, the Taira troops sent to Echizen were defeated by Minamoto Yoshinaka, Yoritomo’s cousin, in the autumn.


1182                     A famine affects the Western provinces greatly and weakens morale in the capital as hunger and the plague affect many. Overall, the famine was so severe that it brought the Gempei war to a halt for the year.


1183                     Fujiwara Moroiye becomes Regent (until 1184).


March 1183           Yoritomo attacks Yoshinaka out of distrust of Yoshinaka’s growing strength and success. They come to an agreement and the battle stops.


April & May 1183    Taira Koremori attacks and subdues Echizen province and takes several of Yoshinaka’s strongholds.


May 1183               Yoshinaka succeeds in retaking the province of Echizen and defeats Koremori at the Battle of Tonamiyama in Etchû province (sometimes called the Battle of Kurikara Pass).


June 1183              Yoshinaka is advancing towards Kyôto from the north while Yukiie is threatening from the east.


August 1183          Go-Shirakawa escapes Kyôto (where he was still under house arrest since Kiyomori ordered it in late 1179) and goes to Mt.Hiei. The Emperor and his consorts go to a monastery in the suburbs. (Having the two Emperors flee the Taira seems to add the color of legitimacy to the Minamoto as they close in on the capital)


                             The Taira abandon the capital and flee west with Emperor Antoku, his mother, and a few attendants (and the Imperial Regalia). Go-Shirakawa is escorted into the capital by Yoshinaka and gives him a mandate to destroy Munemori and the Taira army. (Yoshinaka prefers to attack Yoritomo, who he fears and hates, but Go-Shirakawa convinces him to concentrate on the Taira)


September 1183     Taira forces reach Kyûshû and set up temporary Court at Dazaifu. Local revolts drive them out and they move to Yashima, Shikoku (now called Takamatsu) directly across from KojimaBay in Bizen province.


November 1183      Yoshinaka pursues the Taira, but is defeated by Taira troops at Mizushima on the border of Bitchû and Bizen provinces.


                             Yoshinaka conspires with the Taira and Fujiwara leaders to take over the capital, seize Go-Shirakawa, and set up a new government in the northern provinces. Go-Shirakawa gets word of the plot to Yukiie who, in turn, passes word on to Yoritomo.


December 1183      Yoshinaka seizes the capital and his troops ravage the city. Yukiie leaves the city with his men and attack the Taira in the province of Harima, where he is defeated. Go-Shirakawa sends word to Yoritomo asking him to come to Kyôto to subdue Yoshinaka. Yoritomo ignores the request thinking it more important to solidify his position in the eastern provinces. After repeated requests, though, Yoritomo calls on his brothers, Yoshitsune and Noriyori, to advance on the capital and destroy Yoshinaka.


Early 1184             Yoshinaka attacks Hôjôji and takes Go-Shirakawa captive. He also sends troops to Ishikawa in Kawachi province to attack troops of Yukiie who had set up a garrison there and was threatening the capital.


March 1184            With Yoshitsune and Noriyori converging on the capital, Yoshinaka flees the city with only a few men. He is pursued and killed in fighting with Noriyori’s troops at Awazu in Ômi province.


                             Yoshitsune and Noriyori lead troops out of the capital towards Yashima to attack the Taira and regain the Emperor. Meanwhile, the Taira abandon Yashima (with the Emperor in tow) by sea. Taira troops land in Settsu and begin to build a defensive position while leaving the Emperor on a ship with guards near Wada Misaka.


                             Before Taira defensive positions at Settsu are completed they are overcome and defeated by Yoshitsune and Noriyori. Yoshitsune and Noriyori split up and encircle the remaining Taira at Ichinotani. Taira forces are defeated badly, the leaders are killed or captured, and only a few thousand are able to retreat by ship to Yashima (with the Emperor and the Imperial Regalia).


September 1184     Noriyori sets out from Kamakura to attack the Taira under Yoritomo’s orders. Yoritomo remains in Kamakura (as he has till present) making the strategic decisions and dealing with the diplomatic problems of relations with and between the various warrior families and their leaders. Noriyori’s troops are brought to a stalemate in the far western provinces due to a lack of food, supplies, and ships.


November 1184      Yoritomo brings ôe Hiromoto and Miyoshi Yoshinobu (two respected scholars and administrators) to Kamakura from Kyôto to set up the Kumonjo (Office of Administration) and the Monchûjo (Office of Inquiry) respectively. The Monchûjo serves as a court of appeal, enforces penal regulations, and kept judicial and cadastral records.


1184 (1185?)         Antoku deposed. Go-Toba (four years old) becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Shirakawa remains as Cloistered Emperor. Fujiwara Motomichi becomes Regent again (until 1186).


March 1185            Yoshitsune dispatched to the West to assist Noriyori. He crosses to Shikoku with only a few hundred men and attacks                              the palace in Yashima. The Taira, not knowing the size of the attacking force, flee by boat to Dan-no-ura in the Straits                              of Shimonoseki with Antoku and the Imperial Regalia.


April 1185              With the help of officials and ships from Suô province and Miura Yoshizui, who was familiar with the currents in the                              Straits of Shimonoseki, Yoshitsune pursues the Taira. The Taira are totally defeated in a sea battle at Dan-no-ura.                              Antoku dies (at the age of seven) and the Imperial sword (one of the three Imperial Regalia) is lost in the sea. This ends                              the reign and supremacy of the Taira family.


                             After the defeat of the Taira at Dan-no-ura, Yoritomo assumes control of the entire nation from his offices in Kamakura.


1185-1333             Kamakura Period


May 1185               Yoshitsune arrives in Kyoto with Munemori and other Taira captives. He is given rewards and court titles by Go-Shirakawa and this infuriates Yoritomo. Yoritomo declares that anyone accepting gifts or appointments from the Court is no longer considered loyal to the Minamoto and will be punished.


June 1185              Yoshitsune escorts the Taira prisoners to Kamakura but is stopped at Koshigue, a small village outside of Kamakura. The prisoners are taken and interrogated in Kamakura, but Yoshitsune is not allowed to enter the city. After interrogation the prisoners are sent back to Kyôto under Yoshitsune’s guard, but Yoritomo changes his mind and sends troops to catch up with them and kill the prisoners. Yoshitsune continues to Kyôto.


September 1185     Yoritomo orders attack on Yukiie. Yukiie calls on Yoshitsune for assistance. Word reaches Kamakura (falsely) that Yoshitsune is planning to use this opportunity to revolt against Yoritomo, in alliance with Yukiie. Yoritomo orders Yoshitsune to attack Yukiie, but Yoshitsune declines saying he can not for reasons of health.


November 1185      Yoritomo sends a hundred men, led by a renegade monk (Tosabô Shôshun), to attack and kill Yoshitsune. The attackers are defeated and Tosabô is killed. Go-Shirakawa orders Yoshitsune and Yukiie to proceed to Kamakura and punish Yoritomo. Both leave Kyôto and head west to collect men and supplies. Yoritomo sends troops to Kyôto and forces Go-Shirakawa to cancel his previous order and issue an order for Yoritomo to punish Yoshitsune and Yukiie (both of which had now fled).


December 1185      Establishment of the Jitô system. Kamakura appointed Stewards (Jitô) and Constables (Shugo) are appointed in all provinces and on all land (private and public) to collect a “commissariat tax” (hyôrô-mai) ostensibly to be used to support the pursuit of rebels and threats to the nation – namely Yoshitsune and Yukiie – but in reality imposed to gain total control over the nation’s land. (Since Japan has a land-based economy, he who controls the land controls the country.)


April 1186              After declining to accept the position several times, Fujiwara Kanezane becomes Regent at the insistence of Yoritomo. The levy of the commissariat rice tax is suspended.


June 1186              Yukiie is finally found, captured, and killed. Soon after, Shizuka, Yoshitsune’s lover and companion, is captured and interrogated but she does not reveal Yoshitsune’s whereabouts.


1187                      Myôan Eisai returns to China in an attempt to make a pilgrimage through to India. He is refused travel permits so makes his way to Mt.T’ien-t’ai and studies for four years under a Ch’an master.


June 1189              Yoritomo finds that Yoshitsune is hiding in northern Mutsu province in Hiraizumi. He orders the local Fujiwara rulers to attack and this order is obeyed after the third insistence. Yoshitsune kills his wife and children and then commits seppuku to avoid capture. His head is sent back to Kamakura for verification that it was in fact him.


September and       Yoritomo leads troops to conquer Mutsu and Dewa provinces in the north, the 

last non-Minamoto strongholds in the

October 1189          country and governed by the Fujiwara. The provinces easily fall to Kamakura control.


December 1189      Yoritomo returns to Kamakura and spends the next twelve months strengthening his control over the military class and the country’s administration.


December 1190      Yoritomo goes to Kyôto. He sets up his headquarters in Rokuhara, the headquarters of the Taira when Kiyomori ruled, and spends time discussing government and governmental appointments with Go-Shirakawa and others. He accepts several military titles, but no Court titles.


Early 1191             The Kumonjo (established in 1184) is converted into the Mandokoro with Ôe Hiromoto remaining as its head. The                              Mandokoro, or Office of Administration, is organized with the Shikken (Regent) presiding over a Board of Councilors. This                              was the Bakufu’s highest administrative organ.


1191                      Eisai returns to Japan and introduces the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism (although his teachings still contained elements of Vinaya and both Tendai and Shingon Esoteric Buddhism).


Spring 1192            Go-Shirakawa dies. Go-Toba remains as Emperor with no Cloistered Emperor.


August 1192           On Kanezane’s insistence (which means Yoritomo’s as well, of course) Go-Toba gives Yoritomo the title of Shôgun, which Go-Shirakawa had refused to give him while alive.


1193                     Yoritomo continues to distrust Noriyori and has him assassinated.


1194                      Yoritomo executes all the male members of the family of Yasuda Yoshisada (a very loyal Minamoto supporter) after accusations (false) from a third person.


                             Enryakuji supporters gain an imperial ban on the continued teaching of Zen Buddhism in Kyôto. Eisai begins the long process of defending both himself and Zen.


March 1195            Yoritomo attends the re-dedication service of Tôdaiji in Nara and spends a few months in Kyôto.


November 1196      Minamoto Michichika leads revolt in Kyôto. Kanezane and his supporters are overthrown and Michichika’s supporters are placed in power. His professed aim is to lead a return to Imperial rule and a diminution of Bakufu power but he real intent is just to remove all Fujiwara from offices and take them for himself and his supporters.


1198                     Go-Toba abdicates and becomes Cloistered Emperor. Tsuchimikado, Go-Toba’s infant son, becomes Titular Emperor. He had been chosen as Heir Apparent earlier in the year by Michichika without seeking the input of Kamakura. Yoritomo does nothing about this demonstration of independence by Michichika, but lets it be known that he will visit Kyôto in the near future (although he dies before he makes the trip).


1199-1201            Shôji Era


1199                     Yoritomo dies after being thrown from a horse; control of Kamakura Bakufu assumed by Hôjô Masako, his widow. For appearances, Minamoto Yoriie, Yoritomo’s eldest son and only seventeen years old, succeeds his father. However, Go-Toba doesn’t give him the title of Shôgun until 1202 in order to stress the prerogative of the throne.


                            Eisai, after deciding that he is not strong enough to defeat the opposition of Enryakuji, abandons Kyôto and goes                             to Kamakura. Hôjô Masako appoints him as founder of Jufukuji, the first Zen center in the city.