The Periodization Of The History Of Japan
From 710 to 784 (or 710 to 794), the capital city of Japan was in Nara,
then this 75 (85) years of time was named Nara Period, it was just on the
improvement of the centralized government based on the Ritsuryo Code and
the development of the national land planning. And the Japanese arts and
culture became enlightened by the enhancement of Buddhism and the active
international exchanges with China and Korea. Todaiji Temple and the Great
Buddha were built, and also Manyoshu (the Myriad Leaves), Kojiki (Records
of Ancient Matters), Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) and Fudoki (regional
descriptions) were complied in this period. The reign of the Emperor Shomu
was the golden age of Nara period. On the field of art history, the period
is called Tenpyo period.
Heian Period was the period of time that the Imperial Court in Kyoto had
the political power to control throughout Japan from 794 (784) to 1185,
so it was started from when the Emperor Kanmu had moved the Capital to
Kyoto and it was ended when Kamakura Shogunate started. It is the age of
transition from the Ancient to the Middle ages in Japan.
Through Heian period, the government was controlled by the aristocracy, especially Fujiwara Family sent their daughters to the Emperors for their spouses and they could be the maternal of the Imperial Family to gain the power to control the Imperial Court or government. Now it is named Fujiwara Sekkan Seiji (The Regency Government by Fujiwara Clan). Late Heian period, the former Emperors gained the political power.
Heian Period was the golden age for the nobility, and they contributed a lot to improve the national aristocratic culture, the Tale of Genji, the Pillow Book and some literatures were written by the noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu, Seisho Nagon and so forth, and Hououdo Hall in Byodoin Temple in Uji were built by Yorimichi Fujiwara, one of the chancellor of the Emperor.
The political system based on the Ritsuryo Code broke down and the feudal system started developing during Heian Period.
Kamakura Period started in 1185 in general when Yoritomo Minamoto
beat down the Heishi Clan in Kyoto and sent military governors and estate
stewards to each provinces. But some said it started in 1180, 1183 or 1192.
And Kamakura Period ended in 1333, so Kamakura Bakufu
ruined, so the almost 150 years was called Kamakura Period.
The Kamakura Bakufu the first government ruled by samurai worriers in the
history of Japan. Therefore,samurais rised up in the center of the society
and their culture gradually grew up. And some new Buddhism sects such as
Jodo Sect, True Pure Land Sect, Ji Sect, Zen Sect and Nichiren Sectwere
born and spread throughout Japan. Besides Shin Kokin Wakashu, Gukansho,
Azumakagami and some books were completed. Moreover Chinese Style, Indian
Style and Japanese Style were adopted to build temples and castles.
Muromachi Period started when Takauji Ashikaga founded his government
called Ashikaga Bakufu or Muromachi Bakufu
at Muromachi Kyoto in 1336, and it ended in 1573 when
the 15th shogun, Yoshiaki Ashikaga, was banished from Kyoto by Nobunaga
Oda. And Muromachi Periods includes other 2 periods called 'The Period
of Northern and Soutern Dynasties' from 1336 to 1392 and 'The Warring States
Period' from 1467 to 1573, so the government and society were unstable
through the period. Sometimes, it is called Ashikaga Period.
Muromachi came from a palace generally called 'hana gosho (the floral palace) that Yoshimitsu Ashikaga newly built in Kita Koji Muromachi in Kamigyo-ku Kyoto in 1378, after that it became the center of the government.
The Period of Northern and Southern Dynasties is thus that Jimyoin party
supported by Ashikaga Family (Shoguns) in Kyoto called the northern dynasty
and Daikakuji Party in Yoshino Nara called the southern dynasty struggled
to get the power to control the country. It started from 1336 when the
Emperor Godaigo moved to Yoshino and it ended when the Emperor Gokameyama
(the grandson of Godaigo) moved back to Kyoto in 1392. Then Ashikaga Family
unified Japan under their rule. During this period, the shoen system (manorial
system) declined, the Shugo-ryokoku system (daimyos controlling their land
or territories by themselves) developed, society of farmers grew and the
goson-sei system (a self-governing system of a small village) improved,
so drastically the society in Japan continuously changed in this period.
Sometimes, it is called Yoshino Period.
Sengoku Period (the Warring States Period) is a period about a hundred
year from the Onin War in 1467 to the unification of Japan by Nobunaga Oda
and Hideyoshi Toyotomi
. The power of Muromachi Bakufu (Shogunate) declined and the social order
was disturbed and the period of social upheaval started so local warlords
competed with one another. During this age of civil wars, the shoen system
(manorial system) declined and the sengoku ryogoku system that daimyos
controlled their feudal domains completed. Sengoku Period is the period
reorganizing the feudal system in Japan. Moreover Europeans first visited
Japan and brought much European technologies and cultures in Sengoku Period.
Azuchi Momoyama Period was the 30 years period that Nobunaga Oda
and Hideyoshi Toyotomi
ruled Japan, so it is also called Shokuho Period, it started when
Nobunaga marched into Kyoto or Nobunaga overthrew Muromachi Bakufu and
it ended when Hideyoshi died or the war of Sekigahara broke out. Azuchi
Momoyama is named after two castles names, one was Azuchijo Castle that
Nobunaga built at Azuchi and another one was Fushimi Momoyamajo Castle
built by Hideyoshi. Improving the nationwide military unification, completing
the heinobunri (separation the samurai's act of both farming and joining
military services for his living) and kokudaka system (annual payment and
tax system based on rice). There were many fine arts, many beautiful temples,
shrines and castles were built, masterpieces of wall paintings were created,
and the tea ceremony was completed in Azuchi Momoyama Period.
In general, the Edo Period started when The Edo Bakufu
(the Edo Shogunate) was founded by Ieyasu Tokugawa
) in 1603. And it was closed by Yoshinobu Tokugawa, the fifteenth shogun
of the Edo Shogunate, returned the political power to the Emperor. Thus
the Edo Bakufu had the political power of Japan from 1603 to 1867. Sometimes
it is told that the Edo Period started when Ieyasu won the Battle Of Sekigahara.
It was the next period of Azuchi-Momoyama Period. Moreover, the period
of the Shogunate is also called 'Tokugawa Period', and the 265 years of
the period was sometimes said 'peaceful period'. The Edo Period was the
final period that samurai ruled Japan.