Japan is in the far east continent of
Asia, it is considered and archipelago that consist of four main islands
Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and over 1,000 smaller islands. Japan covers
377,835 square kilometers of land surrounded by 13,430 square kilometers of
water and is mostly covered with mountains, the largest being Mount Fuji. The
population of Japan is 127 million according to the World Bank census in 2016,
The Jomon people survived for thousands of years when finally, the Yayoi
culture surpassed the Jomon culture and migrated to Japan in 100 B.C. from
continental Asia importing rice, metals, language and religion. The Yayoi
people were primarily farmers and gradually moved north to Kyushu and created a
Once the Yayoi people had settled the
official religion became Shintoism which means ‘The Way of The Gods.’ Followers
of Shintoism believe in spiritual powers that exist within the natural world.
Nearly 500 years later Buddhism was introduced, and the Sun Dynasty ascended to
the throne. Japan is the oldest country to continue monarchy in the world,
although the Emperor essentially has no power and the country is a liberal
democracy. Emperor Akihito’s family has ruled for nearly 2,000 years and was
the first to step down in 200 years due to his declining health in 2016. In
Japanese culture Emperors symbolize tradition and unity dating back to 600 B.C.
Legend says that the first Emperor of Japan, Emperor Jimmu, is a descendant of
the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami.
In 1543 the first Europeans arrived at the
southern tip of Japan, ushering Portuguese firearms and Christianity. Japan
closed its doors to the outside world in 1635 and forbade its people to travel
abroad for 200 years, Tokugawa Iemitsu implemented an anti-Christian,
antiforeigner policy after the Spanish conquered the Philippines and the
loyalty of the Westerns was now questioned.
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the most
powerful man of Japan after Hideyoshi died in 1598. In 1600 Ieyasu defeated Hideyori
loyalists and other western rivals. This granted him almost unlimited power and
wealth. In 1603 the emperor granted Ieyasu Shogun, thus establishing his
government in Edo, which is modern day Tokyo. The Tokugawa shoguns ruled Japan
for the next 250 years. This was known as the Edo Period.
The samurai which are also known as
“bushi” were warriors of premodern Japan. In 1192 Minamoto Yoritomo emerged
victorious in a battle for supremacy against the central government of Japan.
Thus leading Yoritomo to set up a new military government led by the shogun.
This lead the Samurai to rule Japan for the next 700 years. From 1603-1867 was
the Edo Period and the samurai were the highest ranking social caste. The samurai
used different kinds of weapons but their main weapon was as sword which was
also their symbol. These warriors were suppose to lead their lives according to
the code of bushido which meant ” the way of the warrior”. These were people
that were very loyal to their master but as well were self disciplined and
Another type of Japanese warrior was the
Ninja. These warriors specialized in
unconventional warfare such as infiltration, sabotage and assassination during
the age of the samurai. Ninjas were known as “Shinobi” which means “those who
act in stealth”. As early as the 11th century people of the Iga and
Koka gained a reputation for their skills in unconventional warfare.in the 15th
and 16th centuries, the age of the warring states, many warlords
hired the ninja of the Iga and Koka as mercenaries. The 15th and 16th
centuries were the era that the ninja flourished and was the most popular.
Period (1603 – 1867).” Japanese
History: Edo Period, www.japan-guide.com/e/e2128.html.
“Samurai.” Samurai – Japanese Warriors,
“Ninja.” Ninja, www.japan-guide.com/e/e2295.html.
Pod666, Dreamstime Photograph by, et al. “Japan.” Kids’ Games, Animals, Photos, Stories, and More, 21 Mar. 2014,
“Population, Total.” Population, Total | Data, 2017, data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL.
“Asia/.” World Atlas – Japan, 7 Apr. 2017, www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/asia/japan/jptimeln.htm.