e, and tsunami in 2011 caused massive economic dislocations and a serious nuclear power disaster.
The mountainous Japanese archipelagostretches northeast to southwest 3,000 km off the east of the Asian continent at the convergence of four tectonic plates; it has about forty active volcanoes and experiences about 1,000 earthquakes a year. The steep, craggy mountains that cover two-thirds of its surface are prone to quick erosion from fast-flowing rivers and to mudslides. They have hampered internal travel and communication and driven the population to rely on transportation along coastal waters. There is a great variety to its regions’ geographical features and weather patterns, with a Wet season, in most parts in early summer. Volcanic soil that washes along the 13% of the area that makes up the coastal plains provides fertile land, and the mainly temperate climate allows long growing seasons, which with the diversity of flora and fauna provide rich resources able to support the density of the population.
Upon the consolidation of power, Minamoto no Yoritomo chose to rule in concert with the imperial court in Kyoto. Though Yoritomo set up his own government in Kamakura in the Kantō region located in eastern Japan, its power was legally authorized by the Imperial court in Kyoto in several occasions. In 1192, the Emperor declared Yoritomo seii tai-shōgun (征夷大将軍; Eastern Barbarian Subduing Great General), abbreviated shōgun.Later (in Edo period), the word bakufu(幕府; originally means a general’s house or office, literally a “tent office”) came to be used to mean a government headed by a shogun. The English term shogunate refers to the bakufu. Japan remained largely under military rule until 1868.
Legitimacy was conferred on the shogunate by the Imperial court, but the shogunate was the de facto rulers of the country. The court maintained bureaucratic and religious functions, and the shogunate welcomed participation by members of the aristocratic class. The older institutions remained intact in a weakened form, and Kyoto remained the official capital. This system has been contrasted with the “simple warrior rule” of the la