Lecture 15 Japan - Lecture 15 Japan I Land and People 1 An...

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Lecture 15 Japan I. Land and People 1. An island nation: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Okinawa. 2. Natural disadvantages: earthquakes; less arable land and high population density 3. homogeneity in culture, language, and ethnicity: the “most distinctive feature of the social makeup of Japan” Religion: Buddhism and Shinto (a native religion involving the worship of natural spirits; an instrument of Japanese nationalism) Minorities: - burakumin (now called “Dowa” or “village people”): physically indistinguishable; 3 million mainly in Kansai (southern Honshu); underprivileged and oppressed - Japanese-born Koreans : - Other minority groups: Ainu (and Okinawans - Foreign residents: Koreans, Chinese, and Brazilians (descendants of Japanese born in Brazil) II. Historical Background 1. The origins of modern Japan 1) pre-7th century: shrouded in mystery. 2) 7 th A.D.- 12 th A.D.: a loose collection of local political units under nominal control by a monarchy 3) 12 th century: the rise of powerful military clans Shogunate or bakufu system : A feudal form of government based on hereditary land ownership, vassalage, and military prowess that prevailed for 700 years. Shogun : the hereditary commander of the Japanese army who until 1867 exercised absolute rule under the nominal leadership of the emperor. 4) The continual warfare from 1467 to 1568 and the rise of small feudal states dominated by the feudal barons ( daimyo ).
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