Thursday, April 8, 2010

Japan: History

Traditional Japanese legend sustains that Japan was founded in 600 BC by the Emperor Jimmu, a direct descendant of the sun goddess and ancestor of the present ruling imperial family. It is believed that Japan was born from the love between two gods: Izanagi and Izanami. This is one of the reasons the Japanese population deems the emperor is a living god, and the characters which make up Japan's name mean sun-origin. So that is why Japan is sometimes referred to as the "Land of the Rising Sun."

The first Japanese settlers go back to the Jomon Period more than 8 000 years ago. But the first real Japanese state wasn’t created until the 8th century, whose first capital was Nara. This city was built following the model of Chinese cities.
 Temple in Nara 

During the first years of existence of the Japanese state the emperor lived in Nara. However, at that time there were many fights and wars between divisions and at one point the emperor was forced to move to Kyoto. Today, Kyoto is one of the most beautiful cities in Japan and absolutely a must see!

About AD 405 the Japanese court officially adopted the Chinese writing system. During the sixth century Buddhism was introduced. These two events revolutionized Japanese culture and manifested the beginning of a long period of Chinese cultural influence!

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