Tokusō

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Tokusō (得宗) was the title held by the head of the mainline Hōjō clan, who monopolized the position of shikken (regents) of the Kamakura shogunate in Japan.

The name tokusō is said to have come from Tokushū (徳崇), the Buddhist name of Hōjō Yoshitoki, but Hōjō Tokimasa is usually regarded as the first tokusō. There were eight tokusō:

  1. Hōjō Tokimasa
  2. Hōjō Yoshitoki
  3. Hōjō Yasutoki
  4. Hōjō Tsunetoki
  5. Hōjō Tokiyori
  6. Hōjō Tokimune
  7. Hōjō Sadatoki
  8. Hōjō Takatoki

The political structure of the tokusō dictatorship was set up by Yasutoki and was consolidated by his grandson Tokiyori. The tokusō line held overwhelming power over the gokenin and the cadet lines of the Hōjō clan. Tokiyori often worked out policies at private meetings (寄合 yoriai) at his residence instead of discussing them at the Hyōjō (評定), the council of the shogunate. This made the tokusō's private retainers (御内人 miuchibito) stronger. In 1256 Tokiyori separated the positions of shikken and tokusō for the first time. Because of an illness, he installed his infant son Tokimune as the tokusō while Nagatoki, a collateral relative, was appointed shikken to assist Tokimune.

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