The daimyō (大名, Japanese pronunciation: [daimʲoː] (listen)) were powerful Japanese feudal lords who—until their decline in the early Meiji period—ruled most of Japan from their vast, hereditary land holdings. Subordinate to the shōgun, and nominally to the Emperor and the kuge, daimyō were powerful feudal rulers from the 10th century to the middle 19th century in Japan. In the term, dai (大) means "large", and myō stands for myōden (名田), meaning "private land". From the Shugo of the Muromachi period through the Sengoku to the daimyō of the Edo period, the rank had a long and varied history. The backgrounds of daimyō also varied considerably; while some daimyō clans, notably the Mōri, Shimazu and Hosokawa, were cadet branches of the Imperial family or were descended from the kuge, other daimyō were promoted from the ranks of the samurai, notably during the Edo period. Daimyō often hired samurai to guard their land and they paid the samurai in land or food as relatively few could afford to pay samurai in money. The daimyō era ended soon after the Meiji Restoration with the adoption of the prefecture system in 1871. The term daimyō also sometimes refers to the leading figures of such clans, also called "Lord". It was usually, though not exclusively, from these warlords that a shōgun arose or a regent was chosen.