The history of Japan begins with
Jomon period which extended for about 8,000 years. The people started as hunter-gatherers
and gradually, they formed small communities and began to organize their lives communally.
They also began to use earthenware objects.
300 B.C. - Rice was the
foundation of Japanese communities. With its
introduction in 300 B.C. the communities were able to grow bigger. This period is called the Yogi period of Japan..
300 A.D. - Japan can be said to
have taken its first steps to nationhood in the Yamato period, which began at the end of
the third century AD. During this period, the ancestors of the present Emperor began to
bring a number of small states under unified rule from their bases around what are now Nara
and Osaka Prefectures.
604 A.D. In 604 Prince Shotoku
laid down Japan's first constitution. Also from this time, Buddhism that was introduced
from the Indian continent began to take root in Japan.
800 A>D. The Nara period began
at the beginning of the eighth century with the establishment of the country's first
permanent capital in Nara. Toward the end of the century, the capital was transferred to Kyoto,
launching the Heian period, during which noble families predominated and a distinct
national culture blossomed.
1200 A.D. From the Kamakura
period, which began at the end of the twelfth century, to the close of the Edo period in
the latter half of the nineteenth century, Japan was ruled by samurai, or warrior
class. Order broke down around the middle of the fifteenth century, and Japan was torn by
civil warfare for nearly 100 years as samurai lords of different domains fought one
another. The agent of pacification and national unity was Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
1700 A.D. At the beginning of the
seventeenth century, Tokugawa Ieyasu set up a government in Edo (now Tokyo), and the Edo
period began. The Tokugawa regime adopted an isolationist policy that lasted for more than
200 years, cutting off exchange with all countries except China and the Netherlands.
1800 A.D. But with the arrival of
American Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853, the nation began to open itself up to the United
States and European powers.
he age of the samurai came to an
end with the Meiji Restoration of 1868, and a new system of government centered on the
Emperor was set up. The new government promoted modernization, adopted Western political,
social, and economic systems, and stimulated industrial activity. The Diet was
inaugurated, and the people began to enjoy limited participation in politics.
1900 A.D. From around 1920 a
democratic movement gained strength. But amid a global economic crisis, the military came
to the fore, and Japan eventually marched down the road to war.
With the end of World War II in
1945 Japan put into effect a new Constitution, committed itself to becoming a
peace-seeking democracy, and succeeded in re-launching its economy.
In 1956 the nation's entry into
the United Nations was approved. Since then, Japan has contributed to world peace and
prosperity as a member of the international community.