Sengoku Period -The Warring States- (1478-1615)

This is the era when the samurai had the highest social power and social status.


Today, Japanese people associate the samurai with the Sengoku period.

  • Around 1470s, The Ashikaga shogun had no heir and many daimyos wanted to be the next shogun.
  • Eventually the Onin War (1467) broke out and lasted for 10 years marking the beginning of the great social upheaval.
  • For about 130 years Japan was divided into many small states.
  • There were were dozens of daimyo independently ruling their lands and always fighting against each other.
  • A-century-long wars strengthened the skills and tactics of the samurai and they were able to temporarily invade the Korean peninsula twice (1592 & 1597).
  • Most famous castles, including Osaka Castle, were built during this period.
  • In 1547 firearms were introduced to Japan through a Portuguese shipwreck. The firearms changed the armors as the samurai had to wear more metal protection to protect from the musket fire.