Japan in the Age of Warriors (3) An overview of Japan from the 10th to 17th century, a period of political decentralization, cultural efflorescence, and social change.
ASIA (HIST) 480 Japan in the Age of Warriors (3)
(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.
By the eighth century, Japan had become a centralized state centered on the reign of a sovereign, commonly known in English as an emperor. At the end of the ninth century, the emperor’s court relocated to the city of Heian (Kyoto), and soon thereafter, an elegant court culture developed in the capital. The courtly culture was based on civilian values and civilian rule. In the countryside, however, Japan was gradually becoming militarized. Local warlords began rising to prominence and vying with each other for power. One of them, Taira-no-Masakado, rebelled against the central government during the years 939-940, declaring himself “emperor” of several provinces in eastern Japan centered on Hitachi. Although the central government in Kyoto enlisted other warrior groups to put down Taira-no-Masakado’s rebellion, the process of militarization was underway. Buddhist temples also participated in this process, using their wealth and influence to assemble monastic armies on occasion.
This course examines Japanese history beginning approximately in the 10th century, at time when civilian high culture in the capital was approaching the height of its development. At the same time, the process of militarization of the countryside was beginning to undermine that civilian court culture. The course ends in approximately the seventeenth century with the establishment of a military government under the Tokugawa shoguns. This development was ostensibly the peak of warrior influence, with the samurai (=warrior) class entrenched by law as the elite group within society. However, just as the warriors began their rise to power in the tenth century, by the end of the seventeenth century they were rapidly losing influence and prestige to wealthy merchants as the forces of the market economy spread throughout Japanese society.
HIST 480 is a course in medieval Japanese history, broadly defined. Different instructors will emphasize different aspects of Japanese history and culture during this era. Approaches to teaching will also vary depending on the instructor. Class sessions can take the form of lectures or discussions. Assessment methods and learning activities may include debates, discussions, exams, research papers, book review papers, and other similar academic activities.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.