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Lecture 2

History 2605E Week 2

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History 2605E
Carl Young

Japanese History Week 2 BP – before present (before 2012, aka 4000 BP = 4000 years before 2012) “Land of the Rising Sun” (Ni, hon = sun, origin) Closeness with Korea will play role in shaping Japanese state A lot of people moving from Korea into Japan, introducing new technologies and cultures Beginnings - Japanese now seen as homogenous, but likely of mixed origins - Japanese language similar in grammar to Korean, but some vocab and sound system similar to some Southeast Asian languages o Very different from European languages, but also different from language of its neighbours o Written backwards compared to European languages o Simple sound system; difficult language to learn but pronunciation is not an issue o Most words end in a vowel - Ainu – hairy northerners o Japanese, like most east Asians, do not have hairy bodies compared to western groups and Europeans - Jomon culture – up to 3 century BC o Stone age: didn’t have metal, but had pottery, used stone and wood, mainly a hunter- gatherer society o Pottery was very elaborate, hand-made, no potter’s wheel o Hint of religion as well: no writings, but figurines found, most likely involved with spiritual beliefs o Put emphasis on big hips and big breasts in female figures, and emphasis on genitalia in male figures (fertility) Yayoi Culture (post 3 Century BC) - Very different from Jomon Culture o Possibly an invasion or refugees created another culture o This culture begins producing things made of metal (discovery of iron) - Close cultural contacts between Korea and Japan - Construction of mound tombs after 3 Century BC o Made for important people o Wooden chamber, put the dead bodies in large jars/coffins, with things such as weapons or jewellery, put large amount of dirt on top o More dirt/larger the mound = more important the dead person was - Known as kofun (old tombs) - Originally, important people who died would want their servants in the afterlife, so they would make graves for them there as well o Eventually they realized that this was a huge waste of humanity so they began making clay figures instead (Terracotta Soldiers in China) o Originally figures were larger, but over time they became smaller - Pottery was not as decorated and was more simpler, but was stronger and sturdier Legends and Histories - Japan first mentioned in Chinese records dating from 57 AD - Known as the Wa people - Kojiki and Nihon shoki compilations of native Japanese legends o Compiled in 800/900 AD - Creation results from male and female deities having children The Imperial Line - Descended from the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu - First legendary emperor was Jinmu in 660 BC - Imperial
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