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 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.