- Literally 'tent-government'. The name of the feudal regime established at Kamakura in 1185. It followed the epic 'gempei' civil wars between the early samurai warriors of the Minamoto (Genji) and Taira (Heike) clans. To restrict the power of the sohei or monk-soldiers the emperor Go-shirakawa, who ruled from 1155-1158 but exercised power over a much longer period as an insei or 'retired monarch', had made alliances at different times with the provincial Taira and Minamoto clans. Their consequent battles for supremacy led to Minamoto, Yoritomo's establishment of the first bakufu government at Kamakura in 1185. In practice bakufu rule came to be exercised by the Hojo family as hereditary regents or deputies (shikken) to the shoguns, just as the Fujiwara had deputised for the emperors. The move to Kamakura (and subsequently to Edo, Tokyo), though it preserved many of the features of the ritsuryo system, effectively ended the government of the Kyoto emperors, apart from a two-year 'restoration' achieved by emperor Go-Daigo in 1334-36 which preceded the Ashikaga shogunate. Many centuries later kokugaku or fukko shinto scholars and activists sought to restore ritsuryo imperial rule; hence the Meiji 'Restoration'.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.