ASIE / FAR EAST
Japan of the Origins
The prehistoric settlement of archipelago is badly known.
Its geographical position in the center of several cords of islands,
attaches it to Kamtchatka in North, the Philippines and the New
the South, without forgetting the strait of less than 180 km
today which connect Japan to Korea and China and which one could cross
by foot, 30 000 years ago. At the same time, Hokkaido is
to Kamtchatka and to the Siberian coasts and there will come
Aïnu. Migrations along all these axis, enriched the Japan's settlement at the dawn
of the history. It is from Korea that the migratory flows most
significant will come. Moreover, the currents coming from South-east
accredit the arrival of population coming from Malaysia. That is
- 8 000 and - 6 000 that the rise of the seas cuts these terrestrial
passages towards the continent and that Japan becomes an archipelago.
the Yayoi time (from Wikipedia site )
|Bronze is imported from continent and Japanese make of them weapons, two-edged swords especially intended for different rituals. Chronicles Chinese describe Wa (expression which designates a dwarf who walks curved), corresponding to the South of the archipelago, it is a whole of tribal communities (a hundred), the kunis. The ground usable for agriculture is limited and ground's control is a recurrent reason for conflicts between the clans. Warriors carry an armour which protects the head, the neck, the torso, the shoulders, the arms and the belly. Bronze is then produced locally, after having been used for the production of goods for the worship, of the points of spears and the famous spatulates halberds of Kyushu are examples of military productions. These weapons are initially imported then manufactured on the archipelago where moulds in stone were found. At the time of 3 Kingdoms, Chinese annals describe forty kingdoms perpetually in war between them. The diplomatic relations with China are attested since the 1st century. Towards 57, the Kangwu emperor offers a seal to the king of Wa-Na. The relations are followed with the Chinese governors of the provinces of North and the latter make admit the Emperor of China's suzerainty. At this time, the emperor of Japan did not succeed to impose his authority on Kyushu.|
Japan's emperors Keiko Tenno, Seimu Tenno and Chuai Tenno are at
grip with the revolts of Kumazo in Kyushu, supported by the korean
kingdom of Shiragi. According to the legend, the empress Jingo Kogo
assembles an expedition towards 200, gathers the fleet at Matsuura in
Hizen, and after a stage at Iki and Tsushima, beats the korean fleet
off the coasts of Shiragi. The army unloads without obstacle and
collects considerable spoils. Annals of the kingdom of Wei, in China,
mention that at the head of Yamatai, the princess Pimiko or Himiko, a
priestess chamane ties relations with China towards 240. Yamatai
comprises 28 "provinces" or kuni, but their localization is dubious.
Expansion of Yayoi culture (- 300 - 0) http://www.hogaku.it
The weapons remain still simple : arrows with points of bone,
cut stone, bronze or iron, spears and halberds in iron.
The Kofun period is characterized by marks of greater social
hierarchisation. Thus kofun, i.e. the tombs of important characters
whose form makes think of an entry of lock, can reach several hundred
meters. One also finds for the first time of the traces of equipment of
horses as if riders from Korea had founded a new order. At the IVth
century, the Yamato clan dominates the others and begins his rise in
the center of the archipelago, in the area of Nara. He gradually brings
together many clans around him. The instability which dominates in
Korea after the collapse; of the Empire of China increased the
Korean emigration towards Japan, the breeding of the silkworm and
weaving develops in the archipelago. The fear of an attack of the
archipelago by unified Korea pushes Yamato to be acted and it is
towards 369, that a Japanese army unloads in Korea to
support Pak-ce this vis-a-vis in Shiragi. Two attacks against
the kingdom of Shiragi are pushed back but in 386 this last is
conquered. The authority of the sovereigns of Yamato is recognized by
the people of Kaya. On their territory Mimana becomes a Japanese
protectorate, called Nihonfu. An important military camp is installed
in the territory of Mimana where a viceroyalty is created in the
archipelago the fight against Ainu always continues towards North.
The uji (clans) evolved/moved, their number fell and their power
increased. Their chiefs form part of the great families going up with
the companions of the first emperors. Those of Yamato, most powerful
are consulted by the Mikado, and carry the title of omi or muraji. The
people are gathered by professional fields like the scribes,
tisserands, arms manufacturers, these groups are named Be or tomo. The
shipbuilding makes rapids progress. After bloody fights for the throne
within the imperial family, the emperor Richu Tenno creates 4 shogun
into 401 to take care of the defense of the empire. He makes build in
each province of the stores to in kind preserve the taxes (rice, hemp,
silk and fabric) as well as the property incomes of the state.
They are managed by Soga, left Minister for Finance and by this
means, its clan succeeds in controlling the administration.
The relationship with China develops and towards 480, the
Yuryaku emperor addresses to the emperor of China Zhonghdi and
complains that the State de Koguryo (in the north of Korea), prevents
him from going to the China's court to pay his tribute and asks the
military aid of China. The Song emperor grants to him the title of
"General peace-making of the East and King of Wa and his domination on
Mimana is recognized.
At the VIth century, introduction of Buddhism starts towards
522, under Kentai-kenno emperor. But the people refuse this
foreign religion. Shiragi becomes a threat for Pak-ce and Mimana.
Emperor reinforces expeditionnary force of Korea, from which come the
craftsmen to settle in great number in the areas of Nara and Naniwa,
current Osaka. These kikajin depend directly on the emperor. The king
of Pak-ce this, towards 522, sends him, a letter, some buddhist texts
and a gilded statue of Buddha. Kimmei Tenno favorably accomodates the
messengers but reserve his response for the worship of the statue. Two
camps will clash at the court.
- Nakatomi, sacerdotal uji favourable to the shintoism, allied with Mononobe, warlike uji (Omuraji, military chief are in their clan), are in favour of the tradition.
- Soga, civilian uji from imperial line are reformers who think that Buddhism will ruin the credit of their adversaries.
Bronze weapons from IIIrd century make place with the iron
weapons since the next century. Armament is composed by long spears,
bows and shields for the light infantry, an armour, a helmet and a
right blade sword with double edge for the warriors. The riders
generally fight in iron armours with swords.
While the fight between the two camps become savage, Japan is
defeated in Korea, by the allied armies of China and Shiragi, he loses
his possession of Mimana towards 562. Each camp supports a candidate
for the throne. A wild battle will determine the winners, it is towards
589, close to the Shigi-San mount, prince Atsusebe supported by Soga
Umako is victorious of prince Amaho No Oji supported by Monya Mononobe
and Nakatomi Katsumi. Mononobe will be exterminated. Prince Atsusebe
becomes the emperor Sushun and buddhism triumphs, as well as Soga.
Sushun wants to get rid of Umako but this one makes him assassinate and
replaces him by his sister Suiko, widow of emperor Bidatsu Tenno. She
becomes the first reigning empress. Soga Umako makes designate for heir
the nephew of empress who will be known under the name of Shotoku
Taishi. Other clans rejoin the clan Soga and the central authority is
This prince named regent into 593, makes build many temples, bonzes open schools. Buddhism becomes a scientists' religion. Prince Shotoku, anxious to bring the Japanese political system closer to the Chinese model, sends embassies to the court of Souei sovereigns. He institutes a hierarchy of the civil servants (chin), including 12 ranks distinguished by the color of bonnet and publishes injunctions called "Constitution of 17 articles" toward 604. Buddhism is "recommended" and the supremacy of emperor is marked, his authority is absolute. The social reports are codified according to principles of Confucius.
Prince Shotuku (www.columbia.edu)
Shotoku tries to reconquer Mimana and benefits from defeat of Chinese troops into 612 versus Koguryu to act but it is a failure. After the death of Suiko, the Soga clan continuous to choose emperors and the princes who dispute this authority are quickly eliminated. Violence remains present in the political life. Thus the small girl of Shotoku Kogyoku who becomes empress, refuses the crown prince that Soga Iruka, the grandson of Umako, chooses. This last, is ready to reverse the dynasty because hr feels his capacity to stagger. A plot is prepared by the prince Naka No Oe and the Nakatomi clan.
It is also the time of the "Great Change", the Edict of Taikwa
reinforces centralization, from strong Chinese inspiration (Tang), this
total reform is also the official end of slavery. The old independent
kingdoms become provinces controlled by a kami named by the emperor.
The executive is altered, 3 chancellors and 3 executive ministers
depend directly on the emperor. The capital moves in Naniwa (current
In 644 or 645, in full reception of the korean ambassadors by empress Kogyoku Tenno, a part of entreated put at dead Soga Iruka, while the remainder invests its residence and set fire to it. It is the end of the any power of Soga. 645 is an important date; it is the first use of the nengo (date of reign), one really enters in history of Japan.