The Emergence of Japan/ Feudal Age
Geography Sets Japan Apart
- Japan is located on an archipelago about 100 miles off the Asian mainland and east of the Korean peninsula.
- It's 4 main islands are: Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku
- Japan is about the size of Montana
- People settled in narrow river valleys along the coastal plains
- Mild Climate and sufficient rainfall
- All the rain helped Japanese farmers make the most of the limited arable land.
- Surrounding seas have both protected and isolated Japan.
- The country was close enough to the mainland to learn from Korea and China
- Japanese sealed themselves off from foreign influences
- The seas that helped Japan preserve it's identity also served as trade routes
- The Inland Sea was an especially important link among various Japanese islands.
- The seas provided many food resources
- Japan lies in a region know as the Ring of Fire which is a made up chain of volcanoes that encircle the Pacific Ocean.
- They have frequent volcanic activity and earthquakes
- The Japanese slowly pushed the earlier inhabitants.
- Early Japanese society was divided into clans
- Each clan had its own chief and a special god or goddess who was known as the ancestor of the clan
- A.D 500, Yamato Clan came to dominate a corner of Honshu
- The Yamato plain was the heartland of of Japanese government.
- They Claimed direct decent from the sun goddess.
- Japanese Empires were revered as living god
- Early Japanese clans honored Kami
- The Japanese language is distantly related to Korean but completely different from China
Japan Looks to China
- 600's prince Shotoku of the Yamato clan decided to learn about China directly instead of through Korean sources
- Many Japanese students, monks, traders, and officials visited the Tang court
- Each visitor to China spent a year or more negotiating , trading, but above all studying
- The new Bureaucracy had little real authority beyond the royal court
- 710 the Japanese emperor built a new capital at Nara , modeled on the Tang capital at Chang'an
- Japanese officials and scholars used Chinese characters to write official histories
- Buddhism spread the Japanese adopted pagoda architecture
- The initial enthusiasm for everything Chinese died down
- 800's as Tang China began to decline, the Japanese court turned away from it's model
The Heian Period
- Heian court an elegant and sophisticated culture blossomed
- Men at court still studied Chinese
- The best known Heian writer was Murasaki Shikibu.
- While noble men and women strolled through manicured gardens.
Warriors Establish Feudalism
- Feudal warfare swept Japan in the 1400's
- The emperor presided over the splendid court at Heian
- Shogun controlled only a small part of Japan
- Noblewomen in Japanese feudal society trained in the military arts
- A few became legendary warriors
The Tokugawa Unite Japan
- The Karakorum shogunate crumbled in the aftermath of the mongol invasions.
- Several powerful warriors unite large parts of Japan