Ancient Japan: Government and Laws. By Jessica Xu. The First Emperor. By legend, Japan’s first emperor was the son of the Sun Goddess. Chinese history tells the tale of a man sent by the Qin Emperor to find the secret to immortality. But history begs to differ.
Ancient Japan:Government and Laws By Jessica Xu
The First Emperor By legend, Japan’s first emperor was the son of the Sun Goddess. Chinese history tells the tale of a man sent by the Qin Emperor to find the secret to immortality. But history begs to differ... It is believed that he was the founder of Japan and its very first emperor. He was never seen again. Centuries later, his grave was found on an island east of China – the island of the Rising Sun: Japan. He took with him hundreds of servants and child-priests upon ten ships.
THE FAMOUS Four Emperors <- Emperor Jimmu <- 神武天皇 Born (according to legend) in 660 BC. Supposedlydivine, he ruled from birth till deathin 585 BC WAS THE FIRST EMPEROR OF JAPAN, AND, TO THIS DAY, A CONTROVERSIAL CHARACTERIN BOTH MYTH AND HISTORY His birthday (according to the Japanese book of myths) was February 11th of the Gregorian calendar and is now celebrated asNational Foundation Day
Ruling Hierarchy Figurehead with no power of decision Emperor Generals with absolute power who act on own will (aka: shōgunates) Shogun Heads of Great families with influence over a certain district - considered warlords commanding armies of their own Daimyo Warriors in daimyo’s armies – the Japanese equivalent to knights complete with family crest, respect and fairly good social status Samurai Warrior
THE FAMOUS Four Emperors Emperor Ōjin: 15th Emperor of Japan The first emperor whose existence existed outside of myths and legends Birth name: Homutawake or 誉田別 First appeared in Japanese history book Nihonshoski as son of Emperor Chūai and Empress Consort Jingū
THE FAMOUS Four Emperor Suiko 推古天皇 Empresses Emperors 33rd ruler of Japan First empress of Japan Reigned from 593 AD to 628 AD Known by as many as nine names including Princess Nukatabe and Toyomike Kashikiya Original paintingof Empress suiko Distantly related to Emperor Yōmei making her unorthodox rise to the throne slightly bearable for those who opposed her rule
COURTS OF THE EMPEROR The two courts struggled for power for over a decade The Imperial court of the Japanese Emperor was divided into two in the mid 1200s when the two sons of newly deceased Emperor, Go-Saga, fought over the throne The strife of the courts ceased only with the arrival of Emperor Go-Komatsu Shōgunates supporting the son named kameyama created the Southern Court When Go-Komatsu died, however, the truce was broken and the courts returned to their quiet warfare Shōgunates supporting the son named Go-Fukakusa created the Northern Court
THE FAMOUS Four Emperors Empresses Emperor Go-Komatsu Also known as Motohito or 幹仁 後小松天皇 100th emperor of Japan Ruled from 1382 AD to 1412 AD Named after Emperor Kōkō who Go-Komatsu resembled in birth Unified the contending Northern and Southern courts
JAPANESE HISTORICAL MILESTONES • 10 000 BC to 300 BC – JOMON ERA: Japan was founded by Emperor Jimmu • 300 BC to 300 AD – Yayoi Era: Basic sciences (metal working, rice cultivation and the potter’s wheel) were introduced from china; Japan begins a development of religion which urged the formation of beginning political units • 300 AD to 645 AD – Kofun era: Occupied regions joined and formed states; the most powerful clan called the yamato clan was allied with empires in mainland Asia and thus began the first dynasty 6 – Japan adopted Chinese characters and the bone structure of Japanese culture, society and government began to take shape under influence of China and Korea • 645 AD to 710 AD – Asuka Era: Reforms took place and strengthened the power of the emperor under the pressure of newly formed aristocratic families • 710 AD to 794 AD – Nara Era: New capital built based on capitals in mainland Asia, and emperors gain more political power through adoption of Buddhism • 794 AD to 1185 AD – Heian Era: Imperial court moved in fear of being overrun by the Buddhist developments during the Nara Era and the alliances with China were cut thus weakening the hold of the Imperial court which resulted in the rose of the warrior class (Bushi) • 1185 AD to 1333 AD – Kamakura Era: Era named after the military-based government established in Kamakura; the emperor now serves only as a figurehead and the Bushi (including Shōgunates) become the ruling class 8 – In 1274 ad and 1281 ad, the Bushi government of Kamakura was weakened by Mongol attacks • 1333 AD to 1568 AD – Muromachi Era: A district of Kyoto called Muromachi becomes capital to a newshōgunate Military Government 6 – From 1467 ad to the end of the era the central government crumbles after the Onin war; firearms were brought to Japan by marooned Portuguese soldiers • 1568 AD to 1600 AD – Azuchimomoya Era: Basis of modern Japan is laid by reunification of civil-war-stricken Japan and further ambitions, including invasionand occupation of China and Korea ended in failure • From 1600 AD – Edo Era: Japan settles into an age of peace and isolation was introduced
BIBLIOGRAPHY • W.G. Aston, trans., Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697, 2 vols. in 1 .London: Keagan and Co. 1896. • May Knapp, Arthur. Feudal and Modern Japan. Stanford University: J. Knight Co. 1896. • Wikipedia. Feudal Japan Hierarchy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudal_Japan_hierarchy (Sept. 18. 2007) • Smitha, Frank E. The Ancient Japanese. http://macrohistory.com/japan/ancient_05 (Sept. 18. 2007) • Asia Society. Background Essay: Japanese History. http://askasia.org/background_essays_67009/ (Sept. 20. 2007)