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Ancient Japan

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* * * * * * * * Blending 3rd Century BCE Jomon begin blending with the Yayoi Yayoi brought knowledge of irrigated rice cultivation, bronze and iron work, glass, and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ancient Japan


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Ancient Japan
  • An Introduction

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Our Records...
  • Japan does not appear in history until 57 CE when
    it is first mentioned in Chinese histories. In
    these histories, it is referred to as "Wa."
  • The Chinese historians tell us of a land divided
    into a hundred or so separate tribal communities
    without writing or political unity.

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Their Records...
  • The Japanese do not start writing their histories
    until around 600 AD this historical writing
    culminates in 700 AD in the massive chronicles,
    The Record of Ancient Matters and the Chronicles
    of Japan.
  • These chronicles tell a much different and much
    more legendary history of Japan, deriving the
    people of Japan from the gods themselves.

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Some Questions...
  • Where did the Japanese come from?
  • Why did they settle the islands?
  • What did life look like before history was
    written down?

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Geography
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The Islands
  • Japan consists of over 400 Islands but only the
    four largest are of historical importance
    (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu)
  • Islands formed originally by violent volcanic
    activity on the sea bottom
  • Mountainous land with numerous small rivers
    flowing directly to the sea.

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Lets look at size...
  • Total land area of Japan is 380 000km2 (smaller
    than Baffin Island)
  • Todays population is 125 million (five times
    that of Canada)
  • 1/5th of the land sufficiently level enough to be
    cultivated? therefore Japanese agriculture is one
    of the most intensive in the entire world

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Baffin Island vs. Japan
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Temperature
  • Major Islands have temperate climate and abundant
    rainfall
  • Experiences few extremes in temperature

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Resources
  • Japan has few natural resources
  • Must import almost all energy requirements (oil,
    minerals, and a great deal of food)
  • Has an abundance of fish and a wide range of
    vegetable crops
  • Has one of the worlds healthiest diets (lifespan
    of the average Japanese person longest in the
    world)

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The Situation...
  • Japanese Islands at the extreme edge of the
    Eurasian land mass
  • At its closest point, 240 km from the Asian
    continent
  • The Sea of Japan (difficult to cross)
  • Japan deeply influenced by Chinese and Korean
    civilization, but historical interaction never
    continuous? Japan borrows and adapts

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STOP.
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Isolation
  • Because of isolation? high degree of continuity
    prior to the impact of Western imperialism in the
    19th century
  • No real social disruptions, no revolutionary
    thinkers? therefore the catalysts of change were
    external influences (Chinese and Korean cultures)

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10 000 BCE-710CE
  • The Formative Period

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And so we begin...
  • During last ice age (ended 11, 000 years ago)
    Japanese island joined with Asian mainland by a
    land bridge
  • People from Korea, Northeast Asia crossed land
    mass and settled
  • Earliest archaeological remains 9500 BCE
    (earliest pottery remains in world history)

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Over time...
  • Joined by peoples from South China or Polynesian
    Islands
  • Peoples blending together
  • Creation of a distinct culture, Jomon (lasted
    until 300 BCE)

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The Ainu
  • During same time another people came to Hokkaido.
  • These people were called the Ainu.
  • For centuries Ainu remained culturally distinct
    from the rest of the Japanese
  • Today, less than 20, 000 left
  • Origins a mystery

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A Mixture
  • Japanese people of mixed origin.
  • Japanese ignore this, and instead emphasize their
    mythological beginnings and their divine descent.

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The Jomon
  • Hunters, fishers, and gatherers
  • Named after type of pottery decorated by pressing
    rope into wet clay
  • Pottery later included human figures
  • Large eyes (windows to soul)
  • Women larger than men (Female dominance)

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Examples
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Blending
  • 3rd Century BCE? Jomon begin blending with the
    Yayoi
  • Yayoi brought knowledge of irrigated rice
    cultivation, bronze and iron work, glass, and
    mirrors
  • Culture from Korea?

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Unity?
  • 300 CE Japanese on Honshu joined together to form
    a distinctive state
  • No written language yet? we rely on
    archaeological evidence and Chinese accounts

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Chinese Accounts (297 CE)
  • Japanese as people who went barefoot, ate raw
    vegetables, and bowed frequently
  • Japan ruled by queen (Pimiko)
  • Problem with violence when men ruled
  • In 1990 archaeologists discovered the fortress of
    Pimiko
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