Mythology• Amaterasu the sun goddess• Emperor Jinmu 1st emperor of Japan• 500AD – Yamato clan dominates Japan for 1000yrs. – Claim to be descendants of Amaterasu
Geography• Archipelago chain of islands• 4 main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku• Seas: provide protection and isolation• Ring of Fire prone to earthquakes and volcanoes.• Tsunami killer tidal waves• Mt. Fuji snow caped volcano, sacred symbol of beauty and nature
Early HistoryKorean Bridge = Cultural Diffusion – 600s monks sent to learn and bring back Chinese culture• Nara period – 710 capital built at Nara – 1st strong Japanese state• Buddhism spreads from India – China – Korea – Japan affecting Pagoda Architecture• Kana phonetic symbols representing syllables• Heian Period – Capital moves from Nara Kyoto• Fujiwara wealthy court families (mid800s – mid1100s)
Samurai• Shogun – military leader of Japan• Local landlords hired warriors called samurai for protection. Loyalty to lord or clan. Great skill with swords.• Samurai followed the code of behavior called Bushido (“way of warrior”) It stressed bravery, loyalty, and honor. Samurai would never complain and fought to the death.• If Samurai upset their master or lost in battle they might practice seppuku, ceremonial suicide.
Court Life and Literature• Palaces with gardens and pools• Elaborate rules for etiquette. Many rituals.• Lady Murasaki-Shikibu – The Tale of the Genji – World’s first novel – 1010ad Life and love of the Prince Genji and his son. – Displays the elaborate court life and rituals
Religion• Shinto worship the forces in nature and ancestors (state religion)• Kami – clan gods• There are spirits in all of nature• Very important Shrine worship.• Misogi – washing ritual before entering a Shinto shrine.• Co-existence with Buddhism