• What was the structure of early Japanese society?
• What role did Prince Shotoku play in Japanese history?
• In early Japan land
• = power
• = influence
• = wealth
• Divided into clans –
each ruling clan
controlled portions of
• Clans often fought for
• Emperor – Figure head – Not much power over Japan
• Organized around powerful clans led by a few powerful
• Nobles owned land
• Known by family name and individual name
• Most Japanese were commoners
• Lived in villages, fished, made some crafts
• Cooked, cleaned, or took care of nobles
• In the 400’s a powerful clan of central Japan established
itself as the most powerful clan
• Emperors were said to be descended from this clan
• Said to be descendants from the sun goddess
• Seen as divine or godlike
• Had very little power – Powerful clan leaders
• 593-622 – Prince Shotoku ruled Japan in the place of a
child emperor – a position called a regent
• HUGE FAN OF CHINA!
• Sent scholars to Japan to study Chinese society
• Welcomed skilled Chinese workers into Japan
• Had an embassy built in China
• Used Confucian principles for government
• Wrote the 17 Article Constitution
• Promoted belief in Buddhism
• Who held real power in early Japanese society?
• What was the most last effect of Shotoku’s reign?
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