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Medieval Japan

Heian Court

(794 - 1100) move the capital to Heian; 300 years of developing a new culture; growth of large estates; arts and literature of china flourished; elaborate court life; personal diaries (pillow book and the take of genji); moved away from chinese culture

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.


Literally 'those who serve,' the hereditary military elite in Feudal Japan as well as during the Tokugawa Shogunate.


traditional code of the Japanese samurai which stressed courage and loyalty and self-discipline and simple living


lord of a large agricultural estate in feudal Japan who supported the shogun


in Japanese feudal society, supreme military commander who held more power than the emperor


The art of growing small trees in japan and its is said to bring peace. Was practiced by the Samurai to achieve inner peace.


The Japanese word for a branch of Mahayana Buddhism based on highly disciplined meditation. It is known in Sanskrit as dhyana, in Chinese as chan, and in Korean as son.

Shogunate System

the system of government in Japan in which the emperor exercised only titular authority while the shogun exercised actual political power

Taika Reforms

Appeared in Japan and gave Japan the key features of Tang government, including legal code, variety of Confucianism, and an official reverence for Buddhism.


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

Pure Land

The place where Amida Buddha has vowed to have reborn those who call on his name ten times at death


gods or nature spirits of Japanese religion, which lived in all things, such as waterfalls, sand, and great trees

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