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Friday, 7 November 2008

History Of Japan


History of Japan
Archeological evidence reveals that since upper Paleolithic period people were living in Japan. Scholars see the history of Japan into various periods to understand it better.

The Yayoi period (300 B.C to 300 A.D) in Japanese history points to the introduction of agriculture and as a result one finds the growth of differentiation in the society. The Kofun period (300- 538) is the time when greater political unity could be seen in then Japan. The country was united and the center of power lay in the province of Yamato. The emperor ruled from Yamato and form time to time the capital shifted from one city to another. It was during this time due to the external influence one finds the introduction of Buddhism into Japan. During this period one can also find Chinese influence under the rule of Prince Shotoku.

Further in 710 A.D. in the history of Japan the first permanent capital was established in Nara. Large Buddhist monasteries were built with political patronage. During this a lot of imported traditions solidified. The Fujiwara dominance came to an end in 1068 A.D. with emperor Go- Sanjo taking the reigns in his hands. In 1185 the Minamoto family ruled Japan but after the death of Yorimoto's death one finds that feuds started again until Kamakura were able to control effectively. The leading social class of this period was the samurai class that also supported the new sect Zen sect.

Another development in the history Japan was the introduction of the legal code that stressed the importance of loyalty to the master and stood for high morals. In 1259 the Mongols invaded China and eyed on Japan as well. The Mongols even attempted but due to bad weather conditions they had to pull out. By 1333 due to various reasons the influence of Hojo regents in Kamakura declined and emperor GO- Daigo came back to power.

But troubles and feuds never seized as Ashikaga Takauji challenged the emperor and thereby the latter had to flee to south of Kyoto leading the existence of two courts (south and north). By 15 and 16th centuries the Ashikaga influenced reduced and land owning and military families came to power. The new families were called the daimyo and often fought with each other.

In 1542 one finds the Portuguese influence in the form of traders and missionaries who introduced firearms and also the new religion of Christianity in Japan.

In the 1580's one finds that Toyotomi Hideyoshi took over the control and subdued the northern provinces and Shikoku and Kyushu in 1587. Tokugawa Ieyasu succeeded Hideyoshi and provided patronage to Europeans but also suppressed Christianity. The ensuing peace in the country led to the growth of literature and philosophy.

The Edo period (1688-1703) the culture flourished and arts forms also developed. The most important development in the Tokugawa Japan was the growth of Neo- Confucianism that laid stress on hierarchy, morals and education. But due to financial weakness and the increasing dependence of Samurai on the merchants led to he downfall of the Tokugawa government. In the 18th century external pressure increased in the form of Russian endeavor to establish trading relations with Japan. Soon to follow were the Europeans and Americans in the 19th century. One finds that in 1853 Commodore Perry was able to force the Tokogawa government to open up for trades.

Another historical event in Japan was the coming of the Meiji Restoration. Now the capital moved to Tokyo from Kyoto. In order to do away with the inequality serious reforms were undertaken to close the from the West. Now to establish democracy was stressed and differences between social classes were slowly weakened.

Another historical event of Japan was the growing clash of interest between China and Japan that led to Sino- Japanese war in 1894- 95. The clash of interest with Russia led to the Russo- Japanese War in 1904-1905.The history of Japan further reveals that with the death of emperor Meiji the rule by elder came to an end. Form 1912- 1926 during the rule of emperor Taisho there was the shift to parliament and democratic parties.

History reveals that Japan took part in the World Wars and underwent huge loses and one is reminded of the atomic bombing in the World War II

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