Japan: Land of the Rising Sun. Politics and Culture. Japan’s population is 124 million people. Japan ranks seventh among the world’s most populous nations Japan has a population density of 859 people per square mile. Japanese comprise 99% of the population of Japan. The small
Politics and Culture
million people. Japan ranks
seventh among the world’s
most populous nations Japan
has a population density of
859 people per square mile.
Japanese comprise 99% of the
population of Japan. The small
remainder includes Koreans,
Chinese and the Ainu. The
Ainu are believed to be the
aborigines of Japan.
homogeneous nations. The spoken language
is unique to Japan, but the written
language was borrowed from China.
Japan’s religions are Buddhism and Shinto. After the Meiji
Restoration in the nineteenth century, Shinto became the state
religion. Shinto was taught in the schools, and all Japanese
were required to belong to a state Shinto shrine. State religion
was abolished after Japan’s defeat in World War II, but Shintoism
remains an important part of Japanese culture.
Buddhism is often considered Japan’s most important religion. It
was introduced from China and Korea in the 6th century and
spread rapidly throughout the country.
Founder: Siddhartha Gautama
“The Enlightened One”
Daibutsu (Great Buddha) figure at
Kamakura, Japan, was cast in bronze in
1252. The figure depicts Amida Buddha
in perfect repose and passionless calm.
The Shinto Myth the
The Japanese islands are a special creation of the gods. After the
primal chaos had in the course of events separated into heaven and
ocean, various gods appeared in the heavenly drift-mist, only to
disappear without event, until finally there came upon the scene two
deities who produced the Japanese islands and their inhabitants.
Izanagi and Izanami were summoned to “make, consolidate, and
give birth to” the Japanese islands. These two beings descended the
Floating Bridge of Heaven and created the first island of Japan.
Stepping down on the island, they came together, and Izanami bore
from her womb the eight great islandsof Japan. After that they brought
into being a populace of thirty-five deities...
The Shinto religion is uniquely Japanese
and has never sought converts outside
One of the most heavily populated metropolises in the world
The Sumida River the
The Meiji Shrine
spectator sport in Japan
dating back hundreds of
Size is an advantage in Sumo
wrestling so the athletes
strive to gain weight.
Japan’s highest mountain.
script, medical tests, and calendar; they even embraced Buddhism.
Japanese rulers also copied China’s political administration.
During the 12th century,
powerful military clans
arose. In 1192, the first
Shogun assumes power.
Japan’s first Shogun
A feudal form of government based on hereditary land ownership, vassalage, and military prowess.
Prevailed for 700 years.
Rival feudal lords, daimyo, kept the nation in perpetual Civil War.
Samurai- Japanese professional warrior class
1543- Portuguese traders arrived in southern Japan
Civil warfare finally ended in 1590.
Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan until 1868.The Japanese Shogunate
1853- Japan began an ownership, vassalage, and military prowess.Open Door Policy, striking up treaties with the U.S., Russia, Netherlands, and Great Britain
A decade of turmoil followed
Meiji Restoration- Japan’s modernization drive
Japan industrialized rapidly and abolished feudalism
1889, bicameral legislation formed, the DietOpening to the World
The reforms created a parliamentary system in theory but not ownership, vassalage, and military prowess.
in practice: the new civilian cabinet, headed by a prime
minister, was made responsible only to the emperor.
Japanese ascended to power through a series of impressive
military victories over China in 1895 and then Russia in 1904-
1905. An empire begins to take shape with the acquisition
of Formosa (Taiwan), part of Sakhalin Island, and railway
and port rights in Manchuria. Also important to Japan was
China’s recognition of Korea’s independence.
Japan was one of the five chief powers at the treaty signing in
Versailles. In 1922, the Washington Naval Conference
recognized as the third-ranked naval power in the world.
In 1925, universal male suffrage introduced democracy, ownership, vassalage, and military prowess.
and political parties arose for the first time. But when
Emperor Hirohito ascended the throne the following year,
the military seized the initiative and swept the political parties
aside. In 1931, the Japanese army invaded Manchuria.
Japan’s course of military adventurism and empire-building
The last ruler to uphold
(at least for the first
part of his reign) the
Shinto idea of imperial
Eve of WWII- Japan joins infamous Axis alliance ownership, vassalage, and military prowess.
Dec. 7, 1941- Japan launched surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Simultaneously attacked U.S. forces in Philippines
Also attacked British forces in Hong Kong and Malaya
Japan sought to create a Japan-ruled “co-prosperity sphere”Japan’s bid for Hegemony in Asia
December 7, 1941 ownership, vassalage, and military prowess.
The 1947 Constitution was crafted by the U.S. ownership, vassalage, and military prowess.
Framers sought to construct an elaborate system of representative government for Japan
Provides wide range of civil liberties
Article 9 says that Japan can maintain a defensive military only, offensive military power is forbidden.
Less than 1% of GNP is spend on defenseThe 1947 Constitution
apparent in its preamble:
We, the Japanese people, acting through our duly elected represent-
atives in the National Diet, determined that we shall secure for our
selves and our posterity the fruits of peaceful cooperation with all
nations and the blessings of liberty throughout this land, and re-
solved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war
through the action of government, do proclaim that sovereign power
resides with the people and do firmly establish this Constitution…
Government is a sacred trust of the people, the authority for which
is derived from the people, the powers of which are exercised by
representatives of the people, and the benefits of which are enjoyed
by the people.
Take a Look at especially
some of Japan’s
Golden Hall of Chusonji especially
Temple- 12th Century
culture on display
Motsuji Temple Jodo Garden
800 year old aesthetics
Usuki Stone Buddhas walls
carved during the 12th-
Yamagata Castle walls
Yamagata is the capital city of the Yamagata Prefecture