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One of my books notes that the Muromachi and Ashikaga Periods, 室町時代 and 足利時代 respectively, can be used to name the same period of time (1333-1568), but I'm lost on what the difference is and when I should use which.

  • Should be 1336 – 1573. – l'électeur Jan 11 '16 at 0:36
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「[足利時代]{あしかがじだい}」 is just another name for 「[室町]{むろまち}時代」; There is no difference in what the two terms refer to. The former name exists because it was the 足利 family who were in control during that period (1336 - 1573). The latter is the usual name we learn in school in Japan.

It is like calling 「[江戸]{えど}時代」 as 「[徳川]{とくがわ}時代」; The former is more common.

One just sounds more "neutral" referring to a period without using a family name.

  • Getting super-detailed, "Muromachi" referred to the district in Kyoto where the government had its headquarters, while "Ashikaga" referred to the family that ran the government. As l'électeur says, the distinction between the two names for the period is minor. – Eiríkr Útlendi Feb 5 '16 at 1:17

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