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A Brief History of Japan

Updated: Jan 15, 2020

Japan is an island nation that has well over 6000 islands. The four largest islands make up by far the majority of the country's land. In the 8th century, Japan became unified into a strong state ruled by an emperor. In 794, Emperor Kammu moved the capital to what is today Kyoto. This started Japan's Heian period where much of today's distinct Japanese culture emerged including art, literature, poetry, and music.

In the 10th and 11th centuries Japan entered into a feudal era. During this time the samurai, a ruling class of warriors, came into power. The leader of the most powerful clan of samurais was called the shogun. In 1467 a civil war broke out called the Onin War. It was between the shogun and the feudal warlords, called daimyo. Japan was once again unified in 1590 under Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

During the 1500s the Portuguese arrived in Japan. They began to trade and learn about European society and the west. However, in the 1630s the shogun closed the country to outside contact and trade. This policy was called sakoku. Japan would remain closed to foreigners for over 200 years. In 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States forced Japan to reopen relations with the rest of the world. Japan became an empire ruled by an emperor.

In World War II Japan allied with the Axis Powers of Germany and Italy. On December 7, 1941 Japan attacked the United States bombing Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. This caused the United States to enter the war on the side of the Allies. Japan surrendered in 1945 when the US dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1947 Japan adopted a constitution with a democratic government. Since then Japan has grown into a powerful nation with one of the world's largest economies.

To learn more about the culture, art, and more you can come over to CultureCon and learn more. The tickets are free, the education, fun comic book fun is everywhere and more.

Reference: https://www.ducksters.com/geography/country/japan.php

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