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Japan. Mr. Giesler Global 1. Japan. What I know about Japan. What I want to learn about Japan. What I learned about Japan. Refer to your Notes Packet. Geography. TTYN : What kind of land formation is Japan located on?. Montana – about the same size as Japan.

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Mr. Giesler

Global 1



What I know

about Japan

What I want to

learn about Japan

What I learned

about Japan

Refer to your Notes Packet



  • TTYN: What kind of land
  • formation is Japan located on?

Montana – about the same size as Japan

  • Despite its size, Japan currently ranks 10th in population with an estimated 127M. Conversely, Montana ranks 38th with just under one million



Considering what we have already learned about Japan, describe how geography and location affected AND currently impacts Japans growth. Think about possible advantages and disadvantages.

Protection and Isolation

  • About the island of Japan
  • The affect of little farmland
  • Access to water
  • Most people settle in valleys and the coastal plains
  • Very little natural resources
  • Cultural Diffusion opportunities
  • The affects of the Ring of Fire


  • Very mountainous and offers very little farmland

Mount Fuji;

3776 meters

  • Japan lacks key natural resources such as metals and minerals

Before Japan was a Superpower: Early Traditions

  • Clan Systems
  • Own chief or special god of goddess who viewed as the clan's original ancestor.
  • Ahead of their time: Even women were clan leaders.

Yamato Clan

  • About 500 A.D., the Yamato clan establishes
  • sufficient ascendancy for its chieftain
  • to be seen as emperor
  • The Yamato claim as ancestor the Sun empress, who shines above all others in the heavens.

Emperor Nintoku Tomb


Before Japan was a Superpower: Early Traditions

TTYN: What is Shinto?

  • Shinto –
  • Indigenous religious beliefs and practices of Japan
  • Shinto has no founder
  • Has no official sacred scriptures
  • Has preserved its main beliefs and rituals throughout the ages.

Shinto – “way of the gods” or “way of kami”

One or more torii gates mark the approach and entrance to a shrine. They come in various colors and are made of various materials. 


Before Japan was a Superpower: Early Traditions

Shinto creation stories tell of the history and lives of the "Kami" (deities). Among them was a divine couple, Izanagi-no-mikoto and Izanami-no-mikoto, who gave birth to the Japanese islands. Their children became the deities of the various Japanese clans. The Sun Goddess was one of their daughters. She is the ancestress of the Imperial Family and is regarded as the chief deity. Her descendants unified the country. Her brother, Susano came down from heaven and roamed throughout the earth. He is famous for killing a great evil serpent.

The Kami are the Shinto deities. The word "Kami" is generally translated "god" or "gods." However, the Kami bear little resemblance to the gods of monotheistic religions. 

Shrine of the Sun Goddess


Before Japan was a Superpower: Early Traditions



Believes in the Trinity (Father Son Spirit)... is ONE

No apparent holy book

Since it isn't really a religion, and it is a native belief in Japan, it is somewhat locked inside Japan.

Attempts to spread its religion all around the world



Uses a holy book, the Bible

Believes in many natural spirits... and somewhat deify them


Christians should only believe in Christianity

  • Shintoists are usually Zen Buddhists as well

Refer to your Notes Packet


Before Japan was a Superpower: Early Traditions


Your Choice

Refer to your Notes Packet



Do Now & TTYN

Describe what a Shogun is



Do Now and TTYN:

Describe Feudalism

Feudalism – A government system (political, economical, and social), which originated in Europe in the Middle Ages with kings, nobles, knights, and peasants with no social mobility. Additionally, a system based on loyalty, the holding of land, and military service.

Japan developed a feudal system which had similarities to the European system. 

  • The shogun (like the king) ruled the country through the daimyo (like the nobles), who were the heads of the samurai (like the knights). 
  • Peasants farmed the land in exchange for protection by the samurai, who operated under a code of conduct known as Bushido (like chivalry). 
  • Again, society was organized under a rigid class system with no social mobility. 
  • The Tokugawa Shoguns maintained an ethnocentric policy toward the outside world.  However, cultural influences from China did migrate to Japan down the Korean Peninsula.


The structure of feudal Japan



Seppuku, (Sape-puu-kuu) the Japanese formal language term for ritual suicide (Hara-kiri (Har-rah-kee-ree) is the common language term.), was an integral aspect of feudal Japan (1192-1868). It developed as an integral part of the code of bushido and the discipline of the samurai warrior class.

Code of Bushido

  • Fidelity
  • Politeness
  • Virility
  • Simplicity

Feudal Period

The samurai

The samurai were the warriors of premodern Japan. They later made up the ruling military class that eventually became the highest ranking social caste of the Edo Period (1603-1867).

Samurai employed a range of weapons such as bows and arrows, spears and guns, but their main weapon and symbol was the sword.


Feudal Period

Zen Buddhism

Zen Buddhism is a mixture of Indian Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. It began in China, spread to Korea and Japan, and became very popular in the West from the mid 20th century. Reinforces the Bushido values of mental and self-discipline

  • The essence of Zen Buddhism is that all human beings are Buddha, and that all they have to do is to discover that truth for themselves.

Zen is something a person does. It's not a concept that can be described in words

  • Zen sends us looking inside us for enlightenment. There's no need to search outside ourselves for the answers; we can find the answers in the same place that we found the questions.

Attack from Outsiders

The Mongol Invasions of Japan

1274 & 1281

  • 1274 Invasion
  • 500-900 Ships
  • 40,000 men
  • Driving wind and Heavy wind
  • Man to Man idea of fighting vs. a “mob” of Mongols
  • Mongols anchor ships further out into sea – 1/3 of fleet destroyed when facing a Typhoon
  • Mongols retreat
  • Japan least for a while
  • 1281 Invasion
  • 140K men
  • Samurai's better prepared; knew what to expect
  • No more Man vs. Man tactics; mass attack met with mass defense
  • Another Typhoon on the way
  • Kamikaze or “Devine Wind” once again saves Japan
  • The Mongols would not return

If it were not for two "miraculous" appearances

of a mighty typhoon, a "Kamikaze" or "Divine Wind,"

during those two massive Mongol invasions by Kublai Khan, Japan today might be part of China!


Era of Peace: Kamakura & Tokugawa Government

  • Kamakura Period (1192-1333)
  • Zen Buddhism introduced
  • Legal Code and the
  • influence of Confucianism
  • Land Distribution
  • The Emperor loses
  • his grove
  • Tokugawa Period (Edo Period 1603-1867)
  • Hello Tokyo
  • More land distribution…see a trend?
  • Do Now: Think of another area of study where land distribution was a result of change in leadership.
  • Foreign Trade
  • Christianity Suppressed
  • Neo-Confucianism
  • Meiji Restoration
  • Open Door Policy – Japan’s version

The Global Age

Do Now & TTYN

Identify new technologies that made it possible for Europeans to make contact with Asian communities

Improvement in Cartography




  • Early 17thCentury - Unlike the Chinese, the Japanese welcomed their new friends.
  • New technologies
  • New weapons
  • The spread of Christianity and closed-door policy
  • Reaction to Spain and the Philippines
  • Push-Pull Factor: Christianity or Buddhism
  • Japanese Christians and allegiance to a foreign power, the pope
  • By 1638, Japan closes the door and ports to Japan and for next 200 years Japan maintains a policy of strict isolation.

End of Isolation

Do Now:

Describe the tone and tenor of the following excerpt of letter written

by President Fillmore.

(refer to notes packet)

“GREAT and Good Friend: I send you this public letter by Commodore Matthew C. Perry, an officer of the highest rank in the navy of the United States, and commander of the squadron now visiting your imperial majesty's dominions.

I have directed Commodore Perry to assure your imperial majesty that I entertain the kindest feelings towards your majesty's person and government, and that I have no other object in sending him to Japan but to propose to your imperial majesty that the United States and Japan should live in friendship and have commercial intercourse with each other.”


End of Isolation

Do Now: Prediction

  • In 1853, Perry sent on a mission by President Millard Fillmore to establish trade with Japan
  • Perry leads a squadron of four ships into Tokyo Bay and presented representatives of the Japanese Emperor with the text of a proposed commercial and friendship treaty.
  • The Japanese rejected Perry’s demands and Perry withdrew.
  • 1854, Perry returned to Japan This time he appears with seven ships - four sailing ships, three steamers – and one thousand, six hundred men.
  • After a standoff, Perry landed for peace and trade talks on March 8, 1854, and began to negotiate with the Japanese to establish a trade agreement.
  • On March 31, 1854, Perry signs the Treaty of Kanagawa on behalf of the United States, which established "permanent" friendship between the two countries. The treaty guaranteed that the Japanese would save shipwrecked Americans and provide fuel for American ships, but also opened the opportunity for trade between Japan and the United States. The signing of this treaty signaled the end of Japanese isolation.

End of Isolation and the reason(s) behind discovery

Do Now & TTYN

Why Asia? Describe why trading with Asia was so important

  • The reasons behind Europe’s overseas expansion during the Age of Discovery into four symptoms:
  • The acquisition of fame through discovery
  • The expansion of Christendom
  • The urgency for basic resources brought on by population pressure
  • The desire for wealth and economic power. 


What I know

about Japan

What I want to

learn about Japan

What I learned

So far about Japan

Refer to your Notes Packet



The Cotton Gin – 1793

The Steam Engine - 1775

The Spinning Jenny- 1769

The 1st Railway – 1825

Do Now & TTYN – what do the above listed inventions of the Industrial Revolution have in common with Japan in 1854?

The United States wins:

Extraterritoriality Rights and a

“Most Favored Nation” clause


Meiji Restoration

  • Looking Back
  • For 2 centuries Japan was in lockdown mode
  • Experienced a century of Civil Wars
  • By 1615 Feudalism hits its mark in Japan
  • 200 years of peace leads to a pressure cooker
  • Social Hierarchy turned upside down
  • New Economy provides the lower order (merchants) more power
  • Add this all up and Japan is about to explode
  • The Spark – U.S. and Commodore Perry

British, Russians, French, and Dutch quickly followed Perry into Japan

Institute for the Investigation of Barbarian Books


Meiji Restoration

  • Pushing Back & Looking Forward
  • Xenophobic and anti-Western thought
  • “Sonno-Joei” (Revere the Emperor, Expel the Barbarians
  • Tension Rise and foreigners die
  • Westerners respond with devastating force
  • 1860, Japan plunges into its own Civil War
  • Shogun defeated and return of Imperial Rule
  • The Meiji or Enlightened Rule begins…almost
  • Building a new nation from scratch. Remember Feudalism?
  • What to do with the Samurai class?
  • Conflict with the Samurai; the same Samurai that brought the Shogun to its knees
  • Samurai relent – Ritual suicide
  • With the Samurai gone, let the restoration move forward
  • The Meiji Restoration Begins…Civilization Through Enlightenment

Meiji Restoration

Restoration was/is Paradoxical

In other words, absolute power itself enabled the democratization of Japan because with the single, absolutely powerful power at the top, the rest became more or less the same. Equality of opportunity meant everyone suddenly had an incentive to improve their own lives by modernizing Japan.

The rush to westernize

Western Fever = New Slogan “Rich Nation, Strong Military”

Putting it all in perspective: IR 150 years & The Meiji Restoration completed in 40

Refer to notes packet: Primary reading; YukichiFukuzawa



What I know

about Japan

What I want to

learn about Japan

What I learned

about Japan

Refer to your Notes Packet