Articles for the theme Japanese History

To Know

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Sakamoto Ryōma: The Samurai Who Helped Bring Down the Shogunate

Sakamoto Ryōma was a key figure in Japan's transition from shogunate rule to the Meiji Restoration in the mid-19th century.

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Kamakura Period Japan History

The Kamakura period (1185-1333) marked a major shift in Japan's political and social structure.

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Saigō Takamori: the quintessential hero of modern Japanese history

Saigō Takamori was one of the most influential samurai in Japanese history and a key leader of the MeijiRestoration.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi: The Unifier of Japan

Toyotomi Hideyoshi, born to a humble peasant family in 1537 CE, rose through the ranks to become one of Japan's most powerful and influential figures.

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The Nara Period: A Brief but Influential Era in Early Japanese History

The Nara period (710-794 CE) was a short but significant era in early Japanese history, following the Asuka period.

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William Adams: The First Englishman to Reach Japan and Become a Samurai

Read a biography of William Adams, the English seafarer and samurai of the Edo Period. Adams became an adviser to shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa.

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Tokugawa Ieyasu - The unifier of Japan

Read a biography of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who became shogun in 1600 and established the Tokugawa shogunate that was to rule Japan for over 250 years.


The Jomon period (13,000 BC to 400 BC)

Prehistory is divided into two sub-periods in Japan. The Paleolithic, which begins almost 40,000 years ago BC, and the so-called Jomon period, which begins almost 13,000 years before our era.

Yayoi era storage jar

The Yayoi period (400 BC to 300 AD)

The Yayoi period (400 BC to 300 AD) is a pivotal period in the history of Japan during which Japan starts cultivating rice and the first sedentary communities appear.

Matsumoto Castle

The Sengoku period (1477 - 1573)

The Sengoku period (1477 - 1573) marked a turning point in the history of Japan.

L'architecture du sanctuaire d'Ise

Japanese History: Simplified Timeline

The history of Japan is both rich and old, and it is often difficult to situate the many Japanese historical sites in time. To simplify, here is a simplified chronology of the History of Japan.

Lake Ashi in Hakone

Mount Fuji in History, Culture and Art

Mount Fuji occupies a special place in the Japanese imagination, for the singular beauty of its symmetrical slopes and its snow-capped top and for the religious activity which developed there.

Edo Period map, 1840

The Edo period (1603-1868)

This period saw 250 years of peace thanks to a strong political regime, an unprecedented urban development, a flourishing culture and arts of exceptional refinement; this is the Edo period (1603-18


The Heian period (794 - 1185)

The Heian period began in 794 with the installation of the imperial capital in Kyoto and ended in 1185 with the birth of the Kamakura shogunate.

Samurai parade during a festival

Samurai: In the Footsteps of Japanese Warriors

The samurai are an ancient caste of Japanese warriors, known worldwide for their recognizable katanas and armor.

Le Dôme de la Bombe A, dont la structure a survécu à la déflagration du 6 août 1945

Hiroshima: the history of the city

If Hiroshima evokes the memory of the atomic bomb, the city has a rich past, having played an important role since the time of feudal Japan.

Hachiko, une des mascottes de la Yamanote

Hachikô, faithful dog

The beloved Hachikô is the Akita (Akita-ken) who waited loyally for his deceased master at Shibuya station until his own death.  In Japan, Hachikô is a star.

The Karin Maru, a symbol of modernity in the Meiji era

After the passage of Commodore Perry's black fleet in 1853, which forced Japan to open up to the world, the country's leaders began to modernize many sectors of the country, including the navy.

Logo Tokyo 1964

The Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games

The 1964 Olympics was an opportunity for Japan to fully recover from the devastation of World War II and marked the rebirth of the nation.

The Heisei era (1989-2019)

If despite its name, the Showa era (which means "enlightened peace") was not that of peace, the following era, Heisei (1989-2019), that of "the achievement of peace" was peaceful. .


Japan during the Sengoku period experienced many upheavals, with newcomers among the petty lords who, took advantage of the lack of central control, expanded their domain, and increased their domai

The Taisho era (1912-1926)

The Taisho era is less known in the West, yet it represented Japan's first attempt at democratization, aka "Taisho Democracy".

The Showa era (1926-1989)

The Shôwa era (1926 - 1989) is the longest era in the history of Japan, which will have 248 on May 1 next.


Rangaku literally means "Dutch studies".

The Fujiwara family

In Japanese history, great Japanese leaders are best known among emperors or shoguns (military leaders). However, there was another form of supreme power in ancient Japan, that of regents.

The castle of Edo at the time of Tokugawa

Genroku era

The Genroku era spans about a generation, from 1688 to 1704. It is often considered the height of the Tokugawa era, a period of peace, economic prosperity, and artistic development.

Emperor Showa Hirohito (1926-1989)

Rulers in Japanese history

While an unprecedented imperial continuity has characterized Japan for at least 1,700 years, the country has known different forms of adequate power throughout its history, which are reflected in t

A statue of Kukai

Great Monks in Japanese History

Japan began to adopt Buddhism very early in its history, from the 5th century.

Les onigawara se trouvent sur les toits des temples

Onigawara, architectural demon

In traditional Japanese architecture, onigawara adorns the roofs of buildings. These tiles take on the face of a Japanese demon, more commonly called oni.

Drapeau du Japon

Japanese state founding day

Every year, February 11 is a public holiday in Japan. It celebrates Kenkoku Kinen no hi, or the day of the founding of the state.

The Shinkansen

The Shinkansen is the great technological success of post-war Japan.

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Kato Kiyomasa

Kato Kiyomasa (1562-1611) was a distant cousin of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a fierce warror and noted castle builder.

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Emperor Hirohito Emperor Showa

Emperor Hirohito (1901-1989), aka Showa Emperor; Showa Tenno, is a deeply controversial and divisive figure in Japanese history.

Castle of Osaka

History of Osaka Castle

History of Osaka Castle: read a history of Osaka Castle from its beginnings as a temple destroyed by Nobunaga to a giant fortress built by Hideyoshi.

Honda Tadakatsu

Honda Tadakatsu was a loyal general of Ieyasu Tokugawa who never sustained a major wound in over 100 battles for his master.

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Maeda Toshiie

Maeda Toshiie was a leading samurai warrior of the Sengoku (Warring States) Period of Japanese history and a vassal of Oda Nobunaga.

The Emperor of Japan

The current Tenno (Emperor) is the 125th representative of the Japanese dynasty, the oldest in the world. A fact that fascinates visitors to Japan far more than the Japanese themselves.

Otis Cary Saving Kyoto in World War II

Former Doshisha University professor Otis Cary details the search for the savior of Kyoto from the atomic bomb from Langdon Warner to Henry L. Stimson.

Horyuji Temple

5 Japanese Historical Figures

It is not easy to visit Japan without the knowledge of its historical background, which often confuses visitors.

Visit Kyoto In The Footsteps of Prince Genji

Kyoto is a concentration of Japanese history, and it is often the case that all eras blend within a single monument.

Edo Period map, 1840

Visit Tokyo in the footsteps of the Tokugawa

Tokyo is the creation of the shoguns of the Tokugawa dynasty (1604-1868) who made this fishing village the capital of Japan for centuries.

Japan during World War II

Few Japanese people know about him, but he is honored in the United States and Israel like Oskar Schindler as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.

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Kukai Kobo Daishi

Kukai aka Kobo Daishi (弘法大師) was an influential Heian Period monk who founded the Shingon (True Word) sect of Japanese Buddhism with its main center at Koyasan.

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Fukuzawa Yukichi

Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835-1901): read a biography of the Fukuzawa Yukichi the Meiji Period writer, translator, newspaperman, journalist, teacher, educator and entrepreneur.

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Tokyo History

History of Tokyo: read an overview of Edo and Tokyo History from prehistoric times to the present day, covering society, economics, natural disasters, war, and revolution.

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Oda Nobunaga

Oda Nobunaga: read about the life and times of the legendary warlord Oda Nobunaga 1534-1582.

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Japanese History An Overview

See an overview of Japanese history from the Jomon period to the present day encompassing the major historical epochs in Japan including the Nara Period, Heian Period, Kamakura Period, Edo Period a

Postwar Japan History

Modern Japanese history: read about the post-war period of the history of Japan from 1945 to the present.

Taisho & Early Showa Japan History

Taisho & Showa Eras: Read about the Taisho and early Showa periods of the history of Japan from 1912 to 1945.

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Azuchi-Momoyama Japan History

Azuchi-Momoyama period: Read about the Azuchi-Momoyama period of the history of Japan from 1573 to 1603 A.D.

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Muromachi Period

Muromachi Period: read about the Muromachi Period of the history of Japan from 1336 to 1573 AD.

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Early Japan History Jomon & Yayoi

Jomon Period: Read about the history of Japan to 710 A.D including the Jomon and Yayoi periods.

Tokyo Kanto Earthquake 1923

Tokyo Earthquake, The Great Tokyo Kanto Earthquake: read a Japanese history article on the The Great Tokyo Kanto Earthquake in 1923, which devastated Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto region.

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Battle of Fushimi Toba

Japanese History: read an account of the Battle of Fushimi Toba, south of Kyoto. The Battle of Fushimi Toba was a decisive victory for Imperial forces over the Tokugawa Shogunate army.