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From castle to palace: samurai architecture

Japan's warlords built fortresses during the constant civil warfare from 1300 to 1600. These castles housed the local government, had many defensive devices, and impressed rivals with their scale and their lord's ability to have them built and maintained. Learn more about the samurai.. Created by Asian Art Museum.

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Video transcript

Japan's warlords built fortresses during the constant civil warfare from 1300 to 1600 these castles housed the local government and often provided a residence for the Lord his family and retainers castles have many defensive devices but their symbolic impact was most important towering over the region castles impressed rivals with their scale and the Lord's ability to have them built and maintained this is he Meiji one of the few castles that survived attackers contended with moats and steep walls winding paths and gates confused invaders supplies and weapons were ready in the tower in case of the need to retreat defenders had the high ground they could shoot throw rocks or pour boiling liquids from special trap windows within the tower this residence asserts the power of the owner through its elegant decor rather than defensive technology this is Nijo in Kyoto the Palace of the Shogun Japan's military leader here the Shogun wanted to show off his refinement to the Emperor and the sophisticated residents of Kyoto Nijo is famous for its paintings on gold which have been designated national treasures by the Japanese government pine trees hawks and tigers are auspicious symbols of longevity and power seated with his swords on a platform in front of these master works the Shogun was sure to impress his audience as peace spread through Japan from the 1600s onwards construction of defensive architecture like he Meiji declined however residential castles continue to be developed perhaps the last great castle was built in Edo the Shogun's new capital beginning in 1615 otto is now known as tokyo and the castle is home to the imperial family this castle like him agian Nijo helps tell the story of japan's warrior culture from military Garrison's to refined residences the architecture of the samurai still osted a