Ashikaga Yoshimasa

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Grave of Ashikaga Yoshimasa, Kyoto
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Grave of Ashikaga Yoshimasa, Kyoto

Ashikaga Yoshimasa (Jp. 足利 義政) (January 20, 1435January 27, 1490) was the 8th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate who reigned from 1449 to 1473 during the Muromachi period of Japan. Yoshimasa was the son of the 6th shogun Ashikaga Yoshinori.

The teenage Yoshimasa became Seii Taishogun six years after the death in 1443 of his older brother, the 7th shogun Ashikaga Yoshikatsu.

During Yoshimasa's reign saw the growth of Higashiyama Culture, famous for Japanese tea ceremony (Sado), Japanese flower arranging (Kado or Ikebana), Noh Japanese drama, and Indian ink painting. Higashiyama culture was greatly influenced by Zen Buddhism and saw the rise of Japanese aesthetics like Wabi-sabi and the harmonization of imperial court (Kuge)) and samurai (Bushi) culture.

By 1464, Yoshimasa still had no heir so he adopted his younger brother Ashikaga Yoshimi in order to succeed him. However, in the next year, Yoshimasa was borne a son and a struggle for succession started between the two brothers. By 1467 their conflict expanded into the 11 year Onin War, beginning the Sengoku period of Japanese history that would last over a century. In the middle of hostilities, Yoshimasa retired in 1473, relinquishing the position of Seii Taishogun to his son who became the 9th shogun Ashikaga Yoshihisa.

In 1489, the retired Yoshimasa built Jishoji Temple (Also known as Ginkaku-ji Temple and Silver Pavilion) in Kyoto, one of the current most famous tourist attractions in the ancient capital.

Preceded by:
Ashikaga Yoshikatsu
Ashikaga Shogun
1449–1473
Succeeded by:
Ashikaga Yoshihisa
ja:足利義政
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