Ashikaga Takauji was a shogun, or Japanese military leader, that lived from 1305 - 1358, born in the Kanto region. Takauji was born into the Ashikaga family, who served as serfs under the Kamakura shoguns. He is well known for starting the Muromachi bakufu, or military government, and bringing down the Hojo Shikken. However, his greatest, or most well know achievement was bringing to fruition the Imperial reformation, only to destroy what he had accomplished with war, which left the country in the hands of a new warrior based government.
Takauji began to amass respect within the military, and was given control of a small army in 1333 to defeat a group of rebels. The rebels were led by Emperor Go-Daigo, a man that was plotting against the Kamakura bakufu. Having defeated Nitta Yoshisada and Kusunoki Masashige (rebel leaders that rose up against the Kamakura bakufu), Takauji began his advance on Kyoto. Then, in 1335, Takauji drove Go-Daigo from the throne, allowing Emperor Komyo to rise to power. It was soon after that, though, that Takauji also joined the rebellion, and helped to defeat the Hojo forces.
Today, Takauji is often seen as a traitor and usurper, and was heavily criticized for his actions. However, some scholars believe that the unwillingness of samurai to relinquish authority in politics made it only a matter of time before someone acted out in such a way.