Japan Timeline


Rise of the Military class


The Shoen's had improved military technology with brand new training methods, more powerful swords, horses, bows and amazing amor. They had begun to be faced with local conditions in the ninth century, military service became part of Shoen life.

Heian Period

794 - 1185

Taira no Masakado threatens central government

January 1, 939

Masakado threatened the authority of the central government leading to an uprising in the eastern providence of Hitachi and Fujiwara no Sumitomo

Fujiwara no Sumitomo aids Taira clans revolts

939 - 941

Japanese Heian court noble and warrior, aided the Taira clan in a series of revolts

Use of Local Militias


The Japanese military was established from local drafts and later implemented the use of samurai. The samurai's started off as servants for the emperor and changed to private aristocratic militant groups.

Japanese Samurai Clothing


Samurai Social Class


The use of martial arts became a norm throughout the region. Samurai warriors were able to establish their own social class because of their strength in numbers along with influence.

Warrior Bands


The samurai created their own social class called warrior bands that worked closely to the emperor.

Emperor Sutoku

1123 - 1141

"Sutoku, in full Sutoku Tennō, personal name Akihito (born July 7, 1119, Kyōto—died Sept. 14, 1164, Sanuki Province, Japan), 75th emperor of Japan; his attempt to usurp his brother’s throne resulted in the bloody Hōgen War, which allowed the powerful warrior Taira clan to gain control of the government."

"He ascended the throne in 1123, taking the reign name Sutoku, after the abdication of his father, the emperor Toba; despite his abdication Toba continued to hold power. In 1141 Sutoku also abdicated, and his younger brother came to the throne as the emperor Konoe. When Konoe died in 1155, their father’s third and favourite son was selected to ascend the throne as Go-Shirakawa, much to the displeasure of Sutoku, who had expected the succession to pass to his own son. When Toba died the following year, Sutoku, aided by warriors of the Minamoto clan, attempted a coup (the Hōgen Disturbance). The coup was defeated by the forces of Taira Kiyomori, who then dominated the Emperor. Sutoku was exiled from the capital."

Emperor Konoe

1141 - 1155

"Emperor Konoe was an emperor of the Heian period. A son of Emperor Toba & Empress Bifukumon-in, and grandson of Fujiwara no Nagazane, he took the throne in 1141 following the abdication of his half-brother Emperor Sutoku. Fujiwara no Tadamichi served as regent throughout his reign. Konoe was succeeded by his half-brother Emperor Go-Shirakawa in 1155."

Minamoto No Yoritomo

1149 - 1199

He was the founder of Bakufu, the system where Feudal lords ruled for 700 years. He undermined the central government’s local administrative power.

Emperor Go-Shirakawa

1155 - 1158

"Go-Shirakawa was born on Oct. 18, 1127, Kyōto, Japan—died April 26, 1192, Kyōto), 77th emperor of Japan, during whose reign political power was transferred from the imperial court to the provincial warrior class.

He ascended the throne in 1155, taking the reign name Go-Shirakawa, after the death of his brother, the emperor Konoe. When his father, the former emperor Toba, died a year later, another brother, the former emperor Sutoku, attempted a coup d’état. Sutoku had succeeded Toba on the throne but had abdicated in 1141 on condition that his own son succeed Konoe. After Toba chose Go-Shirakawa instead as Konoe’s successor, Sutoku began to plot his revenge. In the ensuing Hōgen Disturbance (1156), the forces supporting Go-Shirakawa proved victorious.

In 1158 Go-Shirakawa abdicated, hoping to be able to control the government, as retired emperors often did. Real power, however, was exercised by the warrior Taira Kiyomori, leader of the successful forces in the Hōgen Disturbance. Kiyomori made his power absolute in the Heiji Disturbance (1159–60) when the powerful Minamoto clan attempted to challenge his rule.

Constantly involved in plots and schemes to further his own power, Shirakawa was regarded with distrust by the Taira clan; in 1179 Kiyomori confined him to his quarters as a result of Shirakawa’s attempts to confiscate the estates of Kiyomori’s deceased children. He did not regain full imperial power, despite the warrior Minamoto Yoritomo’s revolt against Kiyomori (1180) and the annihilation of the Taira clan that followed (1185)."

Hōgen disturbance

1156 - 1185

Conflict in the Hōgen era between the Taira & Minamoto clan that marked the end of the Fujiwara family dominance of the monarchy and the start of a prolonged period of feudal warfare.

Taira Kiyomori revived Fujiwara practices

1156 - 1185

Taira Kiyomori revived Fujiwara practices by placing his grandson on the throne to rule Japan by power.

Emperor Nijō

1158 - 1165

"Emperor Nijô reigned from 1158-1165. He was the son of Emperor Go-Shirakawa, and the father of Emperor Rokujô. Fujiwara no Tsunezane was his maternal grandfather; Fujiwara no Motozane served as kanpaku throughout Nijô's short reign.

He saw in his life both the Hôgen and Heiji Rebellions, two major struggles among aristocrat/samurai families jostling for power. In 1156, members of the Fujiwara, Taira, and Minamoto clans fought on each side of the conflict, supporting different heirs for the Imperial Throne.

Nijô ascended to the throne two years later, in 1158, and the following year, 1159, conflict broke out again, except that this time the lines were drawn between clans. Taira no Kiyomori and Minamoto no Yoshitomo, who had fought together in the Hôgen Rebellion against other forces now led the Taira and Minamoto clans against one another. The conflict ended in Taira victory - Kiyomori seized power and became an extremely influential figure at court, while Yoshitomo and several of his sons were killed; his other sons were banished, and would return in the 1180s to lead the Minamoto in the destruction of the Taira.

Nijô lived a short life, coming to the throne at age 15, and dying at age 22. He was succeeded by his son, who took the throne as Emperor Rokujô."

Kamakura Period

1185 - 1333

The Kamakura Period began in 1185 when Minamoto no Yoritomo seized power from the emperors, and established a bakufu, the kamakura, shogunate, in Kamakura. Is a period in Japanese history that marks the governance by the Kamakura shogunate, officially established in 1192 in Kamakura by the first shogun, Minamoto no Yoritomo.

Yuan Dynasty

1271 - 1368

Kyōto raised the diplomatic counter of Japan's divine origin, rejected the Mongol demands, dismissed the Korean messengers, and started defensive preparations

Mongol Invasion


After further unsuccessful entreaties, the first Mongol invasion took place.

Second Mongol invasion

January 1, 1281

A second invasion was launched. Seven weeks of fighting took place in northwestern Kyushu before another typhoon struck, again destroying the Mongol fleet.

End of Mongol Invasion

January 31, 1281

The Mongol war had been a drain on the economy, and new taxes had to be levied to maintain defensive preparations for the future. The invasions also caused disaffection among those who expected recompense for their help in defeating the Mongols. There were no lands or other rewards to be given, however, and such disaffection, combined with overextension and the increasing defense costs, led to a decline of the Kamakura bakufu.


1318 - 1339

In 1335, Emperor Go-Daigo sent a large army to Kamakura to fight and end Ashikaga’s power for good. The emperor Go-Daigo was able to restore imperial power in Kyoto and to overthrow the Kamakura Bakufu in 1333. However, the revival of the old imperial offices under the Kemmu Restoration (1334) did not last for long because the old administration system was out of date and practice, and incompetent officials failed gaining the support of the powerful landowners.While some daimyo and their samurai followed Ashikaga, others remained loyal to Go-Daigo. In 1335, Emperor Go-Daigo sent a large army to Kamakura to fight and end Ashikaga’s power for good.
He was the 96th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]
Post-Meiji historians construe Go-Daigo's reign to span 1318–1339; however, pre-Meiji accounts of his reign considered the years of his reign to encompass only between 1318–1332. Pre-Meiji scholars also considered Go-Daigo a pretender emperor in the years from 1336 through 1339.

Emperor Kogon

1331 - 1333

Kogon 1331(1332)-33 [one of the rulers over the Northern court] He was the first of the Ashikaga Pretenders during the Period of the Northern and Southern Courts in Japan. According to pre-Meiji scholars, his reign spanned the years from 1332 through 1334.

Go-Daigo Uprising


Go-Daigo attempted an uprising against the Hojos, but he was taken prisoner by the Hojos. He was exiled but managed to escape, most likely with the help of followers in the Hojo camp. Within a year, in 1332, Go-Daigo was ready to make another attempt.

Hemmu Restoration

1333 - February 25, 1336

Ashikage hereditary military dictator) of Japan, who achieved political stability for the Ashikaga shogunate, which had been established in 1338 by his grandfather, Ashikaga Takauji. The period of this shogunate’s rule (until 1573) subsequently became known as the Muromachi period after the district of Kyōto in which Yoshimitsu lived.

Muromachi Period

1334 - 1477

Assassination plans/ Death of Hôjô Tokiyuki.


August: Hôjô Tokiyuki takes over Kamakura. Takayoshi leaves the city to arrange the assassination of Prince Morinaga.

September 8: Ashikaga Takauji captures Kamakura again and kills Hôjô Tokiyuki.

Nambokucho War

1336 - 1392

The period that ensued was known as the Nambokucho War (and it lasted for 60 years, and is the longest single war in Japanese history).

Small Battles of Kyoto in 1336


February 23: Ashikaga Takauji's army infiltrates Kyoto.

February 25: Takauji infiltrates Kyoto.

February 27: Kitabatake Akiie counter-attacks and makes Takauji retreat to Settsu. Takauji later moves on to Harima.

March 16: Go-Daigo comes back to Kyoto.

March 26: Takauji leaves Harima for Kyushu.

April 15: Ashikaga defeats the Kikuchi at the Battle of Tadara-no-hama (Chikuzen).

May 15: Ashikaga Takauji's campaign to recapture Kyoto begins.

June 5: Nitta Yoshisada is defeated at the Battle of Minatogawa (Harima); and Kusunoki Masashige is killed.

July 6: Go-Daigo leaves Kyoto to Mt. Hiei.

September 20: Komyo moves to the Imperial throne in Kyoto. Takauji creates the Kemmu Shikimoku.

Ashikaga Takauji


Most samurai and peasants were convinced that they were better off with a shogun, not an emperor. Ashikaga won. In 1336 Ashikaga Takauji entered Kyoto and established his own shogunate. Ashikaga Takauji, once fighting for the emperor, now challenged the imperial court and succeeded in capturing Kyoto in 1336.


1336 - 1348

"Another ruler over the northern court was the second of the Ashikaga Pretenders, although he was the first to be supported by the Ashikaga Bakufu. According to pre-Meiji scholars, his reign spanned the years from 1336 through 1348."

Start of the Muromachi Period


January: Go-Daigo flees to Yoshino and establishes his court, this moves us into the Namboku-cho Period Period.

April 7: Ashikaga forces capture Kanagasaki.

December 24: Kitabatake Akiie defeats Ashikaga Yoshiakira at the Battle of Tonegawa (Musashi).

Kitabatake Akiie and Ashikaga Tadayoshi battles/ Battle of Fujishima


March: Kitabatake Akiie and Ashikaga Tadayoshi battle close to Sekigahara in Mino province.

April: Kitabatake Akiie is defeated by Ashikaga forces at Tennoji (Settsu province).

June: Kitabatake Akiie is defeated and killed at Ishizu (Iwami province).

August: Nitta Yoshisada is killed and his army defeated by the Ashikaga at the Battle of Fujishima in Echizen.

Death of Go-Daigo


September 19: Go-Daigo dies.

Prince Kanenaga's arrival


May: Prince Kanenaga arrives on Kyushu to gather support for the Southern Court.

The Battle of Shijo Nawate


Kusunoki Masatsura(Masashige's son) , is killed in the Battle of Shijo Nawate fighting against the Ashikaga

Shimazu Sadahisa's death and domain divide


Shimazu Sadahisa dies and the Shimazu domain is divided between his two sons, Ujihisa and Morohisa.

Ashikaga Tadayoshi's death/ Ashikaga driven from Kamakura


Ashikaga Tadayoshi is captured and killed.

Supporters of Tadayoshi join with the Nitta clan to succesfully drive Ashikaga Takauji from Kamakura, which he had been keeping safe.

Death of Kitabatake Chikafusa


Kitabatake Chikafusa dies.

Death of Ashikaga Takauji


Ashikaga Takauji dies at age 54 in Kyoto.

Takauji's son, Ashikaga Yoshiakira, becomes the second Ashikaga Shogun.

Death of Ashikaga Motouji


Ashikaga Motouji, the Kanto Kanrei, dies and is succeded by Ashikaga Ujimitsu.

Hosokawa Yoriyuki is named deputy shôgun to Ashikaga Yoshiakira.

Death of Ashikaga Yoshiakira


Ashikaga Yoshiakira dies and is succeeded as shôgun by Yoshimitsu; Hosokawa Yoriyuki becomes regent to the young shogun.

Hosokawa Yoriyuki forced out


Hosokawa Yoriyuki is forced from Kyoto by his rivals.

Battle of Sakariyama


Oûchi Yoshihiro defeats his brother at the Battle of Sakariyama and assumes control of the Oûchi.

Death of Prince Kanenaga


Prince Kanenaga dies.

End of the Namboku-cho Period/ The death of Hosokawa Yoriyuki


December 16: Emperor Go-Kameyama of the Southern Court abdicates; the union of the Northern and Southern Courts follows, ending the Namboku-cho Period.

Hosokawa Yoriyuki dies.

Defeat of Oûchi Yoshihiro


Oûchi Yoshihiro is defeated at Saki by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.

Death of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu


Ashikaga Yoshimitsu dies.

Death of Shikaga Yoshimochi/ Peasant uprising


Shikaga Yoshimochi dies.

Fall: "The Kyoto region experiences the first 'modern' peasant uprisings as riots and demonstrations break out in the call for debt cancellation in a year that had seen both famine and plauge."

Assassination of Ashikaga Shogun/ Riots


July 6th: Ashikaga Shogun, Yoshinori, is assassinated by Akamatsu Mitsusuke. He is ultimately succeded in 1443 by Ashikaga Yoshimasa.

September: Thousands of ikki rioters march on Kyoto and after defeating the Kyôgoku compell the bakufu to give in to their demands for debt cancellation.

Ashikaga Yoshimasa Shogun


Ashikaga Yoshimasa becomes the 8th Ashikaga Shogun.

Destruction of the Southern Court/ Muromachi Palace


The Akamatsu destroy the remnants of the Southern Court.

Ashikaga Yoshimasa builds a new Muromachi Palace.

The Ônin War

1467 - 1477

The Ônin War opens in Kyoto as shûgo side with either the rival Hosokawa or Yamana clans.

1472: Asakura Toshikage defeats the Kai family of Echizen and becomes the defacto lord of that province.

1473: Yamana Sozen dies and his cause is taken up by Oûchi Masahiro.

Hosokawa Katsumoto dies.

1477: December: The Yamana and Hosokawa return to their domains; the Ônin War has set the stage for the Sengoku Period.

Sengoku Period

1477 - 1603

Onin War officially ends


End of war.

Odawara captured


Hojo capture Odawara.

Arrival of Europeans


Arrival of Europeans in Japan bringing muskets

Night battle of Kawagoe


An unsuccessful siege of the Kawagoe castle

First use of muskets


Muskets first used in war at the Kajiki siege.

Battle of Okehazama


Battle of Okehazama makes Oda Nobunaga powerful by defeating Imagawa Yoshimoto.

Warrior monks destroyed


Destruction of the warrior monks of Mount Hiei by Nobunaga.

Death of Takeda Shingen


Death of Takeda Shingen.


1573 - 1603

Siege of Nagashima


Siege of the warrior monk castle of Nagashima

Last of three sieges ended in no survivors and complete destruction of the fortress.

Siege and battle of Nagashino


Siege and battle of Nagashino.

Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga defeated Takeda Katsuyori.

use of firearms and modern weapons made it a key battle in Japanese military history.

Azuchi castle


Building of Azuchi castle.

Death of Uesugi Kenshin


Death of Uesugi Kenshin

Surrender of Ikko-ikki headquarters of Ishiyama Honganji


In August 1580, the Abbot Kōsa (Kennyo) was persuaded to surrender, ending the 11-year-long siege.

Siege of Tottori by starvation


One of the few sieges where starvation was used as a battle tactic.

The siege lasted 200 days and ended with the lord of the castle, Kikkawa Tsunei surrender and killed himself.

Murder of Oda Nobunaga/ Battle of Yamazak


With no clear reasons Oda Nobunaga is murdered.

Hideyoshi used this victory as a stepping-stone to gain control over Nobunaga's former territories and eventually all of Japan."

Battle of Shizugatake


Battle gives Hideyoshi much control.

Battles of Komaki and Nagakute


The Battle of Komaki and Nagakute was a series of battles in 1584 between the forces of Hashiba Hideyoshi.

This series of battles included: The Battle of Haguro, Mission to Mikawa, The Battle of Iwasaki Castle, The Battle of Hakusanmori, The Battle of Hinokigane, and The Battle of Nagakute.

Kyūshū Campaign

1586 - 1587

1586:Siege of Toshimitsu - the Shimazu seize Toshimitsu and Funai castles from the Ōtomo, despite delaying tactics from Hideyoshi's allies.

Battle of Hetsugigawa - Sengoku, Ōtomo, and Chōsokabe continue to battle and delay the Shimazu, but ultimately retreat, leaving Bungo province to the Shimazu.

1587: Battle of Takajō (also called Takashiro) - Hashiba Hidenaga attacks the Shimazu in Hyūga province, forcing them to retreat to Satsuma.

Siege of Ganjaku - Toyotomi Hideyoshi attacks the Akizuki clan in the north of Kyūshū.
Siege of Akizuki - Hideyoshi continues his assault on the Akizuki by sieging Oguma castle; the Akizuki surrender.

Battle of Sendaigawa (also called Chidorigawa) - Hideyoshi and Hidenaga join forces and begin their attack on Satsuma.

Siege of Kagoshima - Hideyoshi and Hidenaga surround the Shimazu capital, and earn a surrender without laying siege to the castle.

Emperor Go Yozei

1586 - 1611

He was the last emperor to reign during the Sengoku period, and the first of the Edo period, his reign spanning the years from 1586 to 1611.He was the last emperor to be depicted in the medieval fashion in his official imperial portrait - with facial hair, a symbol of masculine power. By the time of his successor's portrait being painted, however, attitudes had shifted, and a clean-shaven face was seen as a key element of an overall tidy appearance.

Building of Osaka castle


Building of Osaka castle.

Final siege of Odawara


Third and final siege Toyotomi Hideyoshi defeated the Hōjō clanand gained control over the castle.

Siege of Kunoe – unification of Japan completed


This was one of the final battles in Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s campaign to reunify Japan.

Invasions of Korea

1592 - 1597

The invasions were launched by Toyotomi Hideyoshi with the intent of conquering Korea and China.

The invasions lasted from 1592 until 1597.

Death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and final withdrawal


Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his death was kept secret, and the Japanese forces in Korea were ordered to withdraw back to Japan by the Council of Five Elders.

Battle of Sekigahara


The Battle of Sekigahara was battle that soidiied the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate.

Tokugawa (Edo Period)

1603 - 1867

Final era of Japanese traditional government, culture, and society before the Meji Restoration of 1868.

Tokugawa Ieyasu becomes Shogun


Tokugawa Ieyasu becomes Shogun.

Establishment of Military Dictatorship


During the Tokugawa shogunate period, the emperor established a feudal military dictatorship.

Tokugawa Ieyasu bans Christianity in Japan


Tokugawa Ieyasu bans Christianity in Japan, leading churches in Japan to be destroyed and missionaries were imprisoned.

The defeat of Toyotomo


Tokugawa Ieyasu defeats the Toyotomo clan in Osaka Castle.

The Shogun


Tokugawa Iemitsu becomes the shogun.

Meisho (Empress Regnant)

1626 - 1643

Meishō was the seventh of eight women to become empress regnant. The six who reigned before her were (a) Suiko, (b) Kōgyoku/Saimei, (c) Jitō, (d) Genmei, (e) Genshō, and (f) Kōken/Shōtoku. Her sole female successor was Go-Sakuramachi.

Act of Seclusion In Japan


Japan was effectively cut off from Western nations for the next 200 years (with the exception of a small Dutch outpost in Nagasaki Harbor).

Discrimination Against Christians

1637 - 1638

There was estimate of 300,00 Christians in Japan at the beginning of this period. After the Shogunate’s brutal repression of a Christian rebellion on the Shimabara Peninsula in 1637-38, Christianity was forced underground. (fun fact: The new dominate faith was Confucianism, a relatively conservative religion with a strong emphasis on loyalty and duty.)

the ban of Portuguese traders


Tokugawa Iemitsu bans Portuguese traders

bans all foreigners from Japan


Tokugawa Iemitsu bans all foreigners from Japan, apart from Chinese and Dutch who were restricted to Deshima.

47 Ronin Incident


47 Ronin Incident – a daimyo is killed by 47 ronins in revenge of their master daimyo.

Russians arrive in Japan


Adam Laxman, a Russian envoy arrives in Japan.

Trade fail


The Russians’ attempt to establish trade relations with Japan fails.

Emperor Mieiji

November 3, 1852

Began his rule at the age of 12 after the death of Emperor Komei. He thenk gained complete control of the country in 1867 after the end of the tokuwaga shogunate.


1853 - 1857

During most of the tumultuous years from the arrival of Commodore Perry in Japan in 1853 to the complete defeat of the last forces of the Shogunate in 1869, one man could be trusted to support all the wrong policies. This was the Emperor Osahito, posthumously named Kōmei, who supported the continuation of the Shogunate, did not wish to alter Japanese society, disliked Chōshū which he blamed for bringing violence to the city of Kyoto in 1864, and seems to have felt that the presence of foreigners in Japan was a form of pollution. Kōmei died on 30th January 1867 at the age of 35 and was succeed by his 14 year old son. The political situation in Japan was that the Satsuma-Chōshū Alliance or Satchō Alliance had been formed in 1866 in secret and about 7,000 rifles supplied to Chōshū. During the second half of 1866, the Shogunal forces invading Chōshū had been decisively defeated and had been forced to make a truce. Meanwhile, the Shogun Iemochi had died in August 1866 and Yoshinobu had become the last Shogun in early January 1867 with Kōmei's support.

End of Japanese Isolationism


After two centuries, Japanese isolationism comes to an end.

The first Japanese Embassy in the USA


The first Japanese embassy opens in the USA.

Meiji Restoration


Meiji Restoration – Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigns, and the Emperor regains power. This was the end of the Edo period and the beginning of the Meiji Period.

Meiji Period

1868 - 1912

With the end of the Tokugawa Era, Emperor Meiji regained power and moved the capital from Kyoto to Tokyo. Emperor served as a figured head while majority of the power went to a small group of nobles and samurai. The goal of Emp. Meiji was to take the power from western powers and restore military and political power back to the Japanese government. The new government was established as a Oligarchy. The era came to an end when Emp. Meiji died on July 30, 1912.

Establishment of a New Meji Government


Power was given back to the emperor after the decrease in military power.

Japanese Democracy


The creation of a new Japanese government, changed Japan into a democratic state, thus granting more human rights and religious freedom to the people. The breakdown of social classes, took away the government privileges granted to the samurais.

Conscription Law


This Law required healthy male Japanese citizens of all classes to serve three years in the first reserves and two additional years in the second reserves.

Increase of Military Power


With the expansion of European and American imperialism, the government increased funding for their military under their new democratic government.

Rise of Military Conscription


Prime Minister Yamagata Aritomo allowed for the military to draft soldiers into the military from different social backgrounds but all having strong alliances to the emperor.

The Diet


The first democratic constitution was established in Japan in 1889. The document made way for the creation of a Japanese parliament name the Diet. The Diet worked under the emperor, who granted sovereignty to the public. Like other western government, the emperor also served as the head of the army, navy, executive and legislative power. The Diet served as the only government with legitimized power because the other groups did not work as a cohesive group.

Sino- Japanese War

1894 - 1895

Conflicts of interests in Korea between China and Japan led to the Sino-Japanese War. Japan defeated China and gained Taiwan. Russia, France and Germany to return Taiwan and other territories gained from the war. The intervention of the three core countries was named the Triple Intervention and caused the Japanese army and navy to intensify their "rearmament".

Russo-Japanese War

1904 - 1905

Another war broke out between Russia and Japan over interests within Korea and Manchuria. The Japanese army beat the Russians gaining territory and finally some international respect. Japan further increased their influence on Korea and annexed the country in 1910. The Japanese victory increased nationalism allowed the country to develop national self confidence.

Emperor Taisho Takes Power

1912 - 1926

Taisho Period

1912 - December 25, 1926

The Taisho period served as a buffer between the Meiji Period ( a democratic and socialist period) and the Showa period ( a military and utilitarian government) The role of Japan in WWI, showed that they could work with major world powers and command respect from the opposition.

Military Forces the Removal of Prime Minister

December, 1912

"The army, unhappy with the current military budget, withdraws its minister from the cabinet forcing Saionji to resign as prime minister."

Japanese Role in WWI


Japan enters WWI on the side of the Allies. At the end of the war, they gain territories from Germany.

End of the Diet

March, 1915

Prime Minister Okuma Shigenobu dissolves the Diet due to their opposition to extra funding and the expansion of the military.

Japanese Aid to Czech Republic

July, 1918

Japan and the U.S. sent troops to aid the Czech Republic. The U.S. sent 7,000 troops while Japan sent 72,000.

Emperor Showa Takes Power

1926 - 1989

Rise of Militarism and Ultra-nationalism

1926 - 1937

Showa Period

December 25, 1926 - January 7, 1989

Started with the rule of Emperor Hirohito in 1926 (ended with the end of WWII- 1945) and the economic crisis that caused a clash between the farmers and elite militia men. There was a rise in fascism, totalitarianism, ultra-nationalism. Japan removed themselves from the League of Nations, granting them political isolation and complete loyalty to the emperor and military. The military also separated themselves from the government and operated under their own authority.

Taisho Emperor Dies

December 25, 1926

Japan invades China


The military invades China and sets up a temporary "puppet regime".

Manchurnian Incident

September 18, 1931

"During the rise in military power, the Japanese military within China fabricated the bombing of a rail-line by Chinese soldiers, which was used as justification for Japan’s military aggression against China."

League of Blood

May, 1932

A group of extremist composed of navy and army officer assassinated the Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi. The assassination almost triggered a military coup but instead ended the rule of political parties In Japan.

Japan signs alliance with Nazi Germany


Second Sino-Japanese War

July 7, 1937 - September 9, 1945

Japan invaded Manchuria, China, causing a war to breakout. Japan had a military advantage because it had more armor and artillery than China. In 1939, most of China's main cities were under Japanese control including Beijing, Nanjing, and Shanghai.

Role of Japan in WWII

1939 - 1945

Japan entered the war on the side of Nazi Germany. After the allegiance, Japan attacked all of it neighboring Asian countries and launched the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Japan later surrendered in 1945.

Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941

Japan Institutes 15 Prime Ministers in 24 years

1945 - 1970

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August, 1945

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. drops two atomic bombs, one on Hiroshima and the other on Nagasaki. The devastation caused Japan to surrender and for their government to be placed under U.S. military control. This caused all of the Japanese military and naval forces to be disbanded.

New Constitution and Parliamentary System


New constitution comes into force, establishes parliamentary system with all adults eligible to vote.

Japan Joined the UN


Emperor Akihito

1989 - Present

Heisei Period

January 8, 1989 - Present

The current Japanese period, is focusing on rebuilding their economy and limiting the role of the military.

Japan Has the 6th Largest Military Budget