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Japan Glossary entries starting with S

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243
Shuntō (春闘) is a Japanese term that refers to the so-called "spring wage offensive," the annual wage negotiations between enterprise unions and employers in Japan. Beginning in February or March each spring, thousands of unions simultaneously conduct wage negotiations with employers. In recent...
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275
Shitamachi (下町) means "low town" or "downtown." During the Edo period, shitamachi described all districts lower than Edo castle, in opposition to Yamanote (山の手) or "upper town" (note the name of the JR Yamanote line, which encircles the Imperial palace or former Edo Castle). Shitamachi...
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182
Shugo (守護) – officials appointed by the shōgun to oversee one or more provinces. Shugo (守護), commonly translated as “(military) governor,” “protector,” or “constable,” was a title given to certain officials in feudal Japan. They were each appointed by the shōgun to oversee one or more of the...
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649
Shōgun (将軍) – military governors; the de facto head of the nation, having seized power militarily or inherited it from another shōgun. Shōgun (将軍), officially Sei-i Taishōgun (征夷大将軍, "Commander-in-Chief of the Expeditionary Force Against the Barbarians"), was the title of the military...
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799
Shōen (荘園 or 庄園) – a manor and its fields. A shōen (荘園 or 庄園, shōen) was a field or manor in Japan. The Japanese term comes from the Tang dynasty Chinese term "莊園" (Mandarin: zhuāngyuán, Cantonese: zong1 jyun4). Shōen, from about the 8th to the late 15th century, describes any of the...
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768
Shizoku (士族) – "warrior families", a term used to refer to former samurai after the abolition of the class system following the Meiji Restoration. The Shizoku (士族, "warrior families") was a social class in Japan composed of former samurai after the Meiji Restoration from 1869 to 1947. Shizoku...
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210
Shintō (神道) – is the traditional religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past. Shintō is a religion from Japan. Classified as an East Asian religion by scholars of religion, its...
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161
Shinbutsu bunri (神仏分離) – The forcible separation of Buddhism and Shinto, in particular during the Meiji era. The Japanese term shinbutsu bunri (神仏分離) indicates the separation of Shinto from Buddhism, introduced after the Meiji Restoration, which separated Shinto kami from buddhas and also...
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739
Shikken (執権) – the regent for the shōgun during the Kamakura shogunate. The Hōjō clan monopolised the shikken post and was, therefore, the effective ruler of Japan. The shikken (執権) was a titular post held by a member of the Hōjō clan, officially a regent of the shogunate, from 1199 to 1333...
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458
Seppuku (切腹) – honourable ritual suicide. Also called harakiri. One of the death penalties that respected a samurai's honour. The belly was ceremonially cut, and an assistant cut the head from the back. Suicide allowed a samurai to keep his honour because it was considered dishonourable for a...
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245
Sengoku Period (戦国時代, sengoku jidai) was a time of social upheaval and nearly constant military conflict that lasted roughly from the middle of the 15th century to the beginning of the 17th century. The Sengoku period (戦国時代, Sengoku Jidai, "Warring States period") was a period of Japanese...
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126
Sankin-kōtai (参勤交代) – the Edo period (1603–1867) policy under which feudal lords (daimyōs) had to travel to the capital in Edo annually and leave their families in Edo year-round. This was used by the shōgun (warlord leader of the nation) to prevent rebellion. Sankin-kōtai (Japanese...
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440
Samurai (侍) – the feudal Japanese warrior class. Samurai (侍) were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan from the late 12th century until their abolition in the 1870s during the Meiji era. They were the well-paid retainers of the daimyo, the...
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433
Sakoku (鎖国) – the "self-isolation" policy followed during the Edo period (1603–1867), under which Japan engaged in limited trade or communication with the outside world. Sakoku (鎖国, literally "chained country") was the isolationist foreign policy of the Japanese Tokugawa shogunate under...
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628
Sadaijin (左大臣) – Senior Minister of State overseeing all branches of the Department of State with his deputy, the udaijin. The Minister of the Left (左大臣, Sadaijin) was a government position in Japan in the late Nara and Heian periods. The position was consolidated in the Taihō Code of 702...
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