History of japan
Feudalism of japan
- The shogun (like the king) ruled the country through the damiyo (like the nobles), who were the heads of the samurai (like the knights).
- Peasants farmed the land in exchange for protection by the samurai, who operated under a code of conduct known as bushido (like chivalry).
Again, society was organized under a rigid class system with no social mobility.
The Tokugawa Shoguns maintained an ethnocentric policy toward the outside world. However, cultural influences from China did migrate to Japan down the Korean Peninsula.
Different periods of japan.
During the Yayoi Period (300 BC to 300 AD), the rice culture was imported into Japan around 100 BC. With the introduction of agriculture, social classes started to evolve, and parts of the country began to unite under powerful land owners. Chinese travellers during the Han and Wei dynasties reported that a queen called Himiko (or Pimiku) reigned over Japan at that time. The Yayoi period brought also the introduction of iron and other modern ideas from Korea into Japan. Again, its pottery gave the period its name.
By the beginning of the Kofun Period (300 - 538), a center of power had developed in the fertile Kinai plain,and by about 400 AD the country was united as Yamato Japan with its political center in and around the province of Yamato (about today's Nara perfecture). The period's name comes from the large tombs (kofun) that were built for the political leaders of that era. Yamato Japan extended from Kyushu to the kinai plain, but did not yet include the kanto, Tohoku and Hokkaido
The emperor was ruler of Yamato Japan and resided in a capital that was moved frequently from one city to another. However, the Soga clan soon took over the actual political power, resulting in the fact that most of the emperors only acted as the symbol of the state and performed Shinto rituals.
Due to friendly relations to the kingdom of Kudara (or Paikche) on the Korean peninsula, the influence from the mainland increased strongly. Buddhism was introduced to Japan in the year 538 or 552 and was promoted by the ruling class. Prince Shotoku is said to have played an especially important role in promoting Chinese ideas. He also wrote the Constitution of Seventeen Articles about moral and political principles. Also the theories of confucainism and Taoism, as well as the Chinese writing system were introduced to Japan during the Yamato period.
In 645, Nakatomi no Kamatari started the era of the Fujiwara clan that was to last until the rise of the military class (samurai) in the 11 century. In the same year, the Taika reforms were realized: A new government and administrative system was established after the Chinese model. All land was bought by the state and redistributed equally among the farmers in a large land reform in order to introduce the new tax system that was also adopted from China.
Next in the social structure were the 400,000 warriors, called "samurai", whose ranks ranged in numerous grades and degrees. A few upper samurai were eligible for high office; most were foot soldiers (ashigaru) with minor duties. The samurai were affiliated with senior lords in a well-established chain of command. The shōgun had 17,000 samurai retainers; the daimyō each had hundreds. Most lived in modest homes near their lord's headquarters, and lived off hereditary rights to collect rents and stipends. Together these high status groups comprised Japan's ruling class making up about 6% of the total population.
Japan history, geography and government.
An archipelago in the Pacific, Japan is separated from the east coast of Asia by the Sea of Japan. It is approximately the size of Montana. Japan's four main islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku. The Ryukyu chain to the southwest was U.S.-occupied from 1945 to 1972, when it reverted to Japanese control, and the Kurils to the northeast are Russian-occupied.
Constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government.
Legend attributes the creation of Japan to the sun goddess, from whom the emperors were descended. The first of them was Jimmu, supposed to have ascended the throne in 660 B.C. , a tradition that constituted official doctrine until 1945.
Recorded Japanese history begins in approximately A.D. 400, when the Yamato clan, eventually based in Kyoto, managed to gain control of other family groups in central and western Japan. Contact with Korea introduced Buddhism to Japan at about this time. Through the 700s Japan was much influenced by China, and the Yamato clan set up an imperial court similar to that of China. In the ensuing centuries, the authority of the imperial court was undermined as powerful gentry families vied for control.
At the same time, warrior clans were rising to prominence as a distinct class known as samurai. In 1192, the Minamoto clan set up a military government under their leader, Yoritomo. He was designated shogun (military dictator). For the following 700 years, shoguns from a succession of clans ruled in Japan, while the imperial court existed in relative obscurity.
First contact with the West came in about 1542, when a Portuguese ship off course arrived in Japanese waters. Portuguese traders, Jesuit missionaries, and Spanish, Dutch, and English traders followed. Suspicious of Christianity and of Portuguese support of a local Japanese revolt, the shoguns of the Tokugawa period (1603–1867) prohibited all trade with foreign countries; only a Dutch trading post at Nagasaki was permitted. Western attempts to renew trading relations failed until 1853, when Commodore Matthew Perry sailed an American fleet into Tokyo Bay. Trade with the West was forced upon Japan under terms less than favorable to the Japanese. Strife caused by these actions brought down the feudal world of the shoguns. In 1868, the emperor Meiji came to the throne, and the shogun system was abolished.