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Unit Three Wisdom and Insight. Chinese and Japanese Literature (1000 B.C. to 1890 A.D. China Historical Background. world’s oldest surviving civilization (approx. 3,500 years) Began in Yellow River Basin (Northern China) By 1600 B.C .- developed complex economic and social system

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unit three wisdom and insight

Unit ThreeWisdom and Insight

Chinese and Japanese Literature

(1000 B.C. to 1890 A.D.

china historical background
ChinaHistorical Background
  • world’s oldest surviving civilization (approx. 3,500 years)
  • Began in Yellow River Basin (Northern China)
  • By 1600 B.C .- developed complex economic and social system

~ Shang Dynasty developed by elite group of kings (Northern China)

china historical background1
ChinaHistorical Background
  • believed heaven granted rulers right to rule
  • subjects must live in complete obedience in exchange for good government
  • people had the right to rebel
china historical background2
ChinaHistorical Background

Chou Dynasty (1122-256/255 B.C.)

  • Central Asian people
  • overthrew Shang Dynasty
  • advances in philosophy (Taoism and Confucianism), despite political turmoil
china historical background3
ChinaHistorical Background

Ch’in Dynasty (221-206 B.C.)

  • short lived (15 years)
  • built a system of roads
  • Great Wall of China (4,500 miles)

Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.)

  • established trade with Europe and western Asia
  • introduction of Buddhism

T’ang Dynasty (618-907)

  • Golden Age of China
  • rulers created empire that stretched from Pacific Ocean to borders of Persia and India- world’s most effective system of government
  • invention of gun powder and block printing
china historical background4
ChinaHistorical Background

Sung Dynasty (960-1279)

  • Neo-Confucianism- reaction against Buddhist influence; blending of morality and meditation to achieve enlightenment

Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368)

  • overrun by Mongol invaders
  • dynasty established by Genghis Khan
  • first foreign rule of China
  • flourishing trade

~Exp. ) visit from Venetian Marco Polo

Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

  • avoided foreign influence, due to the former invasion of Mongols
china historical background5
ChinaHistorical Background

Ch’ing Dynasty (1644-1911/1912)

  • 2nd foreign dynasty- Manchurian
  • unrest toppled dynasty and imperial rule
japan historical background
Japan Historical Background
  • little known about original settlers
  • farming through irrigation by 200 B.C.
  • immigration from Korea and other Asian countries
  • divided into tribal organizations called ujior clan



~spiritual leaders

japan historical background1
Japan Historical Background

Yamato Clan and Chinese Influence

  • 4th Century- Yamato Clan most powerful in Japan
  • Brought Chinese beliefs to Japan (Buddhism; Confucianism)
  • Chinese influence also found in architecture, art, clothing, and language, and political structure (central imperial rule)
japan historical background2
Japan Historical Background

The Heian Age

  • 794- new imperial capital built in Heian (now Kyoto)
  • courtiers- a refined life; devoted to ceremonies and festivals
  • emperor’s power began to diminish; political rule fell into hands of powerful aristocrat family- Fujiwara
  • large aristocratic families set up estates on outskirts in hopes to challenge Fujiwara family
japan historical background3
Japan Historical Background

Feudal Japan

  • warrior nobility like Western Europe
  • Samurai or Daimyo- lords/highest class
  • MinamotoYoritomo became powerful shogun, chief general
  • trouble unifying Japan led to centuries of feudal warfare
japan historical background4
Japan Historical Background

Japan Shuts Out the World

  • 1600’s- Tokugawa shoguns created a peaceful society with a central government
  • new capital built in Edo (Tokyo)
  • Tokugawa felt threatened by European traders
  • 1639-closed Japan to world
japan historical background5
Japan Historical Background

Perry Opens the Door

  • 1853- United States fleet lead by Perry arrived in Edo to end Japanese isolation
  • 14 years later, Tokugawa shogunate ended
  • new emperor called reign Meiji (enlightened rule)
  • Japanese began to study western ways
  • Japan became a modern industrial nation by 1900
japan historical background6
Japan Historical Background

Japanese Religious Traditions

chinese literature
Chinese Literature


  • Along with poetry, most popular genre
  • The Analects –Confucius
  • Tao TeChing- Lao Tzu
chinese literature1
Chinese Literature


  • The Book of Songs- oldest collection of Chinese literature
  • Forms: shih; tz’u
  • Poets: T’aoCh’ien; Li Po; Tu Fu
  • T’ang’era- golden age of Chinese poetry
chinese literature2
Chinese Literature

Drama and Fiction

  • regarded to be inferior to poetry
  • Yuan dynasty- golden age of Chinese drama
  • Plays: The Romance of the Western Chamber; Injustices Suffered by Tou-o
  • Novel: Dream of the Red Chamber
japanese literature
Japanese Literature


  • Man’yoshu(“Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves”)- first anthology of Japanese poetry
  • contains more than 1,000 poems
  • Haiku- Matsua Basho, YosaBuson, Koayashi