Japanese Lotteries – Old and New

The Ashikaga shoguns ruled Japan during the Muromachi period. Although not strictly considered a hereditary position, the title of shogun remained in the hands of the Ashikaga clan from 1338 until 1573. The office most commonly passed from father to son or from older to younger brother, but on occasion it passed in entirely different ways. One of the strangest? A lottery. The fourth Ashikaga shogun, Yoshimochi, held the title of shogun from 1395–1423, at which time he retired in favor of his son, Ashikaga Yoshikazu. Unfortunately, Yoshikazu died only two years later. After his son’s untimely death, 40 year-old

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