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Daimyo (大名 Daimyō?, About this sound Pronunciation ) is a generic term referring to the powerful territorial lords[1] in premodern Japan who ruled most of the country from their vast, hereditary land holdings. In the term, "dai" (?) literally means "large", and "myō" stands for myōden (名田?), meaning private land.[2]

They were the most powerful feudal rulers from the 10th century to the middle 19th century in Japan following the Shogun.

From the shugo of the Muromachi period through the Sengoku to the daimyo of the Edo period, the rank had a long and varied history.

The term "daimyo" is also sometimes used to refer to the leading figures of such clans, also called "lord". It was usually, though not exclusively, from these warlords that a shogun arose or a regent was chosen.


Shugo daimyo

The shugo daimyo (守護大名 shugo daimyō?) were the first group of men to hold the title "daimyo". They arose from among the shugo during the Muromachi period. The shugo daimyo held not only military and police powers, but also economic power within a province. They accumulated these powers throughout the first decades of the Muromachi period.

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