Study Guide

Japanese History: Study Guide
To study for this test review the following materials:
o The Warlords of Japan Student Info Sheets
o Powerpoint Notes
o Bushido and Samurai Worksheet
Important Geographic Ideas:
a.Archipelago- chain of many Islands
b. Ring of Fire- belt of earthquakes and volcanic activity (seismic activity) around the rim
of the Pacific Ocean
c. Tsunami- a destructive wave caused by an earthquake.
d. Typhoon- severe tropical storm in the western Pacific Ocean
e. Mount Fuji- highest mountain peak in Japan
Distinguish between the following cities:
1. Kyoto/Heian- 1st called Heian, then renamed Kyoto when peaceful Heian period came to an
end; was the emperor’s capital in Feudal Japan, was spared bombing in WWII because of
cultural and historic importance
2. Kamakura- Minamoto Yoritomo made Kamakura his capital; the shogun’s capital
3. Edo/Tokyo- Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu made Edo his capital; after the Meiji restoration
occurs the emperor moves his capital to Edo and renames it Tokyo; Tokyo is the capital of
modern Japan
1. Shinto- basic/major beliefs- Japan’s oldest and only native religion, emphasized respect
for nature and ancestors, belief in Kami- nature spirits
2. Kami- nature spirits, that populate the world according to Shinto beliefs
3. Shinto Shrines- the sun goddess, one of the most important kami, emperors claimed to be
related descended from Amaterasu--- idea that emperor was “divine”
4. Zen Buddhism- - popular form of Buddhism in Japan, emphasizes clearing the mind through
deep meditation called Zen
5. Figurehead- person with important title, but little actual power
*** I screwed up this key, you should have Heian Period here- peaceful period from 794-1185
when Japan cut itself off from China, Japanese culture thrived and the Japanese develop a
culture different from the Chinese.
6. Feudalism-political, economic, and social system, in which poor people were legally bound to
work for wealthy landowners; loyalty and labor was exchanged for land and protection
The Power Structure: identify jobs, roles, quality of life, any other important details.
a. Merchants- sold goods produced by others, could grow rich, but were not highly
respected because they lived off the work of others, were seen as parasites, didn’t
make anything- only sold what others made
b. Artisans- craftspeople, made goods and tools for the other classes, artisans that
made fine swords were greatly respected
c. Peasants- poor farmers and laborers, produced food for the other classes, many
farmed rice or fished, paid taxes in the form of rice and work, poor but respected
because they made food for all the other classes; still respected because they
produced food
d. Ronin- samurai without masters, soldiers for hire, can be seen as being outside the
class system, some worked as ninja
e. Samurai- professional, highly skilled warriors, were extremely loyal to the daimyo
(would die for him), collected taxes and fought for daimyo
f. Daimyo- nobles/warlords/generals of feudal Japan, high-ranking members of warrior
class, loyal to Shogun, owned land and ran estates, collected taxes, ran estates, had
large armies of samurai
g. Shogun- - supreme military commander, highest member of warrior class, truly ran
the country, had the real power
h. Emperor- most highly respected, but didn’t truly run the country, claimed to be
descendant from the sun goddess Amaterasu
7. Bushido- strict honor code followed by Japanese samurai emphasized bravery, loyalty, and
death before dishonor
8. Seppuku- ritual suicide through disembowelment, samurai were expected to commit seppuku
rather than face defeat, surrender, or upon committing a dishonorable action
9. Minamoto Yoritomo- first shogun of Japan made his capital in Kamakura, founds the
Kamakura Shogunate
10. Kamakura Shogunate- (shogunate means a government run by a shogun) term to refer to
the government of the Minamoto when they ruled from the city of Kamakura
11. Kublai Khan and attempted invasion of Japan- Mongol ruler who tried, and failed to take
over Japan two times, both times his invasions were thwarted by bad weather, the 2nd time
many of his ships were destroyed by a typhoon. The Japanese called this typhoon that stopped
the 2nd invasion kamikaze meaning “Divine Winds” will also be the name for Japanese fighter
pilots in WWII.
12. Arrival of Europeans- Who? When? What did they bring?
Portuguese sailors arrive in 1543 during Warring States Period- when Japan was chaotic, war
torn, while different daimyo fought for power. They brought guns, Christianity (Catholics), and
wanted to open up Japan for trade. This was a lot of change to introduce to a society in the
middle of an already chaotic time period
*. Oda Nabunaga- he wasn’t on your study guide, but for LA honors kids- he was the 1st of
the three unifiers, conquered a great deal of Japanese territory during Warring States period,
remembered as both one of the greatest and most brutal rulers of Japan
13. Toyotomi Hideyoshi- from peasant background, but became very powerful general and
eventually rose to become the most powerful warlord, was never officially named shogun
because he was born top peasant class (but he really was top-dog), ENFORCED FEUDALSIM to
ensure power, sword hunts- peasants can’t have weapons, samurai cannot farm, sent forces to
invade Korea- they return to Japan when he dies
14. Tokugawa Ieyasu- ends long period of war and unifies Japan, bans Christianity, expels
foreigners, isolates Japan from most of the outside world and imposes strictly imposes class
structure------ enforces FUEDAL ROLES, moves capital to Edo, forces daimyo to live there
part of the time keeps their family in Edo when they are not there
15. The Tokugawa Shogunate or Edo Period- refers to the government of the Kamakura
when they rule from the city of Edo- was a time of isolation and when feudal roles were strictly
enforced, Tokugawa keep power until the emperor takes it back during Meiji restoration
16. Japanese Isolation- Due to its geography Japan was often isolated from the rest of the
world, under the Tokugawa Shogunate Japanese expelled foreigners and purposefully “closed
its doors to the world”
17. Arrival of the Americans- When? Who? How did it change Japan?
1853 Americans arrive under Commodore Matthew Perry (not actor from Friends), he returns a
second time and Japanese sign treaty, start of Japan “opening up to the world,” eventually
Japanese start trading and modernize
Other questions to consider:
18. What was the preferred weapon of the samurai? Peasants
19. What marks the entrances to Shinto Shrines?
torri gates
20. Name the Mongol ruler of China who tried to invade Japan two times:
Kublai Khan
21. The United States defeated Japan in what major conflict in the modern era?
22. What was the name of Japanese fighter pilots in WWII?
23. What does their name mean?
Divine Winds
24. Name two food staples of the Japanese diet:
rice & fish
25. How many main islands make up Japan?
Add this on:
Meiji Restoration: starting when last shogun is removed from power (1867) refers to
period of time (started by emperor Meiji) when emperor takes power back from military and
bans samurai class
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