Japan's History Compacted Into Three Pages Essay

1365 words - 5 pages

Who was Japan founded by? How was Hirohito important? What did Emperor Meiji do for Japan? How was Japan involved in WWI and WWII? What other wars did Japan fight in? These questions and most others you might have about Japan's history will be answered in the following paragraphs.Traditional Japanese legend states that Japan was founded in 600 B.C. by a direct descendent from the sun goddess and ancestor of the present ruling imperial family Emperor Jimmu. Around A.D. 405, the Japanese officially adopted the Chinese writing system. During the sixth century Buddhism was introduced, which you'll learn more about in the culture section of this report. The first fixed capital was Nara, set in 710 until Kyoto became the capital in 1867. The emperors of the Yamato dynasty were the supposed rulers, the power was actually held by powerful court nobles, regents, or shogun which means military leaders.This country first came in contact with the west when a Portuguese ship accidentally landed in Japan in about 1542. Traders from Portugal, the Netherlands, England and Spain arrived during the next century, as did Jesuit, Dominican, and Franciscan missionaries. During the early part of the 17th century Japanese military leaders suspected that the traders and missionaries were actually forerunners of a military conquest by European powers. This caused the military leaders to place foreigners under tighter restrictions. Japan ultimately forced all foreigners to leave and barred all relations with the outside world except for severely restricted commercial contacts with Dutch and Chinese merchants at Nagasaki. This isolation lasted over 200 years until Commodore Perry from the U. S. forced the opening of Japan to the west in 1854. Contact with the west altered Japanese society. The military leaders were forced to resign. The emperor was restored power and the feudal system was abolished. Numerous western institutions were adopted including a western legal system and constitutional government.Japanese leaders of the late 19th century considered the Korean Peninsula as a "dagger pointed at the heart of Japan." It was over Korea that Japan became involved in war with the Chinese Empire in 1894-95 and with Russia in 1904-05. The war with China established Japan's dominant interest in Korea, while giving it the Pescadores Islands and Formosa (now Taiwan). After Japan defeated Russia in 1905, the resulting Treaty of Portsmouth awarded Japan certain rights in Manchuria and in southern Sakhalin, which Russia had received in 1875. Both wars gave Japan a free hand in Korea, which it formally seized in 1910.World War 1 permitted Japan, which fought on the side of the victorious Allies, to expand its influence in Asia and its territorial holdings in the Pacific. The postwar era brought Japan unmatched wealth. Japan went to the peace conference at Versailles in 1919 as one of the great military and industrial powers of the world and received official recognition as one of...

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