Aim: What were the defining characteristics of classical and feudal Japan? June 11, 2014
I. Earliest Period of Japan A. Society was divided into uji (clans) B. Yamato clan came to dominate by 500 C.E. → became the imperial line → line going back to the sun goddess which all the Emperors are descended from
II. Classical Period (500’s-1100’s) A. Achievements of Prince Shotoku (late 6th century) • Created a Centralized government • Borrows Chinese ideas, traditions, technologies. Examples: * Frequent Expeditions to visit Tang Dynasty in China * Chinese system of writing * Art styles (landscapes) * Zen Buddhism / Confucianism * Methods of cooking, gardening, drinking tea, hairdressing • Wrote Seventeen Article Constitution: Based on the Chinese model of government, declared the supremacy of the Emperor * Declares the supremacy of the Emperor
III. HeianPeriod (794-1185) • Capital is moved to Heian (Kyoto) • Selective borrowing from the Chinese continued, but starts to decrease. Japan starts to develop its own unique culture. • Refined aristocratic court ruled by the Fujiwara family→ great flowering of Japanese culture (poetry, music & the arts) • Women writers produced great body of literature • The Tale of Genjiby MurasakiShikibu • The Pillow Book by SeiShonagon
IV. Rise of Japanese Feudalism • By the 1100s, the power of the Fujiwara family was slipping and the Heian period was coming to an end. • Without a strong government, the countryside becomes lawless, pirates take over the seas.
IV. Rise of Japanese Feudalism C. Peasants give up their land to lords in exchange for protection, feudal system begins.
V. Samurai • Defended their daimyo (lords). Expected to be loyal, honorable • Code of Conduct = Bushido (way of the warrior) • Well cultured and educated • Strongly influenced by Zen Buddhism • Seppuku / Hari-kari: If you fail in your mission, you must commit ritual suicide to die with honor
VI. Samurai vs. European Knights • Similarities - Political responsibility: They are vassals that defend and protect lords • Follow basic codes of conduct (bushido vs. chivalry) • Both wore armor and used weapons • Both looked to religion (Zen Buddhism vs. Christianity)
VI. Samurai vs. European Knights B. Differences - Fight for different things: Samurai get food (rice) and an allowance from lord / Knights get land/fiefs - Chivalry values bravery and loyalty to God, lord and chosen lady. Bushido values bravery and loyalty to the daimyo above all else. • Different views of women: Samurai believe they should be tough, honorable, courageous / Knights see them as weak figures to be defended • European Knights have no ritual suicide - Use different weapons (Samurai = swords, bow and arrow, Knight = lance)
Discussion Question The European Knight and the Japanese Samurai were essentially the same individual although located on two different continents. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?