History

Articles relates to all eras of Japanese history

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  • Haniwa

    Haniwa (埴輪) is a collective term for the unglazed earthenware cylinders and hollow sculptures that decorated the surface of the great mounded...
  • Heian Period - Part 1

    The Heian Period (平安時代 Heian jidai) spans almost 400 years from 794, when Emperor Kammu established Heiankyō (modern-day Kyōto) as the imperial...
  • Nara Period

    The Nara Period (奈良時代 Nara jidai) is the historical period beginning in 710, the year the capital was moved from Fujiwarakyō to Heijōkyō (the...
  • Sengoku Period

    The Sengoku Period (戦国時代) was also known as the Warring States period and lasted from 1467, the beginning of the Ōnin War (応仁の乱 Ōnin no Ran),...
  • Boshin War

    The Boshin Civil War (戊辰戦争 Boshin Sensō) was a series of battles that led to the overthrow of the Tokugawa shogunate and the restoration of the...
  • Saigo Takamori

    The Last Samurai: an unswerving rebel Born in Kagoshima in the Satsuma Domain (present-day Kagoshima Prefecture), Saigō Takamori (西郷隆盛,...
  • Kofun Period

    The Kofun Period (古墳時代 Kofun jidai) refers to the protohistoric period of Japan, usually dated from 250 to ca 538 CE, characterised by the...
  • Yayoi Period

    The Yayoi period (弥生時代 Yayoi jidai) is a prehistoric period of Japan, usually dated from 300 BCE to ca 300 CE, during which wet-rice agriculture...
  • Emperor Meiji

    The Meiji Emperor (明治天皇 Meiji-tennō, born Mutsuhito, 3 November 1852 – 30 July 1912) or Meiji the Great was the 122nd emperor of Japan according...
  • Jomon Period

    The Jomon Period (縄文時代 Jōmon jidai, ca 11000 BCE-ca 300 BCE) is generally identified with hunting and gathering ways of life, especially the...
  1. Taira Masakado

    Taira no Masakado, a member of the Kanmu Taira clan, was the son of Taira no Yoshimasa and a provincial lord in the Kantō region. In 939, Masakado organised a rebellion and attacked the government post of Hitachi (modern-day Ibaraki Prefecture), capturing the governor of the province. In the same year, his rebel army conquered the provinces of Shimotsuke and Kozuke (in present-day Tochigi and Gunma prefectures) and claimed the title of "new emperor". After killing his uncle Taira no Kunika, he was defeated and killed by Fujiwara no Hidesato's forces at the Battle of Kojima (940)....
  2. Hatakeyama Shigetada

    Kuniyoshi: Kajiwara Kagesue, Sasaki Takatsuna, and Hatakeyama Shigetada racing to cross the Uji River before the second battle of Uji Hatakeyama Shigetada (畠山重忠, 1164–1205) was a warrior of the early Kamakura Period (1185-1333) famed for his virtue and bravery. Shigetada was the son of Shigetoshi, an estate official of Hatakeyama in northern Musashi Province (modern-day Saitama). The Hatakeyama descended from a branch of the Taira (平) family and had been in possession of their territory for several generations. In the Genpei War (1180–1185), Shigetada participated in Minamoto...
  3. Saga of the Samurai: Interview with Terje Solum

    Terje Solum is the author of the series "Saga of the Samurai". Over the past 14 years, he has published six volumes on the Kai Takeda clan. In late autumn, he will release his next volume dedicated to the Ōmi Gamō. We interviewed Terje in August 2017. Q: Tell us a bit more about your background, preferably some details we cannot find on the covers of your books. Yes, well, my background; I was growing up in a little town called Skotfoss, near present Skien in Norway. I got interested in history at the age of about 10 and read what I could get my hands on, to start with books in Norwegian,...
  4. The Late Hojo

    The Late Hōjō clan (後北条氏 Go-Hōjō-shi) were powerful regional lords at the end of the Muromachi Period (1333-1568) and in the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568-1600) and must not be confused with the warrior family by the same name who were hereditary regents (執権 shikken) of the Kamakura shogunate in the Kamakura Period (1185-1333). Founded by Hōjō Sōun, the family was based in Odawara (modern-day Kanagawa Prefecture) and ruled as Sengoku daimyō over the provinces of Sagami and Musashi until they were destroyed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1590. Late Hōjō Geneology Hōjō Sōun (北條早雲, 1432–1519) Hōjō...
  5. Recommended books on Japanese History

    This list comprises some of the foremost resources on Japanese history. While they are primarily in English, notable works in other languages are listed as well. These resources will be continually updated. Japanese History in general Beasley, William G., The Japanese Experience. A Short History of Japan; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999 The Cambridge History of Japan, John W. Hall et al. 6 vol. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989-1999 Mason, R. H. P. u. John G. Caiger, A History of Japan; Rutland, Vermont; Tōkyō: Tuttle, 1997 Morton, W. Scott, Olenik, J....
  6. Glossary of Japanese Historical Terms

    A glossary with essential terms relating to the history of Japan. This list will be continually expanded. TERMKANJIDESCRIPTION bakufu幕府Government of the shogunate, also referring to the seat of the government and administration bakuhan taisei幕藩体制Edo-era system of government, characterised by the central authority of the bakufu and local autonomy of the han be部Hereditary professions assigned to uji bunmei kaika文明開化"Civilization and enlightenment", an early Meiji-era movement aiming at re-organising Japan according to Western ciliization buke, bushi武家・武士Warrior class chōnin町人Edo-era...
  7. Himiko

    Himiko (卑弥呼, c. 170–248 CE), also known as Pimiko, was a female ruler of the early Japanese political entity known as Yamatai (邪馬台国 Yamataikoku), as described in the Wei Zhi (魏志, "Records of Wei"), a Chinese chronicle of the 3rd century CE. The location of Yamatai has long been the subject of intense historical controversy: at one time controlled by male rulers, Yamatai was described as situated in either northern Kyūshū or the Yamato (Nara) region. According to the Gishi Wajinden (魏志倭人伝), the section in the Wei Zhi dedicated to Japan, or the "Land of Wa" (倭), warfare erupted among the...
  8. Date Masamune

    Date Masamune was a warrior of the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568-1600) and the early part of the Edo Period (1600-1868) and one of the greatest daimyō of northern Japan. Succeeding his father at the age of 17, he defeated most of his rivalling neighbours and thereby significantly expanded his territories. Supporting the hegemons Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu he consolidated his power base and established the fiefdom of Sendai, one of the largest in the Edo Period. He showed interest in Christianity and despatched an embassy to Europe; he died renowned as an unconventional warrior,...
  9. Minamoto no Yoshitsune

    Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源義経, 1159-1189) was a nobleman and military commander famous for leading the Minamoto clan against the Taira in numerous battles of the Genpei War (源平合戦, 1180-1185). His prowess in battle, his relationship with his brother, and the circumstances of his death, among other factors, have resulted in him being seen as a sympathetic hero, and a frequent subject of Japanese writers of all eras, often with romanticised and exaggerated accounts of his exploits. He has captured the imagination of the Japanese, and today remains a quite popular historical figure. The...
  10. Zaibatsu

    Zaibatsu (財閥, literally "wealthy clique") refers to industrial and financial combines of a conglomerate type that dominated the Japanese economy between the Meiji Period (1868-1912) and World War II. Created by powerful industrial families, they were operated through a tight network of parent companies (本社 honsha) and subsidiaries. Although officially dissolved in the Occupation period following the war, the new corporate groupings called keiretsu (系列, "series", or "grouping of enterprises") - often regarded as their direct successors - were instrumental in the economic post-war boom and...
  11. Fukuzawa Yukichi

    Fukuzawa Yukichi (福澤諭吉, 1835-1901) was a prominent educator, writer, and propagator of Western knowledge during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), founder of Keio Gijuku (慶應義塾, a private college, later Keio University), of Japan's first daily newspaper Jiji Shinpō (時事新報), and introduced the art of public speaking in Japan. His collected works, written over a period of thirty years, fill 22 large volumes and cover a variety of subjects ranging from philosophy to women's rights. Fukuzawa Yukichi (ca. 1887) Fukuzawa was born in Ōsaka into the family of an impoverished low-ranking samurai of the...
  12. Sen no Rikyu

    Sen no Rikyū (千利休, 1522-1591) was a tea master of the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568-1600) and the founder of the Sen school of tea ceremony. His grandfather, Tanaka Sen'ami, is said to have been one of the dōbōshū (同朋衆, special retainers to the Muromachi shogunate who practised the tea ceremony and other arts) in the service of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa. Rikyū's father, Tanaka Yohei (田中与兵衛), moved to Sakai in Izumi Province (now part of Osaka Prefecture); tradition has it that Yohei took the character Sen of his father's name as his family name. The family became wholesale fish dealers...
  13. Hasekura Tsunenaga

    Hasekura Tsunenaga, also known as Hasekura Rokuemon Tsunenaga (支倉六右衛門常長, 1571-1622) led a Japanese embassy to Mexico City, Madrid, and Rome in the years from 1613 to 1620. He was the first official Japanese envoy to visit the American continent. In July 1611, an embassy under the Spanish explorer and diplomat Sebastián Vizcaíno repatriated the Japanese merchants from New Spain (modern-day Mexico) who had travelled there with Rodrigo Vivero de Velasco, a Spanish colonial officer, in the previous year. This inspired Date Masamune, the daimyō of Sendai (present-day Miyagi Prefecture), to...
  14. Kokudaka

    The kokudaka (石高) was the tax base calculated regarding koku. It was an estimate of the annual yield of farmland measured in koku of unpolished rice and the basis of and taxes throughout the Edo Period (1600-1868). The kokudaka system was introduced nationwide by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the course of his cadastral survey of 1582-1596 and was used until the Land Tax Reform of 1873-1881. Koku 石 Koku was a measure of volume or capacity, generally used for rice but also for other dry substances and liquids. In the Edo period, a koku of grain was the equivalent of 0.18 cubic metres, 180.39...
  15. Muromachi Period

    The Muromachi shogunate (1338-1573), was the second of Japan's three military regimes (幕府 bakufu), between the Kamakura shogunate (1192-1333) and the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1867). Established by Ashikaga Takauji (足利尊氏, 1305-1358), its name derives from the Muromachi district of Kyōto, where the shogunal palace and administrative headquarters were located after 1378. It is also referred to as the Ashikaga shogunate in reference to its ruling house. Under the Ashikaga, the shoguns and their government significantly expanded the scope of the military rule, asserting authority over most...
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