Imagine passing dazziling temples and shrineswith red cherry blossom trees hanging high above it.
Not many places in theworld have an enchanting landscape as beautiful as Japan. When people usuallyhear the word “Japan” many are prone to say that Japan is a highly exquisite place.In fact, Japan is a country of abundant history, interesting current events andalso rich literary history that helps contributeto what everyone knows it today as modern Japan.
According to the website, US News, Japan is known worldwide forits traditional arts including tea ceremonies, calligrapghy and flowerarranging. The country has a legacy of gardens, sculptures and poetry.” The Japanese history starts offwith many time periods that contributed to it’s culture. One of the mostprominent culturual periods in Japan was around the Jomon era. It is said inthe website, Jomon Archeological Sites, “Pottery was created just as the Jomon period began. Jomon people kneaded clay to createpottery in shapes they liked and they learned to make strong containers throughchemical changes by applying heat.” Thishelped shape the people in learning to find beauty in their piece of art work. In the area handbook series, Japan a country study, says “this periodis marked by a hunting, fishing, and food-gathering culture” (5).
Asthis period of time was concluded the Yayoi period became its next substantial changebringing in new inventions. The book confirms that, “During the Yayoi periodwaves of immigrants came from China and Korea: these settlers introduced wetrice cultivation to augment hunting and fishing, weaving, and the use of bronzeand iron implements.” Lucien Ellington adds, “People during the Yayoi periodproduced a variety of implements, including jars and urns..and established somesea trade with Korea and China” (17).
Encyclopedia also states, “In the Yayoi Period, however, tradeflourished with cities holding precious resources and trading centers becomingthe largest settlements. The largest Yayoi settlement found was a tradingcenter named Asahi, in modern-day Aichi Prefecture, which covered 200 acres (c.0.8 km²).” Furthermore, in this era,designing pottery was another creation the Yayoi people put time into. Not onlywere they people of agriculture, but they were also people of fine art like theJomon people. By the time the Nara period had approached, Japan had alreadyfound a sense of agriculture and sense of place. During this particular era Japan established itsfirst capital.
Wa-Encycopediarecognizes, “The EmpressGemmei established the capital at Nara, also known as Heijo kyo, where itremained the capital of Japanese civilization until the Emperor Kammuestablished the new capital at Nagaoka (and, only a decade later, Heian, orKyoto).” It was also the beginning of temple establishments and according tothe acclaimed website, Wikipedia, Anothermajor cultural development of the era was the permanent establishment of Buddhism. Buddhism was introduced by Baekje in the sixth century but had amixed reception until the Nara period, when it was heartily embraced by Emperor Sh?mu. Sh?mu and his Fujiwara consort were fervent Buddhists andactively promoted the spread of Buddhism, making it the “guardian of thestate” and a way of strengthening Japanese institutions. The next majorera that is essential to Japan’s history was the Heian Period. According to the,Metropolitan Museum of Art, One of themost influential groups of the Heian era was the aristocratic Fujiwara family.The Fujiwaras succeeded in dominating the royal family by marrying female clanmembers to emperors and then ruling on behalf of the offspring of these unionswhen they assumed the throne.
Not only did the powerful aristocratic Fujiwarascontrol the politics of this era, but they also dominated the cultural milieu.Fujiwara courtiers encouraged an aura of courtly sophistication and sensitivityin all of their activities, including the visual andliterary arts, and even religious practice. This refined sensibility andinterest in the arts is clearly expressed in the literary classic TheTale of Genji, written by a member of the Fujiwara clan. Literature in Japan becamevery popular after the publishing of TheTale of Genji.
Although Japan is well known for their historical eras; theyare known to have produced high quality literature. Ellington goes on to saythat, The most famous of all HeianLiterature, The Tale of Genji, wascompleted by Lady Murasaki Shikibu early in the eleventh century. This book,considered to be a masterpiece of world literature and the world’s firstpsychological novel, reveals much of the life of the Heian nobility.
The hero,Prince Genji, epitomizes what Heian aristocrats considered to be good. He ishandsome, a thoughtful lover, a poet, a musician, and he possesses impeccabletaste. Japanese Viewpoints Acknowledges, “To some Japanese, Genji has not seemed not only aliterary masterpiece but an expression of the soul of their civilization.” Genjiwas a well thought out novel. In the book, JapaneseViewpoints, it writes, “Genji shows us the world created by the Heianbuilders of civilization. It’s unusual world in which the people are concernedin almost all their waking moments with cultivating beauty in people, thingsand scenes; creating or evoking beauty in song, painting, and poetry.” From the website, Britannica,Whatmade Lady Murasaki’s work different is this: although it is prose, it isclearly informed by a comprehensive knowledge of Chinese and Japanese poetry;it is a graceful work of imaginative fiction, not a personal account of life atcourt; it incorporates some 800 waka, courtly poems purported to be the writingof the main character; and its supple narrative sustains the story through 54chapters of one character and his legacy.Japanese literature was notcommonly written in their own style of writing.
According to Japan: A Country Study, argues that, “theJapanese had written exclusively in Chinese or with a combination of Chinesefor both meaning and phonetic representation of Japanese sounds. The kanascript, which came in two forms, made possible the production of literaryworks.” This is where Japan had begun their work in the literary world. Lastly, one of the main top social troubles Japan facestoday is their downfall in population. Today, many women in the country ofJapan are no longer giving birth as much as they were before.
To them creatinga stable career became one of the more important tasks to carry out instead of creatinga home. There are two reasons for the lack of birth rate, one as it states inthe website, The Atlantic, Accordingto Ryosuke Nishida, a professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology who haswritten about unemployment among young workers. About 30 percent of irregularworkers in their early 30s are married, compared to 56 percent of full-timecorporate employees, according to Kingston. “Japan has this idea that the manis supposed to get a regular job,” said Nishida. If you graduate and you don’tfind a job as a regular employee, people look at you as a failure. “Mendidn’t want to get married” which is why women were fed up with the men inJapan. If they were educated and had a liable job; they were unable to put timeinto their social life outside of work such as creating a family or “dating”. Again, in the website it says that, “Thoughcompany employees left work at 7 p.
m. on paper, Matsubara said he was requiredto work until late at night almost every day.”Work was not always sunshine and rainbows. It was a stressful task for many menwith a good job. These were the reasons for why men were unable to give womenthe attention they needed, which impacted the birth rate in Japan. Japan is a country of abundant history, interestingcurrent events and also rich literary history that helps contribute to what everyoneknows it today as modern Japan.
From the centuries of history of Japan to therich literary history of Japan you come to find that overall Japan is molded byit’s history to this day.