Japan: History

KEY EVENTS IN JAPANESE HISTORY

  • 11,000–300 BCE Jomon culture
  • 300 BCE–250 CE Yayoi culture
  • 250–552 CE Tomb period (Kofun)
  • 552–710 Late Yamato period
  • 552 Buddhism is transported from Korea to Japan
  • 604 Japan’s 17-point ‘‘constitution’’ is ascribed to Prince Shotoku
  • 645 So-called Taika Reforms are enacted
  • 710 Japan’s first permanent capital is established at Nara
  • 710–794 Nara period
  • 794–1156 Heian period
  • 794 Capital is moved to Heian (Kyoto) ca. 1010 Murasaki Shikibu authors The Tale of Genji
  • 1156–1185 Taira clan controls the government
  • 1180–1185 Gempei War between Taira and Minamoto
  • 1185–1333 Kamakura period
  • 1192 The emperor appoints Minamoto Yoritomo as Japan’s first shogun
  • 1274, 1281 Two Mongol attempts to conquer Japan fail
  • 1333–1336 Kemmu Restoration attempt to increase imperial power fails
  • 1336–1573 Ashikaga period
  • 1338 Ashikaga Takauji is formally appointed shogun and rules from Kyoto
  • 1467–1477 Onin War marks the beginning of Japanese disunification and civil strife
  • 1543 Portuguese are the first Europeans to reach Japan
  • 1573–1600 Unification period
  • 1600 Tokugawa Ieyasu defeats rivals for political power at the battle of Sekigahara
  • 1600–1868 Tokugawa period
  • 1603 Tokugawa Ieyasu assumes the title of shogun, ruling from Edo (modern-day Tokyo)
  • 1615 The unification of Japan is completed with the defeat of Tokugawa’s opponents at Osaka Castle
  • 1630 Japan is closed to almost all foreigners
  • 1630–1853 Tokugawa period is marked by peace and prosperity
  • 1853 Commodore Matthew C. Perry ‘‘opens’’ Japan to foreign countries
  • 1868–1912 Meiji period
  • 1868 A group of disaffected samurai overthrows the Tokugawas and establishes an oligarchy ruling in the emperor’s name
  • 1889 Japan becomes the first Asian country to adopt a Western-style Constitution
  • 1904–1905 Japan defeats Russia and gains control of Korea
  • 1910 Korea is formally annexed
  • 1912–1926 Taisho period
  • 1919 Japan, having fought with the Allies in World War I, fails to get a racial equality clause in the Versailles Treaty
  • 1926–1989 Showa period
  • 1931 Japan seizes Manchuria
  • 1937 Start of the Chinese-Japanese War
  • 1941 The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, starting World War II in the Pacific
  • 1945 Atomic bombings of Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9); Japan surrenders
  • 1952 End of the U.S. occupation of Japan
  • 1980 Japanese automobile production exceeds that of the United States for the first time
  • 1989–present Heisei period
  • 1990 Japanese economic bubble bursts, bringing more than a decade of economic stagnation
  • 2001–2006 Prime Minister Koizumi provides strong and visionary leadership to Japan during a troubled time
  • 2003 Japan’s economy begins to recover from the long downturn
  • 2008 Democratic Party of Japan becomes the first single party ever to gain control of the Upper House of the Diet from the Liberal Democratic Party