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History 381: Early Japan & Korea. Early, Classical, and Medieval Japan and Korea. Japan. Geographical insularity and cultural identity Geography: the sea and soil and the development of agriculture Modern Japan; beginnings of society, Yayoi culture. Ties with Korea and Tomb Builders

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History 381 early japan korea

History 381: Early Japan & Korea

Early, Classical, and Medieval Japan and Korea


Geographical insularity and cultural identity

Geography: the sea and soil and the development of agriculture

Modern Japan; beginnings of society, Yayoi culture

  • Ties with Korea and Tomb Builders

    • Late Yayoi culture and its connections to Korea; Chinese accounts of early Japan

    • Mythical Histories

      • The Kojiki(Record of Ancient Matters); the Nihongi(History of Japan); the creation myths: Izanagi and Izanami, Amaterasu; Ninigi; the three imperial regalia; Jimmu and Yamato; Himiko the priestess; the Ainu minority and intermarriage; iron tools; continued early connections with Korea

    • The Uji

      • Uji (tribal clans); the Yamato state and consolidation of the uji system; the religious and political role of leadership; Japanese animism and nature’s kami (divine spirit); Shinto

  • The Link with China

    • The introduction of Buddhism from Korea

    • The adoption of the Tang China model in Japan

    • Soga patronage and Prince Shotoku; the Seventeen Article Constitution and hierarchical status; embassies to China

  • Taika, Nara, and Heian

    • Rebellion and the rise of the Fujiwara clan; the pro-China Taika Reforms

    • Implementation of the Chinese sociopolitical system; centralization; the move to Nara (710)

    • Nara the city; the dominant role of Buddhism; the move to Heian (794); the divine nature of the Japanese emperor and his role in politics; court efforts to replicate Tang China culture

    • Hereditary aristocracy and rural administration; the expansion of state control; Japan’s general poverty and barter economy; rejection of China’s exam system and its meritocratic (status based on merit) institutions

  • Chinese and Buddhist Art

    • Hereditary aristocracy and the heavy influx of Buddhist art; the Japanization of styles; Horyuji; Todaiji

  • Buddhism and Literacy

    • The impact of Buddhism on Japanese culture: cremation, vegetarianism; religious beliefs

    • Shinto and Buddhism; Buddhist sects: Shingon and Tendai; the adoption of China’s writing system in Japan

    • The stimulation of education; the Kojiki, Nihongi, and Fudoki

    • the decline of the Tang China model; reassertions of indigenous Japanese culture; the concentration of land in private estates

    • The Shoen System

      • The rise of shoen (private estates)

      • Court protection of shoen interests

      • Dominance of the shoen and the decline of central authority; the failing political power of the emperor

    Heian culture
    Heian Culture

    Economic and cultural development; the shoen and development of the outer regions; the application of the Chinese model to the outer regions; self-cultivation and refinement: clothing; The Pillow Book (SeiShōnagon)

    Heian culture1
    Heian Culture

    MurasakiShikibu (Lady Murasaki)

    Background; talents, education; The Tale of Genji—a literary masterpiece

    • Art and Gardens

      • Japanese-styled art: painting, architecture; gardens as microcosms of the natural world; the connections between Japanese gardens and those of China

  • Kana and Monastic Armies

    • The use of kana (phonetic symbols) and Chinese characters; Pure Land Buddhism; monastic and shoen armies and warfare; the rise of the samurai class

  • Pressures on the Environment

    • Population figures; the spread of cultivation; city-building and demands for wood; deforestation; wood shortages and traditional Japanese architecture and homes; shipbuilding and sculpture; ecology

  • The kamakura period
    The Kamakura Period

    The Minamoto; samurai and feudalism; the shogun and feudal lords; the failed Mongol invasions; the decline of the Kamakura; Go-Daigo; the role of women

    • Ashikaga Japan

      • Political weakness and the loss of central control; piracy; political unrest; a time of cultural blossoming: Zen Buddhism, architecture, painting, literature, the tea ceremony, Noh drama; civil war

    • Maritime Contacts Between Medieval Japan and the Continent

      • During Ashikaga era Japan infamous for piracy until Ashikaga shoguns establish tributary relations with the Ming; Ashikaga shoguns work to curtail piracy and increase official trade with China and Korea (Yi Dynasty); by mid-sixteenth century trade falls into disorder and inland sea daimyo restart sponsored piracy.

    • Korea

      • The Siberian origins of the Korean people; Chinese influence; the Han occupation and Chinese culture; Korean independence

      • Paekche, Silla, and Koguryo

        • Selective adoption of the Chinese model of civilization; Korea’s hereditary aristocracy; the rise and splendor of Silla; han’gul

        • Koryo; the Chinese model and Chinese art; civil war; the Mongol conquest

        • The Yi Dynasty

    • Yi Korea

      • Adoption of the Confucian system; the yangban elites; distinct Korean culture; printing; perfection of han’gul; bureaucratic factionalism; Hideyoshi’s invasion; political decline and economic development