7-4 & 7-5 Japan Unit Test Study Guide

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class of warriors in feudal Japan who pledged loyalty to a noble in return for land

Nara Period

In the early A.D 700's, Japan's emperors built a new capital city named Nara. Nara was the center of government and religion in Japan. The time during the early A.D 700's became known as the Nara Period

Martial Arts

Sports, such as judo and karate, that involve combat and self-defense


The yamato began the taika or the "great change"


Powerful military lords that were in charge of small territories


A Japanese religion whose followers believe that all things in the natural world are filled with divine spirits

Pure Land Buddhism

One of the most important sects. It was a type of Mahayana Buddhism.

Gempei War

A civil war between the two most powerful clans: the Taira family and the Minamoto family


In feudalism, a noble who held land from and served a higher-ranking lord, and in return was given protection


The Japanese art of folding paper into shapes representing objects (e.g., flowers or birds)


The second largest of the four main islands of Japan

Murasaki Shikibu

A woman who wrote The Tale of Genji: which describes the adventures of a Japanese prince


The Yamato leader who took the title "emperor of heaven" founded a line of rulers in Japan that has never been broken

Onin War

From 1467-1477, Japan's warriors fought each other for land and power. During this conflict the cith of Kyoto was completely destroyed

Minamoto Yoritomo

Leader of the Minamoto Famiy. First man to be given title of shogun


A written plan of government


The ancestors of the Japanese people

The Tale of Genji

Written by Lady Murasaki; first novel in any languange; relates life history of prominent and amorous son of the Japanese emperor's son; evidence for mannered style of the Japanese society.


"divine wind"; honoring the spirits the Japanese believed had saved their islands from the Mongols.


Commander of all the emperor's military forces,

What religion became a major religion and important in government and society in the A.D 700s?


What demands did Bushido place on the samurai?

Bushido code demanded that a samurai be devoted to his master, courageous, loyal and honorable. A samurai would rather die in battle than betray his lord.

How were Noh plays used by the Japanese?

Noh plays were used to teach Buddhist ideas.

How artisans contribute to Japan's wealth in the Middle Ages?

Artisans made things that could be used like weapons, armor, and tools as well as pottery, paper, textiles and lacquered goods.

How did the position of upper-class women change after Japan became a warrior society?

Upper-class women lost some of their freedom like owning property.

Why is Prince Shotoku is famous?

Shotoku created a constitution, ordered Buddhist temples and monasteries to be built-wanted to create a stronger and better Japan.

What do people who follow Shinto believe?

Believe in nature spirits called Kami.

Why did the power of the emperors weaken during the A.D. 800s?

The Fujiwara clan became powerful because the government rewarded them with land. And weak emperors who are still children and covert officials called regents governed them.

Why did the emperor create the title of shogun?

Shogun- commander of emperor's military forces. It created two governments.

When the Mongols attacked Japan, what stopped them?

A violent Pacific storm smashed many ships.

A bond of loyalty between a lord and a vassal is known as


What did most Japanese people believe about religion?

Shinto was concerned with daily life. Buddhism prepared people for life to come. Each religion met different needs.

How did the Chinese influence Japan?

The Chinese influenced the Japanese government, philosophy, literature, science and religion. Prince Shotoku sent advisors to mainland China to observe the culture and bring back scholars, artisans, etc.

What crops did Japanese farmers grow?

Farmers grew rice, wheat, millet, and barley.

Today's emperor of Japan is descended from what group?

The Yamato.

What did the Yamato do during the Great Change?

They ruled Japan and divided it into provinces. All land in Japan came under the emperor's control. Clan leaders could not collect taxes anymore. Government officials gathered part of a farmer's crops as taxes for the emperor.

How did the governments of Nara Japan and China differ?

Government officials in Japan were appointed not hired.

Why did the emperor of Japan make Minamoto Yoritomo shogun?

The emperor was worried that the Minamoto family would try to replace the Yamato family as the rulers of Japan.

Why were the daimyo able to take control of parts of Japan?

They created their own local armies to protect their lands.

What is the significance of The Onin War?

Japan's warrior's fought each other. The government broke down. The city of Kyoto was destroyed.

What did Zen Buddhism teach?

Zen Buddhism taught inner peace through self-control and a simple way of life.

Who was Murasaki Shikibu?

The Japanese woman who wrote, "The Tale of Genji"

Describe the role of women in Japan during the Middle Ages.

Women were expected to obey their father, husband and son. They worked long hours in fields, cooked, spun and wove clothe and cared for their children.

Why did shogunates rule Japan for hundreds of years?

High-ranking samurai were appointed to serve as advisors and to run the provinces. They were bound by an oath of loyalty, these samurai lords ruled Japan's villages, kept the peace, and gathered taxes.

Describe the system of feudalism in Japan during the 1400's and 1500s.

A bond of loyalty between a samurai and a daimyo (military lord). The samurai promised to serve the daimyo during times of war and in return, the daimyo gave his samurai land.

How does Japan's geography impact its culture?

Japan is a chain of islands that are mountainous. Japan's mountains and islands isolated Japan and shaped its society. This makes for very little land to be farmed. Villages settled along the coast to fish for food. Vast oceans kept Japan isolated from the rest of Asia. Most people were merchants or fisherman/woman.

Know the Japanese Creation Legend and think how it might influence Japanese Culture

Gods and Goddesses came to life and began struggling for power. The Storm God was banished by the Sun Goddess and his descendants lived on the Japanese islands. Ninigi, grandson of the the Sun Goddess controlled the island of Honshu and was conquered by his grandson Jimmu who became the first emperor of Japan in 660 B.C. (Review Japanese Creation Legend, #2 handout)

Be able to label the four major Japanese Islands. Spelling counts here!!

Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu

Review and know the details of dry-landscape gardens and Ikebana.

Read and review #6 of the handouts "Background Information on Dry-Landscape Gardens" and "Background Information on Japanese Flower Arrangement."

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