The Emergence of Japan/Feudal Age

By Christina Gordon and Samantha Guffin

Georgraphy Sets Japan Apart

  • Japan is located on an archipelago about 100 miles off the Asian mainland.
  • Japan is about the size of Montana, but four-fifths of its land is to mountainous to farm.
  • Most people settles in a narrow river valleys
  • the surrounding seas have both protected and isolated Japan. Its close enough to the mainland to learn form Korea and China, but too far to conquer
  • The seas offered plentiful food sources so the Japanese had a thriving fishing industry
  • The Japanese came to fear and respect the dramatic forces of nature
  • It lies in a region known as the ring of fire

Early Traditions

  • Early Japanese society was divided into clans.
  • Japanese clans honored kami, or superior powers that were natural
  • Korean artisans brought sophisticated skills and technology to Japan.
  • Some clans leaders were woman, suggesting that woman enjoyed a respected position in society.
  • The Japanese language is distantly related to Korean but completely different from Chinese

Japan Looks to China

  • In 710 the Japanese emperor built a new capital at Nara, modeled on the tang capital at Chang'an.
  • As Buddhism spread, the Japanese adopted pagoda architecture.
  • By the 800's the Tang China began to decline.

The Hein Period

  • Blending of cultures took place from 794 to 1185.
  • Woman were forbidden to learn Chinese.
  • The Hein poems and romances are haunted by a sense of sadness.

Warriors Establish Feudalism

  • Feudal warfare swept Japan in the 1400's.
  • Local warlords and even some Buddhist temples formed armed bands loyal to them rather than to central government.
  • Peasant families cultivated rice and other crops on the estates of samurai.

The Tokugawas Unite Japan

  • The Kamakura shogunate crumbled in the after math of the Mongol invasions.
  • New laws fixed the old social order rigidly in place and up help a strict moral code.
  • Towns were built around the castles of daimyo.

Zen Buddhism Shapes Culture

  • During Japans feudal age, a Buddhist sect from China won widespread acceptance among samurai.
  • Zen had seemingly contradictory traditions.
  • Zen Buddhist believe that people could seek enlightenment through meditation and through precise performance of everyday tasks.

Artistic Traditons Change

  • Urban culture emphasized luxuries and pleasures and differed greatly from the future culture that had dominated japan for centuries.
  • In the 1600's, towns gave rise to a popular new form of drama called Kabuki.
  • Japanese paintings often reflected the influence of Chinese landscape paintings, yet Japanese artists developed their own styles.