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"Daimio" redirects here. For the skipper butterfly genus, see Daimio (butterfly).

The daimyo (大名 daimyō, pronounced About this sound dai-myoh ) were the powerful feudal lords in pre-modern 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.

Subordinate only to the shogun, daimyo were the most powerful feudal rulers from the 10th century to the middle 19th century in Japan. 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. Daimyo often hired samurai to guard their land and they paid the samurai in land or food. Relatively few daimyo could afford to pay samurai in money. The daimyo era came to an end soon after the Meiji restoration when Japan adopted the prefecture system in 1871.


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