A Shogun (将軍, "general", literally "military commander") was a title which was granted by the Japanese Emperor to a military dictator. Japan was ruled by Shoguns from 1192 to 1867. In fact, the formal ceremony of designation was just a tradition, and Shoguns' titles were just passed on from father to son, making them the absolute rulers of the country. The Shogun held almost absolute power over territories through military means, in contrast to the concept of a colonial governor in Western culture.

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