term for the government commonly called the shogunate
. The bakufu was a military government
ruled by a shogun
), a chief advisor called the tairo
, an advisory council called the roju
, and provincial lords called daimyo
who raised armies of samurai
. Bakufu never had complete control of Japan, but claimed their legitimacy
by their control over the emperor
, Japan's spiritual leader, as well as control over key fiefs
such as the Kanto Plain
The emperor's position in the bakufu system was unique. He was isolated from the outside world by several layers of advisors, but could still issue imperial orders to members of the bakufu, orders they were obliged to follow. However, the bakufu often used their military prowess to coerce the emperor into keeping his mouth shut.
There were two major bakufu in Japanese history. The Kamakura bakufu of 1192-1573 was founded by the Minamoto family (the same family immortalized in the Tale of Genji): it was eventually passed on to the Ashikaga family, who ruled it until its defeat by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Toyotomi's son Hidetsugu was defeated in 1600 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, who founded the Edo bakufu. The Tokugawa family kept the shogunate until the Meiji Restoration of 1867, when opponents of the shogun's rule proclaimed Emperor Meiji the absolute ruler of Japan, and replaced the bakufu with an elected parliament.
In the context of Everything2, bakufu is a group of Japanologists who compose/complain about Japan-related nodes.