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History of Japan

  • 300 BCE

    The Beginning Of The Yayoi Period

    During the Yayoi Period, there was an emergence of a hierarchical social class structure. Other defining features of the Yayoi Period are the start of an intensive rice agriculture in paddy fields and the introduction of techniques in metallurgy based on the use of bronze and iron. There is evidence that supports the idea that in this period, an influx of farmers from the Asian continent to Japan absorbed the native hunter-gatherer population.
  • 250

    The End of The Yayoi Period

    In 250 AD The Yayoi Period ends.
  • 250

    The Beginning Of The Kofun Period

    This was the period of the earliest political centralization in Japan, when a powerful clan won control over much of west Honshu and the northern half of Kyushu and eventually established the Imperial House of Japan. The Kofun Period takes its name from the burial mounds made for the people of the ruling class during the 3rd to 7th centuries in Japan. The Kofun Period and the subsequent Asuka Periods are sometimes collectively referred to as the Yamato Period.
  • 538

    The End Of The Kofun Period

    The Kofun Period Ends.
  • 538

    The Beginning Of The Asuka Period

    The Asuka period is characterized by its significant transformations throughout Japan. Additionally the arrival of Buddhism from China caused major changes in Japanese society. The Asuka period is also distinguished by the change in the name of the country from Wa to Nihon. The Yamato polity was distinguished by powerful great clans or extended families, including their dependents. Clan members were the High Nobility, and the Imperial line that controlled the Yamato polity was at its pinnacle.
  • 645

    The Taika Reform

    The Taika Reforms were established by Emperor Kōtoku in 645 AD. The Reform began with land reform, based on Confucian ideas from China, but the true aim of the reforms was to enhance the power of the imperial court, which was based on the governmental structure of China. Students were sent to China to learn just about everything about the Chinese, such as the writing system, literature, religion, and dietary habits. The impact of the reforms can still be seen in Japanese culture today.
  • 663

    The Fall of Baekje

    In 661 10,000 soldiers and 170 ships, led by Abe no Hirafu, arrived in Baekje to fight against the Chinese and Silla invaders. 27,000 soldiers led by Kamitsukeno no Kimi Wakako and 10,000 soldiers led by Iohara no Kimi also arrived at Baekje in 662. This was followed by 20,000 troops and 1,000 ships in 663. This was to attempt to help the Baekje kingdom to survive. This attempt failed at the Battle of Baekgang. Many refugees were brought back to Japan with the Japanese army.
  • Aug 27, 663

    Battle of Baekgang

    The Battle of Baekgang took place in the lower reaches of the Geum River in Jeollabuk-do province, Korea. The Silla-Tang forces won a decisive victory, compelling Yamato Japan to withdraw completely from Korean affairs and crushing the Baekje restoration movement. Japanese, Korean, and Chinese sources all point to heavy Japanese casualties. According to the Nihon Shoki, 400 Japanese ships were lost in the battle. Chinese sources claim 10,000 Japanese deaths.
  • 672

    The Jinshin War

    The Jinshin War was a succession dispute in Japan which broke out in 672 following the death of Emperor Tenji. Tenji had originally designated his brother, Prince Ōama, as his successor, but later changed his mind in favor of his son, Prince Ōtomo. In the course of the violence that erupted as a result of factional rivalries, Ōtomo, having taken the throne as Emperor, took his own life after reigning for less than a year. His uncle Ōama then succeeded to the throne as the Emperor Tenmu.
  • 710

    The End of the Asuka Period

    The Asuka Period ends in 710 AD
  • 710

    The Beginning of the Nara Period

    The Nara Period began in 710 CE. It was named after the Capital of the time. The Nara Period was a short transition period before the significant Heian Period. Despite the period's shortness, it still managed to produce arguably the most famous works of Japanese literature ever written and some of the most important temples still in use today including Todaiji, the largest wooden building in the world at that time, which still houses the largest bronze statue of Buddha ever made.
  • 794

    The End of the Nara Period

    The Nara Period ended in 794 CE.
  • 794

    The Beginning Of The Heian Period

    The Heian period is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. The period is named after the capital city of Heian-kyō, or modern Kyōto. During this time Buddhism, Taoism and other Chinese influences were at their height. The Heian period is also noted for its art, especially poetry and literature. The real power of the Heian period was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan, a powerful aristocratic family who had intermarried with the imperial family.
  • 1185

    Founding of the Shogunate

    In 1185, Samurai Lords, called 'Shoguns', took governmental power and ruled in the name of the Emperor. The 'Shoguns' held almost absolute power over territories through military means.
  • 1185

    The End Of The Heian Period

    The Heian Period ended in 1185
  • 1185

    The Beginning Of The Kamakura Period

    The Kamakura period is the period of during which, Japan was governed by the Kamakura shogunate, officially established in 1192 in Kamakura by the first shōgun, Minamoto no Yoritomo. The period is known for the emergence of the samurai, the warrior caste, and for the establishment of feudalism in Japan. Despite a strong beginning, Yoritomo failed to consolidate the leadership of his family on a lasting basis. Thus others were named Shogun.
  • 1331

    Civil War Of The Kamakura Period

    Emperor Go-Daigo wanted to overthrow the shogunate, and he openly defied Kamakura by naming his own son his heir. In 1331 the shogunate exiled Go-Daigo, but loyalist forces, including Kusunoki Masashige, rebelled. They were aided by Ashikaga Takauji, a constable who turned against Kamakura when dispatched to put down Go-Daigo's rebellion. At the same time, Nitta Yoshisada, another eastern chieftain, rebelled against the shogunate, which quickly disintegrated, and the Hōjō were defeated.
  • 1333

    The End Of The Kamakura Period

    The Kamakura Period ended in 1333.
  • Period: 1333 to 1336

    Kenmu Restoration

    The Kenmu Restoration is the name given to both the three-year period of Japanese history between the Kamakura period and the Muromachi period, and the political events that took place in it. The restoration was an effort made by Emperor Go-Daigo to bring the Imperial House back into power, thus restoring a civilian government after almost a century and a half of military rule. The attempted restoration ultimately failed and was replaced by the Ashikaga shogunate.
  • 1336

    The Beginning Of The Muromachi Period

    The Muromachi period is a division of Japanese history running from approximately 1336 to 1573. The period marks the governance of the Muromachi shogunate, which was officially established in 1338 by the first Muromachi shōgun, Ashikaga Takauji, two years after the brief Kenmu Restoration (1333–36) of imperial rule was brought to a close. The period ended in 1573 when the 15th and last shogun of this line, Ashikaga Yoshiaki, was driven out of the capital in Kyoto by Oda Nobunaga.
  • Period: 1336 to 1392

    Nanboku-cho Period

    The Nanboku-chō period, spanning from 1336 to 1392, was a period that occurred during the formative years of the Muromachi Shogunate of Japanese history. The Imperial seats during the Nanboku-chō period were in relatively close proximity, but geographically distinct.
    During this period, there existed a Northern Imperial Court, established by Ashikaga Takauji in Kyoto, and a Southern Imperial Court, established by Emperor Go-Daigo in Yoshino.
  • Period: 1465 to

    Sengoku Period

    The Sengoku period ("Age of Warring States"; c. 1467 – c. 1603) is a period in Japanese history marked by social upheaval, political intrigue and near-constant military conflict. Japanese historians named it after the otherwise unrelated Warring States period in China. It was initiated by the Ōnin War, which collapsed the Japanese feudal system under the Ashikaga shogunate, and came to an end when the system was re-established under the Tokugawa shogunate by Tokugawa Ieyasu.
  • Pearl Harbor

    Pearl Harbor
    On December 7th 1941, Imperial Japan, an ally of Nazi Germany and part of the Axis forces, launched a surprise attack on the Hawaiian USN base of Pearl Harbor. The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft (including fighters, level and dive bombers, and torpedo bombers) in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four sunk. This led to the US joining WW2 instead of them staying out of it as the Japanese had planned.
  • Period: to

    Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    On the 6th of August 1941, the US dropped the Atomic Bomb, Little Boy, on Hiroshima. On the 9th of August, the US followed this with the dropping of the Atomic Bomb, Fat Man, on Nagasaki. At minimum over 129,000 people were killed, the majority of which were civilians. The casualty count could, however be as high as over 226,000. Six days after the Bombing of Nagasaki Japan announced its surrender to the Allies.
  • International Military Tribunal For The Far East

    The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), also known as the Tokyo Trials or the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, was a military trial convened on April 29, 1946, to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for "Class A" crimes, which were reserved for those who participated in a joint conspiracy to start and wage war. Twenty-eight Japanese military and political leaders were charged with waging aggressive war and with responsibility for conventional war crimes.
  • Fukushima

    The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was initiated primarily by the tsunami following the Tōhoku earthquake on 11 March 2011. Immediately after the earthquake, the active reactors automatically shut down their sustained fission reactions. The Fukushima disaster was the most significant nuclear incident since the April 26, 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the second disaster to be given the Level 7 event classification of the International Nuclear Event Scale.