Friday, 26 July 2013
★ ★Amazing Places Of Japan With History★ ★
This section is an overview of Japanese history, from the earliest times to the present. Unlike China and Korea, the borders of Japan have stayed relatively stable throughout most of its history due to its geographic status as a group of islands. Until the mid-20th century, historic Japan was never occupied by another people and in turn never held territorial possessions on the mainland or major islands nearby until the late 19th century– though attempts were made at colonizing the Korean peninsula in the late 16th century. From the late 19th century until 1945, the imperial Japanese government had colonies in Taiwan, Korea, northeast China and, during WWII, major parts of Southeast Asia. Since 1945, Japan has remained in its traditional territory, though a few islands are still held in dispute with various states in the region. The Japanese people of today seem to have had ancestors that came from several places. Although in antiquity the mountainous islands were once connected to the mainland, after the last Ice Age, the waters rose, isolating the island group. Whatever the origins of the earliest inhabitants were, some groups may have come from nearby Siberia, the Korean peninsula, the Yellow River and Yangzi River areas of present-day China and the southern chain of islands that lead down into Polynesia. By at least 300 BC, significant populations with advanced metal technology, rice agriculture, and horses began arriving from the Korean peninsula, and the dates of such migrations may yet be pushed back farther. As culture developed in Japan, there were several periods when archaeological and historical evidence point to the rapid introduction of cultural elements from other places. These cultural borrowings were subsequently “re-made” in Japan to fit local needs and tastes. In some periods, cultural borrowing proceeded in a systematic matter, with definite goals in mind. This process of controlled selection and adaptation was enhanced by the island nature of the country. The Age of Reform (552-710 AD), the Meiji Period (1868-1912), and the decades right after WWII are three prominent examples. In studying modern Japanese culture, it is still possible to see “layers” of these influences from the past. At various times in history, the major sources of these influences have been states on the Korean peninsula, Silk Road cultures, China, Europe, and the United States. After periods of intense borrowing, Japan has often withdrawn into itself and the foreign cultural influences have become Japanese, sometimes taking new and creative directions. A good example would be certain styles of Japanese art and architecture that were once based on Chinese models. It is interesting to note that in some instances the successes at borrowing and remaking were wildly successful—the modern auto industry, for example. Other experiments in cultural borrowings sometimes took unexpected directions. A good example is the attempt to introduce the Chinese-style of imperial government starting in the 7th century AD. Although certain codes and reforms were established for several centuries, the grand experiment was largely abandoned by the late 12th century, when a form of Japanese feudalism arose. In this new system, the emperor became a divine figurehead, while real power lay in the hands of the paramount military leader known as the shogun. This era gave way to a culture of warrior-aesthetes, quite distinct from the clearer separation between civil and military cultures in the Chinese state. Today, Japan is a super-modern and developed country that is still able to hold onto selected vestiges of its rich cultural heritage. Tokyo and Osaka are highly cosmopolitan cities that feature cultural elements from all over the globe. Yet, a “Japanese” aesthetic prevails as past and present cultural influences continue to interweave in one of the most powerful engines of popular culture on earth.