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SS Quiz: Japan Geography
Terms in this set (54)
In what two ways might the seas have influenced Japan's history?
- Provides food
- Seas separate it from the mainland
- Isolated and protected from invaders
- Trade usually done through inland sea
- Access to maritime trade
- It is a homogenous society (where people share a common ethnic and cultural background).
About how far does Japan extend north to south? About how many miles is Japan at its widest point?
- North to south = ~1833 miles (includes water)
- Width = ~ 1000 miles (includes water)
- Japan is an archipelago (chain of islands). Four large - islands and 3,900 smaller ones.
- In ring of fire (a lot of seismic activity)
What effect do you think these mountains had on Japan's efforts to become a united country?
- ⅘ of Japan is mountains so it wasn't initially a united country bc communication and transportation was difficult.
- Ruled by regional clans (not city states).
What percent - 90%, 60%, 15% - do you think best expresses the amount of land Japan can use for agriculture? How might the amount of agricultural land in Japan affect how/what is grown or raised there?
- 15% farmland (on the coast on the plains)
- Arable land in coastal plains and narrow river valleys (15%).
- Created farmland by carving terraces into hills and marshy lands
- Also focuses on growing crops that can produce a lot in a small space - RICE.
- Limited grazing pasture = limited livestock production. Most people consume fish.
Before Tokyo, the capital of Japan was first Nara and Kyoto. Why were they good locations for a capital?
- Centrally located
- Protected by mountains and inland
- Located on flat land
On which island is it located? Why do you think the Kanto Plain is the most populated area in Japan?
- Located in Honshu
- Largest area of flat land in Japan -- agriculture easier, centrally located, easy to build.
- Most densely populated area with more than 20,000 people per square mile.
- Comparison: NJ is the most densely populated state with 1210 people per square mile.
- Most populated city in Japan: Tokyo (13.22 million)
- Comparison: NYC has 8.4 million people.
At what point is the distance between Japan and the Asian continent the shortest? How might have this proximity affected Japan's history?
- 100 miles away from South Korea
- Traded and fought with Korea and China
- Borrowed ideas from China:
Confucianism and Buddhism (Mahayana).
What is an ancient legend on how Japan was created? Explain why such a story has been told.
One ancient legend says that Japan was created by a god who reached down from the sky and dipped a spear into the ocean. As he drew the spear back up, drops of water fell from the sky and became the islands of Japan.
Japan is called land of the rising sun because the sun rises in the east and Japan is the most easterly country.
Japan is an archipelago made up of thousands of islands spreading around 1,800 miles (north to south) and 1,000 miles (west to east). The largest Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Hokkaido.
Which of the Japanese islands do you think became the center of power in Japan? Explain your answer.
Largest and most populated island is Honshu. It will become the center of power since it is centrally located and has the most land to be used for agriculture (flat).
The spread of cultural elements from one society to another.
Legend about the Tenno Clan
Legend goes that in 660 BCE, Jimmu of the Tenno clan united Japan and created the first dynasty. According to legend, the Tenno clan claimed to be descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu, who gave them the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan: an iron sword, a bronze mirror, and a jeweled necklace. These Sacred Treasures became symbols of the government's power, and the word "Tenno" came to be the Japanese word for emperor.
What do the symbols represent about the Japanese government?
Mirror: knowledge and honesty Sword: valor and force Jewel: wealth and charity
In 1989 Akihito Tenno was presented the Sacred Treasures during his (private) enthronement ceremony. What connections can you make between the legend and Japan today?
Still believed by some Japanese
The current Japanese emperor believes he his from the Tenno clan.
First Evidence on the Jimmu Tenno Clan
The first mention of the dynasty occurred around 1500 years ago when missionaries from Korea arrived on the islands. Many cultural ideas that originated in India and China traveled to Japan by way of the Korean peninsula. Japan eagerly absorbed elements of culture - objects, ideas, and customs - from the mainland.
Describe Japan's government before it was influenced by countries on the Asian mainland.
In 607 CE, Prince Shotoku sent nobles to live in Chang'an and learn from the Chinese.
Initially, Japan's emperor relied on uji (clans) to help him rule (loose control).
Each uji controlled its own land and they could influence the emperor's decision
Describe the new ideas about government that Japan adopted and any changes the Japanese made to these ideas.
Influence came directly from China to Japan.
Chinese influence -- by 700 CE, Japan's emperor also had the support of a large bureaucracy selected by civil service exams.
Eventually, a powerful nobility developed in Japan and ended up getting rid of the civil service exams.
Describe the ideas that Japan adopted for its new capital city.
With a stronger central government and a large bureaucracy, Japan needed a new capital city. In 710, the imperial government built a Chinese-style capital at Nara.
Went directly from China to Japan.
The new city was a smaller version of Chang'an, China's capital and it was also laid out in a checkerboard pattern.
What were the main differences between the capital cities of Japan and China?
Nara is smaller, and it doesn't have a wall (didn't need it bc it had natural barriers)-- Chang'an did and is bigger.
Describe Japan's religion before it was influenced by countries on the mainland.
Original religion was shinto (means the way "tao" of the gods "shen").
No founder, holy book, or belief in afterlife.
Followers believe in kami spirits (spiritual beings or forces of nature like wind, lightening, and rivers.)
Perform rituals to win favor of the kami.
Stresses living in harmony with nature and humanity.
Describe the new religion that Japan adopted and any changes the Japanese made to this religion.
Mahayana Buddhist missionaries arrived in Japan in 552.
Introduced an organized belief system.
Went from India to China to Korea to Japan.
Belief that all people can reach nirvana through following buddhist dharma and bodhisattvas help others become enlightened.
Buddhism did not replace Shinto -- both religions thrived and blended.
Buddhist built shrines to kami and Shintoists enshrined bodhisattvas.
Describe Japan's written language before it was influenced by countries on the mainland.
Ancient Japanese was the only spoken language. Over time, the Japanese adapted Chinese characters, or written symbols, to write their own language.
First, Japanese symbols began using kanji (Chinese writing) to write Japanese
But using Chinese characters to read and write Japanese was difficult. The two languages have different grammar, sounds, and pronunciations.
Describe the new writing that Japan adopted and any changes the Japanese made to this style of writing.
900 - Japanese invented kana. In Japanese, kana means " borrowed letters". In kana, simplified Chinese characters represent Japanese syllables.
Went from China to Korea to Japan.
Describe the new style of architecture that Japan adopted.
The Japanese adopted the Chinese pagoda design for Buddhist temples.
Went from India to China to Korea to Japan.
What changes did the Japanese make to the architectural style that they adopted?
Temples originally had a mound like design called stupa, but that was changed byt he Chinese before the religion reached Japan.
For Buddhist worship and meditation, Prince Shotoku founded the Horyuji, a magnificent temple in Nara.
Lofty pagodas were all around Nara.
Buddhist pagodas inspired Shinto priests to build their own permanent shrines. Torii gates
Describe new ideas concerning philosophy that the Japanese adopted from the mainland.
Five basic relationships (the duties and obligations of superior and inferior persons) -- equal friendship.
Went from China to Korea to Japan.
What parts of this philosophy did the Japanese not accept?
Mandate of heaven -- all emperors descended from the sun god.
Civil service exams
Between 550 and 850 CE, Japan set out on a course of deliberate cultural borrowing from the mainland. What are some examples of this?
Buddhism came from India and adopted China's Mahayana branch.
Chinese writing was adopted first Kanji (chinese writing)
Pagoda came from China and they became widely used for temples.
Strong centralized government supported by a bureaucracy (from China).
Confucianism from China (five key relationships will be the basis of their culture).
Created a capital city modeled after Chang'an in Nara to house the imperial government (used checkerboard pattern).
In what ways did Japan preserve its own identity during this phase of cultural diffusion?
Combined elements of Buddhism (used for funerals) with Shintoism (used for weddings/births)
Changed Kanji and developed Kana (borrowed letters) to make it more suitable for the sounds and grammar of Japanese.
No Mandate of Heaven - Japan only has one dynasty.
No civil service exams (government jobs held by nobles).
No city wall -- fortification, rampart
3 capitals of Japan
Nara, Kyoto, Tokyo
Seas: Exs and Advantage or Disadvantage?
Ex. Sea of Japan, Inland Sea, East China Sea
Adv. Japan is isolated and protected from invaders, yet they can make contact with other places if they choose. Allows fishing. Access to maritime trade -- Serves as a highway.
Dis. causes typhoons and tsunamis
Pacific Ring of Fire: Exs and Advantage or Disadvantage?
Ex. A region on the border of the Pacific Ocean with many earthquakes and volcanoes.
Adv. When volcanoes erupt, soil is made fertile from its volcanic ash.
Dis. Japan has many natural disasters (1500 earthquakes a yes, 30 active volcanoes, tsunamis) that can cause major damage.
Mountains: Exs and Advantage or Disadvantage?
Ex. four fifths of Japan is mountainous. Japanese mountains, Hidaka mountains, Chugoku mountains
Dis. Because so much of Japan is mountainous, there isn't much arable land That also makes the non-mountainous regions overpopulated. Transportation and communication are difficult.
Coastal Plains, River Valleys, Lowlands: Exs and Advantage or Disadvantage?
Ex. Kanto Plain -- fertile lowland on the island of Honshu.
Adv. These areas provide arable land and flat places for Japanese citizens to build place for them to live.
Climate: Exs and Advantage or Disadvantage?
Ex. Mild Climate - similar to USA, but Japan's summers aren't as hot and its winters aren't as cold. A lot of precipitation.
Adv. There is a very long growing season (200-260 days) and plenty of rain. They get 2 growing seasons while we only get one.
Mineral Resources: Exs and Advantage or Disadvantage?
Ex. Coal, copper, iron, oil. Japan has very few mineral resources.
Dis. Japan must rely on world trade, especially for oil. Anything that disrupts the oil flow of the Middle East really affects Japan's economy. They must be on good terms with other countries and they must spend other resources to buy the ones that they need.
Highest mountain in Japan
Zone of active volcanoes near the Pacific Ocean
Ring of Fire
Separates Hokkaido from Russia
Sea of Okhotsk
Fertile area with population density of 20,000 people per square mile
Smallest of the islands
Method that increases arable land
Chain of islands
Most populated island
City located on western side of Honshu
Separates Japan from the mainland
Sea of Japan
Capital of Japan
Most isolated island
Sense of their own special identity
Borders Japan to the east
Dominant physical feature of Japan
Allows trade between the Japanese islands
People who share the same language and culture
City located on Hokkaido
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