What We Have Learned About Japan (ERAS AND PERIODS (Classical Period- A…
What We Have Learned About Japan
The tea ceremony- started in the Ashikaga shogunate, an ancient ritual of serving and drinking tea.
Many festivals are based around nature and medieval Buddhist and Shinto ceremonies. But there are other more artistic festivals such as the traditional Kabuki performances.
Kabuki is a theatre performance that involves intricate designed costumes, make-up, wigs, and exaggerated actions performed by the actors. These plays can go on for a full day and illustrates everyday life in Medieval Japan.
SAMURAI- "Those who serve" The warrior class that was under the power and influence of the Daimyo. 4th class in the Feudal Hierarchy.
They gained significant importance especially during the feudal times. The power of the Daimyo was based around the fighting skills of the samurai. True Samurai followed the code of Bushido; the rules that specified the correct behaviour of a samurai.
All boys born into a samurai family were trained to be one when they grew older. They were taught horse riding, archery, sword fighting and hand to hand combat.
A Samurai who has lost his honour was expected to commit suicide in a ritual called Seppuku.
Samurai carried two swords; The Katana (long sword) and Wakizashi (short sword). The swords were given names and were forged with care. Samurai usually recieved their first sword at 5 years. Helmets were made of iron and the armour, worn over the kimono, weighed approximately 25 pounds or more if it rained.
Emperors are only figureheads. They had less power than the shogun but was still on the top of the hierarchy.
Shogun- Military leader of Japan. Although they were 2nd in the hierarchy, they held the most power in the country. The emperors chief military adviser in charge with protecting Japan from foreign threats.
Daimyo- A feudal lord who and vessel for the shogun and a powerful land owner.
Ronin- masterless samurai who lost their daimyo and is left to choose between running away and starting a new life or working under a new commander.
ART AND LITERATURE
Valuable information about Japanese technology, architecture and the way people lived were found through examining their construction techniques, materials and designs.
Japanese created many crafts such as origami, woodblock painting and pottery. Origami is the art of folding paper into different shapes and designs. Traditional sculpturing involved things from small clay figures to massive bronze statues.
There are various Japanese literary works that portrays the aspects of life in that time. 'The tale of Genji' is the first early work and was written by Murasaki Shibiku from 1000 to 1010 CE. There are also numerous letters written by emperors, daimyo and samurai that record family histories and political controversy.
ERAS AND PERIODS
Classical Period- A time where a few of the first great works of literature and art were completed in Japan. Buddhism was also prominent amongst the Japanese. During this period, the Chinese influence was very strong.
Heian Period- (794-1185) Emperor Kamma changed the capital to Heian-kyo, now known as Kyoto. Daimyo began to significantly increase their power. Samurais were employed to prevent taking over of their Daimyo's land and control their interests. Emperors relied on samurais to help defeat rebellious Daimyo. Emperor Kamma recruited Otomo No Otomaro to be the shogun, comander-in-cheif for his military forces.
Kamakura Shogunate- (1192-1333) The end of the classical period. However, this was the beginning of the feudal period as the emperor put full trust into the shogun to effectively rule Japan. Emperors were restricted to his religious and ceremonial duties. This time brought political stability to Japan. Samurai were given a firm set of rules and Buddhism began to rise. Poetry, Music, Painting and wood sculpture flourished.
Ashikaga Shogunate- Emperor Go-Daigo resisted the military government and with the help from the Ashikaga clan's samurai, the Kamakura shogunate collapsed. Later, the samurai from the Ashikaga clan turned against the emperor and forced him to flee to the mountains. The clan ruled 237 years and was a time of artistic achievements.
Tokugawa Shogunate- (1600-1867) The most powerful of all feudal governments, and was able to weaken the power of the other daimyo clans. Tokugawa Ieyasu, a descendant of the Minamoto Clan, joined Oda Nobunaga's son Oda Nobukatsu in a campaign against the most powerful daimyo in the country, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. However, the rivalry eventually ended when they came up with a truce.