absence of government, a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority
hard to accomplish or achieve; marked by great labor or effort
the quality or state of being austere; stern and cold in appearance or manner; morally strict; markedly simple or unadorned
of a gentle disposition; showing kindness and gentleness; of a mild type or character that does not threaten health or life
manifesting, feeling, or expressing contempt, or a lack of respect or reverence for something
the residence or establishment of a sovereign or similar dignitary, a sovereign's formal assembly of councilors and officers, the sovereign and officers and advisers who are the governing power, the family and retinue of a sovereign
one in attendance at a royal or princely court
not concentrated or localized
easily taught; easily lead or managed; tractable
a territory over which dominion, or complete and absolute ownership and authority, is exercised
to make beautiful with ornamentation; to heighten the attractiveness of by adding ornamental details
not forming an essential or vital part; having no relevance
a feudal estate
a hostile entrance into a territory; a raid
intense and usually openly displayed anger
capable of change or of being changed
very steep, perpendicular, or overhanging in rise and fall
marked by abundant inventiveness or productivity
not restricted to one sexual partner
an expression of rebuke or disapproval
of or relating to priests or priesthood
of keen and farsighted penetration and judgement; discerning, caused by or indicating acute discernment
the state of being stratified; to form, deposit, or arrange in strata or levels, to divide or arrange into classes, castes or social strata, to divide into a series of graded statuses
to give or leave by will -- used especially of personal property, to hand down
to strive to equal or excel; to copy
to set right; to correct by removing errors
having a huge appetite; excessively eager
Religion was introduced from China in the Kofun Period (6th century). Buddhists came into political power and therefore endorsed the practice of Buddhism. Eventually, Buddhism became a popular religion, which influenced architectural and artistic developments. This religion contained appealing characteristics to the samurai (meditative, appreciation of the arts, greater control).
Nihon or Nippon
A Japanese name for Japan. Meaning: "Origin of the Sun".
Traditional Japanese religion. Literally means "The Way of the Gods". This religion was polytheistic and shared many mores with Buddhism and Taoism. Held purification in high regard. The religion was overpowered by Buddhism, but shrines still exist today for this religion, as well as incorporated doctrines (there are idealogical and emotional forces that still exist today in Japan that stem from Shinto).
Mountains in Japan
Widespread. Many (if not all) are volcanos (some are inactive). Mount Fuji in an icon of Japan (and the highest mountain).
Japan as an Archipelago
Japan is not one solid land mass - made up of many island. Together, the islands make up an archipelago.
Forests in Japan
Uncommon. Rice cultivation and deforestation (development of urban and residential areas) have reduced forest area. Japan's climate and the presence of catastrophic natural disasters also make it difficult for trees to grow.
Sea of Japan
Separates Japan from the Asian mainland. Japan is 500 miles off the coast of China and 125 miles off the coast of Korea.
Volcanic Activity in Japan
Catastrophic. A result of the tectonic plates and magma. This can make living conditions dangerous and difficult as well as the sustainment of agriculture. Many (if not all) of the mountains in Japan are volcanos (some are inactive).
Often underwater earthquakes or volcanos that cause a sudden and large displacement of water, which triggers a series of waves that can cause a destructive collision with the coast. Causes problems for coastal towns and areas.
Seismic Activity in Japan
Japan is located in a region where tectonic plates meet, causing volcanos, earthquakes and tsunamis. These disasters can make living dangerous and difficult as well as the sustainment of agriculture.
"Ring of Fire"
Area with high amount of seismic activity (due to the the meeting places of several tectonic plates) in the basin of the Pacific Ocean.
Major Japanese Islands
These islands make up the majority of Japan's land area. The islands are listed relative to their location - North to South, respectively:
2. Honshu (happens to be the most populated and largest island)
Literally means "God Winds", but commonly know as the "Divine Winds". In Japanese legend, these winds blew the Mongol invaders off course.
Edo (modern city of Tokyo)
This city became the capital in the early 17th century, when the Tokugawa Shogunate came into power.
Heian (modern city of Kyoto)
This city was the capital during the Heian period.
These are seasonally reversing winds existing in Asia.
A mature tropical cyclone existing in the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean. Like other natural distasters in Japan, this weather system ravaged villages and agriculture.
Traditional Japanese female entertainers. Often characterized by wearing white makeup on their face while wearing extravagant clothing. These woman were often at courts of nobles or aristocrats.
Sun goddess. Based in Shinto. Traditionally, the emperor was thought to descent from her.
Rice Cultivation in Japan
Dominated life. Backbreaking work that took a long time to harvest the crop. This is a reason for deforestation in Japan. This type of agriculture was introduced from the Asian mainland (Korea).
Feudum, Fief, or Shoen
Feudalistic term. This was the piece of land granted from the superior to the inferior.
A covert samurai agent.
Japanese word for the spirits, natural forces, or essence in the Shinto faith.
Uji or Clans
The division of Japan before the Heian period. Very primitive society. Clans attempted to establish themselves as the leading clans, or emperors over the land, however in the late periods, there was a lot of power struggles and the governments shifted toward feudalism.
Japan's first emperor during the Asuka period. He sent observers to China. This played a major role in the creation of the Taiko Reforms.
A set of doctrines that contained ideas and concepts that were a result of selective borrowing from China.
Selective Borrowing from China in Japan
The implementation of certain Chinese ideas, such as Confucianism, Taoism, language, urban planning design, Buddhism, etc., that were deemed advantageous to Japanese society. Occurred from c.550-750 CE.
The first capital of Japan during the Nara period. Location of the Todaji at Nara.
An aristocratic time period in Japanese history, during which, the capital was moved to Heian. Courts were popular.
The Pillow Book
A book of observations and musings recorded by Sei Shonagon during her time as court lady.
The Tale of Genji
A classical piece of Japanese literature written by Murasaki Shikibu, during the Heian period. Sometimes known as the world's first novel. This story depicts the livelihoods of high courtiers.
Common estate of a Japanese aristocrat or noble and his concubines or geishas during the Heian period.
Earliest period of recorded history in Japan.
Wood in Architecture
Prevents building destruction from earthquakes - very stable medium. Famously used in the Todaji at Nara - the largest wooden building in the world.
Buddhist Architectural Influences
The building design of a Pagoda (tiered tower with multiple eaves) stems from the building design of a Stupa (mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics).
Rise of Feudalism
Associated with Minamoto Yoritomo. The land was dominated by daimyos and the military rule of shoguns (a bakufu). Land was granted to someone in return for loyalty and obedience. The emperor theoretically "controlled" all of the land, however, power struggles were common. The basic functions of the government were carried out by landlords (Daimyo) and appointed people, like the samurai. The political and military figures consisted of the emperor, daimyo and shogun.
Japan's first shogun.
The rule was called the shogunate. A warlord who served the Daimyo who served the emperor. Japanese figure with most power.
Land was granted by the emperors to this figure. Referred to as lords and usually lived in courts and carried out (held responsible for) the basic functions of the land. Had some control over his/her shogun.
Nobles vs. Aristocrats vs. Lords in Japanese Society
A noble has a name attached to his title ("the Great", etc.). An aristocrat is just a generic term used to describe a wealthy person. A lord was often a person who had noble blood (this was often a daimyo).
Warriors who fought for the shogun or emperor. Practiced the "Way of the Samurai".
A vassal was often a servant, or someone of lower rank and power who served a lord, a person of higher rank and power. People were referred to as 'inferiors' - lower rank and power, or 'superiors' - higher rank and power. This term describes a hierarchal society. People of different ranks and power treated each other as equals by showing respect.
Bushido or "Way of the Samurai"
The major duties and responsibilities of a samurai warrior. Courage, respect, honesty, honor, loyalty, wisdom, focus, meditation, relentless, tactical, deadly, fierce are values associated with the samurai.
Retainers in Japanese Society
A paid servant. These people were retained. Often samurai (or other people who serve superiors).
A form of ritual suicide by disembowelment. This was performed in response to a loss of honor or extreme shame or embarrassment. Often done voluntarily, but also used as a form of capital punishment.
How the feudalistic government was characterized. The emperor had negligible power over his/her territory. The shoguns held most of the power.
A term used for how inferiors paid respect to superiors in feudalistic Japan.
A form of Japanese puppet theater.
A traditional Japanese string instrument.
A traditional form of Japanese theater.
Sword vs. Chrysanthemum
A paradox because a sword is a symbol of destruction while a chrysanthemum is a symbol of peace, serenity and beauty. This idea is used to explain instincts of the Japanese people (eg. samurai), and how they balance destruction with peace, serenity, and beauty in their daily lives. This term is used as a metaphor to describe Zen Buddhism vs. Samurai Culture.
Tea Ceremony in Japan
A precise, quiet, and meticulously choreographed ceremony that represented samurai and Japanese values.
A port city in southern Japan that was open to the Europeans.
East China Sea
The sea located southwest of Japan.
Yayoi People and Culture
A mixture of the native Japanese with the immigrants from Korea who brought with them the knowledge of rice cultivation.
Government in Japan
1. Clans (autonomous estates and pieces of land)
2. Imperialism (aristocracy)
Feudalism vs. Imperial Government
In feudalism, political figures were also high ranking wealthy people in their lands who owned a lot of land. In imperialism, government officials were hired by the emperor and had no connection (no ranking) to the land. The emperor generally had more power in imperialism and there were less power struggles, because other high ranking officials didn't have enough power to make themselves powerful (and because they were not inclined due to the lack of connection to the land).
The founder of Buddhism. Referred to as 'The Buddha'.