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shugo

hereditary military constable during Japan's Kamakura (1192-1333) and Ashikaga (1338-1573) periods. Originally appointed by Minamoto Yoritomo, the first Kamakura shogun (military dictator), from his personal warrior clique, the shugo occupied provincial military and civil supervisory posts. Their duties were to maintain peace, supervise the guard service, and command local retainers in battle. Empowered to investigate and judge cases ranging from treason to robbery, they constituted an administrative system, which gradually eroded the civil administrative structure of the emperor. Yoritomo and his descendants were able to rule without actually deposing the monarch

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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