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The Shortened History of Japan.
Transcript of The Shortened History of Japan.
The Genpei War 1180-1185
By 1100, the emperor was the puppet to the most powerful family.
The Yamato Era: Beginnings of the Japanese State
Named after prince Yamato , this was the first recorded government.
To maintain power, the emperor distributed land to the local high-ranking nobles and only required taxes and loyalty as payment.
Taxes were collected by their samurai or "those who serve".
The Tokugawa Era (1600-1868)
Fall of the Shogun
The lack of government protection against the Mongols created a discontent public.
The mounting disapproval of the shogunate led to the rise of the local Daimyo.
Eventually, shogun authority was so weak, that the shogun was unable to stop a band of street performers.
This period was characterized by peace and creative development.
Now unified, Japan closed its borders to all foreigners.
Sometimes called the Edo period because the shogun capital was moved from Kamakura to Edo (modern-day Tokyo).
The Reunification of Japan
Eventually, the Sengoku era was ended by three powerful war lords:
The History of Japan: The Samurai, The Shogun and the Rising Sun
The country consists of 6852 islands.
There are over 125 million citizens.
It's earliest historical records are from pottery that date back to 13000BCE.
It is currently the world's second biggest economy.
And it is one of the only countries that grow the rare square watermelons
In 1156, the two most powerful families were the Taira and the Minamoto.
In the ensuing battle, Taira leader, Taira no Kiyomari defeated the Minamoto, led by Minamoto no Tameyoshi.
In 1180, after 24 years of unfavorable Taira rule, a resistance group led by Tameyoshi's grandsons, Minamoto no Yoritomo and Minamoto no Yositsune, declared war on the Taira regime.
The Genpei war that followed would last five years and consume over a hundred-thousand lives.
In 1185, Minamoto no Yoritomo finally vanquished the Taira and took power as the seii tai shogun (barbarian-subduing great general).
The Kamakura Shogunate
The First Shoguns
The Mongols Invade!?
The Satsuma Rebellion
In theory, the shogun was the military leader of Japan.
The emperor would become the spiritual leader of Japan.
The emperor maintained residence at the old capital in Kyoto, while the shogunate would be stationed at Kamakura.
After almost a century of peace, the Japanese were faced with their greatest treat, the Mongols.
Minamoto no Yoritomo's successors were either incompetent or unpopular in the case of his widow, Hojo Masako.
Minamoto no Yoritomo was an extremely paranoid leader after his coronation.
During his later years, Yoritomo killed dozens of his own relatives.
Unsurprisingly, there was no suitable heir to the shogunate by his death in 1899.
Surprisingly, both the invasions of 1274 and 1281 were halted by massive, unexpected storms, dubbed the "Kamikaze winds".
If not for these lucky storms, Japan would have fallen to the Mongols due to their obsolete military might and incompetent leaders
Without a central government, a massive civil war occurred.
Daimyos fought each other for land, resources, and glory.
Many samurais of the time adopted zen Buddhism.
Zen ideals such as simplicity, restraint, discipline, and meditation formed the basis of the Sengoku samurai lifestyle.
Samurais fought alongside their Daimyos and the common soldiers.
Most high ranking samurai had two swords, one longer than the other.
Most field combat was done with the longsword.
The shorter sword was supposed to be used as protection in indoor scenarios, but its most common use turned out to be seppuku.
Oda Nobunaga 1534-1582
Came from a poor family
Became a successful military leader because of his unique tactics.
Tactical arranged marriages
The use of firearms
Was assassinated by a disgruntled general
Would be succeeded by...
Like Nobunaga before him, Hideyoshi rose from humble origins to military greatness.
He obtained the power and resources of the Oda after terminating Nobunaga's killer
Hideyoshi continued many of Nobunaga's tactics but was also a skill negotiator.
Through shrewd alliances and deceptive back-stabbing, Hideyoshi unified most of Japan.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi cont.
Because of his humble origins, Hideyoshi never became a shogun, but that didn't stop him from ruling with an iron fist.
His policies included:
The confiscation of all firearms.
The creation of a rigid class system.
Became cruel and murderously paranoid in his later years.
Hideyoshi died in his sleep at 62.
He was succeeded by...
Like Hideyoshi, Ieyasu was one of Nobunaga's best generals.
When Hideyoshi died, Ieyasu fought and defeated Hideyoshi's son, Hideyori at the battle of Sekigahara.
With his historic victory, Ieyasu took the title of shogun (by lying) and formally ended the Sengoku era.
Though peace was great, thousands of samurai lost their purpose.
The Tokugawa Samurai (cont.)
A majority became nomads who spent most of their time causing trouble or living in depressing poverty while trying to find a purpose for their war-less lives.
Sword selling was common amongst the unlucky samurai.
However, there were a great number who didn't give up and adapted to the circumstances.
Some samurai became artists, Buddhist monks, public administers/ bureaucrats, or martial arts teachers.
In many ways, this new samurai embodied the Tokugawa attitude of intellectual achievement over military might.
The Romantic Samurai
Because the Samurai became role models, many decided to record the basic ideas of the samurai discipline.
Notable texts like "
" and "Hagakure" characterize the samurai as a moral and pure symbol of Japanese culture.
The Samurai was portrayed as loyal, honorable, serious, and determined.
While much of this has been romanticized, some of it is indeed true.
The 47 Ronin
In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry and his US navy ship arrived at Edo harbor.
After several unusual skirmishes with local law enforcement, Perry successfully opened up Japan's borders to foreign trade.
Soon other countries came in search of trade opportunities.
The continued influx of foreigners and their unbalanced trade agreements led to public outrage and the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
The Meiji Era
Named after the teenage emperor of the same name, the Meiji Era was a time of modernization and change.
These changes included the end of the shogunate as an institution and the government acquisition of all land traditionally owned by local Daimyos.
Naturally, many high-ranking conservative samurai were unhappy with these new laws, calling them "un-Japanese".
Tensions peaked in 1877 when a group of samurai conservatives rebelled against the Meiji government.
Sadly, their lack of men and use of traditional weaponry led to their defeat.
On September 24, rebel leader, Saigo Takamori and his followers committed mass seppuku, signaling the symbolic end of the samurai.
For Your Understanding..
In Japan the surname is always put before your actual name.
i.e. Date Masamune= Masamune from the Date clan.
In 1701, Daimyo Asano Naganori was forced to commit seppuku after attempting to kill fellow Daimyo Kira Yoshinaka, who had insulted his family and pride in a prior meeting.
Soon after, his 47 master-less samurai or "Ronin" vowed to avenge their master.
After two years of hiding and planning, the 47 Ronin killed Yoshinaka,
They placed his severed head on the grave of their master and then proceeded to commit mass seppuku.
Tokugawa Samurai fun fact
Up until now, we have focused on powerful and larger than life men.
Did you know that many notable samurai and their daimyos .
Some believed that too much of the female "yin" would dilute the male "yang".
Famous Examples Include...
... and a majority of the Tokugawa Era Shoguns.
Another Samurai Myth
Most samurai were not the loyal warriors that we are led to believe.
Especially in the Sengoku era, many switched sides or deserted.
In one battle an army of 70000 warriors lost to an army of 60000 because approximately 50000 samurai from the first army either fled or joined the other army as the battle progressed.
The Confucian Analects
With Tameyoshi dead, the Taira took power, and they were very unpopular.
"5 Things They Never Told You About the Samurai - Weird Worm." RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2014.
Confucius. Confucian Analects. London: P. Owen, 1956. Print.
Henshall, Kenneth G. A History of Japan: From Stone Age to Superpower. New York: St. Martin's, 1999. Print.
"JAPAN: Is It True That Samurai Encouraged Homosexual Sex between Master/disciple? [SERIOUS QUESTION]?" Yahoo! Answers. Yahoo!, n.d. Web. 21 May 2014.
"Minamoto No Yoritomo." Minamoto No Yoritomo. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2014.
"Minamoto Yoshitsune." Minamoto Yoshitsune. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2014.
Religions of the World: Shinto. Dir. Elizabeth Breuilly, Joanne O'Brien, Martin Palmer, and Martin E. Marty. Perf. Sir Ben Kinsley. N.d. Online Video.
Samurai Warrior. Dir. Anne Steel and John James. N.d. DVD.
Samurai-Japanese Warrior. History Channel, n.d. DVD.
Seagrave, Sterling, and Peggy Seagrave. The Yamato Dynasty: The Secret History of Japan's Imperial Family. New York: Broadway, 1999. Print.