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The Emergence of Japan


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    1. The Emergence of Japan “Everyone has his biases, and few men are far-sighted. Therefore some disobey their lords and fathers and keep up feuds with their neighbors. But when the superiors are in harmony with each other and inferiors are friendly, then affairs are discussed quietly and the right view of matters prevails.” -Prince Shotoku, Laws

    2. Geography of Japan • Archipelago • 100 miles off the Asian mainland and east of the Korean peninsula • Four main islands • Mountainous/Ring of Fire • protected and isolated • Trade/fishing • Mild climate/sufficient rain

    3. Early Traditions • Original inhabitants were Ainu • Others migrated from Asian mainland more than 2,000 yrs ago and pushed aboriginals south

    4. Yamato Clan • Early society divided into uji or clans • Each uji had chief and special god or goddess who was seen as the clan’s original ancestor • Some women were clan leaders • 500 AD, Yamato clan dominated • set up 1st and only dynasty • Claimed direct descent from the sun goddess, Amaterasu-rising sun • Emperors revered as living gods

    5. Shinto“The Way of the Gods” • Uji clans honored kami/nature spirits • Shrines • special sites or objects • Mountains • Waterfall • Ancient gnarled trees • rocks

    6. Why is Korea viewed as a Cultural Bridge between China and Japan? • Geographic proximity • Japanese language is more related to Korean than Chinese • Japan and Korea were in close contact • Korean artisans & metalworkers settled in Japan • Soldiers attacked each other

    7. Buddhism • A.D. 500, missionaries from Korea introduced it • Also brought Chinese writing and culture • Sparked interest in China • Pagoda architecture • Monasteries grew rich/powerful

    8. China Influences Japan • Early 600’s Prince Shotoku sent students, monks, traders, officials to the Chinese Tang court • Philosophy/Confucianism • Technology • Arts • Government • Fashion/Music/Dances • Pottery • Food • Official writing

    9. Chinese Influences on the Japanese Court • Modeled capital city of Nara after China’s Changan • Emperors sought both spiritual and political power • Prince Shotoku adopted aspects of Chinese government, Confucian calendar, and legal ideas • Chinese character script adopted by Japanese court officials • Memorization of Chinese poetry popular • Collected Chinese works of art • Curving, tile roofs became popular in the homes of aristocrats

    10. Taika Reforms(A.D. 646) • Introduced by Emperor Tenchi • Designed to make Japan’s government like that of China’s Tang Dynasty • Vast land reforms placed all rice-producing land in hands of emperor

    11. A Unique culture Emerges • Kept many Chinese elements but eventually a unique Japanese culture emerged • No civil service exam • Officials continue to be the sons of nobles • Writing- Kana or phonetic symbols representing syllables • Artistic style • Poetry-Haiku

    12. The Heian Period794-1185 • Golden Age of peace and prosperity • High point of aristocratic culture • Imperial capital in Heian present-day Kyoto • Emperors respected for religious power not political power • Fujiwara Clan and other noble families held real political power • Needed guards, warriors to protect them and their interests

    13. The Heian Court • Elegant, refined sophisticated • Pavilions, gardens and lotus pools • Elaborate rules of etiquette governed court ceremony-letters had to be folded properly • Elaborate makeup & clothing-multicolored silks • Restrained behavior-rude to laugh with open mouth • Lots of leisure time- games such as Go

    14. Women during the Heian Period • Enjoyed a relatively strong position • Forbidden to learn Chinese • Using Kana, they produced the most important works of the period • Could inherit and own property though a man would usually manage it. • Laws protected them from physical violence • Could not choose husbands • Polygamy was typical

    15. Heian Literature • Chinese the official language of the court • Introduction of Kana led to new literary styles • novel • narratives (monogatari) • essays • Only the nobles and Buddhist clergy were literate

    16. How did nobles gain power over the Imperial Family? • Earned trust of emperor & gained control of chancellorship • Married daughters to crown princes • Most of government’s high-ranking posts • Shoen (tax free estates) as gifts to loyal nobles • Emperor’s role became mostly ceremonial

    17. The Rise of the Provincial Nobles • The Kyoto Court became more isolated • provincial nobles gained power • rugged, independent and led private armies • Constantly battled with each other over control over the provinces

    18. Japan’s Feudal Age1100-1500 • Emperor was virtually powerless-only ceremonial • Shogun-supreme military commander • Daimyo/Vassal Lords -great warriors • Samurai-”those who serve”-lesser lords

    19. Who were the Samurai? • Fighting aristocracy • Heavily armed and trained • Bushido-”way of the warrior” • Honor, bravery, absolute loyalty to one’s lord

    20. Seppuku • Ritual suicide rather than live without honor

    21. What was the Status of Noblewomen? • At first, some trained in military arts • Supervised family estates • Gradual decline of women • Inheritance limited to sons • No pedestal • Hardships and loyalty were expected

    22. Peasants • Peasants made up 75% of the population were the backbone of feudal society • Rice, other crops were grown on feudal estates • Some served as foot soldiers • Rarely a peasant might rise to samurai

    23. Artisans and Merchants • Armorers and sword makers provided goods for samurai

    24. Merchants • Lowest class but over time, gained status

    25. Mongol Invasions • conquered China and Korea, set up Yuan dynasty • 1274, Kublai Khan attempted invasion • Typhoon wrecked most of the fleet • 1281, another invasion thwarted by typhoon • Recent research suggest shoddy shipbuilding-used old wormy wood • Kamikazi-divine winds • Reinforced the idea that they were special

    26. What changes took place under the Tokugawas? • Warfare increased after the Mongol invasions,1450 • peasants as well as samurai fight • General Hideyoshi brought most of Japan under his control • Tried, but failed to conquer Korea & China • 1600, Taokugawa Ieyasu became master of Japan and was named Shogun • Tokugawa Shogunate ruled until 1868

    27. Zen Buddhism • Sect from China • Adopted by samurai • Meditation (zazen) • Scholarship vs the “uncluttered mind” • Compassion vs killing • freedom vs control

    28. Zen Influence • Devotion to nature-landscape gardening • Enlightenment through everyday tasks-“Chop wood/carry water” • Values of peace, simplicity and love of beauty-tea ceremony, flower arranging • Fine landscape paintings

    29. Wabi Sabi

    30. Artistic Traditions • Edo and Osaka were centers for the Arts • Development of urban, sophisticated culture • Emphasized luxury and pleasure

    31. Noh Theater • 1300’s –Noh • Men wore elegant, carved masks • Chorus chanted lines to music • Action was slow • Each movement had meaning • Zen themes-renounce selfish desires • Fairy tales • Struggles between rival lords

    32. Kabuki Theater • Developed by actress, Okuni • women were banned from performing • 1600’s towns/cities developed Kabuki • Influenced by Noh plays • Less refined • Comedy • Melodrama • Family or historical events • Colorful costumes • Lively and exaggerated movements

    33. Kabuki Theater • Drama was accompanied on a samisen • Single performance might last a whole day • Audience witnessed the scenery changes • Fans shout the name of favorite actors

    34. Bunraku • Puppet theater • Catered to popular middle-class tastes

    35. Literature • Tale of the Heike- violent conflict between two families • Essays in Idleness by Kenko • Zen values • observations about human nature

    36. Painting and Printmaking • Landscapes • Scrolls • Historical events • Urban culture • Woodblock prints to satisfy wealthy middle-class • Humor • Fresh colors • Simple lines • Pleasures of town life