INTRODUCTION Medieval Japanese history, from the dawn of the Heian period to the calamitous Sengoku (“warring states”) period, can be described as a period of transition. Debates between scholars continue today about how to classify particular changes. Some scholars, for instance, believe that the emergence of the warrior class and its practices constitutes the beginning of feudal institutions in Japan; others disagree. Historians even pose different theories regarding the nature of change within the estates system and the role of myoshu. While the essence of institutional change can seemingly be debated endlessly, historians generally seem to agree on the notion that Japan witnessed substantial changes during this epoch. One area where the level of change can be assessed in medieval Japan is the city of Kyoto. Throughout this period, Kyoto was not only the capital of Japan and its imperial administration, but the center of artistic life. Kyoto also housed the emperor and the “good people.” Even after the founding of the Kamakura shogunate and its numerous victories over the imperial administration, Kyoto dwarfed Kamakura in importance. This can help explain why the victorious bakufu never attempted to eradicate the imperial administration or cleanse Kyoto altogether. Later, Ashikaga Takauji established the Muromachi shogunate in Kyoto and governed from within. Hundreds of years before, the notion of a provincial warrior interacting with the “good people” of Kyoto, let alone ruling them, would have been unthinkable. The mass moving of the shugo, men tarred by the provinces, into the capital would have been considered disgraceful and repugnant. Perhaps to some conservative aristocrats, such was in fact the case. But with the founding of the Muromachi shogunate, the practice became a reality. As a result, the ideals and values of the ruling class within Kyoto began to change. The articulate, graceful, and rather effete ideal of the Heian period gentleman described in Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of Genji would probably not be held in high esteem by Takauji and his retainers. The values of the warrior class, who became rulers in Kyoto, changed as well. In the past, such men were only noted for their ability in the art of horse and bow. In order to better integrate their kind within Kyoto, perhaps to accommodate the old order and also perhaps out of respect, Ashikaga Takauji encouraged his provincial warriors to adopt the civilian virtues as well. The ideal resulted in a new type of man, a master of both bun (virtues of the civilian arts) and bu (virtues associated with the warrior). While the ruling samurai adopted the pen as much as they possibly could, they never discarded the sword. Without Ashikaga Takauji’s desire to integrate the civilian arts into warrior idealism following his decision to relocate the shogunate to Kyoto, the warriors of the provinces could have potentially sentenced the cultural heritage of the Heian aristocrats and the elegance associated with the ideal of the samurai today to the dust heap of history. HEIAN RULING CLASS VALUES The Heian period begins with the movement of the capital from Nara to Nagaoaka in 784. Approximately a decade later, the capital then relocated to Heian Kyo (Kyoto), which was deemed a superior location. The imperial court reached its peak and a cultural golden age, largely defined by the pursuit of aesthetics, followed. Much of what is known of the period comes from the writings of court women such as Sei Shonagon and Murasaki Shikibu and is primarily about the lives of the Heian aristocracy. Several of the important cultural characteristics of Heian society serve as means to reinforce the insularity of the Heian ruling class. The emphasis on aesthetics, classical Chinese learning, rigid familial gradation, ritual, and the social stigma attached to dwelling outside of the capital all ensured that the Heian aristocracy remained an exclusive club. Simultaneously, the Heian aristocrats possessed an openness not hitherto seen in some areas of the globe, evidenced by their tolerance for religious plurality and their acceptance of literature produced by women. The “cult of beauty” dominated cultural life in Heian Kyoto. Calligraphic, poetic, artistic, writing, musical and fashion style defined people in the eyes of their peers. Everything from the decorative appeal of one’s carriage to the quality of the paper on which an individual composed a poem mattered. Poetry in particular appeared ubiquitous. An individual may express his credentials for a promotion or his desire to obtain the hand of a woman through verse. In some cases, the style in which an individual presented such overtures mattered more to whether or not the individual would meet success than other traits, such as merit. The confined and obscurantist mode of living increased the importance of calligraphy. A man or woman could often win the affection of a desired mate before either one of them actually sees the other. To a large degree, the pen established one’s pedigree in Heian Japan. The importance of these factors is evident in the literature of the time, particularly Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of Genji. The Tale of Genji explores the life of Genji, a child born to the emperor and woman who was not of the first rank, or the highest class distinction in Heian Kyoto. The traits and abilities of Genji reflect upon what were considered to be the ideal characteristics of Murasaki Shikibu’s era. His beauty and prodigiousness emanate from nearly every page. In fact, he is nearly without any flaws, at least from the perspective of a Heian courtier. Genji learned the Chinese classics with ease and played the flute and koto extremely well. The role of aesthetics in the evaluation of character also appears throughout the work. The style of decorative carriages, a person’s attire, their calligraphic and poetic abilities are central to how a person is perceived. Of course, Genji excels in all of these traits, and if not for his descent, he perhaps could have been emperor. The prevalence of family ties and how they relate to political factions within the court are also explored in depth, and are in part the source of conflict between Genji and Kokiden following the death of the old emperor. The debilitating effect of becoming associated with the provinces is shown by the new emperor’s initial reluctance and retrospective guilt for exiling Genji. Further, Genji’s ease in acquiring the hand of a woman from Akashi shows the recognition a nobleman from the capital could expect from the provinces. One can easily see how the enormity of style contributed to the cultural distance between the Heian elites and the provincials. Etiquette nuances and the availability of a classical Chinese education naturally eluded many of those living in the rugged provinces. This made those not a part of the “good people” easy to distinguish, and the physical contact or dwelling with such people could potentially provide a taint on one’s being. Heian aristocrats dreaded the possibility of exile to the provinces, even if they were offered a lucrative position such as governorship. Becoming “countrified” served as a source of possible denigration for the purest Heian elites. The rigidity of such a structure could prevent even someone with proud origins but a single blot from province association from establishing themselves in court life. Clearly, the Heian aristocrats held no desire to dirty their hands in the provinces. They also viewed military service with disdain. There is not one praising reference to militarism or military virtue in The Tale of Genji. In order to maintain stability in the provinces and to keep the tax revenues flowing, the Heian aristocrats primarily relied on a provincial warrior class to perform the brunt of the fighting. THE RISE OF THE PROVINCIALS The imperial administration of Kyoto found the military system of peasant conscription provided by the ritsuryo code to be inadequate as imperial authority extended further into the provinces. The Kyoto aristocracy sought to replace the peasant conscripts that garrisoned the provinces with rural military elites, or those well versed in the skills of horse and bow. This trial-and-error process took some time and resulted in the creation of various ranks for the new provincial warriors, such as the oryoshi, tsuibushi, and tsuitoshi. The imperial administration granted these titles for the legitimate use of private military resources on the court’s behalf. The new provincial warrior elites, with the capital’s sanction, fought against those in the countryside that undermined the capital’s policy. Such threats could include pirates disrupting trade routes or other provincial military clans with independent ambitions. This divide-and-rule policy worked for a time, and the prominent Fujiwara family in particular employed it to sustain their power. The Fujiwara consolidated their authority over the emperor with marriage politics. The system that the Fujiwara used cemented their control by cyclically marrying one of their daughters to the emperor, appointing the fruit of this union to the position of crown prince, and then obliging the emperor to abdicate around the age of thirty to the cloister before he could develop the independent will to oppose the Fujiwara. The cumbersome rituals expected of the emperor supported the process; these rituals distracted most emperors from developing a strategy to break the Fujiwara grip. The Fujiwaras then used their influence to gain access to the best tax-free estates, to crush the aspirations of rival families within the court, and to play off one provincial family against the other to maintain order in the provinces. The Fujiwaras, however, lacked hard power of their own to sustain their position. The failure of the Imperial Guards to defend the capital against bands of warrior monks from Mount Hiei illustrates this clearly. As a result, they depended on the loyalty of warrior provincial clans to the imperial administration as well as their relative disunity. Unfortunately for the Fujiwara, their brilliant politicking could not last forever. BARBARIANS AT THE GATES The cracks in the Fujiwara strategy opened a flood in the 1156 Hogen War. Two provincial warrior clans, known as the Taira and the Minamoto, aligned themselves against the Fujiwara and the cloistered emperor in a succession dispute. After the Fujiwara’s defeat, the Taira then turned on their former allies and defeated the Minamoto clan in the Heiji War of 1159-1160. As a result, the Taira moved into Kyoto and held on to power for twenty years. The Taira clan did not aim to overhaul the imperial administration or even to establish a new government, they simply wanted to supplant the position of the Fujiwara and enjoy the capital’s good life. The Taira removed incumbents not loyal to them from office and gained titles to manors and proprietary provinces. The Taira clan performed an action that not even the Fujiwara possessed the gall to attempt: they placed a male descendant of the Taira on the imperial throne. This proved to be a fatal mistake, and the imperial prince Mochihito called for the Taira’s chastisement in 1180. The exiled Minamoto clan, headed by Yoritomo, responded and defeated the Taira in the five year Gempei War. Instead of attempting to integrate himself within the Kyoto administration, Yoritomo Minamoto founded the bakufu of Kamakura in 1192 and became the first shogun. The Kamakura became the organ of support for the warrior class, adjudicated their conflicts, and kept them under control. Minamoto saw himself as a subordinate and appointee of the imperial government. In a sense, the gesture proved to be a more centralized form of the pre-Taira ascendance provincial warrior system. Yoritomo’s successors, the Hojo regents, continued to support this status quo. This status quo, however, could not satisfy the emperor Go Toba. He recognized the emerging power of the warrior class and sought to reverse it. Go Toba’s suspension of Hojo Yoshitoki as shogun and his decree that all things were to be decided by the will of the cloistered emperor aimed at eliminating bakufu authority. The Jokyu civil war of 1221 between western Japan, following the emperor, and eastern Japan, loyal to the bakufu, resulted. Go Toba, however, could not win over any of the powerful warrior families of the Kanto region, virtually all of whom remained loyal to the bakufu. Forces loyal to the bakufu marched on Kyoto and ended the war quickly in the warrior class’ favor. In the war’s aftermath, the bakufu extended the jito system throughout all of Japan, aggrandizing their jurisdiction in the process. Nevertheless, the bakufu maintained the emperor office but now decided its succession. Content with the new state of affairs, the bakufu returned to the old precedent of investiture of shoguns by the emperor, theoretically restoring the old hierarchy. The bakufu’s control over imperial succession, however, did not suffice in ensuring the loyalty of the emperor. A little more than one hundred years later, the emperor Go-Daigo became suspected of plotting the bakufu’s destruction and forced its hand. Kamakura forced Go-Daigo’s abdication and exile, but Go-Daigo continued the struggle. Kamakura dispatched the forces of Ashikaga Takauji and Niita Yoshisada to capture Go-Daigo, but their armies responded by turning on the shogunate. This act proved that even the bakufu could not absolutely check the aspirations of ambitious provincial warrior clans. Go-Daigo seized the window of opportunity, returned to Kyoto in 1333 and declared the Kemmu Restoration. Go-Daigo apparently believed that the emperor could rule absolutely in name once more, but his restoration ended three years later when Ashikaga Takauji marched back into Kyoto and deposed him once again. In 1336, Ashikaga Takauji settled down in the Muromachi district of Kyoto and declared the Muromachi shogunate. An aspiring warrior clansman had not decided to remain in Kyoto since the ill-fated Taira adopted such a course of action in 1060. The Muromachi shogunate is also notable because Takauji placed remnants of the old imperial administration and bureaucracy directly under his authority, whereas the bakufu worked alongside these institutions. Takauji accompanied the blending of Kyoto’s imperial authority and Kamakura’s feudal authority with a concerted effort to blend warrior and aristocratic virtue. THE TRANSFORMATION OF VALUES Shortly after Ashikaga Takauji drove Go-Daigo from the capital in 1336, he issued the Kenmu shikimoku, the first Muromachi legal code used to govern moral behavior. Not only did the code establish the legitimacy of the shogunate’s authority in the wake of Go-Daigo’s exile, but it also set the standards for the ideal, virtuous samurai. In a sense, it mirrors The Tale of Genji by articulating the characteristics of the ruling class’ ideal man. The Kenmu shikimoku code declared that “ruling properly involves a careful cultivation of decorum (reisetsu).” The code makes it clear that etiquette and observing precedent are crucial to behaving properly as a warrior. The reverence for Chinese classics is also present in the document, a reverence shared by the old Heian aristocrats. According to G. Cameron Hurst, the ideal ruler portrayed in the Kenmu shikimoku is a “warrior-aristocrat who is a virtuous Confucian administrator” (Hurst 213). Warriors who replaced courtiers in the Kyoto bureaucracy were urged to maintain their bu, but to adopt the bun of their civilian predecessors. This resulted in the formation of a new term and new type of virtue: bunbu. The ideal of a warrior with courtly civility subsequently emerged. Takauji’s testament, written in 1357, is chronologically the first text in the chronicles of bushido (214). His authorship is disputed, but the maxims are fully consistent with those provided by the Kenmu shikimoku. While Takauji urges harmony and respect for the emperor, he states that warrior aristocrats rule the land (215). This, in and of itself, is a total break with the precedent of the bakufu. Takauji also argues that civil and military arts are united in purpose, but makes the distinction that high-ranking bushi should be more acquainted with the civil arts while lesser warriors should concentrate on the military arts (216). Regardless, warriors are to respect all men of wisdom. Further, the basis of warrior rule rests on military and civil virtue, respect for precedent, and decorum. Other works outlining bushido’s precepts follow Takauji’s, but they do not stray from the original purpose. Shiba Yoshimasa’s Chikubasho, Imagawa Ryoshun’s Imagawa kabegaki, and Yoshisadca’s Yoshisadaki reiterate the same themes established by Ashikaga Takauji. Their ideal samurai is one who maintains proficiency in the warrior arts while remaining cultured deep thinkers. CONCLUSION Through the establishment of a distinct provincial military class, Kyoto’s imperial administration initiated a period of transition. The provincial warrior class, which at first operated under the authority of the aristocracy in Kyoto, slowly developed an identity of its own. Not only did the provincial warrior class build a distinct class consciousness and system of values fundamentally different from those held by the aristocracy in Kyoto, but particular clans within the warrior class forged interests that conflicted with those held by the civilian ruling class. The clash of interest helped fuel the civil wars that ultimately resulted. The wars between bakufu and emperor, however, did not end with the hegemony of either. Ashikaga Takauji emerged as the last man standing with his Muromachi shogunate standing as the last source of authority. Upon establishing his authority, he passed the first code governing moral behavior for the samurai in the shogunate. The final testament associated with his name also echoed these principles. These works inspired others which further developed the code of bushido. Truly, Ashikaga Takauji does not deserve the distinction as the archetype for what historian James Murdoch called the age of “turncoats and mediocrities” (Grossberg 35). Rather, through the acts of his pen and sword, he contributed substantively to the evolution of the rugged provincial warrior into the cultured samurai.