Japan. Archipelago of the Far East. Objectives. What types of landform covers most of Japan? How does Japan’s location separate it from China and Korea? How does Japan’s location tie it to China and Korea? What in Shinto? What’s it all about? Where is the Sea of Japan?
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Japan Archipelago of the Far East
Objectives • What types of landform covers most of Japan? • How does Japan’s location separate it from China and Korea? • How does Japan’s location tie it to China and Korea? • What in Shinto? What’s it all about? • Where is the Sea of Japan? • What is Honshu?
Terms and People Clans are extended families that form political units. • Shinto is the traditional religion of Japan, which focuses on ancestor worship. • Honshu is the largest of the four main islands of Japan. • Sea of Japan lies between Japan and the Asian mainland. • Ainu are the original people of Japan.
Japan is the farthest east country in Asia. For this reason, Japan is called “the Land of the Rising Sun.” This nickname explains their flag.
Japan is an archipelago – a series of islands. Japan is about the size of California. The islands of Japan are mountainous.
Population Most of the population of Japan is on the largest island. The northern island has a low population. Honshu
Because they live on islands, Japanese often live by the sea. This influenced their diet and their art. The seas surrounding them also kept them isolated from other cultures.
Many still live in the northern island, but they are now a small minority. The earliest Japanese were called Ainu.
Traditional Japanese beliefs are called Shinto. Followers of Shinto believe their clan leaders were descended from nature spirits. In this way, Shinto includes elements from ancestor worship and animism.
They also believed that their ancestor listened to their prayers, so they had many rituals and ceremonies, which the clan nobles led. • The people of the clans believed that the spirit of their ancient ancestors still resided in their village and would protect them.
Japan was controlled by a system of clans, groups of related people. Every clan was ruled by a few powerful nobles, who were also the religious leaders for the clan. The leaders were the only people who had both a family name and a personal name. The Japanese clans fought each other for control of Japan.
Before the emperors, Japan had many clans, of which the Yamato clan was most powerful. The Yamato clan believed themselves to be the descendants of the sun goddess. They had amazing fighting skill and strategy, and were brave in battle. The other clans kept their land, but had to abide by the emperor’s rules. By the 400s, he had become extremely powerful. The Japanese treated the ancient emperors as almost godlike, or divine. Even so, instead of the emperor, the military leader held the real power. Many in the Yamato clans fought over this immense power. Japan very rarely changed emperors. Because of this, Japan seemed to be very peaceful.
Kanjiwas adopted from the Chinese, kanji represent words as symbols or groups of symbols. Kanji are also used to write Japanese names. around 2-3,000 of them are in common usage, but it is possible to get by on a set of 1,945 'everyday' kanji. Types of writing HiraganaAs there are just 46 basic characters to learn (along with rules for accenting and character combination), it is fairly easy to get to grips with. Katakana is very similar system to hiragana. The same rules of writing are used, but the characters themselves are different in appearance, typically quite angular compared to the rounded strokes of hiragana. Katakana are used mainly for writing 'loan words' that have been borrowed from other languages. This includes the names of foreign countries, cities, etc., new or borrowed words (such as 'computer', 'ice-cream', etc.) and non-Japanese names. • There are three writing systems in Japanese. All these writing systems are in widespread use, so anyone seeking to read Japanese needs to know how to understand them.
The correct way to bow is to keep your arms by your sides and bend at the waist, keeping your back straight. A bow of 10°-20° from vertical is normal for most situations, but when expressing greater humility, such as when apologizing, a deeper and longer bow is more appropriate. Bowing as a greeting is perhaps the most well-known behavior specific to oriental cultures. In Japan, bowing (ojigi) is used to greet, especially on a first meeting, when making a request, to express gratitude, to say goodbye and to apologize for something.
As well as ojigi, there is zarei, a more formal bow that a person may use to welcome someone to their home. This is performed in the kneeling position, with the host placing his or her hands flat on the ground in front of them. Again, the depth of the bow expresses the degree of humility.