Japan • Country includes 4,000 islands • About 70% is covered by mountains and hills • Most live on the four largest islands: • Honshu • Hokkaido • Kyushu • Shikoku • Around 500 A.D. Chinese ideas and customs began impacting the Japanese • Writing system • Buddhism
Japanese Clans • Heian Period (794-1185) • High point of imperial rule • People of the court wrote poetry, painted, and preformed rituals • Central government controlled by a wealthy family • Large Military clans controlled samurai armies • Feudalism of localized rule began as landowners challenged wealthy power
Japanese Clans continued • Kamakura Period (1185-1333) • Two powerful clans fought for power • Yoritomo became the first great general • Military governors were established • The military governors (daimyo) oversaw samurai • Ashikaga Period (1338-1467) • Emperor overthrew the military headquarters to restore imperial authority • Emperor overthrown by a military leader establishing new military and imperial government • Imperial courts were at war for 54 years until they came together in the 15th century • Peace deteriorated as political unrest gained and nobles struggled for land and power
Japanese Clans continued • Warring States Period (1467-1568) • Civil War • Military leaders became lords • Some military leaders sought to unite but unity could not be found • Tokugawa Period (1603-1867) • Japan became united • Japan enjoyed stability, prosperity • Urban population flourished • Foreign influence controlled with “closed country policy” until Japan began trade with the U.S. in 1854.
Religions and Philosophies • Shinto (way of the gods) • Divine spirits (Kami) that dwell in nature • Inhabitant of unusual or extremely beautiful nature • Confucianism • Tokugawa Period • Emperor believed to descend from Shinto sun Goddess • Samurai were elite class: warriors with conduct codes • Peasants lived burdened lives that were regulated for them • Artisans and Merchants were below peasants as Confucian beliefs despised business and financial matters as virtue and service to state were valued instead. • Buddhism • Eliminate material attachment • Siddhartha • Zen Buddhism • Need self discipline to reach enlightenment • Meditation, discipline, simplicity
Muso Soseki (1275-1351) • Studied Shingon Buddhism • Converted to Zen Buddhism • Studied under Chinese and Japanese Teachers • Influenced Zen Buddhism recognition from Imperial court • Spread throughout Japan • Shaped monasteries into serious places of study • Aspire to achieve spiritual enlightenment • Control over the ego