Japan Timeline


Rule of Yamato Clan

250 CE - 710 CE

They moved the capital from Nara to Heian, the Ruling Family became the Imperial house of Japan who's descendants still sit on the throne today, and technology became more advanced when they adopted rice cultivation. They also believed in local Gods/spirits which eventually combined to form Japan's earliest religion, Shintoism.

Heian Period

794 CE - 1185 CE

During this time period, known as the Golden-Age of pre-modern Japanese history, the Emperor was thought ot be a descendant of Shinto Gods and a sacred figurehead. Instead of the emperor having power, a chancellor, also known as a kwampaku, had the real power.

Rule of Fugiwara Clan

858 CE - 1150 CE

This was a time filled with peace, cultural brilliance, and prosperity. This allowed for painting and women's writing to excel, such as Lady Murasaki's "The Tale of Genji".

Arrival of the Portuguese

1543 CE

After the Portuguese were blown off course and landed near Tangeshima Island off of the southern coast of Japan, a local diamyo bought guns and made copies; therefore, making them a more advanced military power. The Portuguese also brought other goods such as tobacco and clocks.

Christianity Outlawed

1587 CE - 1854 CE

Christianity was brought to Japan by Jesuit missionaries led by Francis Xavier. It was at first allowed and began to grow and be extremely successful with many converts, but when the dynamics of Japanese politics changed, Christianity was persecuted and finally crushed.

Rule of Tokugawa Ieyasu

1596 CE - 1615 CE

Ieyasu was loyal with Oda Nobunaga and when he died he formed an alliance with his successor Hideyoshi. When Hideyoshi died Ieyasu assumed control. Under his reign, he moved the capital to Edo, banned Christianity in Japan and all European merchants except the Dutch

Establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate

1603 CE

During this period the society of Japan was strictly divided with the daimyo at the top and merchants at the bottom. Also, Christianity was persecuted and banned because their Government thought they were a threat to Japanese internal stability. Lastly, William Adams showed them how to build European style ships.

Act of Seclusion

1636 CE

During Japanese seclusion, the Japanese people were not allowed to leave the country and Europeans were not allowed in. Strict regulations were put on trade and Catholicism was forbidden. As a result of this isolation, Japan fell behind Europe in science, technology, and military power, but also benefitted by sustaining a long period of peace and stability.

commodore Matthew Perry Arrives

1853 CE

U.S. commodore, Matthew Perry, arrived in tokyo Bay and by the orders of the U.S. president he asked Japan to open up to foreign trade. After his arrival, Japan was forced to open its doors after he helped negotiate the Treaty of Kanagawa

Treaty of Kanagawa

1854 CE

The U.S. wanted new markets and Japan had new economic opportunities. The Treaty of Kanagawa was signed between the U.S. and Japan with the agreement that Japan would open to trade. As a result, Japanese isolation stopped and they focused on modernization

Meiji Restoration

1868 CE - 1912 CE

After a rebellion overthrew the shogun and replaced him with an emperor, Japanese economy quickly industrializedwith the support of the state. Also, factories, railroads, and banks were built and the army/navy and education system was improved. Lastly, Meiji reformers borrowed only certain Western ideas to modernize the nation.

Sino-Japanese War

1894 CE - 1895 CE

This war was fought between China and Japan for control of Korea. Japan's modern army defeated the Chinese troops and in 1895 the Qing signed the Treaty of Shimonoseku that said they would stay out of Korea. The war showed how China could not keep up with a fast-changing world.

Russo-Japanese War

1904 CE - 1905 CE

This war developed from the dispute and rivalry between Japan and Russia over dominance in Manchuria/Korea. Japan won, partly due to the fact that they had steadily been expanding their army since the Sino-Japanese War with China in 1894, and became the first Asian power in modern times to defeat a European power.