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Medieval Japan

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Mary Kathryn Bishop

on 7 March 2014

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Transcript of Medieval Japan

A growing economy and production of beautiful art, architecture, novels, and plays.
Emperor Kemmu builds Heian, inspired by Changan
... and WHAT is Shinto?
Nara Japan
Medieval Japan...Life is GOOD!
Prince Shotku's Reforms
The Rise of the Shogun
Looked to China to create strong government
Constitution gave all power to emperor, including power to appoint officials in bureaucracy; rules based on Confucius ideas
Sent students to China: Buddhism, art, medicine, and philosophy
Buddhist temples and monasteries-HORYUJI
646 began Taika (Great Change); divided into provinces and all land was under emperor’s control

believed all natural things are alive with their own spirits-ANIMISM
These beliefs developed into religion of Shinto “way of the spirits”

The Government Weakens
Fujiwara (regents) had the power while emperors had the title
Government allowed nobles to stop paying taxes, but they also had to govern their lands
Who Were the Samurai?
Nobles gave land to warriors (samurai=“one who serves”)
Bushido “the way of the warrior” code by which samurai lived: loyal to master, courageous, brave, and honorable
Not supposed to care for wealth

300s-1500s, common era
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Geography & the First Settlers
Early Japan
Samurais, Shoguns, and Mongols
Chain of islands, many are tops of mountains
20% can be farmed-FIGHTING
Developed independent society with its own religion, art, literature, and government

“cord marks”
Nomads began to develop culture
Settled in fishing villages
Introduced farming and skills from Chinese and Koreans: potters wheel, rice paddies, metal work
Clans headed by warriors (warrior chiefs protected in exchange for harvest)
Chiefs buried in kofun mounds
Myth-Amaterasu and Susanowo
500s, Yamato clan brought most of Japan under its rule
Chiefs claim they are descendents of Amaterasu, therefore have the right to rule Japan
“Emperor of Heaven” from Jimmu to Akihito

What Is a Shogun?
Commander of all the emperor’s military forces
Shogunate headquartered in Kamakura
Bound by an oath of loyalty, samurai lords ruled Japan’s villages, kept the peace, and gathered taxes. They became the leading group in Japanese society
The Mongols Attack
Kublai Khan of China sent warriors to invade Japan-storms stopped most, troops that made it ashore were defeated
Japanese named typhoons kamikaze “divine wind” in honor of spirits they believed had saved their island

Medieval Japan
Nara is the capital; Nara Period
Organized government officials into ranks; emperors gave jobs to nobles from powerful families and Officials received estates and farmers
Census: land-owners had to pay taxes; men had to serve in army
Buddhism Spreads in Japan and there was a power struggle for control
Came from Korea...originally from where???

started in India, spread to China and Korea; over time it was divided into many sects
Pure Land Buddhism-happy life after death
Zen Buddhism-find inner peace through self control and a simple life
Art and Architecture
***Japanese borrowed ideas from China and Korea
reflects love of beauty and simplicity
landscape painting and calligraphy (from Chinese), origami, tea drinking
Shinto shrines were Japanese style-simple, close to nature
Buddhist temples were Chinese style-large, thick buildings with rich decorations (statues, paintings, altars)
Economy and Society
Under the Shoguns, merchants and traders prospered while farmers remained poor.
In the 1100s, better irrigation = more crops = more money!
Producing more goods: weapons, armor, tools, pottery, paper, textiles, and laquered ware.
New Roads! AND trade with China, Korea, and SE Asia
READ The Role of Women, pg 504
Full transcript