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Japan - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Japan. 1000YEARS. Geography Made up of mountains and volcanoes rising out of the Pacific Ocean Only 20% is flat land Eat seafood because of their close proximity to the sea/ocean Separated from other people in Asia and developed their own culture.

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    • Made up of mountains and volcanoes rising out of the Pacific Ocean
      • Only 20% is flat land
    • Eat seafood because of their close proximity to the sea/ocean
    • Separated from other people in Asia and developed their own culture

Located 100 miles from Korea and 400 from China

  • Four Main Islands
    • Hokkaido in the north
    • Honshu, the biggest
    • Shikoku, south of Honshu
    • Kyushu, southern most main island

Early Japanese Society

    • Two Cultures
      • The Ainu
        • From Siberia (eastern Russia)
        • When they invaded they were driven to the northern island of Hokkaido
        • Their culture has disappeared

The Japanese

    • Lived south of the Ainu
    • Villages were ruled by powerful extended families called clans
      • Clans are ruled by a chief
        • Political and religious leaders believed to be descended from nature spirits called kami
          • Led rituals to honor ancestors
          • These rituals became the Japanese traditional religion of Shinto

Not all clans were equal with some larger and more powerful with armies that battled each other for control

  • The Yamato clan on Honshu claimed to be descended from the most powerful kami, the goddess of the sun
    • By the 500s, the Yamato expanded their rule all over Honshu
    • Started to call themselves the emperors of all Japan


    • Everything in nature has kami
      • Sun, moon, trees, waterfalls, and animals
    • Kamihelp people live and keep them from harm
    • Build shrines to kami and hold ceremonies to ask kami to bless them

The Japanese Renaissance

    • 500s brought a temporary end to the isolation of Japanese culture
    • Sent representatives to Korea and China to learn about the outside world

Written Language

    • Japanese learned how to write from the Koreans and Chinese
    • Used Chinese symbols and language for decades before the Japanese written language was created

Religion and Philosophy

    • Prince Shotoku
      • Ruled Japan for his aunt as regent
      • Sent scholars to learn about Chinese society
      • Japan adopted Confucianism
      • As a Buddhist, Shotoku also worked to expand Buddhism’s popularity including building a massive Buddhist temple


    • Shotoku also wanted to copy the Chinese government with a powerful emperor
    • Clan leaders did not allow this as it would take away their power

What types of landforms cover most of Japan?

  • How did emperors take power in Japan?
  • What aspects of Chinese society did Shotoku bring to Japan?
  • What do you think was the most important idea the Japanese borrowed from China or Korea? Why?

Japanese Heian Era

    • Emperors moved the imperial court, nobles who live and serve near or advise a ruler, to Heian (modern day Kyoto) in southern Honshu
    • The rich nobles surrounded themselves with art and supported many artists
    • Heian became a center for learning and arts in the golden age from 794 to 1185AD


    • Women wore multi-layered silk robes and gold jewelry
    • Usually elaborate decorative fans were a part of their attire


    • Women contributed much to early Japanese literature because men wrote in Chinese
    • Lady MurasakiShikibu wrote The Tale of Genji, considered to be the world’s first full-length novel
      • The story describes a prince in search of love meeting women from different social classes along the way

Poetry reading parties were held for men and women

  • Poetry usually only had five lines, or less, and was about love and nature
  • A popular poetry structure from Japan is Haiku
    • Contains three lines, the first and last line containing only 5 syllables and the middle containing 7

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

Autumn moonlight –a worm digs silentlyinto the chestnut.

Old ponda frog jumpsthe sound of water


Visual Art

    • Paintings
      • Liked bright, bold colors that illustrated stories, such as from The Tales of Genji, and from Buddhism, nature, and court life
    • Calligraphy
      • Decorated poetry and stories with ornate calligraphy


    • Modeled Heian after Chang’anwith temples and palaces
    • The wooden structures’ frames were slightly curved upward on the ends
      • Wood was left unpainted for a more natural feel
      • Like large open spaces inside their buildings, and gardens and ponds outside

Buddhism Changes

    • Rich nobles in Japan had elaborate rituals while poor commoners could not afford such rituals
      • Pure Land Buddhism
        • Chanted the name of Buddha over and over to reach enlightenment

Zen Buddhism

    • Neither faith nor good behavior led to wisdom
    • Practiced self-discipline and meditation

Where did Japan’s court move in the late 700s?

  • How was religion among Japan’s nobles different from religion among the common people?
  • Why is Lady Murasaki important?
  • What forms of art were popular in the Heian period?

Read an excerpt from The Tale of Genjion pages 452-3.

  • According to the passage, what specific arts did Japanese nobles enjoy?
  • What details suggest that Japanese nobles lived lives of luxury?
  • After reading this passage, what is your overall impression of Japanese court life?

Outside of Heian life was different for the rest of Japan

    • Nobles fought each other and rebels
    • The fighting destroyed farm land
    • Poor became bandits or thieves


    • The daimyo, wealthy landowners, decided they needed to protect their own land since the emperor was distracted by courtly life
      • Hired samurai, trained professional warriors, to defend them and their property
        • Wore light armor and fought with swords and bows
        • Some samurai positions were inherited

Samurai means servant

  • They were to serve the daimyos, or lords, and be loyal to the emperor
  • Samurai armies were expensive so many lords paid them with food, and land for the greatest samurai
    • Usually paid in rice


    • Two clans frustrated with the government fought for 30 years with Minamoto clan winning
      • They decided to rule the country, but keep the emperor as a figurehead, controlling Japan in the emperor’s place
      • The Minamoto leader became known as the Shogun, ruling for the next 700 years


    • Means “the way of the warrior”
    • Samurai code of rules (similar to the chivalry codes of European knights)
      • Must be respected
      • Cannot go to the theater
      • Could not take part in a business
      • Be brave and honorable fighters

Must live simple, disciplined lives

  • Most important: must be loyal to their lord and obey without hesitation even if it harmed his family
    • Obedience was their sense of honor
    • If honor was lost, suicide was expected instead of living in dishonor
      • Shameful acts might even include losing a fight, disobeying an order, or failing to protect his lord

Modern-day Japanese Bushido

    • Today Japanese still respect the code of Bushido
    • Values of loyalty and honor are still at the core of Japanese culture

Mongol Invasion

    • Samurai were sent to fight the small group of Mongol soldiers that made it to Kyushu
      • The “divine wind” (kamikaze) storm saved Japan twice from invasion
      • After the invasion attempt, the emperor started to want his power back
        • Shogun wanted more power, and the nobles wanted to get rid of the shogun

Small wars broke out all over Japan

    • By the 1400s, each daimyo controlled his own land independently with no central power
  • Oda Nobunaga began to unify Japan using guns for the first time
  • Later TokugawaIeyasu was made shogun by the emperor
    • The Tokugawa Shogunate moved the capital to Edo (modern-day Tokyo) and allowed trade with Europe


    • Later shoguns did not want European influence and closed off Japan from the rest of the world
    • Also banned guns as they feared peasants with guns rebelling
    • This extended the samurai period until the 1800s

What was the relationship between the samurai and the daimyo?

  • What was bushido?
  • What strong leaders worked to unify Japan in the late 1500s?
  • Why did later shoguns not allow guns?