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Early Japanese Civilization

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Pamela Loo

on 30 September 2013

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Transcript of Early Japanese Civilization

The original inhabitants of Japan were the
is an ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaido
-Until the 4th century BCE, Japan had no written language
-Early records of Japanese history were scanty
-It was first mentioned in the Chinese writings in form of legends and songs handed down by words of mouth
- Kojiki, the records of Japan's ancient history and Nihonji or "The Chronicles of Japan"
Emperor Jimmu Tenno
- His name literally meant "divine might" or "god-warrior".
- the first emperor of Japan who founded the Yamato clan.
- given the title Tenno which means "Son of Heaven".
"Kan'yamato Iware-biko no Sumeramikoto". ---According to the Kojiki, he died when he was 126 years old
The Yamato Clan
-The Yamato clan had established itself as the leading clan and they claimed to be descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu.
-In the 7th century, the Yamato chiefs called themselves the emperors of Japan.
-The early emperors did not control the entire country but the Japanese gradually accepted the idea of an emperor.
-The Yamato rulers lacked real power but the dynasty was never overthrown. Rival clans fought for power and the winning clan claimed control of the emperor and ruled in the emperor's name
Each clan worshipped their own nature gods and goddesses. The combined customs and beliefs were eventually called
, "
The way of the gods
". This religion was based on respect for the forces of nature and worship of ancestors, the divine spirits of nature they call "
The Japanese adopted the Chinese system of writing.
, a
Confucian scholar
, was the one who introduced Chinese written language.

Japanese artists painted landscapes in the Chinese manner. The Japanese even followed Chinese styles in the simple arts of everyday living such as
drinking tea
, and
. The method of organization of the
Imperial Court
, a significant element of ancient Chinese culture, was also adopted by the Japanese. The Japanese Imperial Court as well as its bureaucracy, including titles, ranks and functions, soon came to be modelled after
Confucian principles
is also an aspect of Chinese culture borrowed by the Japanese.
> The Japanese established the city of
as the
first capital in Japanese history
and Nara was patterned from the city of Changan, the capital city of the Tang Dynasty in China.
Japanese Adopted Chinese Ideas
It was around the year 500 BC when the Japanese started to have more contact with mainland Asia.
Chinese ideas influenced the Japanese culture by way of Korea
During the 6th century, many Koreans migrated to Japan, bringing Chinese influences in
weight and measure
road engineering
, and
medical knowledge
with them.
Rules dictated every aspect of court life- the length of swords, the color of the official robes, forms of address and even the number of skirts women wore. Etiquette was also very important. Loud laughter or mismatched clothing caused deep embarrassment.

Noble women wore their hair down to their ankles, blackened their teeth with cosmetics and dyed their clothing to match the seasons.

Everyone at court was expected to write poetry and to paint. Japanese aristocrats looked down on the common people, who could not share in court refinement.
Lady Murasaki Shikibu
Sei Shonagon
The best accounts of the Heian society came from the diaries, essay and novels written by the women of the court. Two of the finest writers of the period were Lady Murasaki Shikibu and Sei Shonagon.

Lady Murasaki's 11th century masterpiece, The Tale of Genji, was an account of the life of a prince in the imperial court. This long prose narrative, full of detail and emotion, is considered the world's first novel.

Sei Shonagon wrote vivid sketches of court life in her diary called The Pillow Book. Here, she listed some things that gave her pleasure
The Nara Period
Another aspect of the Chinese culture that was adopted by the Japanese is religion.
are important features of

, a systematic religious belief system, had a lot to say about governance and society and proved attractive for the Japanese. Consequently it had an important influence on Japanese culture.

failed to pay the
after the war. Gradually, the samurais attached themselves more closely to
who became
more powerul
until te Kamakura Shogunate declined.
Rise of the Shogunate
Shortly after the Miramoto victory, Yoritomo and his brother Yoshitsune had a falling out, in which Yoshitsune sided with old Go-Shirakawa. He was betrayed and killed, however, by one of the Fujiwara, becoming a Japanese folk hero in the process.
Yoritomo himself died in early 1199, reportedly from complications suffered after being thrown from his horse.
Yoritomo's wife, Hôjô Masako (ironically a Hojo and thus a member of the Taira clan) steered her own relatives into true power after Yoritomo's death, with even the Shogun only serving as a puppet for the next few generations.
The Emperor who gave Yoritomo his title, Go-Toba, eventually tried to rise up against the Hojo dominance (some time after his offical "retirement"). He failed, however, and was stripped of his power and exiled to the islands of Oki. There he spent the rest of his winter years studying the art of sword-making, working to forge a new Imperial Blade. He had been the first emperor to be without such a blade, since the old one had gone beneath the waves with Antoku. In addition to filling this void, his sworn purpose was to create a blade to slay the Hojo regent.
The Feudal System
The Latin word for
(the grant of land) is
from which comes the word
During this period the
provided the
with warriors in exchange for land. Warfare made the warriors the most important class, as they were constantly fighting for their people. The people of feudal Japan depended on the warriors.
You were often born into your family trade. If your parents were farmers, you would most likely become a farmer. If your parents were Lords you would become a lord, etc.

Minamoto Yoritomo
-was one of the great statesmen Japan had ever produced
-founder of Japan's military government known as the shogunate
-given the title
Sei-i-tai Shogun
which means
"Barbarian Subdueing Great General"
by the emperor

*The shogunate was sometimes called the
"Tent Government"
because of its military nature.
ruled the country through the
who were the heads of the

farmed the land in exchange for protection by the samurai who operated under a code of conduct called
, or
"the way of the warriors".
Early Japanese Civilization
East of China
The name Japan comes from
the word
"origin of the sun"
-one of the most important influences brought by Korean travelers
-Buddhist ideas of worship and had spread throughout Japanese society
-more complex than
-teachings, as well as the beauty and mystery of its ceremonies and art impressed many Japanese
- however, they did not give up their Shinto beliefs
-some Buddhist rituals became Shinto rituals, and some Shinto gods and goddesses were worshipped in Buddhist temples
Prince Shotoku
-most important convert to
-prince in ancient Japan
-real name was "Umayato" which means "
door of stable
-drew up a written plan of government known as
The Seventeen Article Constitution
regarded as the first written code of laws of Japan and was based on the teachings of
2 of the finest writers of the court were :
Lady Murasaki Shikibu
– her 11th century masterpiece , the
Tale of Genji
, was an account of the life of a prince in the imperial court.
It was considered the
world first’s novel
Sei Shonagon- wrote vivid sketches of court life in her diary, called the Pillow Book. Here, she listed things that gave her pleasure.
Japanese aristocrats looked down on the common people, who could not share in court refinement.
During this period, the aristocrats or noble families led lives of ease and comfort while the Japanese outside the capital had a hard time and rough life.

families in particular fought their way to power in the sea battle of Dan–no-ura in the Shimonoseki Strait off the southern tip of Honshu on April 25, 1185.
The Minamoto fleet, led by
Minamoto Yoshitsune
, defeated the Taira fleet.
Minamoto Yoritomo
, the elder brother of Minamoto Yoshitsune became the first shogun of Japan.
- was the only chief military officer of the central government;he controlled the law, the courts and appointments to office.

-Gentleman and ladies of the court filled their days with elaborate and artistic pursuit
-Rules dictated every aspect of court life- the length of the swords, the color of the official robes, forms of address, even the number of skirts women wore.
-Etiquette was also extremely important
-Everyone at court was expected write poetry and to paint.

Heian Period (794-1185)

-final period of classical Japanese history
-"peace and traquility"
-Buddhism, Taoism, and other Chinese influences were at their height
-Japan started to create its own culture, thus was known as
Japan's Golden Age
-peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art, especially poetry and literature

Decline of the Kamakura Shogunate
Kamakura Shogunate
was able to maintain order in Japan.
>But their major test came when the Mongol ruler of China sent 2 naval invasions to the country
fought desperately when a typhoon suddenly forced the Mongols to withdraw.
>The Japanese again believed that the wind was actually sent by their
divine goddess
to help them.
>They called this divine wind as the
EQ: What is the significance of the Japanese Civilization in the of Asian identity?
What is the significance of Early Japanese Civilization in developing our Asian identities?
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