Ancient East Asia


Jomon Period Ends

900 BCE

The earliest known Japanese civilization

Made dogu clay figures & had pottery

Kofun Period

250 - 592

An ancient Japanese society with many localized kings; the rulers were aristocratic warriors.

They built tombs called kofun, and the size of the tomb indicated the strength of the local polity.

Asuka Period

592 - 710

A period of centralization under the Fujiwara Clan

Emperor Temmu set up the Japanese state; Korean immigrants brought Buddhism, Writing, and Metalworking

Fujiwara Coup d'etat


The aristocratic Fujiwara defeated the Soba Clan, a group of Korean immigrants.

The Fujiwara then prompted statebuilding reforms.

Emperor Temmu

673 - 697

Prompted statebuilding; backed by the Fujiwara

Surveyed land for a tax system, set up a national army, and passed laws

Nara Period

710 - 784

Period noted for the Emperor's strength and strong Chinese influence

Rulers adopted Buddhism for protection & monasteries became strong; Kojiki & Nihon Shoki authored

Heian Period

794 - 1185

A period notable for the courtship-culture of the aristocracy & a power-struggle between monks, samurai, and aristocrats. The Fujiwara were on the rise.

Capital moved to Kyoto.

Taira no Kiyomori

1118 - 1181

A military leader who protected the seated emperor against the retired emperor & Minamoto Tameyoshi.
He then fought his former ally, Minamoto Yoshitomo in the Heiji Disturbance.

After trying to install his grandson as emperor, Minamoto Yoritomo & Emperor Go-Shirakawa defeated him, founding the Kamakura Shogunate.

Oda Nobunaga

1534 - 1582

Acquired guns from missions and conquered 2/3 of Japan; burned monasteries

"Pounded the Cake"

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

1547 - 1598

A former commoner whose illusions of grandeur led to two failed Chinese invasions; the successor to Oda Nobunaga

"Kneaded the Cake" by banning swords & switching social status