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OCTUBRE 17

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Early Japan (until 710)



Under the Jomon Period (13000 BC to 300 BC), the natives of the Japanese islands were collectors, fishers and hunters. Jomon is the name of the era's pottery.

Under the Yayoi Period (300 BC to 300 AD), the rice use was added into Japan around 100 BC. With the insertion of the agriculture, social classes began to evolve, and parts of the country started to join under powerful land owners. In the Han and Wei dynasties some Chinese travelers announced that a queen known as Himiko (or Pimiku) governed over Japan at that time. The Yayoi period offered also the insertion of iron and other modern ideas from Korea into Japan. Again, its pottery gave the period its name.

During the start of the Kofun Period (300 - 538), a center of predominate had instituted in the fertile Kinai plain, and by about 400 AD the country was jointed as Yamato Japan with its political center in and around the province of Yamato (about today's Nara prefecture). The period's denomination comes from the large tombs (kofun) that were built for the political leaders of that era. Yamato Japan extended from Kyushu to the Kinai plain, but did not yet include the Kanto, Tohoku and Hokkaido.

The emperor was governor of Yamato Japan and resided in a capital that was moved many times from one city to another. However, the Soga clan soon took over the present political power, resulting in the case that most of the emperors only acted as the symbol of the state and performed Shinto rituals.

Due to friendly relations to the kingdom of Kudara (or Paekche) on the Korean peninsula, the impact from the mainland increased actively. Buddhism was popularized to Japan in the year 538 or 552 and was promoted by the ruling class. Prince Shotoku has played a particularly important role in promoting Chinese ideas. He also composed the Constitution of Seventeen Articles about moral and political principles. Also the theories of Confucianism and Taoism, as well as the Chinese writing system were introduced to Japan under the Yamato period.

In the year of 645, Nakatomi no Kamatari commenced the area of the Fujiwara clan that was to follow until the rise of the military class (samurai) in the 11th century. In the similar year, the Taika reorganisations were realized: A new government and administrative system was based after the Chinese model. All land was bought by the state and rearranged equally between the farmers in a large land reform in order to introduce the new tax system that was also adopted from China.

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