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This website provides rich resources, including images, videos, articles and lesson plans, about the history of Japan. To find information on a particular aspect or a historical period, you can limit the search by selecting the respective keywords on the left side of the page.
This official site of Tokyo National e-Museum presents you images of national treasures and important cultural properties owned by Japan’s four National Institutes for Cultural Heritage. Keyword search is required to access those resources about feudal Japan.
Buddhism was introduced to ancient Japan via Korea in the 6th century CE with various sects following in subsequent centuries via China. It was readily accepted by both the elite and ordinary populace and was a key driver in fostering literacy, education in general, and the arts in ancient Japan.
Shintō is the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of Japan. It came into use in order to distinguish indigenous Japanese beliefs from Buddhism, which had been introduced into Japan in the 6th century. Shintō has no founder, no official sacred scriptures in the strict sense, and no fixed dogmas, but it has preserved its guiding beliefs throughout the ages.
This article introduces the part Shinto has played in Japanese life and culture throughout the country's history, as well as its shared spiritual, cultural, and political roles with Buddhism and Confucianism.
In Japan, kangaku refers to the whole of Japanese scholarship on the Confucian tradition, from the pre-Nara through the Tokugawa periods (645-1868). This article introduces a brief history of how kangaku had developed in feudal Japan.
The earliest Japanese chronicles tell us that Confucianism was first introduced to Japan near the end of the third century c.e. This article explores the development of Confucianism in Japan over three period - before Tokugawa (to 1600), Tokugawa 91600-1868) and Modern Japan.
Like the children in Japan today, education and playing were biggest parts of childrens’ lives in feudal Japan. In this article, you will find information about the education for children in feudal Japan, how they played, their clothing and their childhood naming.
The social structure of the Edo period (1615–1868) developed under the strict control of the Tokugawa military regime. During this period, the families of the shogunate and provincial leaders (daimyo) arranged marriages based on political interests, and the consent of the shogunate was necessary for a daimyo wedding.
During the feudal period of Japan, men were valued more than women, making it a more powerful gender. This explains why the upper classes including the royal and noble military class were very much dominated by men, although there were, at times, some exceptions.
In feudal Japan, women were generally seen less important than men. This meant there were not as many women as men in higher social classes. Furthermore, the degree of freedom women in feudal Japan had was typically low.
There are four main types of clothing found in Japan - those worn for everyday use; those worn for special occasions such as festivals; work clothes; and costumes worn for noh and kabuki theater. In this article, you will find information about popular types of Japanese clothes and accessories, including kimonos, footwear, yukatas, uniforms, men's handbags and skirts.
Kimonos are a traditional Japanese robe. In the old days there were small sleeve kimonos (kosode) and large sleeve kimonos (osode) but since the Edo period they have pretty much been of a standard size. This article explores the various aspects of kimonos, such as its history, features and the wearing occasions.
The period of Edo saw the transition of one type of clothes to another on the streets, as the linens worn by the people in the past could no longer be seen so often in public and it was replaced almost completely with cottons. This article looks into such changes in the use of fabric during the Edo period. Interactive images are included in this article to give you more explanation.
The term, Iki, meaning chic or stylish describes a sense of aesthetics that were shared among many people born and breed in Edo. According to wood block prints, Edo residents must have had a surprisingly modest sense of dress. This article gives a brief introduction about the trends of clothing in Edo. Interactive images are included to provide more explanation.
During the Edo period, a food service industry sprung up where itinerant merchants called botefuri walked the streets of Edo selling their wares. There were also yatai (open-air food stalls) located here and there throughout the city.
The food culture evolved significantly during the Edo period because both land and sea distribution networks were established in that period. This allowed products from all over the nation to be delivered to Edo.
The diet of ancient Japan was heavily influenced by its geography as an archipelago, foodstuffs and eating habits imported from mainland Asia, religious beliefs, and an appreciation for the aesthetic appearance of dishes, not just the taste.
Tea, still probably the world’s most popular prepared beverage, was first drunk by Chinese monks to aid meditation and those who valued its medicinal qualities, but it quickly grew in popularity, spreading to other East Asian cultures, especially Japan.
Mainland influences in architecture and art continued into the Heian period, but after 800 a more creative process produced distinctively Japanese styles. The later Heian period also saw the beginnings of an emphasis in culture on the provinces and commoners, and a movement away from complete dependence on religion as a source of inspiration.
Traditional Japanese houses have unique architectural and interior features that are considered an important part of Japan's history and culture. These old features are often included in new homes because many people still find them charming.
Austere construction methods, lightweight materials and porous boundaries between inside and outside are all hallmarks of traditional Japanese architecture. This article will focus on the history and the development of Japanese architecture as well as its features. It will also provide additional links to more relevant websites.
Samurai were warriors in the noble class during feudal Japan. They were hired by daimyos to serve and protect them and their property. Samurais played a significant role during the period and also were highly regarded.
The samurai of Japan were an impressive sight in lacquered iron armor, armed with sword, dagger, bow. Medieval samurai were generally illiterate, rural landowners who farmed between battles. Some developed the necessary skills for bureaucratic service, but most did not. During the Shogunate of the Tokugawa family the samurai as a class were transformed into military bureaucrats.
This article presented by the National Gallery of Victoria introduces the samurai as both warriors and men of refined culture through its exhibition - Bushido: Way of Samurai. This exhibition showcases the armaments, attire and paintings of samurai which give a glimpse of the warrior class' life in feudal Japan.
A library database helps you to find subject-related literature such as journals, book chapters, magazine and newspaper articles, facts, statistics, background information, etc. It is paid by the library to allow access to resources which are more likely to be reliable than material found on the Internet, such as Google.
APART FROM THE EXISTING LINKS AND RESOURCES PROVIDED IN THIS GUIDE, IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU USE THESE DATABASES TO ASSIST YOUR SEARCH FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS PARTICULAR TOPIC.
In feudal Japan, there were three main classes and within each class, there were sub categories. The main social classes in feudal Japan were the royal class, the noble class and the lower class. Around 90% of the society belonged in the lower peasants class, with the rest being in the noble military class.
Who were the shoguns and how did they rule Japan? In Japanese history, the time from about 1600 to 1868 is called the Edo period. In 1600, after centuries of wars, Japan came under the control of shoguns from the Tokugawa clan. They continued to rule until 1868, when they were overthrown. View this clip to discover how these shoguns maintained their power. This clip is first in a series of six.
For nearly 700 years, Japan was ruled by a series of military leaders known as shoguns. The first half of this clip provides a chronological timeline of key events from the imperial Nara and Heian periods through to the three shogunates: Kamakura, Muromachi and Tokugawa. The second half looks at the way of life in shogunate Japan (social, cultural, political and economic). Social class hierarchy within this feudal system is explained, including the status and roles of Daimyos, Samurai and peasants. Examples of the strict edicts that impacted social class, religion and political conflict are given. Led by a Japanese presenter, artistic depictions from the era and easy to follow graphic timelines and maps tell the story of this important period in Japan’s history. (Source: ClickView)
The office of shogun, which was held by the Tokugawa for over two and a half centuries, exercized power delegated by the emperor. The long period of political stability enabled people to channel their energies toward economic and social developments and toward remarkable cultural achievements.
This website is designed to take you on an interactive tour in Edo. During the reign of the Tokugawa Shoguns, Japan's emperor reigned in Kyoto while the true center of power, government, the economy and social life was Edo, where the Shogun lived and ruled the country.
Tokugawa period, also called Edo period, (1603–1867), is the final period of traditional Japan, a time of internal peace, political stability, and economic growth under the shogunate founded by Tokugawa Leyasu.
The last shogunate in Japan’s history - the Tokugawa Shogunate was a period of relative stability compared to previous shogunates, in part due to the strict social and foreign policies it is remembered for. This clip provides numerous examples of the social laws and codes that controlled all aspects of Japanese society, including those for Daimyo and Samurai.
Under the shoguns, Japan was deliberately isolated from the outside world from around 1600 CE. However, by the mid-19th century, Western imperialism was entering a new phase of expansion that no Asian state was able to resist. Discover what happened when the West came beating on the doors of a closed society.
This website details the historical events relevant to the arrival of US Commodore Perry which forced Japan to open its doors to the outside world. It contains articles and images about important figures and events of that period, and explores the significant impact of Perry's visit on Japan.
The article focuses on the intensive forest exploitation in four periods -- the Nara-Heian (700-900 CE), the early Tokugawa (1570-1670 CE), the Meiji (1870-1910), and the Greater East Asian War (1937-1950), examining what happened, why, and the consequences thereof.
The arrival of Americans and Europeans in the 1850s increased domestic tensions. The bakufu, already weakened by an eroding economic base and ossified political structure, now found itself challenged by Western powers intent on opening Japan to trade and foreign intercourse.
The entry of the US fleet into Tokyo Bay in 1853 and the events that followed exposed the shogunate's policy of isolation as a potential threat to the country. Western influence, and Japan's response to it, would have an enormous impact on the country's future.
Meiji Restoration, the political revolution in 1868 brought about the final demise of the Tokugawa shogunate. It came to be identified with the subsequent era of major political, economic, and social change that brought about the modernization and Westernization of the country.
In this essay, historian James Huffman outlines the history of the critical transition Japan underwent between 1868 and 1889, which provides some background about the events leading up to this period of rapid societal change.