Japan Project for Comparative Cultures

  • Period: 10,500 BCE to 300 BCE

    Jōmon Period

    The earliest known culture in Japan. It is known for its cord-patterned pottery. Much of the Jomon culture is shrouded in mystery, but artifacts from the Neolithic period have also been discovered throughout Japan, so it could’ve evolved from that. Jomon people lived in small communities near rivers or the ocean. These communities were mainly located in sunken pits. Hunting and fishing were large parts of this culture. the Jomon culture provided the basis for many future cultures.
  • 660 BCE

    First Imperial Empire Founded

    First Imperial Empire Founded
    The first Japanese imperial dynasty was founded by Emperor Jimmu Tennō. He established his empire in Yamato after conquering many tribes along the way. Japan still has an imperial family to this day. Jimmu Tennō was said to have been descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu. Due to the name being Buddhist and in Chinese form, it’s likely that it was given hundreds of years after his death.
  • Period: 300 BCE to 250

    Yayoi Period

    The Yayoi culture started on the island Kyushu before eventually spreading northeast through the Kantō Plain. The Yayoi were talented at bronze and iron casting and grew rice. They lived in small villages comprised of houses with raised floors and thatched roofs. They also continued with some of the same hunting and gathering practices that the Jomon culture. Like the Jomon Culture, the Yayoi culture also provided a base for the future cultures of Japan.
  • Period: 250 to 710

    Yamato Period

    The Japanese Imperial Court ruled from the Yamato province. By the sixth century, the Yamato clan had expanded their influence throughout Japan. During this time, Japan kept up relations with China and Korea. The Yamato period saw a move towards a more militaristic society, as opposed to the Jomon culture’s emphasis on farming
  • 366

    Diplomatic Relations Established With Korea

    Diplomatic Relations Established With Korea
    Korea and Japan have been heavily affected by each other throughout almost their whole history. While their relationship started off equal, with lots of trade happening between them and the introduction of Buddhism to Japan, their relationship has soured over the years. In recent centuries Japan looked for ways to be in control of Korea and even annexed Korea into Japan at one point. Both countries wouldn't be the same without the other.
  • 538

    Buddhism introduced in Japan

    Buddhism introduced in Japan
    Buddhism was introduced to Japan in 538 (or potentially 552) CE as part of a diplomatic mission where several gifts were brought over. This included multiple Buddhist texts and an image of Shakyamuni Buddha. Buddhism quickly began overtaking the Shinto religion that was popular at the time. Buddhism has greatly impacted Japanese culture in literature and beliefs. Buddhism is the second most common religion in Japan.
  • Oct 14, 764

    Fujiwara no Nakamara Rebellion starts

    Fujiwara no Nakamara Rebellion starts
    The rebellion was a short military conflict between Fujiwara no Nakamaro (a major political leader) and the former Empress Kōken. Nakamaro left for the Eastern Provinces, with items of imperial authority in tow. Both armies clashed a week later and Nakamaro was killed, ending the rebellion. Removing Nakamaro removed Kōken’s strongest opponent cementing her rule. She went on to suppor a series of Buddhist texts and prayers which were one of the longest written works of ancient Japan.
  • 1192

    Shogunate Founded by Minamoto Yoritomo

    Shogunate Founded by Minamoto Yoritomo
    The shogunate was a feudal system that lasted 700 years and greatly influenced a large part of Japanese history due to Shogun's being in power. The founder, Yoritomo was born a noble from a family that had a large history of military involvement. In 1180, his family was enlisted to help in an uprising, which Yoritomo took advantage of to start his own. After destroying all of his political opponents in 1192, he declared himself seii taishōgun.
  • 1274

    Mongolia Attempts to Invade Japan

    Mongolia Attempts to Invade Japan
    Approximately 30 000 Mongols arrived in Japan with their fleet. The Japan was unprepared for this invasion and had a fighting style that wouldn’t make victory easy. They would’ve likely been fully invaded if the invasion wasn’t brought to a swift end by heavy winds (allegedly). Whatever the case, Japan was prevented from being absorbed into the Mongol Empire, something that would’ve completely moved their culture and future on a path completely different than what it is now.
  • 1549

    Christianity Introduced to Japan

    Christianity Introduced to Japan
    Francis Xavier led a group of missionaries to Japan and converted up to half a million Japanese to the Kirishitan religion. The rise of Kirishitan influenced Japan to close its trading to most countries to prevent more influence being spread. Today 1.5% of the country is Kirishitan, which likely would be much smaller without Xavier travelling to Japan.
  • Treaty of Kanagawa Signed

    Treaty of Kanagawa Signed
    The Treaty of Kanagawa was signed between Japan and The USA at Kanagawa (now a part of Yokohama). It was the first treaty between Japan and a western nation and opened up trade between the two countries. Japan was pressured to sign by US commodore Matthew C. Perry. Perry sailed to Japan with a fleet of warships and threatened Japan into signing, which ended their period of isolation.
  • Period: to

    First Sino-Japanese War

    The War was a conflict based on both Japan and China vying for control in Korea. After over a decade of tension, the conflict came to a head in 1894. The leader of a pro-Japanese coup of the Korean government was drawn and quartered in China, then mailed back to Korea as a message that the Japanese government took offense to. The war showed that Japan was a major power on the same level as China. As an outcome China had to recognize Korea’s independence and cede Taiwan.
  • Period: to

    Russo-Japanese War

    Russia had been trying to expand its territory over to Asia and had already gained control of Siberia. Japan’s new role as a power in Asia had the potential to halt Russia’s expansionist plans in East Asia. The war started with Japan ambushing a Russian Port without a formal declaration of war. The aftermath of the war ended Russia's expansion in East Asia, increased Japan's power globally, and caused Japan to tighten its hold on Korea, which they annexed in 1910.
  • Period: to

    Second Sino-Japanese War

    Though war wasn’t officially declared until 1941, the conflict started years before then. Japan had large control over Manchuria, something that made the locals uneasy. Japan had started its invasion of China in 1931 and had managed to take many parts of the country. This picked up in 1937. Japan eventually surrendered in 1945 at the end of World War II. Japan lost most of its control of the land and economy in China and was ostracized even more from the rest of the world.
  • Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

    Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima
    After Germany surrendered in World War II, Japan refused to stop fighting. In 1945, President Truman approved the usage of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. On August 6 the bomb was dropped, killing a total of 135 000 people. Three days later another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki killing 64 000. The bombs caused Japan to surrender. The US occupied Japan for a period after their surrender and while both cities have been rebuilt, no one has forgotten the tragedy of the lives lost.
  • Japan Becomes Part of the UN

    Japan Becomes Part of the UN
    Japan joined the UN 11 years after its initial founding. This pushed Japan back into the world after their defeat in World War II and gave them access to resources that helped them become the trade hub they are today. Japan is one of the largest financial contributors to the UN.
  • 1964 Summer Olympic Games are Held in Japan

    1964 Summer Olympic Games are Held in Japan
    The 1964 Olympic games were hosted in Tokyo after several years of Japan being a pariah. It included a large advance in scoring technology, with a computer being used to keep statistics for the first time. The Olympics reopened the country’s economy to other countries and finally had Japan reenter the international community.
  • Kobe Earthquake

    Kobe Earthquake
    A magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit the city of Kobe, killing 6 400 and destroying the homes of 300 000. The damages totalled up to $100 billion and it took years to rebuild the city. The earthquake was one of the strongest and deadliest to strike Japan. In particular the earthquake brought the fragility of the buildings to light, causing more reinforcements to be added to existing buildings and new regulations to prevent a disaster of this scale happening again.
  • Tokyo Subway is Attacked by Cult

    Tokyo Subway is Attacked by Cult
    In March of 1995 the Japanese death cult, AUM Shinrikyo released the toxic, odourless, and colourless gas into a Tokyo subway system. The attack led to the deaths of fourteen people and injured 5 500. The subway attack was the first large-scale disaster caused by Sarin (also known as nerve gas). The attack changed the way Japan and the world viewed nerve gas, and while the cult still exists under another name, no one has forgotten what they did and many people boycott their businesses.
  • Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

    Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami
    In 2011 an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 struck off the coast of Japan. It caused a tsunami to form, which reached Japan in 30 minutes and measured up to 130 feet. 18 000 people were killed in the wave. The tsunami also disabled 3 nuclear reactors, causing a nuclear accident. The tsunami destroyed over 123 000 houses and caused $220 billion in damages. After the carnage, researchers put more towards the study of tsunamis and improved the tsunami mitigation system.