Fun Factoid • Japan has “always” had an emperor • Japan has only had one dynasty (all members of Yamato clan) • Why?
Japan’s Origins in the Classical Period • Decentralized Japan (-604) • Shinto, but growing Buddhist influence • Large provincial estates with aristocratic governors ruling with power derived from emperor
The Imperial Age • Efforts at Centralization (604-784) • → Taika Reforms (646) • Focused on creating absolute-powered emperor with Chinese style bureaucracy • Referred to emperor at “Son of Heaven” • Professional bureaucracy • Peasant conscript army
The Imperial Age • Nara (710-784) • “Nara” derived from Japan’s 1st capital city • Intense direct borrowing from China, but increasing power of Buddhism
The Imperial Age • Why might some historians refer to the late Imperial Age as the “crisis at Nara”? • What was the response to the crisis?
Early Heian (794-857) • Move capital to Kyoto • Borrowing from China declines as adaptation begins • Aristocratic families re-exert influence • Court life • Remote from common life • Ultra-civilized – superficial focus on beauty & social interactions
Early Heian (794-857) • What is “court life”? • Why is the court life during Heian period called “ultracivilized”?
Late Heian (857-1185) • Sign of failed centralization • Reign of emperor continues, but • Real power rests with most powerful aristocratic family • Fujiwara • Taira • Minamoto
Feudal Age (1185-1600) Most power rests with regional lords Era characterized by civil war
Bakufu / Shogunate (1185-1600) • Attempt at formalizing rule of aristocratic house • Create military dictatorship with blessing of emperor • Shogun • Gov’t sometimes called a Bakufu (military government) or Shogunate
Feudal Age (1185-1600) • Attempt at centralization fails, but heritage of political model established • Emperor still in place (figure head) • Shogun in place (increasingly ignored and treated as figurehead) • Aristocratic families still reign supreme • Daimyo / Bushi
Impact of Feudal Warfare • Regional lords (daimyo) invest in villages on manor • Irrigation, tax collection, encourage handicraft production • Economic boom during feudal age & civil war