Kofun Timeline

Kofun Timeline

Kofun Timeline - History

Editor's Note: This article was originally written for Japan Society's previous site for educator's, Journey through Japan," in 2003. Some of this material has been adapted from the author&rsquos previous work in Martin Collcutt, Marius Jansen and Isao Kumakura, The Cultural Atlas of Japan, Facts on File, New York, 1988.

Early Japanese history is traditionally divided into five major eras: the Paleolithic (c. 50,000 BC &ndash c. 12,000BC), Jomon (c.11,000 BC to 300 BC), Yayoi (9,000 BC &ndash 250 AD), Kofun (300 AD &ndash 552 AD) and Yamato Periods (552-710 AD). While the dating of these periods is complex (see accompanying chart) and the cultures in any case tended to overlap, it is clear that early Japan underwent profound changes in each of these important periods.

1. The Paleolithic Period (c. 50,000 BC &ndash c. 12,000 BC)

The first human beings to inhabit the islands we know as Japan appear to have been stone-age hunters from northeast Asia. Traveling in small groups and using stone-tipped weapons, they followed herds of wild animals including mammoths, elephants and deer across land bridges to Japan that had formed when the seas receded during the ice ages. While many believe that they came earlier, we know for certain that these hunters arrived in Japan at least as early as 35,000 BC. While the tools prior to that time are so crude that there is some debate over whether they were made by humans, surviving late Paleolithic artifacts include finely made blade tools similar to groups in Siberia and the rest of Eurasia, and axes made from ground stone. Since no pottery has yet been discovered, on the other hand, the Paleolithic Period in Japan is also sometimes referred to as the &ldquopre-ceramic&rdquo (sendoki) period. This helps distinguish its inhabitants from those of the following eras.

Research in this period has been complicated by the fact that an amateur archeologist named Fujimura Shin&rsquoichi was caught &ldquosalting&rdquo various sites with alleged very old Paleolithic artifacts. Fujimura&rsquos crime reflected not only his own desire to become famous, but also a Japanese fascination with the origins of the Japanese people and Japanese society. In Japan, the emphasis is on &ldquothe older the better,&rdquo especially if Japanese origins in any field predate Chinese or Korean developments. Fujimura&rsquos &ldquodiscoveries&rdquo thus fueled a rapidly developing &ldquoearly Paleolithic&rdquo boom that sold newspapers and books and created a self-satisfied stir among ordinary people. All this helps to explain why neither the media (at first) nor archeological specialists saw through the fraud. In perpetuating his fraud, in other words, Fujimura was catering to the sense of Japanese narcissism and exceptionalism (nihonjin-ron) that is not very far beneath the surface of contemporary Japanese public opinion.

2. The Jomon Period (c. 11,000 BC &ndash c. 300 BC)

About 20,000 years ago, the world&rsquos fourth (and most recent) ice age ended. As the climate warmed, the polar ice caps melted and the sea levels rose. The land bridges that had provided walkways for such Paleolithic inhabitants of Japan as giant woolly mammoths, deer and humans were submerged for the final time. The islands of Honshu and Hokkaido were again separated, and Japan was once more isolated geographically. As Japan became hotter (reaching its peak about 3,000 BC), animals such as the wooly mammoth that had traditionally been hunted died out, but fortunately other plants and animals did better, and new, more sophisticated civilization began to emerge.

This new stage in Japanese history is known as the Jomon (literally &ldquocord pattern&rdquo) period because it is characterized by the appearance of earthenware pottery that often decorated with marks and swirling designs impressed by sticks, bamboo, vines or rope. The pots were fired in open pits at fairly low temperatures. Thousands of different pots have been found, but the earliest ones (12,000 BC &ndash 5,000 BC) typically had rounded or pointed bottoms so that they could easily be stuck into the ground or in the ashes of a cooking fire. The pottery of this sort is the earliest pottery yet to be found in the world.
Flat bottomed pots became common by the so-called Early Jomon period (5,500 BC &ndash 2,500 BC), perhaps indicating that they were now used indoors on packed earthen floors rather than looser ashes or dirt. Middle Jomon (3,500 BC &ndash 2,500 BC) and Late Jomon (2,500 BC &ndash 1,500 BC) typically had elaborate designs. By later Jomon, large stone jars were made, perhaps for infant burial and religious offerings, while carved stone and clay figures known as dogu became increasingly elaborate. Many of these look like pregnant females, and hence were undoubtedly meant to pray for fertility and a good harvest. Stone fertility symbols have also been found.

Unlike Neolithic humans in China and other cultural centers, the Paleolithic and Jomon period inhabitants of Japan subsisted primarily by hunting, fishing and gathering rather than settled agriculture. They may have cultivated some millet and herbs, but most likely they simply knew where to find and gather edible plants, and how to help preserve their food with salt. They also lived on nuts, fruit, roots, deer, wild boar and, where available, sea food. Obsidian (a glass-like stone) was a prized material for arrowheads. In the early period, individual hunters prowled for game, but soon bands of hunters were formed. The dog, the only domesticated animal known to the Jomon Japanese, joined in the chase.
The Jomon people typically lived in small villages of six to ten dwellings per village. The standard house was a pit scooped in the earth with a makeshift grass or brush-wood roof held up by five or six posts, and an interior central fireplace with stone slabs. Each dwelling was large enough to accommodate between four and eight persons, and most settlements were at least semi-permanent. Most communities probably tried to be self-sufficient, but there was some local or regional exchange, with, for example, salt from the coastal regions being traded for stone (for tools and arrowheads) from the mountains. In Late Jomon communities (2,500 BC &ndash 1,500 BC) there are house pits considerably larger than their neighbors. These may have been the homes of village chiefs, or places of worship for one or more villages.

Archeologists have estimated the population of Jomon Japan at between 125,000 and 250,000, with the peak population about 5,000 BC and then declining. Skeletal remains suggest that the adults were about five feet six inches tall or quite high for human beings of this period. They decorated themselves with lacquered combs, bone hairpins, shell earrings and other ornaments. Life expectancy was probably about 30 years, with death rates highest among new born and those over forty. While some linguists have detected traces of Southeast Asian languages in modern Japanese speech, it seems likely that the language the Jomon people spoke was related mainly to Korean, Chinese and other Altaic (i.e. Mongolian, Turkish) languages. By the end of this period, in sum, the Jomon Japanese clearly had a complex community life.

3. The Yayoi Period (900 BC &ndash 250 AD)

In 1884, some distinctive pottery &ndash clearly different in style and technique from Jomon pots &ndash was unearthed in the Yayoi district of modern Tokyo. This district gave its name to a relatively brief but decisive period of Japanese culture in which Late Jomon culture was overlaid with a new and more advanced culture based not only on new pottery forms, but also the mining, smelting and casting of bronze and iron, and the irrigation and cultivation of rice. Yayoi culture varied by region, but overall was a culture unique to Japan. It has been traditionally dated from 300 BC to 300 AD, but scholars now think that it developed from at least 800 or 900 BC to 250 AD.

Rice cultivation was one characteristic of the period. Rice had been grown in the Yangtze River basin in China from at least 5000 BC and in Korea from about 1500 BC, but apparently did not reach Japan until about 300 AD. Probably small groups of immigrants from the continent brought rice cultivation techniques to Japan where they and the Jomon peoples began to prepare special fields that had ample supplies of water and develop the necessary seeding, weeding and harvesting skills. The earliest fields were natural wetlands, but gradually the Yayoi people learned to construct irrigation canals that could supply the right amount of water. To round out their diet, the Yayoi people also gathered wild plants, cultivated fruit, hunted and fished.

The Yayoi period also saw the extensive use of metal. Practical iron tools from Korea (such as axes and knives) have been found in the oldest Yayoi sites in the western part of Japan and even in a Jomon site from the same period in the northern island of Hokkaido. Ritual bronze objects such as mirrors, swords and spears also came from China and Korea. Eventually the Yayoi people learned to mine, smelt and produce these items on their own. One example of this local manufacture was the bronze, bell shaped objects known as dotaku. The idea for these objects may have come from the continent, but they quickly developed into a uniquely Japanese style. They appear to have symbolized divine spirits, and hence to have been used for religious fertility symbols.

Yayoi pottery also reflected technological improvements. The pots were normally fired at higher temperatures (850 degrees Celsius or 1500+ degrees Fahrenheit) than was Jomon pottery. Unlike Jomon pottery, the surfaces of these pots were generally smooth with geometric designs. There were many different kinds of this pottery, ranging from cooking and storage pots to more formal vessels used for burial and religious purposes, but it was clear that all were made by quite sophisticated artisans.
The Yayoi people looked rather like the inhabitants of Northeast Asia and hence more closely resembled modern Japanese than did the more South China and Southeast Asia looking Jomon. Some of the differences may have been due to a better diet, but most likely the slow trickle of immigrants moving from the more northern areas of Asia through Korea to Japan greatly increased in this period. They lived in villages that were in many ways similar to those around the lower Yangtze River in China. As many as 30 households may have lived together at one time in houses that were oval in shape and over 48 square meters (1500+ square feet) in size. These houses had roofs of thatched material that were supported by heavy beams and posts. The floors were set into the ground, but protected from flood damage by earthen walls. There was usually a hearth for cooking and warmth in the center. Cultivated rice and other foods could be stored in jars or in specially designed storehouses. Wooden fencing marked off their fields, some of which were larger that 400 square meters or more than 4,300 square feet. Judging from implements found in the area, cultivation was done with stone reapers, wooden rakes and hoes.

As the population increased and more conflicts over land and water rights occurred, Yayoi village leaders gradually evolved into village chiefs, villages coalesced into chiefdoms, and fighting between chiefdoms became common. By the last century of the Yayoi (150 AD &ndash 250 AD), confederations of chiefdoms had developed into political bodies that ultimately laid the foundation for the ancient state.
One of these confederations was a legendary &ldquonation&rdquo known as Yamatai-koku (the country of Yamatai). Chinese records indicate that this &ldquonation&rdquo was ruled over &ndash at least religiously -- by a priestess known a Himiko (literally &ldquoDaughter of the Sun&rdquo). She is said to have sent an envoy to China in 238 BC and to have received a gift from China in return. Early chronicles suggest that she may have been the Empress Jingu, a powerful ruler who Japanese sources claim lived at the same time. The location of her capital of Yamatai is also unclear, as over 50 different sites in northern Kyushu and the Kansai (Osaka-Kyoto) area on the main island of Honshu have been suggested. While little is certain about both the capital and its rulers, in sum, it does appear that Yayoi Japan was gradually developing into a strong and sophisticated state.

4. The Kofun Period (300 AD &ndash 552 AD)

By 250 AD, the building of large tombs became so strikingly different from what had gone on before that the period from around 250 AD to the introduction of Buddhism in 552 AD is now commonly called the Kofun or &ldquoOld Tomb&rdquo period.

These tombs reflect the power of an extensive political regime. They have been found from southern Kyushu to northern Honshu. Shapes varied from round to square to &ldquokeyhole&rdquo shaped. One striking example, the alleged tomb of Emperor Nintoku (who may have ruled in the early 400&rsquos) near modern Osaka, covers over 80 acres and hence -- except for the extraordinary tomb of the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (c. 200 BC) in China -- is bigger than all of the tombs of the world.

As might be expected from the size and sophistication of these tombs, a great many personal effects have been recovered from the inside including jewelry, mirrors, and tools that were meant to accompany the dead spirits in an afterlife. Because many tombs from the 5th and 6th century also contain horse bones and trappings, it seems probable that a horse riding and militarily sophisticated aristocracy may have come into Japan at this time, either by a sudden invasion or a gradual process. A particularly rich art form known as haniwa also developed in this period. These gradually developed from simple cylinders into complex clay figures of important members of the traditional society as well as buildings. Carefully laid out, again in hopes of being useful or bringing comfort to the spirits, thousands of beautifully made haniwa have survived to this day.

The Yamato Period (552 AD -710 AD)

The number and size of these tombs suggest that by the 5th and 6th centuries, Japanese society was becoming more sophisticated. As it did so, a shifting confederation of intermarried tribal chieftains began in this period to call itself the Yamato people. &ldquoYamato&rdquo refers both to the area around Nara and to the clan that eventually founded the present day imperial line in Japan. Particularly in literary works, the word is also often used to refer to Japan as a whole.

While historians are still divided on whether these chieftains came from Korean immigrant families, the Yamato chieftains themselves claimed descent from the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. They used this religious symbol, their military supremacy, intermarriage and the awarding of titles to extend gradually their power from the Kansai (Kyoto-Osaka-Nara) area to other parts of Japan. The Yamato chieftains were called Great Kings (okio or okimi), one of which apparently claimed the right to be the most powerful king by the 5th or 6th century. From this time on to the present, blood ties were a powerful factor in the imperial family&rsquos power.

Yamato society was organized into clans (uji), occupation groups and slaves. Because of their traditional power, loyalty and service the Yamato court, the Soga, Mononobe and Nakatomi clans were given special titles and allowed to be in attendance at the newly forming imperial court. There they made themselves useful by performing both state duties and religious worship. Beneath them, the so-called occupation groups (be) produced special products (such as paper, cloth, arms or agricultural products) or performed other hereditary services such as grooms or scribes. Less skilled or pleasant tasks, such as burying the dead, were performed by slaves (be).

Although Korean historians play down the possibility, Japanese historians believe that the Yamato dynasty established diplomatic relations with the kingdom of Packche in 366 AD and maintained a foothold in Korea until 562. The dynasty then stayed allied with Packche until Packche and its Yamato allies were soundly defeated in 663. From this point, unable to secure their influence by military means, Japanese rulers turned to cultural and diplomatic contacts with China in what can be described as a great effort at domestic self-strengthening along Chinese lines. By the 6th century, great tombs were still being built, but Japanese society was being transformed by new cultural elements from the continent, the most important of which was Buddhism.

Buddhism probably began to filter into Yamato via Korean immigrants in the late 5th and 6th century. The faith was not taken up very seriously in court circles, however, until the king of Paekche sent in 552 (some sources say 538) Buddhist texts and a gilt statue to the Yamato ruler with words of praise for this allegedly superior faith. The Paekche gift caused conflict in the court both because some did not support an alliance with Paekche and because some worried about the wisdom of adopting a new and alien religion. Several powerful clans (uji), led by the Nakatomi (who were in charge of the traditional rituals) and the Mononobe (who were military specialists) opposed the introduction of this foreign faith, while others, led by the powerful Soga family, argued for acceptance. Buddhism suffered a set back when traditionalists blamed an epidemic on the new faith, but the Soga&rsquos victory over the Mononobe in 587 assured fuller acceptance of Buddhism.

By 593, the Soga has succeeded in placing a relative on the throne as Empress Suiko (ruled 593-628), and she in turn had named Prince Shotoku (Shotoku Taishi, 572-622) as Regent. An enthusiastic promulgator of Buddhism and patron saint of Buddhists, he is said to have founded the great Horyu-ji temple near Nara and to have written the famous 17 article &ldquoconstitution&rdquo (actually moral injunctions) of 604, the second article of which asks his subjects to respect the teachings of the Buddha. He is also said to have been a wonderful Buddhist scholar. (The religious significance of this new faith, as well as the ways in which Buddhism eventually meshed with traditional faiths, is explained in the separate essay on religion, Japanese Religions to 710AD).

Shotoku&rsquos constitution also used the Chinese imperial model to build a stronger imperial state for the Yamato (and now Soga) rulers. A new series of court ranks, symbolized by the wearing of twelve different caps, was intended to promote men of ability and hence weaken the hereditary power of the traditional court chieftains. The document also stressed loyalty, harmony, dedication and ability in government as ideals to be realized in Japanese political life. &ldquoWhen you receive the imperial commands, fail not scrupulously to obey them,&rdquo Article 3 declares. &ldquoThe lord is Heaven. The vassal is earth. Heaven overspreads. The earth upbears.&rdquo In another famous statement, he insulted the Chinese sense of cultural superiority by addressing greetings &ldquofrom the son of Heaven in the land where the sun rises to the son of Heaven in the land where the sun sets.&rdquo Shotoku&rsquos statement reflected both a growing sense of Japan&rsquos unique national identity and his sense that the Imperial family held a special place in Japan, above and beyond that of the other, more ordinary clans (uji). Given the power of the Soga family, Shotoku was not able to implement all &ndash or perhaps even many &ndash of his reforms, yet for all that he did set standards to which future rulers, soon to be called &ldquoEmperors&rdquo (tenno), could aspire.
After Prince Shotoku died, Prince Naka no Oe and Nakatomi no Kamatari, the head of one of the rival Nakatomi clan (uji), in 645 led a coup in which they killed the head of the Soga and his son. Both Buddhism and Shotoku&rsquos political ideals were still respected, but a new Emperor, Kotoku, was installed, the capital was moved to Naniwa (modern Osaka), and the era name was changed to Taika (literally &ldquogreat change&rdquo). Nakatomi no Kamatari became a powerful figure in court, while Naka no Oe later became an Emperor himself.

In 646, these leaders issued the first of a number of edicts that formed the so-called Taika Reforms. The declared aims of the coup leaders were to recover power for the emperor (tenno), and to follow Prince Shotoku&rsquos example by using Chinese administrative codes to create a just and effective administration. Land tenure was also supposed to follow the Chinese ideal of belonging to the Emperor and hence being reallocated from time to time to meet the needs of the peasants. The occupation groups that had formerly supported the clans (uji) were abolished, and the provincial clan chieftains were co-opted into the system by being granted title and offices in the new administrative districts. A new tax system, including taxes in kind, labor or military service was imposed to pay for the new capital, a central bureaucracy, roads, post stations and the military establishment. This in turn called for regular census taking.

As was the case with Prince Shotoku&rsquos &ldquoconstitution,&rdquo the proposed reforms were not easily implemented. Yet again like Prince Shotoku&rsquos constitution, the &ldquogreat changes&rdquo proposed in the Taika reforms had set a course of future reforms that were slowly implemented over time. As new Chinese influenced penal and administrative codes (ritsu and ryo) such as the Taiho ritsuryo of 702 were promulgated, Japan evolved steadily into a new and more powerful imperial state.


Kofun (from Middle Chinese 古 "ancient" + bjun 墳 "burial mound") are defined as the burial mounds built for the people of the ruling class during the 3rd to 7th centuries in Japan, [3] and the Kofun period takes its name from these distinctive earthen mounds. The mounds contained large stone burial chambers. Some are surrounded by moats.

Kofun come in many shapes, with round and square being the most common. A distinct style is the keyhole-shaped kofun, with its square front and round back. Kofun range in size from several meters to over 400 meters in length and unglazed pottery figures called Haniwa were often buried under the circumference of the kofun.


The oldest Japanese kofun is said to be Hokenoyama Kofun located in Sakurai, Nara, which dates to the late 3rd century. In the Makimuku district of Sakurai, later keyhole kofuns (Hashihaka Kofun, Shibuya Mukaiyama Kofun) were built around the early 4th century. The trend of the keyhole kofun first spread from Yamato to Kawachi (where gigantic kofun such as Daisenryō Kofun exist), and then throughout the country (except for Tōhoku region) in the 5th century. Keyhole kofun disappeared later in the 6th century, probably because of the drastic reformation which took place in the Yamato court Nihon Shoki records the introduction of Buddhism at this time. The last two great kofun are the Imashirozuka kofun (length: 190m) of Osaka, which is believed by current scholars to be the tomb of Emperor Keitai, and the Iwatoyama kofun (length: 135m) of Fukuoka which was recorded in Fudoki of Chikugo to be the tomb of Iwai, the political archrival of Keitai.

Real Japan Timeline With Everything for All Writers (A)

Being that I was born on the other side of the world I find my knowledge of Japanese History completely inadequate, certainly nowhere near enough to get everyone else's little in-facts let alone feel confident enough to write anything.
So I've decided to create a thread that can be used as a reference for people who aren't so history savvy at all.
That means this thread will contain everything Japan no matter how small an event is it will be in here, sorted by date.
In the beginning I expect it will be full of gaps, what other significant events happened during these years? If you have anything to add leave a comment and list your source.
Dates and snippets can go as far back or as far forward as you want, start anywhere you want and be factual.

If you can please use the format below when submitting an entry.
Japanese Date system (If applies)
Snippet relevant only to this year

Once more is up I'm going to separate it by eras or every 50 years.
Nothing after 1900 please.


History Of Japan Timeline


The Kofun Period Began

The Kofun Period Ended
The Asuka Period Began

684, November 29
Hakuhou Nankai earthquake Magnitude 8.4

The Asuka Period Began
The Nara Period Began

745, June 5
Minoh Earthquake Magnitude 7.9


Kūkai, the inventor of the kana, the founder of Shingon buddhism also known posthumously as Kōbō-Daishi The Grand Master Who Propagated the Buddhist Teaching is born at Zentsūji, Sanuki Province.

The Nara Period Ended
The Heian Period Began

Sennyū-ji was founded in the early Heian period
Kūkai dies at Mount Kōya at age 61.

840, June 11
Jōwa 7, 8th day of the 5th month

Former-Emperor Junna died at the age of 55.

869, July 13
869 Jogan Sanriku earthquake Magnitude 8.9 resulted in a tsunami and caused extensive flooding of the Sendai plain, destroying the town of Tagajō.

885, February 6
Atsuhito or Ono-tei, later known as Emperor Daigo, the 60th emperor of Japan, son of Emperor Uda and Fujiwara no Taneko was born.

897, July 6
Kanpyō 9, 3rd day of the 7th month

In the 10th year of Emperor Uda's reign he abdicated.
Atsuhito or Ono-tei became Emperor Daigo.

930, October 23
Emperor Daigo, the 60th emperor of Japan died.

1180, August 6
The 14th day of 7th month of Jishō 4
Emperor Go-Toba 82nd emperor of Japan is born.

The Heian Period Ended
The Kamakura Period Began

Go-Shirakawa died and the first shogunate was established by Minamoto no Yoritomo, and the emperor became a figurehead

Jōkyū War, also known as the Jōkyū Disturbance or the Jōkyū Rebellion fought in Japan between the forces of Retired Emperor Go-Toba and those of the Hōjō clan, regents of the Kamakura shogunate, whom the retired emperor was trying to overthrow.

1293, May 27
1293 Kamakura earthquake Magnitude 7.3, the death toll has been reported as 23,024.

The Kamakura Period Ended
The Kenmu Restoration Began

The Kenmu Restoration Ended
The Muromachi Period Began (Ashikaga)

1361, August 3
Shōhei earthquake Magnitude 8.3 triggered a tsunami.

Saitō Dōsan also known as Saitō Toshimasa also known as the Viper of Mino is born.

1498, September 20
1498 Meiō Nankaidō earthquake Magnitude 8.6 Occurred off the coast of Nankai, Japan, at about 08:00 local time on 20 September 1498. It triggered a large tsunami. The death toll associated with this event is uncertain, but 31,000 casualties were reported.

Rokkaku Yoshikata, son of Sadayori founder of Sasaki-ryū of martial arts is born.

1534, June 23
Oda Nobunaga is born

1537, March 17
Toyotomi Hideyoshi was born

1537, December 5
Ashikaga Yoshiaki 15th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate was born.

Kitsuno future concubine of Japanese daimyō Oda Nobunaga was born into the third generation of the prosperous and influential Ikoma clan.

Takeda Shingen captured Nagakubo castle

1544, September 27
Takenaka Shigeharu was born

Takeda Shingen captured Nagakubo castle, Kojinyama

Takeda Shingen took Takatō and Ryūgasaki

Nene known as One or Nei or Nemoji or Kōdai-in with the childhood name of Sugihara Yasuko future Samurai wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi was born.
Takeda Shingenhe took Uchiyama and won the Battle of Odaihara

Takeda Shingen took Shika.
Sanada Awanokami Masayuki, Japanese Sengoku period lord and daimyō was born.

Takeda Shingen defeated Ogasawara Nagatoki in the Battle of Shiojiritoge.

Lady No, daughter of Saitō Dōsan was married to Oda Nobunaga
The Rokkaku eliminated a paper merchant's guild in Mino under penalty of confiscation, Then they declared a free market in its place.

Takeda Shingen took Fukashi.

Lady Saigō also known as Oai, first consort and trusted confidante of Tokugawa Ieyasu was born at Nishikawa Castle.

Takeda Shingen captured Katsurao, Wada, Takashima and Fukuda

Takeda Shingen took Fukushima, Kannomine, Matsuo and Yoshioka.

Rumors began to circulate that Saitō Yoshitatsu was not in fact Dōsan's son, it was said that he was Yorinari's.
1556, May 28
Saitō Dōsan died in the Battle of Nagara-gawa against forces led by his own adopted son, Saitō Yoshitatsu.

Nobutada, son of Oda Nobunaga and concubine Kitsuno was born.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi joined the Oda clan, headed by Oda Nobunaga.
Oda Nobukatsu second son of Oda Nobunaga and concubine Kitsuno was born.

Tokuhime also known as Gotokuhime or Lady Toku daughter of Oda Nobunaga and concubine Kitsuno was born.
Oda Nobunaga protected Suzuki Shigeteru in the Siege of Terabe.

Imagawa Yoshimoto gathered an army of 40,000 men and started his march toward Kyoto, with the pretext of aiding the frail Ashikaga shogunate.
The Matsudaira clan of Mikawa Province also joined Yoshimoto's forces

An alliance was forged between Oda Nobunaga and Matsudaira Motoyasu later known as Tokugawa Ieyasu, despite the decades-old hostility between the two clans.
Nobunaga also formed an alliance with Takeda Shingen through the marriage of his daughter to Shingen's son.
A similar relationship was forged when Nobunaga's sister Oichi married Azai Nagamasa of Ōmi Province.
Hideyoshi married Nene known as One who was Asano Nagakatsu's daughter.
In Mino, Saitō Yoshitatsu died suddenly of illness, and was succeeded by his son, Saitō Tatsuoki.
Nobunaga moved his base to Komaki Castle and started his campaign in Mino at the Battle of Moribe.

To seal an alliance between Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga 5 year old daughter Tokuhime was married to Tokugawa Ieyasu's five-year-old son Nobuyasu.
Takeda Shingen allied with Hōjō Ujiyasu, he captured Matsuyama Castle in Musashi Province

Toyotomi Hideyoshi managed to convince with liberal bribes, a number of Mino warlords to desert the Saitō clan.

Takeda Shingen took Kuragano and Minowa Castle

Nobunaga's conquest of Mino is completed with the successful siege of Inabayama Castle.
Nobunaga arranged for Oichi, then twenty years old, to marry Nagamasa.

Ashikaga Yoshiaki went to Gifu to ask Nobunaga to start a campaign toward Kyoto.
Led by Rokkaku Yoshikata, the Rokkaku clan refused to recognize Ashikaga Yoshiaki as shogun and was ready to go to war. In response, Nobunaga launched a rapid attack, driving the Rokkaku clan out of their castles.
The Rokakku were defeated by Oda Nobunaga on his march to Kyoto.
Oda Nobunaga's armies entered Kyoto in 1568, re-establishing the Muromachi Shogunate under the puppet shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki to begin the Azuchi–Momoyama period.
Oda Nobunaga sets Ashikaga Yoshiaki up as shogun.

1569, June 4
Lady Chacha later known as Yodo-dono or Yodogimi was born
Saji Kazunari first husband of Oeyo is born.

1570, Summer
Nagamasa betrayed Nobunaga and went to war with him on behalf of the Asakura family.

Rokakku were absolutely defeated by Shibata Katsuie.
Ohatsu also known as Ohatsu-no-kata, second daughter of Azai Nagamasa and Oichi is born.

1571, October
Ikkō monks defeat Oda Nobunaga
Oda Nobunaga destroys Enryaku-ji killing "monks, laymen, women and children" in the process. The whole mountainside was a great slaughterhouse, and the sight was one of unbearable horror."

Saigō Yoshikatsu was killed at the Battle of Takehiro, fighting the invading forces of the Takeda clan led by Akiyama Nobutomo

The Muromachi Period Ended (Ashikaga)
The Azuchi–Momoyama Period Began

1573, August 27
Yoshiaki is deposed
Ashikaga shogunate ended when Oda Nobunaga drove Ashikaga Yoshiaki out of Kyoto.
Yoshiaki's Nijō residence is built.
Oeyo is born.

1573, January 25
Battle of Mikatagahara, Tōtōmi Province, Japan was one of the most famous battles of Takeda Shingen's campaigns.
The Battle of Mikatagahara was one of Tokugawa Ieyasu's worst defeats.

1573, April
Takeda Shingen dies of esophageal cancer.
Nobunaga successfully destroyed the Asakura and Azai clans.

Nobunaga moved to the partially completed Azuchi Castle.
Battle of Nagashino near Nagashino Castle on the plain of Shitarabara in the Mikawa Province of Japan.
Decisive Oda-Tokugawa Victory, Takeda siege fails.

Oda Nobunaga supported the establishment of the first Christian church in Kyoto, although he never converted to Christianity.

Hashiba Hideyoshi later known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi was ordered to expand west to confront the Mori clan.

1579, July 6
Takenaka Shigeharu was died.

Nobunaga forced the Ishiyama Hongan-ji to surrender

Honnō-ji incident, a coup was attempted executed by Nobunaga's vassal, Akechi Mitsuhide, Nobunaga was assassinated or commited seppuku.
Shibata Katsuie and Hideyoshi became leader of two seperate factions
Nobunaga destroyed the Takeda clan.
Nobunaga's former sandal bearer Hashiba Hideyoshi later known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Bitchū Province, laying siege to Takamatsu Castle.
Oichi married to Shibata Katsuie

Katsuie was defeated by Hideyoshi in the Battle of Shizugatake, forcing him to retreat to his home at Kitanosho Castle.
Shibata Katsuie and Oichi suicide.
Oeyo married Saji Kazunari

Oeyo divorced Saji Kazunari.
Miyamoto Musashi founder of the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship and author of The Book of Five Rings is born.

Hideyoshi was appointed to the post of Imperial Regent (Kampaku)
Sanada Awanokami Masayuki became the head of Sanada clan, a regional house of Shinano Province, which became a vassal of the Takeda clan of Kai Province.
Sasaki Kojirō also known as Sasaki Ganryū is born.

1586, January 18
Tensho or Ise Bay earthquake Magnitude 7.9 Some islands in Ise Bay reportedly disappeared.

Kyōgoku Takatsugu married his cousin Ohatsu

Ashikaga Yoshiaki officially resigns from his post as Shogun.

Yodo-dono give birth to Toyotomi Tsurumatsu

Yodo-dono's son, Toyotomi Tsurumatsu died

Toyotomi Hidekatsu married Oeyo
Toyotomi Hidekatsu died
Oeyo gives birth to Toyotomi Sadako

Toyotomi Hideyori son of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Yodo-dono
Ohatsu gives birth to Kyōgoku Takatsugu

Hideyoshi, and Hideyori, Yodo-dono moved to Fushimi Castle

1596, 29 June
Emperor Go-Mizunoo, 108th Emperor of Japan born.

1597, May 26
Senhime or Lady Sen, eldest daughter of the shogun Tokugawa Hidetada and his wife Oeyo is born.

Hideyoshi died
Yodo-dono moved to Osaka Castle with her son Hideyori and plotted the restoration of the Toyotomi clan.
Rokkaku Yoshikata, son of Sadayori founder of Sasaki-ryū of martial arts died.

1599, August 1
Tama-hime second daughter of the Tokugawa Hidetada and his wife Oeyo is born.

1600, October 21
Keichō 5, 15th day of the 9th month
The Battle of Sekigahara and the unofficial beginning of the Tokugawa bakufu.

1601, June 12
Katsu-hime third daughter of the Tokugawa Hidetada and his wife Oeyo is born.
Tamahime married to Maeda Toshitsune

1602, August 25
Hatsu-hime fourth daughter of the Tokugawa Hidetada and his wife Oeyo is born.

The Azuchi–Momoyama Period Ended
The Edo (Tokugawa) Period Began
Seven years old Senhime was married to the successor to the Toyotomi clan, Toyotomi Hideyori and lived with him in Osaka Castle along with his mother, Lady Yodo.
Toyotomi Sadako married Kujo Yukiie

1604, August 12
Iemitsu son of the Tokugawa Hidetada and his wife Oeyo is born.

Tokugawa Hidetada becomes shogun.

1605, February 3
1605 Keichō Nankaidō earthquake Magnitude 7.9 occurred at about 20:00 local time and triggered a devastating tsunami that resulted in thousands of deaths in the Nankai and Tōkai regions of Japan.

1606, June 12
Tadanaga second son of the Tokugawa Hidetada and his wife Oeyo is born.

1607, November 23
Matsu-hime known as Tokugawa Masako fifth daughter of the Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada and his wife Oeyo is born.

Kyōgoku Tadataka married Hatsu-hime

Toyotomi Kunimatsu son of Tadatoki and Senhime is born.

Matsudaira Tadanao married Katsuhime

1611, May 9
Keichō 16

In the 26th year of Go-Yōzei-tennō 's reign, he abdicated
The reign of Emperor Go-Mizunoo began.
Emperor Go-Mizunoo was aged 16

1611, September 27
1611 Aizu earthquake Magnitude 6.9 According to official estimated report, more than 3,700 human fatalities. Aizuwakamatsu Castle, many temples, and 20,000 houses collapsed in the damaged areas.

1611, December 2
1611 Keicho Sanriku earthquake Magnitude 8.1 the epicenter was off the Sanriku coast in Iwate Prefecture.

1612, April 13
Sasaki Kojirō, who was known as "The Demon of the Western Provinces dies in a duel against Miyamoto Musashi.

Kametsuru-hime daughter of Maeda Toshitsune and Tamahime is born.

Lady Chacha known as Yodo-dono or Yodogimi led a Anti-Shogunate rebellion.
Tokugawa Ieyasu laid siege to defested Toyotomi Hideyori and destroyed Osaka Castle by setting fire to it, and then he returned for the winter to Edo.
A great bell for the Daibutsu Temple in Kyoto was cast.

1614, November 26
Keichō 19, 25th day of the 10th month

There was a strong earthquake.

Keichō 20

Tokugawa Ieyasu broke the truce and laid siege to Osaka Castle
Osaka Summer Battle begins
Yodo-dono and her son Hideyori commited suicide in the Siege of Osaka
Toyotomi legacy defunct
Toyotomi Hideyori and his mother Yodo-dono suicide, Osaka Castle burned, Toyotomi Kunimatsu was executed and Senhime returned to Tokugawa Family.

Ieyasu remarried Senhime to Honda Tadatoki, a grandson of Honda Tadakatsu.
Maeda Mitsutaka, son of Maeda Toshitsune and Tamahime is born.
1616 January 6
Genna 2, 17th day of the 4th month
Ieyasu died at Suruga

Maeda Toshitsugu, son of Maeda Toshitsune and Tamahime is born.

1617, September 25
Genna 3, 26th day of the 8th month)
Former-Emperor Go-Yōzei died. He is buried at the North Fukakusa Burial Mound.

Katsuhime, daughter of Honda Tadatoki and Senhime is born.

Kochiyo, son of Honda Tadatoki and Senhime is born.

Genna 6

Tokugawa Masako, daughter of Shogun Hidetada, entered the palace as a consort of the emperor and married Emperor Go-Mizunoo.

1620 April 2
Genna 6, 30th day of the 2nd month

Severe fire in Kyoto

1620 April 6
Genna 6, 4th day of the 3rd month

Severe fires in Kyoto

Kochiyo son of Honda Tadatoki and Senhime died
Imperial Prince Takahito son of Go-Mizunoo and Tokugawa Masako is born.
Tomihime daughter of Maeda Toshitsune and Tamahime is born.

Tokugawa Iemitsu, son of Hidetada, came to the court of the emperor where he was made Shogun.
Iemitsu married Takaatsukasa Takako

Nene first wife of Hideyoshi died and was posthumously given the name of Hikari no Tenshi or "Angel of Light" and entombed at the Hikari no Shrine in Kyoto.
First Princess Okiko later known as Empress Meishō, daughter of Emperor Go-Mizunoo and Tokugawa Masako is born.

Second Princess(Onna-ni-no-miya?), daughter of Emperor Go-Mizunoo and Tokugawa Masako is born.

Oeyo (then known as Sūgen'in) died while Hidetada and Iemitsu were in Kyoto.
Oeyo received the posthumous court rank of Juichii.
Honda Tadatoki husband of Senhime died of tuberculosis.
Recently widowed Senhime cut her hair short and became a Buddhist nun, taking the name Tenjuin, moved back to Edo.
Prince Sukehito, son of Emperor Go-Mizunoo and Tokugawa Masako is born.

Kan'ei 6

The "Purple Robe Incident" The Emperor was accused of having bestowed honorific purple garments to more than ten priests despite the shogun's edict which banned them for two years. The shogunate intervened making the bestowing of the garments invalid. The priests which had been honored by the emperor were sent into exile by the bakufu.

Imperial Prince Takahito died.
Prince Waka, son of Emperor Go-Mizunoo and Tokugawa Masako is born.

Princess Akiko, daughter of Emperor Go-Mizunoo and Tokugawa Masako is born.

1629, December 22
Kan'ei 6, 8th day of the 11th month

Go-Mizunoo abdicated.
The emperor renounced the throne in favor of his daughter, Okiko, on the same day that the priests of the "Purple Robe Incident" went into exile.
Okiko became the Empress Meishō.

Princess Yoshiko, daughter of Emperor Go-Mizunoo and Tokugawa Masako is born.

Princess Kiku, daughter of Emperor Go-Mizunoo and Tokugawa Masako is born.

1633, April 20
Tsuguhito-shinnō also known as Emperor Go-Kōmyō, son of Emperor Go-Mizunoo and Fujiwara no Mitsuko is born.

Kan'ei 19

Prince Tsuguhito was named heir and he was given the title of Crown Prince.

Kan'ei 20, 29th day of the 9th month

The Empress Meishō ceded her throne to her brother by abdicating and the succession was received by her younger brother, Prince Tsuguhito.

1643, November 14
Kan'ei 20, 3rd day of the 10th month

Prince Tsuguhito now Go-Kōmyō accepted the title of Emperor and ascended to the throne at age 11.

Jōō 2, 12th day of the 8th month

A violent fire destroyed a large part of the imperial palace and many temples which were nearby. Shortly thereafter, several girls, aged 12–14 years, were imprisoned for arson involving this fire as well as other fires in Kyoto.

1654, October 30
Jōō 3, 20th day of the 9th month

The emperor died. He was buried at Sennyū-ji on the 15th day of the 10th month. There is a probability that the emperor died of smallpox.

1680, September 11
Enpō 8, 19th day of the 8th month

Emperor Go-Mizunoo died

1703, December 31
1703 Genroku earthquake Magnitude 8.0 shook Edo and killed an estimated 2,300 people then resulted in a tsunami which hit the coastal areas of the Boso Peninsula and Sagami Bay. The tsunami was reported to have caused more than 100,000 fatalities.

1707, October 28
1707 Hōei earthquake Magnitude 8.6 struck both the Nankaidō and Tokai regions, causing moderate to severe damage throughout southwestern Honshu, Shikoku and southeastern Kyūshū.

1771, April 24
1771 Great Yaeyama Tsunami Magnitude 7.4 caused by the Yaeyama Great Earthquake at about 8 A.M. on April 24. 13,486 people (including 9,313 in Yaeyama Islands (8,815 in Ishigaki Island), 2,548 in Miyako Islands and 1,625 in other areas) were confirmed to be dead or missing and more than 3,000 houses were destroyed. The height of the tsunami was over 40 meters at Ishigaki Island, up to a maximum of 85.4 meters in the village called Miyara. In Tarama, estimated tsunami runup height was approximately 18 meters. To this day, boulders reportedly launched by the tsunami (called "tsunami stones") remain in the northwestern highlands of Miyakojima.

1792, May 21
1792 Unzen earthquake and tsunami Magnitude 6.4 caused by volcanic activity of Mount Unzen in the Shimabara Peninsula Nagasaki. It killed 15,000 people altogether, due in large part to a tsunami that was triggered by the collapse of nearby Mount Mayuyama's southern flank into the bay. The incident is also referred to with the phrase 'Shimabara erupted, Higo affected', as many people in Higo, (Kumamoto, located 20 km away across the Ariake Sea) were also killed by the resulting tsunami, which then bounced back to hit Shimabara again.

1828, December 18
1828 Echigo Sanjō earthquake Magnitude 6.9
21,134 houses and buildings were damaged, and 1,204 of them burned down. There were 1,559 human fatalities, and 2,666 injured people in the affected area.

1847, May 8
1847 Zenkōji earthquake Magnitude 7.3 In the central area of Nagano, many buildings collapsed, including Zenkōji temple. The earthquake triggered a complex variety of resulting disasters, which included fires, landslides, and flooding due to the formation and subsequent collapse of a "dam" made of debris from the collapsed buildings. According to the confirmed official report, the death toll throughout the region reached at least 8,600. 21,000 houses were damaged and 3,400 burned, and an additional 44,000 homes were damaged by the landslides in the area.

1854, July 9
1854 Iga Ueno earthquake Magnitude 7.23 According to the official confirmed report, 2,576 houses and buildings were damaged, with 995 human fatalities and 994 injures in the affected area.

1854, December 23
1854 Ansei-Tōkai earthquake Magnitude 8.4 the quake struck primarily in the Tōkai region, but destroyed houses as far away as in Edo. The accompanying tsunami caused damage along the entire coast from the Bōsō Peninsula in modern-day Chiba prefecture to Tosa province (modern-day Kōchi Prefecture)

1854, December 24
Ansei-Nankai earthquake Magnitude 8.4 Over 10,000 people from the Tōkai region down to Kyushu were killed.

1855, November 11
Ansei Edo earthquake Magnitude 6.9 One hundred and twenty earthquakes and tremors in total were felt in Edo in 1854–55. The great earthquake struck after 10 o'clock in the evening roughly 30 aftershocks ensued, continuing until dawn. Records from the time indicate 6,641 deaths inside the city and 2,759 injuries much of the city was destroyed by fire, leading many people to stay in rural inns. Aftershocks continued for twenty days.

1858, April 9
Hietsu earthquake Magnitude 7.0 The earthquake is estimated to have killed 200–300 people. It also caused the Mount Tonbi Landslide and blocked the upper reaches of the Jōganji River.

1867, February 3
14-year-old Prince Mutsuhito succeeded his father, Emperor Kōmei, to the Chrysanthemum Throne as the 122nd emperor.

1867, November 9
The last Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu tendered his resignation to the Emperor, and formally stepped down ten days later.

The Edo (Tokugawa) Period Ended
The Meiji Era Began

The han were replaced with prefectures.

1872, March 18
1872 Hamada earthquake Magnitude 7.1 according to the official confirmed report, 4506 houses were damaged by the earthquake, 230 houses were burned, 551 people were killed, and landslides destroyed 6567 homes in the affected area. This quake occurred at 16:40 local time.

The Kempeitai, Military Police Corps arm of the Imperial Japanese Army was established by a decree called the Kempei Ordinance.

1889, July 28
1889 Kumamoto earthquake Magnitude 6.3 First major earthquake after the establishment of the Seismological Society of Japan in 1880.

1891, October 28
1891 Mino–Owari earthquake Magnitude 8.0 A large earthquake that struck the former provinces of Mino and Owari in the Nōbi Plain area during the Meiji period in Japan. It is also referred to as the Nōbi Earthquake or the Great Nōbi Earthquake

1894, June 20
Meiji Tokyo earthquake Magnitude 6.6 at 14:04 local time. It affected downtown Tokyo and neighboring Kanagawa prefecture, especially the cities of Kawasaki and Yokohama. The death toll was 31 killed and 157 injured.

1894, October 22
1894 Shōkai earthquake Magnitude 7.0 According to the official confirmed report, 14,118 houses and buildings were damaged and 2,148 were burned. There were 726 human fatalities and 8,403 people injured in the damaged area. A large-scale fire broke out in Sakata, and around the Shonai plain area, many instances of cracked earth, sinking ground, sand boils, and fountains were observed.

1896, June 15
Meiji-Sanriku earthquake Magnitude 8.5 occurred off the coast of Sanriku in Iwate Prefecture, and caused a tsunami of 25 m (82 ft) to strike 35 minutes after the quake, destroying hundreds of houses and killed over 22,000 people. Tsunami were also observed as far away as Hawaii and in California.


Japan is one of the world's most ethnically and culturally homogeneous nations, but down the ages its culture and society have been greatly influenced by foreign ideas and institutions, art and literature.


Palaeolithic tool finds suggest that human settlement in Japan stretches back at least 30,000 years. The first inhabitants of the Japanese islands were hunter-gatherers from the continent who used sophisticated stone tools, but had no settled agriculture or ceramics.

The Kofun era

From about the 3rd century CE, various petty kingdoms were established in and around modern Nara Prefecture, culminating in the emergence of the Yamato kingdom.

Nara and Kyoto

The origins of classical Japan are generally traced back to the kingdom of Nara (710-794), which emerged contemporaneously to the Tang dynasty (618-907) in China.

Japan under the shoguns

The defeat of the Taira clan at the hands of Minamoto no Yoritomo in the Genpei War (1180-1185) paved the way for the establishment of the shogunate, a feudal system of government which would last until 1867.

The Meiji and Taisho eras

By the 19th century the Tokugawa Shogunate was in terminal decline, its power weakened by debt and internal division. After a brief civil war in the early 1860s the Tokugawa regime was overthrown and imperial rule restored.

The path to war

The Showa era (1926-1989) began with the inauguration of Emperor Hirohito, who had acted as regent since 1921.

American occupation 1945-1952

By the end of World War II more than 2 million Japanese lives had been lost and over 100 cities destroyed. Industrial production stood at less than 10 per cent of its pre-war level, and transportation networks had been severely damaged.

Post-war economic recovery

The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 provided an important boost to the Japanese economy, as the country became the principal supplier of food and arms for the US armed forces.

Modern Japan

The death of Emperor Hirohito in January 1989 brought to an end the longest imperial reign in Japanese history, removing a powerful symbol of continuity. In November 1990 Emperor Akihito became the 125th emperor of Japan and the first under the post-war constitution.

Kofun period

The Kofun period ( 古墳時代 , Kofun jidai ) is an era in the history of Japan from about 300 to 538 AD (the date of the introduction of Buddhism), following the Yayoi period. The Kofun and the subsequent Asuka periods are sometimes collectively called the Yamato period. This period is the earliest era of recorded history in Japan, but studies depend heavily on archaeology since the chronology of historical sources tends to be distorted.

It was a period of cultural import. Continuing from the Yayoi period, the Kofun period is characterized by a strong influence from the Korean Peninsula archaeologists consider it a shared culture across the southern Korean Peninsula, Kyūshū and Honshū. [1] The word kofun is Japanese for the type of burial mound dating from this era, and archaeology indicates that the mound tombs and material culture of the elite were similar throughout the region. From China, Buddhism and the Chinese writing system were introduced near the end of the period. The Kofun period recorded Japan's earliest political centralization, when the Yamato clan rose to power in southwestern Japan, established the Imperial House, and helped control trade routes across the region. [2]

Towards Asuka period

The Kofun period gave way to the Asuka period in mid-6th century AD with the introduction of Buddhism. The religion was officially introduced the year 538, and this year is traditionally taken as the start of the new period. The Asuka period also coincided with the reunification of China under the Sui Dynasty later in this century. Japan became deeply influenced by Chinese culture, adding a broader cultural context to the religious distinction between the Kofun and Asuka periods.

The Oldest Keyhole-Shaped Tomb

According to the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan), Hashihaka Kofun is said to be the tomb of the daughter of Emperor Korei.

It is also said that there are similarities between the queen of Yamatai, Himiko, who is described in literature such as Gishi Wajinden.
Some researchers have argued that there has been controversy over the birth of the Yamato kingship and the position of the Hashihaka Kofun.
As you can see from 0:54 in the video, the Municipal Burial Culture Center in Sakurai City, stores a plate-shaped "Shibayama Stone" excavated near Hashihaka Kofun.

Shibayama stone is believed to have been used to build the stone chamber, and it is said that it was taken from basalt excavated in Kashiwara City, Osaka Prefecture, about 18 km west of Hashihaka Kofun.
In addition, many excavated items such as earthenware and wooden products have been confirmed.

Kamakura period 1185 – 1336

The eighth century is called the Kamakura period, and the Kuge (court nobles) government in Kyoto and the military government in Kamakura coexisted during this era. The Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a samurai shogun) with MINAMOTO no Yoritomo as its chief defeated the Taira clan government in the Jisho-Juei War. In the process, the bakufu acquired the right of appointing Shugo and Jito (military governors and estate stewards), growing into a government that could rank with the Imperial Court (the Kuge government). As a result of the Jokyu War during the first half of thirteenth century, the Kuge government became a parasite on the back of the military government. After that, the regency in which the Hojo clan, the head of gokenin (immediate vassals of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods), practically controlled the bakufu politics was established.

Starting around the middle of the 13th century, the social system started changing drastically: For example, money had become used in the economy, goods were circulated actively, and samurai, such as jito (managers and lords of manors), had advanced into shoen koryo (public lands and private estates). This move was accelerated due to the Mongol invasion attempts against Japan, and the measures taken by the bakufu against this move appeared in the forms of Tokuseirei (ordering the return of land sold and the dissolution of debts) and the tyranny of the patrimonial head of the main branch of the Hojo clan. In the local societies, Akuto (persons against the established social control system in medieval times) and soson (communities consisting of peasants&apos self-governing associations) appeared in history, effectively and rapidly changing the shoen koryo sei. In culture, naturalistic art, as seen in Kongo Rikishi zo (statues of Kongo Rikishi) by Unkei and by Kaikei, developed. In religion, new schools of Japanese Buddhism called Kamakura New Buddhism were established, becoming widely accepted by general public. In Hokkaido, Ainu Culture was established around the 13th century.


Japan / USA / Cyprus - 15-Jun-17 -

In 2014 I visited the centerpiece of this nomination, the Daisen Kofun, which is considered to be the grave of Emperor Nintoku and is the single largest grave in the world by area.

It is so large that the best way to view it is perhaps to take off or land at the Kansai (Osaka) International Airport.

The photo shows the Shinto Torii Gate in the middle, behind which lies the widest of the three moats that surround the all important keyhole-shaped grave.

I believe it'll be surprising if this site gets a go at getting on the WH list, simply because, no matter what the nomination dossier says, nobody is certain that the Daisen Kofun is really the grave for the Emperor. This absurdity comes from the fact that the belief that the grave belongs to an Emperor means it is managed by the Imperial Household Agency, an ultra conservative entity that wouldn't allow anyone to visit such a holy site, let alone to dig it, resulting in the uncertainty. (Remember that the Japanese Imperial Family is considered to be the descendants of Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess, in the Japanese mythology.) I was told by a man who managed this property on site that the Ministry of Culture, which takes care of the World Cultural Heritage in Japan, had been unsuccessfully battling it out with the Imperial Household Agency, which takes care of the living deity!

But this nomination is not just about the Daisen Kofun, but about the whole group. Numbers count.

Watch the video: Japan to 1868: The Kofun Period u0026 the Introduction of Buddhism