noun Japanese History.
- the title applied to the chief military commanders from about the 8th century a.d. to the end of the 12th century, then applied to the hereditary officials who governed Japan, with the emperor as nominal ruler, until 1868, when the shogunate was terminated and the ruling power was returned to the emperor.
noun Japanese history
- (from 794 ad) a chief military commander
- (from about 1192 to 1867) any of a line of hereditary military dictators who relegated the emperors to a position of purely theoretical supremacy
1610s, “hereditary commander of a Japanese army,” from Japanese (sei-i-tai) shogun “(barbarian-subduing) chief” (late 12c.), sound-substitution for Chinese chiang chiin, literally “lead army.”
Japanese military leaders who ruled the country from the twelfth to the nineteenth centuries. There was still an emperor in Japan under the shoguns, but he was reduced to a mere figurehead.