Chronography of Japan pre-1891:
last modified 24/6/2022
Japan after 1890 see China/Japan/Korea
29/11/1890, In Japan, the Meiji Constitution came into effect.
11/7/1890, The first ever elections in Japan; the electorate comprised
only 450,000 people. It covered males over 25 who paid at least 15 yen per annum in taxes.
11/2/1889. The Meiji Emperor in Japan, dressed for the
occasion in a European field-marshal�s uniform, took his seat on a Prussian
armchair in the European-looking throne room of the palace of his new capital,
Tokyo, and announced a new constitution providing for Japan�s first
parliamentary elections. �Meiji�
denoted an Age of Brightness and it was hoped this would be the start of Japan
as one of the great modern nations of the world. Japanese cities did indeed
become more �modern� and European; cinemas and dance halls appeared, frequented
by �liberated� young Japanese. However the constitution was based on a Prussian model, tied to the Confucian tradition of respect for
authority, and the electorate was very limited; ministers were still picked by
the emperor, not parliament. Japan remained a nation where the Emperor and the
military had most of the real power, leading ultimately to its participation in
the Second World War. Some see 1964, when the Olympics were held in Tokyo, as
the turning point when the war and US occupation were put behind and Japan
became a �western� nation.
24/9/1877. In Japan, a
Samurai rebellion which began in
Satsuma in January 1876 was over with the suicide of its leader Saigo Takamori.
Saigo resigned from the Japanese government when it decided not to invade
Korea, and became leader of some 40,000 disaffected samurai, frustrated at
being deprived of a foreign war. More seriously for them, the samurai have been overtaken by the establishment of a modern
Japanese army, with firearms and other technology. The Samurai were
forbidden to wear their distinctive military dress or carry swords; the
Japanese government had assumed responsibility for their stipends and cut them
sharply.� In effect the samurai had become low grade civil servants.
10/1874, China agreed to pay compensation to Japan, and Japan
withdrew its invasion force from Taiwan.
1871, The Meiji Government in Japan outlawed discrimination
against the Burakumin, the lowest-caste people in the country who worked in
industries such as tanning.
1870, The city of Sapporo
in Hokkaido, Japan, was founded, as a base for Japanese settlement of Hokkaido;
Sapposo replaced Hakodate as the regional capital. The Japanese population
of Hokkaido began to rise significantly. Japanese Meiji Emperor Mutsuhito
ordered his subjects to take surnames.
3/1869, The Meiji Emperor of Japan accepted the surrender by four
of the most powerful Japanese clans (Choshu, Tosa, Hizen and Satsuma) of their
territories. The Clan Chiefs were reappointed as Provincial Governors, on
Mutsuhito of Japan was officially crowned, at Osaka.
4/7/1868, The last
resistance in Japan by pro-Tokugawa forces ceased, as they were defeated at the
Battle of Ueno, near Edo (eastern capital), now known as Tokyo.
Japanese Government under Emperor Meiji issued a general policy
statement known as the Charter Oath, following
the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
This Oath declared that ancient feudal social ranks and other practices would
be eliminated from Japanese society, and that a programme of moderniasation
based on Western values would be followed. Feudal rule that had prevailed in
Japan since 1185 ceased, and the Tokugawa Shogunate that had endured since 1603
Temporary reclosing of Japan to foreigners
Meiji seized control of Japan from the Tokugawa Shogun, ending 700
years of military rule. Japan was now
more open to the outside world.
Yoshinobo abdicated as pressure increased to end the Shogun rule and
restore the pre 12th century rule by the Emperors. The late Emperor Komei�s
took power, aged 15.
14/10/1867, Okubo Toshimichi,
a senior courtier of the feudal Japanese House of Satsuma, travelled from the
capital, Edo, to the provincial town of Yamguchi to meet with leaders of the
Choshu clan. Toshimichi
proposed to overthrow the ruling Satsuma House, and succeeded in forming the
secret Satcho alliance, along with the Toza and Hizen clans.
1/1867, The Japanese Meiji Emperor Mutsuhito ascended the throne,
aged 15, and ruled until his death in 1912. He was without real power until the
Shogun Yoshinobu abdicated in November 1866, after less than� a year in office ending the military
government that had ruled Japan for nearly seven centuries. This paved the way
for the Meiji Restoration of 1868.
8/1866, Japanese Shogun Iemochi
died. He was succeeded briefly by his kinsman, Yoshinobu, the last Tokugawa
5/9/1864, A fleet of 17 ships, from France the UK, the USA and The Netherlands
approached the Choshu coast of Japan and systematically destroyed all the shore
batteries., They then negotiated a free trade agreement and also the payment of
a large indemnity. Japoan then changed policy; rather than excluding
foreigners, they began to learn form and imitate their technology.
26/6/1863, In Japan, the Daimyo (Lord) of the Choshu Clan, a supporter of
expelling all foreigners form the country, sent two ships to attack a US
steamer anchored offshore. In July 1863 Choshu batteries fired upon French and
Dutch ships. In retaliation the Europeans sank two Choshu ships, and destroyed
a shore battery. Nevertheless, European ships continued to be fired upon.
Under the Treaty of Edo (1858), from
this date British citizens could reside in Osaka, Japan, for the purposes of
25/6/1862. A Japanese
imperial decree expelled all foreigners,
contrary to advice from the Shogun.
Commodore Perry�s Black Ships; enforced opening of Japan to US trade
1/7/1859, The port
city of Nagasaki was opened to foreign commerce, according to the provisions of
the Treaty of Edo.
1858, The Japanese Tokugawa Shogun Iesada died aged 34
without an heir. He was succeeded by the 12-year-old Iemochi, whom Iesada
had nominated as his successor. Iemochi ruled until 1866.
29/7/1858, The Treaty of Edo was signed between Japan
and the USA. This extended US trading rights gained under the Treaty of
Kanagawa (1854) and further opened up Japan to Western influence.
10/1855, Earthquake hit Edo (now Tokyo), Japan.
adopted the Hinomaru � a red sun on a white background � as its official naval
flag. The symbol dates back to the 12th century when it was
displayed by trhe Samurai on their fans.
31/3/1854. The USA
and Japan signed the Treaty of Kanagawa,
opening up the Japanese ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade.
A Russian fleet arrived at Nagasaki on a
The Japanese Tokugawa
Ieoshi died, aged 61 after a 16-year reign. He was succeeded by his
29-year-old brother, Iesada, who agreed to open two Japanese ports
to foreign trade.
US Commodore Matthew Perry steamed into
Japan�s Edo Bay (now Tokyo) with his �black ships� and demanded that the country open up
to US trade. He backed up his demand with cannon fire. For 250 years Japan
had been a feudal state run by the Tokugawa shoguns.
Mutso, Japanese Emperor� from
1/1867, was born.
14/6/1838, Birth of
the Japanese statesman Yamagata Aritomo (see 1/2/1922).
1837, The Japanese Tokugawa Shogun Ienari abdicated, aged 64,
after a 44-year reign. Ienari attempted extensive governmental
reforms, which were resisted; he also improved the education system. He was
succeeded by his 45-year-old son, Ieyoshi, whose reign was marked by increasing
demands for restorarion of imperial power, and for increased trade links with
the outside world. Ieyoshi ruled until 1853.
riots in Osaka, Japan, that began 11/5/with rice warehouses being broken into
now spread across the city. By 18/5/the riots had spread to Edo and 30 other
major cities, with rice merchants� houses being ransacked. Oter shops were also
1786, Japan�s feeble-minded Tokugawa Shogun Ieharu died aged 49 after a
26-year reign. He was succeeded 13-year-old Ienari, who took power in 1793
after a 6-year regency. Ienari ruled until his abdication in 1837.
1760, Tokugawa Shogun Ieshige abdicated, aged 40,
ill and addicted to alcohol, after 15 years in power. He was succeeded by the
23-year-old son of the late Shogun Yoshimune, who ruled until 1786 as Shogun Ieharu
despite mental incompetence.
1745, Tokugawa Shogun Yoshimune resigned and was
succeeded after 29 years in office by Ieshige, who remained Shogun until 1760.
1720, The ban on Western books being imported into Japan was
lifted; only religious books remained proscribed.
1716, Japanese Tokugawa Shogun Ietsogu died aged 7
after a 4-year reign. He was succeeded by the 39-year-old Yoshimune, who ruled until 1745.
allowed the Dutch to import books at Deshima, he encouraged trade with the
West, and he orgsanised irrigation projects to improve agriculture.
1712, The Japanese Tokugawa Shogun Ienobu died aged 50
after a 3-year reign. He was succeeded by his 3-year-old son who ruled as Ietsugu
1709, The Japanese Tokugawa Shogun Sunayoshi died aged 62, after a reign
of nearly 29 years. He was succeeded by his 47-year-old cousin who ruyled until
1712 as Ienobu.
soon released nearly 9,000 prisoners, many having been convicted of
regulations against eating meat.
Fuji, Japan, underwent its last eruption before 2000. This was also its biggest
recorded eruption, and continued for 16 days, emitting 850 million cubic metres
30/1/1703, The Incident of the Forty Seven Ronin.
In 1701 a quarrel between a minor feudal lord and a powerful official of the
Court of the Shogun resulted in the Shogunate official being wounded by the
feudal lord, at the Shogun�s Court in Edo. For this incident, the feudal lord
was ordered to commit suicide and his lands were confiscated. As� a result the lord�s Samurai retainers then
became ronin, or masterless Samurai,
much diminished in status. Forty Seven of these ronin then vowed to take
revenge and waited for an opportunity to kill the Shogunate official, which
time came in 1703; this despite the fact that the ronin knew they themselves
would have to die for this act. For their unflinching loyalty to their former
master, these Ronin then became
heroic symbols of self-sacrifice.
14/1/1701, Death of
the Japanese warlord Tokugawa Mitsukuni (born 1628).
28/1/1687, In Japan
the killing of animals was forbidden. Shogun Sunayoshi, after the death of his only
son, had become a devout Buddhist. On 27/2/1787 he forbade the eating of fish,
shellfish or birds.
1684. The Japanese Prime Minister, Hotta Masatoshi, was
assassinated at age 50. This left Shogun Sunayoshi with no able advisors. Sunayoshi
went on to issue edicts inspired by Buddhism that prohibited the killing of any
living animal, and gave special protection to dogs. He also ruined the finances
1680, Tokugawa Shogun Itsuna died aged 39 after a
29-year reign. He was succeeded by his 34-year-old brother who ruled until 1709
Japanese city of Edo was destroyed in a huge fire; over 100,000 people died.
1651, Shogun Iemitsu died aged 47 after a 28-year reign during which he
had consolidated Tokugawa rule through a policy of national isolation,
oppressive govermnnace and suppression of Christianity. He was succeeded by his
10-year-old son Itsuna
who ruled for 29 years, exhausting the national Treasury and devaluing the currency.
Japanese Emperor Go-Komyo died (born 1633).
peasants occupying Hara Castle, near Nagasaki, surrendered to Shogun Iemitsu�s besieging
124,000-strong army because of lack of food. The army then massacred most of
the 37,000 peasants. Furhermore Iemitsu expelled the Portuguese traders from Japan, suspecting
them of complicity in stirring up the peasant�s demands, and prohibited the
building of large seagoing ships that might carry Japanese to other countries. The isolation of Japan began.
12/1637, The Japanese Shogun Iemitsu began besieging the peasant rebels
on the Shimabara Peninsula.
1636, The Japanese Shogun Iemitsu forbade foreign travel. This was the so called kaikin (sea-restriction) policy,which remained Japanese policy
1635, Japan forbade the construction of ships above 50
1634, The Sankin
Kotai (alternate attendance) system was imposed in Japan. The Daimyo
(Feudal Lords)were required to spend every alternate year at the Shogun�s
Court, They were required to participate in lavish rituals,and comply woth
strict ruleson dress and weapons carried.When they returned to their estates,
on grant from the Shogun, their wife and heir remained behind at the Shogun.
The costs of this made rebellion less lilely.
26/10/1633, Horio Tadaharu,
Japanese warlord, died.
1623, Tokugawa Shogun Hidetada abdicated, aged 45.
He was succeeded by his 19-year-old son Shogun Iemitsu.
16/5/1620, William Adams,
English sailor, died in Japan. He worked as a pilot for the East India Company
but in 1600 was forced to anchor off Japan due to illness amongst the crew of
his ship. His knowledge of shipping construction impressed the Japanese shogun,
who presented him with an estate at Hemi near Yokusaka, but forbade him to
leave for home. He married a Japanese women and founded a factory for the East
India Trading Company. He was given permission to return home but delayed this
due to his commercial activities, his death occurring some three years before
the factory was closed down.
Ieyasu took Osaka after a
1614, Christianity was formally prohibited in Japan.
24/3/1603, Tokugawa Ieyasu
proclaimed Shogun of Japan.
1601, The Regent Ieyasu established a chain of 53 inns between
Edo and Osaka at which travellers could stay overnight and obtain fresh horses.
1600. Tokugawa Ieyasi forbade foreign travel.
1600, See Christian Missionary for progress,
then persecution, of Christians in Japan at this time.
Rule of Hideyoshi
18/9/1598, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Japanese statesman (born 6/2/1537)
died. A feudal lord of peasant origin, he completed the unification of Japan
under Oda Nobunaga. This was accomplished by the defeat
of the feudal barons (daimyo). He instituted a rigid system of class divisions,
having farmers, merchants, monks and warriors living in different quarters of
Japanese towns. In 1592 he attempted to take the Korean Peninsula from China,
but his army was too small for this task. In 1597 he tried again, also
unsuccessfully. He even harboured ambitions of much wider conquests, including
China, the Philippines and India. His death left a power vacuum that
plunged Japan into civil war.
5/2/1597, In Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi crucified 26 Christians in Nagasaki, then told all
remaining missionaries to leave the country. When most defied the order, Hideyoshi took no action for fear of alienating Portuguese
1593, Japan pulled its forces out of
Korea following Chinese military intervention. Japanese land forces had
prevailed against the Korean army, but well-armoured Korean naval forces had
repulsed the Japanese navy. Korea although victorious was devastated,and the
cost of intervention bore heavily on China, provoking riots against increased
taxation and leaving the country weakened on its strategic north-eastern
23/5/1592, Hideyoshi started an invasion of Korea; he failed, and also
failed on a subsequent invasion attempt in 1597.
1590, Tokyo, then known as Yedo
(estuary-gate) was chosen by Tokugawa Iyeyasu as national capital.
1586, Kabuki Theatre began in Japan.
1585, General Toyotomi
Hideyoshi became Shogun, military dictator, of
8/8/1584, General Toyotomi Hideyoshi�
moved into Osaka Castle.
9/1583, General Toyotomi
Hideyoshi laid the foundations of Osaka Castle.
21/6/1582, General Toyotomi Hideyoshi �became leader following the ritual suicide of Oda Nobunaga. Although born a peasant, within a decade Hideyoshi �managed to unify Japan. He disarmed
all non-Samurai, to prevent another rebellion against him, and reformed the tax
system and land holdings to create a stable tax base.
1577, Hideyoshi built Himeji Castle.
6/2/1537, Toyotomi Hideyoshi �, Japanese statesman, was born (see 18/8/1598).
28/6/1575, At the Battle of Nagashino, Nobunaga armed his 3,000 foot soldiers with muskets. They succeeded in defeating the
1570, Portuguese trading mission to
21/4/1551, Death of Japanese warlord Oda Nobuhide (born 1510).
15/8/1549, Francis Xavier entered the Japanese port of
Kagoshima to begin a conversion work.
1543, Guns first entered Japan. A Chinese ship was wrecked off Kyushu,
with two Portuguese on board carrying muskets. The local governor bought these muskets and replicated them. Firearms eventually
made the Samurai redundant, as they did the European knights.
16/10/1535, Niwa Nagahide, Japanese warlord,
9/6/1526, Emperor No-Gara
became ruler of Japan.
1541, First Portuguese visit to Japan.
1467, In Japan, Shogun Yoshimasa named his
brother Yoshime as his successor, but this was challenged by supporters of his
10 years of civil war began in Japan;
the Onin War. This led on to a
century of Warring
States in Japan as regional leaders, the Daimyo (= Great Names),
each attempted to eradicate their rivals.
Japanese Civil War
1392, 56 years of civil war between
northern and southern dynasties in Japan ended with the agreement that power
would alternate between the two branches of the Imperial family. In practice, the north never relinquished
1336, Go-Daigo II was exiled. The Ashikaga family ruled as Shoguns until
1568. Civil war
broke out, lasting until 1392.
1/1336, Warlord Takauji Ashikaga overthrew his
former ally Emperor
Go-Daigo and his son Morinaga, and installed a new Emperor, which
began the Muromachi (or Ashikaga) Period, lasting until 1568. See 8/1335.
Emperor Go-Daigo and
prelude to Civil War
8/1335, Japanese troops under the Hojo family attempted to depose Emperor
Go-Daigo but the warlord Takauji Ashikaga supported Go-Daigo
and helped defeat the Hojos.
1333, Emperor Go-Daigo escaped from Oki
Island and Regent
Tatatoki Hojo committed ritual suicide.
1331, Emperor Go-Daigo made another
attempt to seize power (see 1324) but was again betrayed. He escaped to nara
but was captured by the Hojo family and exiled to Oki Island. Civil War soon
began against the Hojo.
1325, The No plays were developed in Japan.
1324, Japanese Emperor Go-Daigo conspired to
retake power from the feeble-minded Regent Tatatoki Hojo, who preoccupied himself
with drinking and jousting. However Go-Daigo, 36, was betrayed, but denied all,
26/11/1288, Go-Daigo, Emperor of Japan, was
Attempted Mongol invasions of Japan failed
12/8/1281, Battle of Kōan (Hakata Bay). The
invaders were contained on a beachhead and for two months Samurai warriors
fought to repel them, �The second Mongol invasion of Japan was
foiled, as, once again (as in 1274) a large typhoon � famously called a kamikaze,
or divine wind � destroyed much of the combined Chinese and Korean fleet and
forces, numbering over 140,000 men and 4,000 ships.
20/11/1274, Kublai Khan's
Yuan Dynasty attempted the first of several invasions of Japan (30,000 soldiers
and support personnel sails from Korea); after the Mongols captured outlying
islands, they were repulsed on the main island at the Battle of Bun'ei by
amassed Japanese warriors and a strong storm which battered their forces and
fleet. Credit for the storm � called a kamikaze, or divine wind � was
given by the Japanese to the god Raiden. See also 12/8/1281.
14/10/1256, Kujo Yoritsugu,
Shogun of Japan, died.
1253, The Japanese Shogun imposed price controls to halt
1221, The Hojo family exiled ex-Emperor Gotoba and three other
ex-Emperors to various small islands. In April 1221 the 4-year-old son of the
was installed as Emperor. In June 1221 he was replaced by the 9-year-old Gohorikawa.
He reigned until 1232, but without real power.
1/1219, Shogun Sanetomo-Minamoto was assassinated
whilst returning from the shrine at Kamakura. The assassins were in the pay of
his uncle Yoshitoke
Hojo, 57. This ended Minamoto control of the Japanese Shogunate. Yoritsume
Fujiwara was installed as Shogun, but real power remained with Yoshitoke Hojo
and his sister Masako.
family now� ruled Japan until 1333.
1199, Shogun Yoritomo Minamoto died aged 52 after a
7 year reign that founded the Kamakura
Shogunate. Japan was now ruled by a Council of 13 under the leadership of Yoritomo�s
and her father, Tokimasa
Hojo, 62, who had supported Yoritomo against the Taira.
1192, Minamoto no Yoritomo became the first Shogun of Japan. He continued his
battle against the Fujiwara Clan.
1191, Zen Buddhism
was introduced to Japan by the 50-year old priest Aeisai, who had returned from
1189, Japanese Shogun Yoshitsume was killed by his older
who later crushed the Fujiwara Clan
in northern Japan.
1186, The Kamakura Period
began in Japan, lasting until 1333. Japan was ruled by 39-year-old Minamoto
whose family were based in the village�
1185, The city of Kyoto
now had a population of 500,000, larger than any city in Europe except,
possibly, Cordoba or Constantinople.
The Gempei Wars
1185, In Japan, the ruling Taira Clan was deposed by the Minamoto. The
final defeat was at Danoura on the Inland Sea. The Japanese Emperors had by now
become mere puppets, with the Shoguns (military generals) holding the real
power). The Emperors did not regain power until 1868.
25/5/1185, Battle of Dan no Ura. The Taira clan had
now been almost totally driven out of Japan, in the Genpei War, except for an
island in the west of the Inland Sea. By 1185 the Minamoto
had acquired their own sea expertise. This last battle, fought off the southern
tip of Honshu, resulted in the Taira family mostly committing suicide by jumping
off ther boats and drowning, despite initial military success, after they were
betrayed by one of their Generals, who switched sides to the Minamoto
1184, Yoshinkaka, Minamoto military leader, was killed
in battle near the Inland Sea, aged 30.
1183, The Taira clan were driven out of Kyoto by the Minamoto, led by Yoshinaka, 29, cousin of Yoritomo.
installed the 3-year-old half-brother of Emperor Antoku as Emperor Gotoba, in opposition to
17/11/1183, Battle of Mizushima. The Taira had lost
central Japan to the Yoshinaka, but had strong bases near the Inland Sea.
Yoshinaka sent his General, Yada Yoshiyasu, to attack one of these bases
at Yashima, on the island of Shikoku. The Taira had gained power partly through their
expertise at driving pirates out of the Inland Sea, but the Minamoto
were inexperienced at at sea warfare. Taira Tomomori and Taira Noritsune sailed out to
meet the Mimamoto.
Ships were tied together to make an artificial platform on which both sides
fought with swords; the wounded would have been thrown off and drowned. The Minamoto
were defeated and disengaged their ships and withdrew to the mainland. From now
on, raids on Taira
bases were conducted from land.
2/6/1181, Battle of Kurikara. The tide of the
Gempei wars now turned against the Taira.
10/1180, Forces of Kiyomori Taira
stood opposed to those of the Minamoto family on the Fuji River. A detachment of
the Minamoto succeded in getting behind the Taira position; the Taira
were alarmed in te night by a sudden flight of waterfowl, and fled. A series of
victories by the Minamoto now followed.
Minamoto, 33, began a general uprising, assisted by his father in
Hojo. Emperor Takukura, aged 19, abdicated, and was succeeded by
his 2-year-old son Antoku, grandson of Kiyomori Taira.
23/6/1180, Battle of Uji. Start of the Gempei Wars (to 1185). These
marked the end of Taira domination in Japan and the start of the Minamoto
Shogunate. Uprisings began against the ruling Taira family, after Kiyomori Taira
angered the royal family with his excesses after his eldest son Shigemori
died in 1179 aged 41. One revolt was led by an imperial prince, and another by
the 74-year old Yorimasa
Minamoto. Yorimasa had support from the monasteries, but was
killed by some of the loyalist Taira.
1168, Japanese Emperor Rokujo was deposed, aged 4, and
succeeded by his 7-year-old uncle who ruled until 1180 as Emperor Takakura.
1165, Emperor Nijo abdicated, and died soon after,
He was succeeded by his 1-year-old infant son who ruled until 1168 as Emperor Rokujo.
1159, Emperor Nijo and his father Goshirakawa were imprisoned by Noboyori
Fujiwara and Yoshimoto
Minamoto who staged a palace revolution whilst Kiyomori Taira was away visiting the
Kumano Shrine. On hearing the news, Kiyomori returned swiftly and killed killed both Noboyori
Fujiwara and Yoshimoto
Minamoto. Nijo was reinstated as Emperor. Kiyomori
was now the real power behind the throne. Kiyomori was elevated to the nobility by Goshirakawa in 1160.
15-year-old son Nijo
became Emperor, and reigned for 7 years. As usual (see 1086), Goshirakawa was the real power behind the
throne; he gave strongman Kiyomori Taira a higher position than Yoshimoto Minamoto thereby
antagonising him. See 1159.
1158, Emperor Goshirakawa abdicated after a 3-year reign. He was succeeded
by his 15-year-old son, Nijo, who began a 7-year reign.
1156, Ex-Emperor Toba died aged 53. His son Sutoku now
obtained help from Tameyoshi Minamoto and Tadamasa Taira (see 23/6/1180), and
the began an insurrection against Goshirakawa.
Goshirakawa meanwhile was supported by Minamoto�s
son Yoshimoto, and by Taira�s
Taira. Tameyoshi Minamoto was killed by his son Yoshimoto and by Kiyomori Taira.
father was then exiled to� the island of
Izo-no-Oshima in the Inland Sea. Sutoku failed in his takeover bid and he was exiled to
Sanuko, on the island of Shikoku, also in the Inland Sea; Goshirakawa
remained as Emperor.
1155, Japanese Emperor Konoe died aged 16, after a 14-year
Sutoku now wanted to his own son as Emperor, but was
thwarted by his stepfather and nephew ex-Emperor Toba, who made Sutoku�s 28-year-old brother Goshirakawa
Emperor instead in 1156. �
1141, Japanese Emperor Sutoku abdicated aged 22 after an 18-year reign. He was
succeeded by his 2-year-old half-brother Konoe, who ruled until 1155.
1123, Emperor Toba abdicated, aged 20, in favour of his 4-year-old uncle
and stepson, Sutoku,
son of the late Shirakawa.
reigned until 1141.
1107, Emperor Horikawa died aged 28 after a 21-year
reign. He was succeeded by his 4-year-old son, Toba, who reigned until 1123.
1086, Japanese Emperor Shirakawa abdicated, aged 33 and made
his 7-year-old son Horikawa Emperor. However this move was
because Japanese Emperors were not allowed
to hold private property. It began a tradition of Emperors
abdicating and making their child nominal Emperor, whilst retaining real power
from behind the throne.
1072, Emperor Gosanjo abdicated, aged 38, due to illness; he died in 1073.
He was succeeded by his 19-year-old son, Shirakawa, who reigned until 1086.
1068, Emperor Goreizei died aged 39, after a 23-year
reign. He was succeeded by his 34-year-old brother, Gosanjo, who ruled until `1072.
1045, Emperor Gosuzako died aged 36 after a 9-year
reign, He was succeeded by his 16-year-old son, who ruled until 1069 as Emperor
1036, Japanese Emperor Goichijo died aged 28 after a 20-year
reign. He was succeeded by his 27-year-old brother who ruled until 1045 as Emperor
1016, The blind Emperor Sanjo abdicated at age 40. He was
succeeded by the 8-year-old son of the late Ichijo, who ruled until 1036 as Emperor
1011, Japanese Emperor Ichijo died aged 31 after a 25 year
reign He was succeeded by his 35 �year-old cousin, Sanjo, who ruled until 1016, but
began to lose his eyesight soon after acceding.
1000, Emperor Ijicho, now aged 20, made his
25-year-old wife ruler as Empress Sadako (Teishi). However she died
after 10 months. 12-year old Akiko now became Empress.
986, Emperor Karzan abdicated at age 18, and became
a Buddhist priest one year after the death of his wife in childbirth. He was
succeeded by his 6-year-old half brother, who ruled until 1011 as Ichijo.
984, Japanese Emperor Enyu abdicated in favour of his
16-year-old son, who ruled until 986 as Karzan.
969, The insane Japanese Emperor Reizei was removed by the Fujiwara family after a reign of nearly
2 years. He was replaced by his 10-year-old brother, who ruled as Emperor Enyu
967, Japanese Emperor Murakami died aged 41 after a 21-year
reign. He was succeeded by his 17-year-old son, Emperor Reizei, who ruled until
969 despite his insanity.
946, Japanese Emperor Suzako died after a 16-year reign aged
23. He was succeeded by his 2-year-old brother, Murakami, who ruled until 967.
941, Fujiwara Tadahira became �civil dictator�.
930, Emperor Diago died aged 45 after a 33-year
reign. He was succeeded by his 7-year-old son, who ruled until 946 as Emperor Suzaku.
897, Japanese Emperor Uda abdicated aged 30 after a 10-year
reign. He was succeeded by his 12-year-old son who ruled until 930 as Emperor Daigo.
887, Japanese Emperor Koko abdicated and died soon after,
aged 57. He was succeeded by his 20-year-old son, who ruled as Emperor Uda
until 897. Fujiwara
Mototsune became chief advisor to the Japanese Emperor.
884, Iapanese Emperor Yozei, who had devoted his time mainly
to his horses, was forced to abdicate aged 16 after an 8-year reign. He was
succeeded by the 54-year-old half-brother of his grandfather, who ruled until
887 as Emperor
876, Emperor Seiwa abdicated, aged 26, and was
succeeded by his mentally and ohysically weak son, 8-year-old Yozei,
who ruled until 884.
858, The powerful Fujiwara Clan bergan to gain control over
858, Emperor Montoku died aged 31, and was succeeded by his 8-year-old son
who ruled until 876.
850, Emperor Ninmio died aged 40. After a
succession struggle, he was succeeded by his 23-year-old son who ruled as Emperor Montoku
833, Emperor Junna abdicated aged 47. His
23-year-old nephew succeeded him and ruled until 850 as Emperor Ninmio.
823, Japanese Emperor Saga abdicated, aged 37, after a
14-year reign He was succeeded by his 31-tear-old briother who ruled until 833
813, In Japan, Watamaro was appointed Sei-i-Shogun (Barbarian-Subduing-General) for the duration of his
campaign against the Ainu.
809, Emperor Heizei abdicated after a 3-year reign.
He was succeeded by his 23-year-old brother, Saga, who ruled until 823.
Reign of Kanmu
806, Emperor Kannu died aged aged 69 after a
24-year reign. He was succeeded by his 32-year-old son, Heizei, who reigned until 809.
802, The Ainu,
inhabitants of the island of Hokkaido, were conquered by the Japanese under Tamura Maro.
However very few Japanese ever settled in Hokkaido until the 1870s.
794, The capital of Japan was transferred to Heian-Kyo
(now Kyoto), where it remained until 1868. This was the start of the Heian Era, which ended in 1185 with the
shift of power from the Emperors to the warrior Shoguns.
781, Emperor Konin died aged 73. He was succeeded
by his half-Korean son, aged 44, who ruled as Emperor Kanmu until 806.
770, Japanese Empress Koken (Shotuku) died aged 52 She was
succeeded by the 62-year-old grandson of the late Tenji, who ruled until 781 as Emperor Konin.
758, The Japanese Empress Koken abdicated
after a 9-year reign. She was succeeded by her 25-year-old cousin Junin, who ruled until 764. However Koken and the Fujiwara family
retained power behind the scenes.
2/5/756, Shomu, Emperor of Japan, died.
Japanese Emperor Shomu
abdicated, aged 48, after a 25-year reign. He was succeeded by his 31-year-old
daughter Koken, who
ruled until 758.
741, Japan decreed that Buddhist Temples were to
be established across the country.
736, The Kegon School of Buddhism arrived in
Japan, from Korea.
first annual Sumo tournaments began
under Emperor Seibu. See 8/9/23 BCE.
Japanese Empress Gensho
abdicated and was succeeded by her 23-year-old nephew, Shomu, son of Momu, who ruled until
Japanese Empress Gemmei
abdicated aged 54 after an 8-year reign She was succeeded by her 35-year-old
daughter who ruled until 724 as Empress
Japan�s oldest book, the Kojiki, was
completed. It covered the nation�s history from mythical beginnings to around
600 AD. It reinforced the imperial family�s claim to be descended from the
Shinto Sun Goddess, Amaterasu. It was the first work written on the Japanese
script Kana; before then only Chinese writing was used in Japan.
710, Nara became the capital of Japan.
Japanese Emperor Momu died
aged 24 after a 10-year reign and was succeeded by his 46-year-old aunt who
ruled as Empress Gemmet until
Japanese city of Nara was founded.
Japanese Empress Jito
abdicated, aged 32, after an 11-year reign And was succeeded by the 14-year-old
grandson of the late Tenmu. He
ruled until 707 as Emperor
686, Japanese Emperor
Tenmu died after a 14-year reign and was succeeded by his
21-year-old widow and neice. She had her late husband�s son executed on charges
of treason so that her own son by Tenmu could
succeed. However he was taken ill and died. His mother then ruled as Empress Jito until 697.
Japanese Emperor Tenji died,
aged 45, after a 10-year reign. He was succeeded by his 23-year-old son Kobun. However Kobun�s mother, the
mistress of Tenji, was
not of royal descent and Tenji�s
objected to his succession. In 672 Kobun was
deposed by Ooama, and
committed suicide. Ooama took
the throne as Emperor Tenmnu, and
reigned until 686.
661, Empress Saimei died aged 67; she
was succeeded by a son of the late Emperor
Jomei. He ruled intil 671 as Emperor Tenji.
654, Emperor Kotoku died and Empress Kogyoku, now aged 60, was
reinstated, She began a further 7-year reign as Empress Saimei.
Fujiwara Clan enacted the Taika Reforms,
bringing all land into Imperialownership. Power was centralised,following the
645, In the
middle of a severe famine, Japanese Empress
Kogyoku was deposed and the 49-year �old grandson of Bintas was inaugurated as Emperor Kotoku.
Japanese Emperor Jomei died
aged 48 and was succeeded by his 47-year-old widow, who ruled until 645 as Empress Kogyoku.
Japanese Empress Suiko died
aged 74 after a 35-year reign. She was succeeded by a grandson of her late
husband, Bintas, who
ruled ass Emperor Jomei until
621, Emperor Shotoko Taishi of
Japan died (born 552). Beginning of the Asuka
593, Empress Suiko issued the Flourishing Three Trees Edict, officially recognising the Buddhist religion
592, Emperor Sushun of Japan was assassinated on order of his uncle Umako, who was jealous of his power. Sushun was succeeded by the widow of the late Emperor Bintas, aged 38; she ruled for 35 years from 593 as Empress Suiko. Under her rule, Buddhism was firmly
established in Japan, which became increasingly Sinoised. In 593, Suiko�s 19-year-old son, Crown Prince Shotoku, was made Prime Minister; he held power, with strongman Umako, for the next 30 years.
587, The Japanese Emperor Yomei died aged 47. He was succeeded by the 66-year-old nephew of
strongman Iname Soga. Emperor Sushun now ruled until 592. Iname Soga ordered the assassination of the anti-Buddhist Morio Nomomobe The introduction
of Buddhism had been opposed
by some in Japan who wanted to preserve the indigenous agrarian-naturist Shinto religion. Shinto adapted to Buddhism by adopting Buddhist counterparts to
every kami (diety) in the Shinto pantheon.
587, The first Buddhist monastery was established in Japan.
585, Japanese Emperor Bidatsu died aged 47, after a 14-year reign, He was succeeded by his
45-year-old brother Yomei, who ruled for 2 years.
571, The Japanese Emperor Kinmei died aged
62 after a 32-year reign, He was succeeded by 33-year-old son, Bidatsu, who ruled until 585.
552, Buddhism was introduced to
Japan from Korea. It became the State Religion of Japan 40 years later.
539, The Japanese Emperor Senka died aged 72. He was succeeded by his 30-year-old
half-brother, Kinmei, who ruled until 571. End of the Kofun Era and start of the Asuka Era, the second half of the Yamato Period.
478, First Shinto shrines in Japan.
390, Japan conquered Korea.
200, Japanese Empress Jingu sent a huge fleet to invade Korea, which capitulated without
a fight at the sight of the large ships.
8/9/23 BCE. The first
recorded ritual Sumo wrestling bout took place. Each year a priest still
officiates for the Ceremony of the Crows at the Kamo shrine, Kyoto, Japan. See 726 CE.
81 BCE, The Japanese Emperor Sujin began a major shipbuilding programme to expand supplies of seafood.
200 BCE, Yamato clan
dominant in Japan.
11/2/660 BCE, Traditional
founding date of the State of Japan, by Emperor Jimmu.
6,500 BCE, Jomon pottery spread across the Japanese archipelago.
10,000 BCE, Estimated age of world�s oldest pottery vessels, discovered
in Honshu, Japan.
27,000 BCE, First
humans reached Japan.
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