Early BeginningsOriginal prehistoric inhabitants were of Polynesian stock, called Ainu. TheAinu were displaced by people of Mongolian background around 500 CE. This gave rise to the first dominant clan called the Yamato. According to Shinto belief, Jimmu is regarded as a direct descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu and claimed the title of Emperor.
Prince Shotoku(573-621) — One of Japans best early rulers•Played a crucial role in the transmission of Chinese culture to Japan.•Pro-Buddhist faction won control at the Yamato court, and establishedBuddhism as the official religion of Japan.•Used Chinese Confucian principles to organize the government. From very early on in Japan’s history, Japan was fascinated with Chinese culture. In the early 600’s, Prince Shotoku, a member of the Yamato ruling family, decided to learn about the Chinese directly. He sent young Japanese nobles to study in China who returned eager to spread Chinese thought, technology, and arts. Equally important, they imported Chinese ideas about government. After the first enthusiasm for everything Chinese died down, the Japanese became more selective. This became known as selective borrowing which means that they kept some Chinese ways but discarded or modified others.
The Nara Period 710-784 CE•The Yamato Emperor established a capital in Nara and ruled thereuntil 794 CE•The Japanese continued to “selectively borrow” from China What did the Japanese borrow from the Chinese? The Great Wall of China designChinese Characters in the written language Mandate of Heaven Chinese architecture Court etiquette from the Tang Dynasty Buddhism Chinese civil service exam Confucian Literary classics
The Heian Period 794-1185 CE •Capital city and Emperor’s court was moved to Heian (Kyoto) •“City of Peace” established a long period of peace in Japan known as the “Classical Era”Emperor became more isolated and simplystayed in Heian and oversaw Shinto rituals - figurehead Lords controlled the political realms of JapanVarious noble landowning clansmen viedfor the title of Kwampaku, or Chancellor. They ruled in the Emperor’s name Led to the rise of powerful families with private armies – the Fujiwara, Tairo, and Minamoto families were the most influentialOversaw an artistic and cultural flowering at the court
The Heian Period Cultural Developments:The traditional Japanese religion is Shintoism. Everything in nature possesses a spirit and natural forces govern the earth. Traditional Japanese customs combined with Buddhism produced Zen Buddhism. Contacts with China were halted during theHeian Period (794-1185) as the Japanese were encouraged to express traditional Japanese culture.Women dominated literature. The Tale of Genji was written by Lady Murasaki. Women Economic Development: enjoyed considerable legal and economic rights compared to later periods. Japan was a predominantly agrarian society with a local artisan class of weavers, carpenters, and iron workers. Most people worked on land that was owned by other people and had to pay an in-kind tax on their harvests on a yearly basis.
The Kamakura Period Yoritomo Minamoto (1147-1199AD) set up a new government close to the present city of Tokyo. The new government was called bakufu or “tent government,” suggesting a military encampment. Although the emperor continued to exist in Kyoto, his role would only be ceremonial. Yoritomo simplified the government processes and instituted a basic legal code, although the court in Kyoto retained much of its form and administrative function. Large family domains retained varying numbers of samurai. Common people tilled the land, much as they had always done.
The Kamakura Period 1185-1333 Political Developments: Attempts at centralizing the Japanese state were relatively unsuccessful during the first millennium. The Japanese also attempted to fashion their bureaucracy in the image of the Chinese Confucian model. Emissaries and scholars were sent to China to study. The Rise of Feudalism: Eventually a system of feudalism developed in which a central figure, the Shogun, reigned as supreme military general and political authority over Japan. The power of the shogun was depended on the loyalties of the local daimyos and samurais. Geography: Island configuration of Japan led to the development of isolated communities
Loss of Central Authority• Powerful families & Buddhist leaders began to challenge the central government• Regional rulers with their own armies gained power.
Loss of Central Authority• Mini-states, or shogunates, took the place of the central government.
Japanese Feudal Period• From the 1000s to the 1500s, Japan was in the “Era of Warrior Dominance” or its feudal period.• Though there was an emperor, real power was with the shoguns and their samurai armies.
The emperorreigned, but didnot always rule! Feudal Society
Main Gate ofHiroshima Castle
Caernorfon Castle, Wales
Warwick Castle, England
Feudalism A political, economic, and social system based on loyalty, the holding of land, and military service. J apan: Land - Shoen Shogun Loyalty Land - Shoen Daimyo Daimyo Loyalty Samurai Samurai Samurai FoodProtection Peasant Peasant Peasant Peasant
Feudalism A political, economic, and social system based on loyalty, the holding of land, and military service. E urope: King Land - Fief Loyalty Land - Fief Lord Lord Loyalty Knight Knight Knight FoodProtection Peasant Peasant Peasant Peasant
Code of Bus hido Code of Chivalry * Justice* Fidelity * Loyalty* Politeness * Defense* Virility * Courage* Simplicity * Faith * Humility * Nobility
M ed ieval Warriors vs.Knight’s Armor Samurai Armor
Comparison of Feudalism in Europe and Japan Europe Japan King, Lord, Emperor, Shogun, Nobility Lesser Lord Daimyo Knights – Loyal to Samurai – Loyal to Warriors their Lord their Lord Code of conduct Chivalry Bushido •Both practices developed in response to the need for security and stability Evolution •everyone had well-defined social roles •helped preserve law and order
Full Samurai Attire
Early MountedSamurai Warriors
S eppuku: Ritual SuicideIt is honorable to die in this way. Kaishaku – his “seconds”
Seppuku: Ritual Suicide
Underpinnings: Basic Steps in Self DefenseA COTTON BREECH CLOUT A SHORT SLEEVED KIMONO, KIMONOthat extended up over the or “armor robe,” was tiedchest was the basic snugly at the waist with aundergarment of a samurai’s special knot (lower right)costume
BILLOWINGPANTALOONS,worn over thearmor robe,fitted loosely inthe legs toallow freedomof movement AN EXQUISITE BROCADE, richly BROCADESTURDY worked with aSHINGUARDS design of peonies,of cloth or was one of theleather were extravagantreinforced with materials used instrips of iron an armor robeto give that may haveprotection been made for afrom the front 14th Century imperial prince
Zen Buddhism A Japanese variation of the Mahayana form of Buddhism, which came from India through China.o It reinforced the Bushido values of mental and self-discipline.
Mongol “Invasions” of Japan4,400 ships and 140,000 men, but kamikaze winds stopped them.
Zen BuddhismStressed austerity, meditation andthe complete control of the mind toattain a state of detachment fromthe physical world. This detachedstate was brought about by strictself-discipline and constantmeditation. Samurai believed thatby perfecting themselves in thisway, they would be able to facetheir enemy and even death The mental posture involved in sittingwithout fear. meditation is that of concentration. One’s attention may be focused on anSamurai believed that through the object, such as one’s breathing or on apractice of Zen Buddhism, they koan. A koan is a kind of riddle, forwould develop the intuition to example:respond quickly to a sudden anddangerous situation by attaining a “What was the appearance of your facestate of awareness and physical before your ancestors were born?”detachment which would lead tothe domination over their enemies. “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”