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Japanese History

By Jessica R. and Taryn W.

First appearance of Japan in
Japan was first mentioned in history by the
Chinese, in 57AD.
The Japanese were referred to as the Wa
people by the Chinese
The Chinese described them as a people living
without a writing system or political cohesion
China greatly influenced their culture, bringing
them Buddhism, government, and a basic
system of writing.
Korea also brought some cultural influence
Prehistoric Japan
Evidence has been found of people
living in Japan since just after the first
ice age, in the form of tools that are up
to 32,000 years old.
Ainu-the Native People of Japan
The Ainu are the first known people to
have inhabited Japan
They are said to have originated on
They were mainly hunters, fishers, and
Full blooded ainu people are mostly fair
skinned, the men having dense hair
Ainu People
Jomon Period (13000BC to 300 BC)
During this period the Japanese were
hunters and gatherers, mainly.
This era was named after the pottery style
of the time
Some lived in wood stilt houses or pit
dwellings, and they may have had an early
form of agriculture
There have been some tools and artifacts
found from this time period
Yayoi Period (300 BC to 300 AD)
Rice culture was introduced during this
Social classes began to evolve
Parts of the country were divided and
controlled by powerful land owners
New technologies were arriving from
China and Korea
Ancient and Classical
Kofun Period (300-538)
By around 400 AD the country was united
as Yamate Japan, with its political center
around the province of Yamato. (Hokkaido
was not yet included in Japan)
The Yamato court controlled clans in
Kyushu and Honshu
Asuka Period (592-645)
Buddhism arrived in Japan
Governed by the emperor and several
other powerful clans
Imperial family intermarried with other
powerful clans, such as the Soga clan, and
the Fujiwara clan.
Nara Period (710-794)
Capital moved to what is present day Nara
Literature first appears from Japan, mostly from
the imperial court
Most people were Shinto, but there were also
few Buddhists
The area was better governed, and tax collection
became more routine
Coins were minted, if not widely used by the
Japanese people
The first known outbreak of smallpox threatens
the area and spreads from Kyushu to Nara
Heian Period (794-1185)
This period is considered the last in traditional
Japanese history.
The imperial court is at its peak during these
This marks the beginning of the Samurai culture
The capital is moved again, to Kyoto this time
This is said to be the most peaceful and
prosperous time in Japanese history.
Feudal Japan
Japanese emperors had lost much of
their power, and the land was ruled by
powerful families and military leaders
called Shoguns. This type of
government was called a Shogunate.
Kamakura Period (1185-1333)
Named after the Kamakura Shogunate
that ruled Japan during this time
Mongols tried to invade Japan
Battles with the Mongols weakened Japan,
and although they were successful in
driving the Mongols away, the Shogunate
eventually lost power
Go Daigo became emperor for a short
Muromachi Period (1336-1573)
The Ashikaga Shogunate took power
The last shogun of this period was
Ashikaga Yoshiaki
He was evicted from the capital (Kyoto)
A Portuguese ship arrived in Japan,
teaching the Japanese about firearms
From that time, a few other trading ships
reached Japan, and continued to open the
countrys eyes to new technologies
Azuchi-Momoyama (1568-1600)
Many parts of Japan were united again and the military
grew stronger
Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a military leader who wanted to
take over Korea and China
He sent troops of 160,000 to Korea, but they failed, and
returned to Japan.
In 1598, Toyotomi died, and the Japanese dropped the
idea of taking over its neighboring countries.
During this time, many Koreans were brought to Japan,
and they brought artistic ability and knowledge with
Edo Period (1603-1868)
During this period, Japan was ruled by about 200 small rulers
called Daimyo
The most powerful of these was called the Tokogawa clan.
They ruled for fifteen generations from a place called Edo,
which is near present day Tokyo
The highest group in society became samurais. Agriculturalists
and artists were considered lower class than the samurai
Many new art forms were created, including a new form of
block printing, and two types of theater, the Kabuki and
Trade and commerce continued to rise during the Edo period
In 1868, the Boshun war took place, resulting in the end of
the Shogunate rule, putting Japan under the rule of an
emperor once more
Picture of a Group of Samurai
Castles from the Feudal Period in
Osaka castle
Nijo Castle or Shoguns Palace
Located in Kyoto
Himeji Castle
-the largest Castle in Japan
-Nicknamed white heron from white wing architecture
What were the Japanese
first called by the
Chinese people?
The Wa people.
Where did the Ainu
people originate from?
What is the name of the
first period in prehistoric
Japanese history?
The Jomon Period.
What was the most
powerful clan in ancient
The Fujiwara clan, or the
Soga clan.
When did the first
known outbreak of
smallpox occur in Japan?
During the Nara Period.
Which war resulted in
the end of the
Shogunate rule?
The Boshun war.
Where is Nijo castle or
the Shoguns palace
Which castle is the
largest in Japan?
Himeji castle.
What year did Toyotomi
In 1598.
During what period was
the imperial court at its
The Heian period.
In what year was the
Boshun war?
In 1868.