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- Japan was settled about 35,000 years ago by Paleolithic people from the Asian mainland. At the end of the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago, a culture called the Jomon developed. Jomon hunter-gatherers fashioned fur clothing, wooden houses, and elaborate clay vessels. According to DNA analysis, the Ainu people may be descendants of the Jomon.
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The earliest written work of history to mention Japan, the Book of Han completed around 82 AD, states that Japan, referred to as Wa, was divided into one hundred kingdoms. A later Chinese work of history, the Wei Zhi , states that by 240 AD, one powerful kingdom had gained ascendancy over the others.
The Emergence of Japan The first humans to inhabit Japan walked over from the mainland around 35,000 BCE at a time when the northwestern tip of Hokkaido was connected to the eastern extremities of Russia. Evidence of cord-marked pottery…
May 06, 2019 · Japan: Facts and History Capital and Major Cities. Government. Japan has a constitutional monarchy, headed by an emperor. The current emperor is Akihito; he wields very... Population. Japan is home to about 126,672,000 people. Today, the country suffers from a very low birth rate, making it... ...
The Paleolithic Period in Japan is variously dated from 30,000 to 10,000 years ago, although the argument has been made for a Lower Paleolithic culture prior to 35,000 bce.
- Ancient Japan
- Japan in The Middle Ages
- Japan in The Late 19th Century
- Japan in The Early 20th Century
- Japan in The Late 20th Century
- Japan in The 21st Century
The First Japanese
Human beings have lived in Japan for at least 30,000 years. During the last ice age, Japan was connected to mainland Asia by a land bridge and stone age hunters were able to walk across. When the ice age ended about 10,000 BC Japan became a group of islands. About 8,000 BC the ancient Japanese learned to make pottery. The period from 8,000 BC to 300 BC is called the Jomon. The word Jomon means 'cord marked' because those people marked their pottery by wrapping a cord around it. The Jomon peop...
The Kofun Period in Japan
The Yayoi period was followed by the Kofun (from 300 AD to 710 AD). At this time Japan gradually became united. The rich and powerful men of the era were buried in vast tombs called Kofun. Clay figures called haniwa were placed around the tombs to guard them. At that time Japan was heavily influenced by China. About 400 AD writing was introduced into Japan from China. The Japanese also learned to make paper from the Chinese. They also learned to make porcelain, silk, and lacquer. The Japanese...
The Heian Period in Japan
The era from 794 to 1185 is called the Heian period. During this period the arts and learning flourished. About 1000 Ad Lady Murasaki Shikibu wrote the world's first novel The Tale of Genji a story about the life of a prince called Genji. Another book from that time is a diary written by a lady in waiting named Sei Shonagon. It is called The Pillow Book. Meanwhile at the beginning of the 9th century Dengo Daishi founded the Tendai sect of Buddhism. Slightly later Kobo Daishi founded the Shing...
In 1192 the emperor gave Yoritomo the title Sei Tai Shogun, which means barbarian conquering great general. The shogun became the real power in Japan ruling in the emperor's name. This new form of government was called bakufu, which means tent government as generals gave commands from their tents during wartime. After Yoritomo's death two of his sons ruled Japan in turn. However, the second son was assassinated in 1219. Power then passed to Yoritomo's wife's family, the Hojo. Afterward, Japan had an emperor, who was only a figurehead, a Shogun and a Hojo regent ruling on behalf of the shogun. In the 13th and 14th centuries town and trade in Japan grew and merchants became wealthy. They organized themselves into guilds. Also at this time, Zen Buddhism became popular. Zen emphasizes meditation. Some followers meditate by trying to empty their minds of all worldly thoughts and desires. Others meditate on riddles called Koan such as 'what is the sound of one hand clapping?'. Zen had a t...
The Meiji Restoration
Not surprisingly the humiliating treaties were bitterly resented by the Japanese who called them unequal treaties. Furthermore, the shogun lost face because of his weakness. Many Japanese thought that Japan would only be strong if the shogunate was abolished and the emperor was restored to power. Some Japanese wanted to resist the foreigners. Others wanted to copy western technology. Opinion was bitterly divided. Finally in 1868 there was a short civil war. Pro-emperor and pro-shogun forces c...
Then on 30 January 1902 Japan signed a treaty with Britain. Both agreed to help the other if they were attacked by twoother countries. Meanwhile, Russia was increasing her influence in Manchuria, which brought her into conflict with Japan. On 9 February 1904, the Japanese navy sank two Russian ships at Port Arthur (Russia had leased this Chinese port in 1898). The Japanese then laid siege to Port Arthur but they took 5 months to capture it. Nevertheless, the Japanese army gradually advanced in Manchuria and on 27 May 1905, the Japanese navy won a complete victory at Tsushima. The Americans mediated between Russia and Japan and the two signed the Treaty of Portsmouth in September 1905. Japan gained Port Arthur and the southern part of Sakhalin. Japan also gained great prestige. She was the first Asian power to defeat a European power. Then in 1910 Japan annexed Korea. Furthermore, by 1911 all foreign countries had agreed to abolish the 'unequal treaties' of the 1850s. By the time Emp...
The emperor publicly announced that he was not divine and in 1946 the Americans drew up a new constitution for Japan. Women were allowed to vote. The constitution also contained a clause renouncing the 'threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes'. In 1951 a peace treaty was signed in San Francisco and the American occupation ended in 1952. However, the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security gave the USA the right to keep bases in Japan. Furthermore, the island of Okinawa was occupied until 1972. Meanwhile, the Korean War began in 1950. It provided a boost to Japanese industry and by 1954 Japanese industrial production was back to 1939 levels. In 1955 the Liberal Democratic Party took power and it ruled Japan for most of the period from 1955 to 2009. Meanwhile during the 1950s and 1960s the Japanese economy boomed. Japanese industry exported huge numbers of electronic goods and vehicles. The Japanese people saw a great improvement in their standard of liv...
In 2009 a major political change took place in Japan. The Liberal Democratic Party ruled Japan for all of the years 1995-2009 except for a period of 11 months. However in 2009 the Democratic Party of Japan won a majority in the lower house of parliament. Today Japan is a prosperous nation. Today the population of Japan is 127 million. A timeline of Japan A brief history of China A brief history of Korea A brief history of Vietnam A brief history of Cambodia A brief history of Indonesia A brief history of Thailand Home Last Revised 2019
—Ellis Tinios, Lecturer in East Asian History, University of Leeds "Writing a brief history of a land as ancient and complicated as Japan is no easy task…Luckily, with Jonathan Clements, readers are in the hands of a master. His crackling prose, sharp wit, and learned insights make Japan's history truly come alive."
- 1947 - The Constitution of Japan goes into effect.
- 1952 - The United States occupation comes to an end. Japan regains independence.
- 1964 - The summer Olympics are held in Tokyo.
- 1968 - Japan becomes the second largest economic power in the world.
- Jōmon Period (10,000 BCE – 300 BCE) During the Jōmon Period, Neolithic culture arrived in Japan (spreading from the Sea of Japan inward) from, it is believed, East and Southeast Asia.
- Yayoi Period (300 BCE – 250 CE) The Yayoi Period marked a break from the Neolithic culture of the Jōmon, and a shift toward a new culture that was probably influenced by immigrants from China and Korea.
- Yamato Period (250 – 710) The Yamato Period, commonly broken into two separate eras: the Kofun (“tumulus”) Era, from 250 to 538, and the Asuka...
- Nara Period (710 – 794) Beginning with the establishment of the new imperial capital at Nara in 710, the Nara Period marked the incipient stage of...
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