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Section 1 Early Japan

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  1. Chapter 14 Medieval Japan Section 1 Early Japan

  2. I. Japan’s Geography (pg. 485) • Japan is a chain of islands that stretches north to south in the northern Pacific Ocean • Although Japan’s islands number more than 3,000, many of tiny and most Japanese live on the four largest islands: • Hokkaido (hah*KY*do) • Honshu (HAHN*shoo) • Shikoku (shih*KOH*koo) • Kyushu (kee*OO*shoo)

  3. The islands of Japan are actually the tops of mountains that rise from the floor of the ocean • About 188 of Japan’s mountains are volcanoes that cause many earthquakes

  4. Because of Japan’s mountains, only about 20% of its land could be farmed which forced many Japanese to turn to the sea for a living • The sea surrounding Japan’s islands made it easy for people to travel along the coast and encouraged people to become merchants • This also kept Japan isolated from the rest of Asia and Japan developed its own independent society

  5. II. The First Settlers (pgs. 486 – 487) • Japan was settled by people who came from northeast Asia between 30,000 and 10,000 B.C. • At that time, Japan was joined to the Asian continent by land • These early people were hunter/gatherers who used fire and stone tools

  6. Who Were The Jomon? • In about 5000 B.C., these nomadic groups began to develop a culture • They made clay pottery using knotted cords to make designs in the clay’s surface • Today, this culture is called Jomon (JOH*mohn), which means “cord marks” in the Japanese language

  7. Why Are the Yayoi Important? • The Yayoi (YAH*yoy) appeared at the end of the Jomon culture, about 300 B.C. and are the ancestors of the Japanese people • They introduced farming – they grew rice in paddies. A paddy is a rice field that is flooded when rice is planted and drained for the harvest • They were skilled metal workers – iron and bronze

  8. The Yayoi organized themselves into clans – a group of families related by blood or marriage – and were headed by a small group of warriors • They buried their chiefs in large mounds known askofun • Filled with personal belongings, many of the tombs were as big as Egypt’s pyramids • The largest tomb still stands today and is longer than 5 football fields and at least 8 stories high

  9. Who Are the Yamamoto? • Like many ancient cultures, the Japanese have myths (stories) that tell of Japan’s beginnings • The most important myth explains how the islands were formed by drops of salty water dripping from a spear that two gods dipped into the sea • The gods then created the sun goddess, Amaterasu to rule over Earth and the storm god, Susanowo, as her companion

  10. In the A.D. 500s, a clan called the Yamato became strong enough to bring most of Japan under its rule • Yamato chiefs claimed they came from the sun goddess and, therefore, had a right to rule Japan. • Japanese legend states that a Yamato leader named Jimmu (jeem*mu) took the title “emperor of heaven” • Legend states that all emperors, including the current emperor, Akihoto (AH*kee*Hee*toh), are Jimmu’s descendants

  11. III. Prince Shotoku’s Reforms (pgs. 488 – 490) • About A.D. 600, a Yamato prince named Shotoku (shoh*TOH*koo) came to power • Shotoku admired the Chinese and borrowed many of their ideas • He wanted to create a strong central government and created a constitution, or a plan of government, which gave all power to the emperor

  12. IV. What is Shinto? • The Japanese believed that all natural things like mountains, rivers, and the wind are alive and have their own spirits, called kami • This idea is called animism (A*nuh*MIH*zhum) • These early Japanese beliefs developed into the religion of Shinto, or “way of the spirits”