ShogunXL Lyrics Follow
A shōgun (将軍, [ɕoːɡɯɴ] ( listen)) was the military dictator of Japan during the period from 1185 to 1868 (with exceptions). In most of this period, the shōguns were the de facto rulers of the country, although nominally they were appointed by the Emperor as a ceremonial formality. The shōguns held almost absolute power over territories through military means. Nevertheless, an unusual situation occurred in the Kamakura period (1199–1333) upon the death of the first shōgun, whereby the Hōjō clan's hereditary titles of shikken (1199–1256) and tokusō (1256–1333) monopolized the shogunate as dictatorial positions, collectively known as the Regent Rule (執権政治). The shōguns during this 134-year period met the same fate as the Emperor and were reduced to figurehead status until a coup in 1333, when the shōgun was restored to power in the name of the Emperor.
The modern rank of shōgun is roughly equivalent to a generalissimo. Shōgun is the short form of Sei-i Taishōgun (征夷大将軍, "Commander-in-Chief of the Expeditionary Force Against the Barbarians"), the individual governing the country at various times in the history of Japan, ending when Tokugawa Yoshinobu relinquished the office to Emperor Meiji in 1867. The tent symbolized the field commander but also denoted that such an office was meant to be temporary. The shōgun's officials were collectively the bakufu, and were those who carried out the actual duties of administration, while the imperial court retained only nominal authority. In this context, the office of the shōgun had a status equivalent to that of a viceroy or governor-general, but in reality shōguns dictated orders to everyone including the reigning Emperor.