Japan, Korea and Eastern Asia Guidbook By: benjamin



Legends say the Japan was for,ed by drops of water by a god who dipped his jewled spear into the ocean. Each drop formed one of 4 large islands that make of Japan. Japan is located 120 miles off the coast of Asia. Japan is a very difficult place to live because only 15 percent of the land is flat enough for farming and there is almost any kind of natural disaster you can think of volcanoes, earthquakes, tidal waves, and even hurricane. But the weather is perfect for farming so many farmers make good out of the 15 percent of the land that is flat. The ocean that sorounds the 4 islands brings plenty of fish and great protection from other countries.


Japan's main culture until 500 AD was Shinto. This culture means "Way of the gods" it is based on love and respect for nature and ancestors. They believed that natural objects such as rocks, trees, rivers, and other nature things are home to divine spirits. In a clan all the workers and slaves honored the same divine spirits and ancestors. In 500 AD a prince named prince Shotoku accepts China's religion called Buddhism. Since Shotoku accepted it no encouraged it to grow in Japan it grew rapidly and soon Japanese started practicing Buddhism along with Shinto. One type of Buddhism grew more than the others in Japan and this was Zen. Zen means meditation. Many samurai worriers loved Zen because they think that it would help them find inner peace in the battles ahead. Two themes that are often expressed in Japanese literature and drama are simplicity and the love of nature these themes also appear in many Japanese art. Like Chinese Japanese wrote with brushes of ink on paper. They expressed their love for nature through a type of writing called Calligraphy. Calligraphy is the art of beautiful writing. Flower-arranging was another thing that China influenced Japanese to do they tried to highlight the beauty of natural flowers. Soon they started making Zen inspired gardens to help them think and meditate.


Early Japan was divided into clans. Land was the main source of wealth and power to the clans. Organize all the clams were organized around a couple big clans, each clan was led by a few powerful nobles. In the 400s though Yamto clan declared themselves the most powerful plan, japan's first and purse came from that clam. If a child was appointed a ruler a regrant would rule until the child is old what is the most important regrants was prince Shotoku. He encourage the Japanese to learn from China, Shotoku opened an embassy in China. China's main religion Buddhism was soon took up by Japan. Drama started in the 600's with people performing Shinto dances at religious shrines. 1300's actors developed a special type of drama called Noh. Noh plays were often retellinngs of myths, legends, and folktales. Actors wore to wooden mask to show emotions and geustures, costumes to help tell stories. They perform for both upper class in common people. In the 1600's a new type of drama was invented called Kabuki. It had singing and dancing with elaborate costumes and heavy makeup. It was always preformed by man. Many powerful writers such as Lady Murasaki. Murasaki lived in the emperor's court in 1000. One of the stories that had a big impact on literature in Japan was called "The Tale of Geji". Often poems that were written by the Japanese were about love or beauty of nature. Short poems were called haiku's and had 17 symbols.

The great prince that brought Buddhism to Japan and made Japan grow died soon in 622 but the Japanese remained strong. Wealthy nobles of powerful clans remained in power for 300 years. But soon in 1100 the nobles lost power to large landholders called daimyo. Daimyo had there own private armies of trained warriors called samurai. Daimyo used their armies to defend and attack other daimyo. Some small landowners needed the daimyo's portection. In order for the daimyo to get his portection the landowner would have to pledge their loyalty to the daimyo. Often that loyalty meant military service. The landowners that did this trade were called vassals. The emperors of Japan did not hold the real power a military leader did, these were called shoguns. Shogun means "supreme commander of the army. To samurai dying an honorable death during a fight was better that living a long life. Women in a samurai's family and to learn how to handle weapons to portect their family while their father/husband was away. Samurai lived by a very important code of honor called Bushido. This code called for honor, loyalty, and bravery. These were very powerful and brace leaders and their stories.

Oda Nobunaga- in the mid 1500 this daimyo began to reunite Japan by recognizing the importance of guns and his army was the first army to use

Toyotomi Hideyoshi- Toyotomi ruled after Oda and he was his best general. Toyotomi controlled all of Japan until he died in 1598

Tokugawa Ieyasu- Won the wars in 1603 and was declared shogun, his successors in his family were called Tokugawa Shogunate. When Ieyasu became shogun Japan was growing ties with Europe he worried about this so he drove out all the missionaries and merchants.

Korea and Southeast Asia


Korea is a peninsula that extends from northern china, on Asia's mainland. Only a river separates Korea from its strong neighbor in the north. Chinese culture spreads to Japan by way of Korea. The first people to inhabit the peninsula is nomads from the north. These nomads lived in clans. In 108 China invaded northern Korea but Korea won most of its land back. For 700 years 3 kingdoms made up Korea. But soon the kingdoms started to fight for Korea. In the end the Silla kingdom united Korea for its first time. But soon the nobles of Silla started fighting too and Silla fell. But koryo took its place. It followed after China and made rice, paper, printing, and pottery ( which they got pretty good at) Koryo also took up Confucianism and Buddhism.

Southeast Asia

Only mountains separated Asia from the peninsula known as Korea. So movement between the two was a lot, merchants, soilders, missionaries followed these routes as they brought China's culture to Vietnam and other places. Viets were people who just south of china which is now Nam Viet. China just wanted to trade at first. But soon China's rulers began forcing them to adopt their culture. Many Viets refused. Two women named Trung Trac and her sister Trung Nhi led a rebellion against China's rule. It was going up and down until in 900 China's Tang Dynasty weakened and Vietnamese got away. At first they established an independent kingdom called Dai Viet when the mogols attacked again they attacked three times Dai Viet made it throw but was left weak.


Created with images by DeltaWorks - "sunset shrine sea" • Tkmisaw - "natural in the early summer may" • DeltaWorks - "buddha statue buddha japan" • Imahinasyon Photography - "Daisho in Temple, Miyajima, Japan" • Moyan_Brenn - "Japan" • Emmanuel Dyan - "Seoul, South Korea" • aljuarez - "Seoul, Korea"

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