Chronology of Japanese history

 

Jomon Period (14,000 BC - 300 BC)
Yayoi Period (300 BC - 250)
Kofun Period (250-538)
270-310?? Reign of Ôjin, the fifteenth emperor by legendary accounts. However historians question the authenticity of all emperors before him and wonder if he is the first.
Large groups of people (presumably led by Ôjin) migrate from Western Kyûshû (where the strongest, most advanced, and most well organized uji have lived until now) to the northeast and settle on the Yamato Plain. Other uji migrate north and settle in the Izumo area. (Is this the migration of Jimmû?) The "imperial" uji (the uji claiming to have decended from the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu) begins to solidify its power over the other uji using their military might and their claim to heavenly ancestors.
313-399 Reign of the sixteenth Emperor, Nintoku
391 Japanese forces cross to Korea, defeat Paekche and Silla armies and establish a small colony (called Mimana) on the southern tip of the pennensula. To thank the Japanese for helping save his territory from the Silla, the king of Paekche sends scholars to Japan. With them they bring the Chinese writing system.
(I have been told, but haven't yet read on my own, that some recent archeological research does not support the theories of Japan ever establishing the colony of Mimana.)
400-405 Reign of Emperor Richû
406-410 Reign of Emperor Hanshô
411-453 Reign of Emperor Ingyô
453-456 Reign of Emperor Ankô
456-479 Reign of Emperor Yûryaku
480-484 Reign of Emperor Seinei
485-487 Reign of Emperor Kensô
488-498 Reign of Emperor Ninken
498-506 Reign of Emperor Buretsu
507-531 Reign of Emperor Keitei (the 26th Emperor of Japan)
531-536 Reign of Emperor Ankan
532 Paekche and Silla forces retake half of Japan's sphere of influence (Mimana) in Korea.
536-539 Reign of Emperor Senkwa
536 Soga Iname becomes Great Minister and advisor to the throne. (He begins the system of the nobility controlling the Imperial House by marrying Soga daughters to the Emperors and most of his possible heirs)
Asuka Period (538-710)
540-571 Reign of Emperor Kimmei (Emperor Kimmei has a daughter with a woman of the Soga clan. This daughter later marries Emperor Bidatsu and later still becomes Empress Suikô)
552 The king of Paekche, in Korea, sends a bronze image of Buddha and Buddhist scriptures to the Emperor in hopes of obtaining Japanese help in defending his territory against the Silla. Thus, Buddhism is officially introduced to the Japanese court - although, unofficially, the many Chinese and Koreans already living in Japan had always been Buddhists. (Even though most books use this date, evidence exists that point to 538 being a more accurate date)
562 Silla occupies and annexes Mimana. Japanese forces are driven out of Korea.
572-585 Reign of Emperor Bidatsu (The son of Soga Iname's daughter)
585-587 Reign of Emperor Yômei, the son of Soga Iname's daughter. (Yômei is the first emperor to actually espouse Buddhism. He took up the faith when he became critically ill and had a large image of Yakushi made in the hopes that it would help his recovery. He died before it could be finished but when it was, it was housed in Hôryûji.)
587 Emperor Yômei dies and Sushun becomes emperor. In the violent succession struggle that follows, the Soga clan (supporters of Buddhism and the importation of Chinese culture) defeats the Mononobe and Nakatomi clans (opponents of both) in the Battle of Shigisen, thus assuring the official acceptance of Buddhism and making the Soga's the leading house in Japan. Soga Umako succeeded his father, Iname, as Grand Minister and put Emperor Sujun on the throne.
As an aside: For comparison sake, there were three types of uji: the shimbetsu (those who claimed descent similar to the imperial family from the gods of Takamagahara and the descendants of the gods dating prior to Emperor Jimmu), the kôbetsu (those of imperial descent after the time of Emperor Jimmu), and the bambetsu (powerful uji of non-imperial descent). The Mononobe were a strong military uji belonging to the shimbetsu. The Nakatomi were hereditary ritualists belonging to the shimbetsu as well. The Soga were managers of imperial estates and of the kôbetsu.
592 Soga Umako arranges the assassination of the emperor (his nephew) and replaces him with his neice, Suiko (the sister of ex-emperor Yômei, the widowed ex-empress of Bidatsu, and the thirty-third soverign.) She becomes the first female to take the Japanese imperial throne.
Suiko's nephew (the second son of Yômei and later to be known as Shôtoku Taishi) is named Heir Apparent and Regent. He actively begins importing Chinese civilization and culture and the process of establishing Buddhism as a state religion.
Thus begins the process of separating imperial priestly duties (Suiko) and andministrative duties (Shôtoku) between different people.
595 Shôtoku Taishi sends an unsuccessful military expedition to Korea to regain Mimana.
602 Shôtoku Taishi plans for another military expedition to Korea to regain Mimana but the expedition is canceled when the leader suddenly dies.
603 Shôtoku Taishi announces a new system of twelve court ranks.
604 Shôtoku Taishi issues the Constitution of Seventeen Articles (a code of moral and political principles in seventeen articles of government). This attempts to centralize the government and change the bureaucracy from being heredity to one that is merit based. [Note that current scholars think this was written long after Shôtoku's death.]
607 The first 'official' envoy (Ono-no-Imoko) is sent to China as a representative of a unified Japan. Hôryûji is founded near what will become Nara.
622 Shôtoku Taishi dies. Soga Umako dies shortly thereafter. Soga Yemishi becomes the new Grand Minister.
623 The first imperial edict is issued which attempts to regulate the ever growing Buddhist hierarchy. The Buddhist establishment becomes, in effect, a branch of the central government. (As a side note, reports from this time indicate that in Japan there are now 816 monks and 569 nuns)
628 Empress Suiko dies. Yamato descends into a state of political rivalry while a successor is being chosen.
629 Jomei (Bidatsu's grandson) is appointed by Yemishi (Soga Umako's son) as Emperor.
630 Japan establishes formal relations with Tang China.
641 Emperor Jomei dies. Kôgyoku (Jomei's consort, granddaughter of Bidatsu, and, therefore, a Soga) becomes Empress.
644 Taika Coup. Naka no Ôe (son of Empress Kôgyoku and future Emperor Tenchi) arranges for the assassination of the Soga leaders and eliminates Soga influence.
645 Empress Kôgyoku abdicates and Kôtoku (Empress Kôgyoku's brother) becomes emperor.
646 Taika Reforms reorganizing political and administrative order along Chinese lines are announced. Among the many changes, the establishment of a permanent imperial capital is called for and all land is declared to belong to the Sovereign, with families allotted parcels of land according to the number of people in the household. In addition, a national military is planned. All males between 20 and 60 years of age are required to serve if called on to do so by the state - with the option to buy your way out of service if you can afford it. (This plan ultimately proves unworkable and fails.)
646 The Imperial capital is set up in Naniwa. A new era name (Taika) is announced. (During this period, the capital is moved from Yamato to Naniwa, then to Kyûshû, then back to Yamato, and finally settled in Omi.)
649 Eight departments of a new central administration are created and an official bureaucracy is createded to staff them.
652 The first, large-scale, land distribution is effected in the capital city area.
654 Kôtoku dies and ex-Empress Kôgyoku reascends the throne as Empress Saimei.
661 Empress Saimei dies in Kyûshû while leading an army to Korea to aid Paekche. Prince Naka no Ôe (Jomei's son) is appointed Emperor Tenchi but is not officially enthroned until 668.
662 A large Japanese military force sent to Korea to help Paekche defend itself against the Chinese but this force was destroyed by the Chinese Navy.
668 Prince Naka no Ôe officially ascends the throne as Emperor Tenchi.
669 Great Minister Kamatari (Nakatomi Kamako) dies and is given the surname Fujiwara. (His son Fubito goes on to have four sons - each becoming the head of the four branches of the powerful Fujiwara clan. Fuibito also begins the process of marrying Fujiwara daughters into the royal family; a process which continues for centuries.
671 Emperor Tenchi dies. A succession dispute between his son and his younger brother breaks out as civil war (Jinshin disturbance). His son temporarily succeeds him as Emperor Kôbun, but is later killed in battle.
672 Temmu (Tenchi's younger brother) becomes emperor.
673 Temmu orders the compilation of the Kojiki and the Nihongi (Nihonshoki) to justify his accession to the throne. They are completed early in the next century.
673-674 It is most likely that the shrine at Ise is now first acknowledged as being dedicated to Amaterasu Ômikami.
682 An imperial edict is issued stating that in selecting men for political office, the considerations are to be first birth, then character, and lastly ability.
685 An imperial order is issued that all official houses in every province should contain a small Buddhist shrine with a Buddhist image and scriptures.
686 Emperor Temmu dies. Jitô (Temmu's consort/wife and daughter of Emperor Temmu) becomes Empress.
689 A new administrative code dealing with the functions of ministries and the duties of officials is distributed to government offices.
697 Empress Jitô retires and her grandson, Mommu, becomes Emperor. However, Jitô continues to hold all power from behind the scenes until her death in 702.
701 The possession of weapons by private persons is prohibited.
Alarmed at the increasing power and popularity of wandering, unordained, and, therefore, unofficial Buddhist priests and nuns, the government issues an edict admonishing them to adhere to the Sôniryô (Regulations for Priests and Nuns).
702 The Taiho Codes (Taihyôryô), a revision and modification of the Taika Reform and based on the Chinese political system, are put into effect. This redefines the Japanese political system as the central government is divided into two parts, the Department of State (Dajôkan) and the Department of Worship (Jingikan). The country is divided into 66 provinces and these into 592 districts.
708 The construction of a new, and permanent, capital city in Nara (Heijôkyô) begins. Gemmyô becomes Empress.
Nara Period (710-794)
710 The capital city is moved to Nara (Heijōkyō). The administration begins trying to enforce the land tax system as implemented in the Taika reforms (which eventually proves unsuccessful because of, in part, exemptions granted to monasteries and noble families).
712 The Kojiki is completed. It is divided into three scrolls: scroll 1 deals with heavenly myths, scroll 2 deals with earthly myths related to the first 15 (legendary) monarchs, and scroll three contains genealogical and anecdotal accounts of the Yamato monarchs from Nintoku through Suiko.
715 The daughter of Gemmyō becomes Empress.
717 Continued concern about the increasing power and popularity of wandering, unordained, and, therefore, unofficial Buddhist priests and nuns, the government issues another edict admonishing them to adhere to the Sōniryō (Regulations for Priests and Nuns).
718 A review of the Taihō Code is completed. This adjusted the laws and legislation by taking into account conditions which were prevalent in Japan but not in China and adjusting the Code accordingly.
720 The Nihonshoki is completed. It is divided into thirty scrolls, the first two dealing with the heavenly myths and the remaining providing chronological accounts of the monarchs from Jimmu through Empress Jitō.
720 An army is raised from nine provinces to subdue the Ainu in the North and East who are making it difficult to open new land. After much fighting a frontier post and garrison is set up in Taga (later called Sendai).
722 Because of the increasing number of largely autonomous Shōen and the subsequent loss of rice tax for the residents in the city, the central government issues an order calling for three million new acres of land to be reclaimed and converted to rice paddies. In return those who do the work are granted large concessions. The stronger families thus start to accumulate land and power.
725 Shōmu becomes Emperor. (In order to reduce the threat to the throne caused by factionalism among the more powerful court families, during his reign he begins the practice of degrading excess members of the imperial family and giving them surnames as "sujects" of the emperor. From this practice come the lineages Tachibana, Taira, and Minamoto, among others.)
729 Continued concern about the increasing power and popularity of wandering, unordained, and, therefore, unofficial Buddhist priests and nuns, the government issues another edict admonishing them to adhere to the Sōniryō (Regulations for Priests and Nuns).
736 The Kegon sect of Buddhism is introduced from China. (This sect is systematically called on to read protective sutras for the state when problems arise.)
738 Tōdaiji is founded and serves as the family temple for the imperial family.
741 The national government provides funds to build one temple (kokubunji) and one nunnery (kokubun-niji) in each province throughout Japan in which protective sutras can be read in times of national emergency. Tōdaiji is the temple of the capital province and, hence, becomes the national temple. Hokkeji becomes the national nunnery.
743 Newly reclaimed land is exempted from the system whereby all land belongs to the imperial family. Reclaimed land is allowed to remain with the person who reclaims it in perpetuity. The granting of private estates (Shōen) begins to appear around this time.
749 The 53 foot seated bronze statue of Vairocana Buddha is completed and installed at Tōdaiji. Shōmu holds a ceremony where he humbles himself to the Buddha, thus in effect adopting Buddhism as the court, and therefore state, religion. (This doesn't imply that the Japanese had converted to Buddhism, just that they had converted it to fill state needs.)
February 749 Shōmu becomes a monk.
May 749 Shōmu moves his residence to Yakushiji in Nara, but retains the title of Emperor and continues to rule from the monastery. He was probably forced by Confucianists to move his residence as they opposed his taking the tonsure.
July 749 Shōmu abdicates the throne and his unmarried daughter becmes Empress Kōken. He was probaly forced by Confucianists to abdicate, but he still conducted the affairs of state through his daughter from behind the scenes.
756 Shōmu dies leaving Empress Kōken in control of the state.
757 Yōrō Codes (Yōrō Ritsuryō) are enacted. These replace the Taihō Ritsuryō and are also based on Tang China laws.
758 Kōken abdicates in favor of Emperor Junnin.
760 The Manyōshû is completed. It is a compilation of 4000 poems from the earliest of times until the time it was completed.
762 Kōken takes the tonsure and becomes a nun at Hokkeji in Nara but continues to run state affairs from the monestary.
764 Continued concern about the increasing power and popularity of wandering, unordained, and, therefore, unofficial Buddhist priests and nuns, the government issues another edict admonishing them to adhere to the Sōniryō (Regulations for Priests and Nuns).
764 Kōken disposes and exiles Emperor Junnin (and later has him strangled). She resumes rule as Empress Shōtoku, all the while maintaining her status as a nun.
765 Shōtoku appoints Dōkyō, a monk, to the post of Grand Minister, the highest post in the bureaucracy. He is her most trusted advisor and is all powerful until her death.
766 Shōtoku creates the new, and special, bureaucratic post of Hōō (King of Dharma) for Dōkyō. In general, Shōtoku creates numerous laws during her reign that raise the power of the clergy and disrupt the ritsuryō system and the Confucian foundations of the state.
770 Shōtoku dies. Dōkyō makes an attempt to become the emperor, but this is resisted by court leaders and confucianists. He is exciled. Kōnin (grandson of Tenchi, but elderly at this point) is chosen by the Fujiwaras and becomes Emperor.
774 This is a year of natural calamities as famine and a pox epidemic spread throughout the country.
776 The garrison at Taga is destroyed during an Ainu uprising (which continued until 790).
770-781 The system of forced military labor is not working as planned and is slowly replaced with a system of regular armed forces trained in military matters. Thus starts the division between peasants and a warrior class.
781 Kōnin dies. On his death, the council of ministers refuses to allow a woman to take the throne (because of the power Dōkyō had been able to usurp when Shōtoku had been on the throne) thus starting the all male policy that still stands today - with two very short exceptions after 1600. Kōnin's eldest son becomes Emperor Kammu. (The Taira family are descendants of Emperor Kammu's grandson, Takamochi.)
782 Kammu decides to move the court and capital to a new location, in large part to escape the ever increasing power of the Buddhist monasteries in Nara.
784 The capital city moved to Nagaoka, about 30 miles from Nara in the province of Yamashiro.
791 Sakanouye Tamuramarō is appointed as deputy commander of forces in the northeast. He is charged with subduing the rebellious Ainu and pushing the frontier further to the north.
792 The system of universal military conscription is officially abolished. Each province is left to recruit their own armies within their province. These new forces are not chosen from the farming households, though, but from the noble land-holding families.
793 Due to a death, several major calamities, and the subsequent superstitious beliefs that these ware caused by the choice of this location for the capital, work is halted in Nagaoka and it is decided to move the capital again. Construction of a new capital is now begun in Heiankyō (Kyōto), about 10 miles away.
Heian Period (794-1185)
794 Imperial court and capital city moved to Heiankyō (Kyōto).
794 In order to encourage people to study at the university, emperor Kammu adopts two measures: 1) He eliminates the hereditary privilege allowing sons of high ranking officials into government positions without taking an examination. The new measure stipulates that people taking and passing exams will be granted higher official positions. 2) In addition, he instituted the scholarship fields of Chinese Classics and History which provided sustenance for the students while they studied.
800-900 Numerous extra-legal offices and bureaus are established which weaken or circumvent the codes and offices established with the implementation of the Taihō Codes earlier.
803 Sakanouye Tamuramarō finally drives Ainu further to the North and is able to establish garrisons at Izawa and Shiba in Northern Mutsu province. For this accomplishment he is awarded the title Sei-i-Tai-Shōgun (Barbarian Subduing Generalissimo) - the first to hold this title.
805 In recognition that the tax burden on the common farmer for the military campaigns in the northeast and for building the new capital are proving unbearable, advisors to the throne discuss plans to cancel private debt and outstanding taxes.
805 The Tendai sect of Buddhism is founded by Saichō (Dengyō Daishi). This sect is acceptable to the government because it is willing to remain out of politics. A monastery (Enryakuji) is established on Mt. Hiei, north-east of Kyōto.
(Incidentally, it was Saichō who first used the phrase Dai Nippon to refer to the country.)
806 The Shingon sect of Buddhism is founded by Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi).
806 Heizei (Kammu's son) becomes Emperor.
807 The government issues an edict forbidding sorcerers, diviners, and priests to seduce the common masses - even thought they couldn't control the abuse, and even though the government, itself, called on their services regularly.
809 Heizei abdicates the throne due to illness and retires to Nara. His younger brother becomes Emperor Saga.
Fall 810 Ex-emperor Heizei (along with his his advisor Fujiwara Nakanari, his consort Kusuko, and her brother) conspires to retake the throne by returning the capital from Kyōto to Nara. The plot is thwarted after much bloodshed and Heizei is forced to become a monk. Others are forced to commit suicide.
811 The interest rate on rice loans to farmers is reduced.
812 The emperor issues an edict mandating that all imperial princes and sons of aristocratic clans aspiring to government appointment first receive a Confucian education at the State College.
813 The emperor pronounces that good government depends on literature and progress depends on learning.
816 Kūkai is given permission to establish a monastery on Mt. Kōya in Kii Province (now Wakayama Prefecture).
820 The Kōnin-kyaku and Kōnin-shiki (both legal compilations) are released. {Kyaku are regulations issued ad-hoc to meet changing societal conditions and modifying or replacing codes (from the Taika Codes) no longer appropriate. Shiki are detailed rules supplementing the codes and necessary for their practical operation.}
822 Enryakuji is given authorization to establish an independent ordination platform, thus breaking the monopoly of the sects in Nara.
823 Saga abdicates in favor of his younger brother. Junna becomes Emperor.
823 Kūkai is entrusted with completing the construction of Tōji in Kyōto, and with it's management thereafter. It becomes a center for Esoteric Buddhism in Japan.
833 Nimmyō (Ninmei?) becomes Emperor.
April 835 Kūkai dies on Mt. Kōya.
850 Nimmyō (Ninmei?) dies. Montoku becomes Emperor.
858 Montoku dies. Seiwa becomes Emperor at the age of nine. Fujiwara Yoshifusa (Seiwa's maternal grandfather) becomes the first Fujiwara Regent (until 872). (All Fujiwara Regents hold the office of Sesshō or Kampaku, or both.) (The Minamoto family known as Seiwa Ganji are descendants of Tsunemoto, a grandson of Emperor Seiwa.)
869 The Jōgan-kyaku are released (these supplemented the Kōnin-kyaku)
871 The Jōgan-shiki are released (these supplemented the Kōnin-shiki)
877 Seiwa abdicates the throne. Yōzei becomes titular Emperor at the age of nine. Fujiwara Mototsune becomes Regent - the first person to hold this title.(According to at least one book, Yōzei was both insane and criminal.)
884 Yōzei is forced by the regent to abdicate at the age of seventeen. Kōkō becomes titular Emperor.
887 Kōkō dies. Uda becomes titular Emperor. His mother is not a Fujiwara and he hopes to reestablish direct rule by the Emperor.
889-897 Kampyō Era
894 The dispatch of envoys to China is officially suspended.
897 Uda abdicates in favor of his son. Daigo becomes titular Emperor
901-922 Engi Era
902 An imperial edict is issued calling for the resumption of the system of allotting land according to the number of people in the household. The system had not been enforced due to its impossibility to administer effectively. The edict is generally ignored as farmers lease or sell their land (with local official connivance, of course) and go to work on large estates in order to escape the tax burden associated with land ownership.
909 The Engi-kyaku are released (these supplemented, but did not supersede, the Kōnin or Jōgan-kyaku)
921 An imperial order grants Kūkai the posthumous name Kōbō Daishi.
930 Suzaku becomes titular Emperor. Fujiwara Tadahira becomes Regent (until 949).
940 As the power of the landed and wealthy families in the provinces continues to grow, and the central government continues to lose its power to govern outside of the capital, rebellions arise. As just one example, Taira Masakado established a 'kingdom' in the Kantō area and declared himself the new emperor. After five years of insurrection he was killed in Shimōsa province.
946 Murakami becomes titular Emperor
967 Reizai becomes titular Emperor. Fujiwara Saneyori becomes Regent (until 970).
967 The Engi-shiki are released (these supplemented, but did not supersede, the Kōnin or Jōgan-shiki)
968 Minamoto Mitsunaka denounces his kinsman Takaaki for conspiring to revolt, thus foiling the Anna Plot. In return, the Fujiwara help the Minamoto to grow in power and popularity.
969 Reizei abdicates the throne. Enyû becomes titular Emperor.
970 Fujiwara Koretada becomes Regent (until 972).
972 Fujiwara Kanemichi becomes Regent (until 977).
977 Fujiwara Yoritada becomes Regent (until 986).
984 Kazan becomes titular Emperor.
986 Ichijō becomes titular Emperor. Fujiwara Kaneiye becomes Regent (until 990).
990 Fujiwara Michitaka becomes Regent (until 995).
995 Fujiwara Michikane becomes Regent (died after only seven days in office).
996 Fujiwara Michinaga becomes Regent (until 1017, although unofficial until 1016).
1011 Sanjō becomes titular Emperor.
1016 Sanjō abdicates. Go-Ichijō becomes Emperor. ("Go" as a prefix means "the second.")
1017 Fujiwara Yorimichi becomes Kampaku (until 1068). Minamoto Yorinobu founds shōen in Kawachi province thus starting Kawachi Genji line.
1019 Genji Monogatari (The Tales of Genji) completed.
1028 Taira Tadatsune leads a revolt in Eastern Japan (the provinces of Kazusa, Shimosa, and Awa) as he attempts to extend the territory under his control.
1031 Ater three years of insurrection, Taira Tadatsune surrenders before an attack planed by the Minamoto Troops and lead by Yorinobu (on central government orders).
1036 Go-Ichijō dies. Go-Suzaku becomes Emperor.
1045 Go-Suzaku dies. Go-Reizei becomes Emperor.
1050 Minamoto Yoriyoshi is appointed by the central government as both governor and commander-in-chief of Mutsu Province in the north. On his appointment he is told to subdue the Abe family who, under Abe Toritoki, were levying taxes and confiscating land at will. (This is the start of The Early Nine Years War.)
1062 The Abe family is finally subdued in Mutsu Province after Abe Sadato is defeated and killed.
1068 Go-Reizei dies. Go-Sanjō becomes Emperor. Fujiwara Norimichi becomes Regent (until 1075).
1072 Go-Sanjō abdicates. Shirakawa becomes Titular Emperor and Go-Sanjō becomes Cloistered Emperor, although he soon becomes ill and dies. Although the Fujiwara still held important positions, this begins the period where the retired emperor now controls the government, also known as the inzei system.
1075 Fujiwara Morozane becomes Regent (until 1094).
1083 Minamoto Yoshiie is appointed governor of Mutsu Province and, with the help of Fujiwara Kiyohira, leads troops to put down an insurrection of the Kiyowara family. (This takes three years and is called The Later Three Years War - even though the final victories don't come until 1087.)
1086 Shirakawa abdicates in favor of his son. Horikawa becomes Titular Emperor. Shirakawa becomes Cloistered Emperor.
1091 Because of Minamoto Yoshiie's military successes, his power and land holdings grow extraordinarily large. In response, an imperial edict is issued which forbade farmers throughout the country to commend their lands to him and declared that his retainers could not enter the capital city with him. But, Yoshiie and his comrades return to the capital anyhow after the Three Year war and he resumes his posts as Commander of the Palace Guards and the Sovereign's Escort.
1094 Fujiwara Moromichi becomes Regent (until 1099).
1099 Fujiwara Moromichi dies after being cursed by rebellious monks who had been descending from their mountain temples and causing trouble in the city until he took action to stop them. (The rebellious monks are put down, in large part, with the help of Yoshiie and his warriors.)
1105 Fujiwara Tadazane becomes Regent (until 1121)
1107 Horikawa dies. His son, Toba, becomes Titular Emperor. Shirakawa remains as Cloistered Emperor.
1108 Minamoto Yoshichika (Yoshiie's eldest son) is banished to Sanuki for an offense against the court. He escapes and returns to Izumo where he leads an uprising. This uprising is put down by Taira Masamori who, after the uprising, returns to the capital, is given court rank and is commended by the Emperor.
1121 Fujiwara Tadamichi becomes Regent (until 1158).
1123 Toba abdicates in favor of his son. Sutoku becomes Titular Emperor. Shirakawa remains as Cloistered Emperor.
1129 Taira Tadamori (Masamori's son) puts down several revolts and piracy on the inland sea. (Like his father, he is given court rank in return. Not long before, it would have been unheard of for a military officer to receive court rank, thus indicating the decline in the power of the bureaucracy and the rise of the warrior class.)
1129 Shirakawa dies. Toba becomes Cloistered Emperor.
1141 Sutoku abdicates. Konoye becomes Titular Emperor. Toba remains as Cloistered Emperor.
1153 Taira Tadamori dies. Kiyomori becomes head of the Taira clan.
1155 Konoye dies and a bitter succession dispute erupts with one side supporting Go-Shirakawa and the other Sutoku as Emperor. Go-Shirakawa becomes Titular Emperor. Toba remains as Cloistered Emperor.
1156-1158 Hōgen Era
1156 Fujiwara Yorinaga collects a few hundred warriors (led by Minamoto Tameyoshi, the leader of the Minamotos) and, with Sutoku, sets up defenses in a palace in the city. Fujiwara Tadamichi (Yorinaga's brother), with Go-Shirakawa, collects many more warriors from both the Minamoto and the Taira clans. In the battle that follows, Yorinaga is killed. (This episode is called the Hōgen no Ran/Hōgen Insurrection.) Taira Kiyomori becomes an Imperial favorite and advisor while Minamoto Tameyoshi is sentenced to death. From this time starts the struggle for supremacy between the Minamoto and Taira clans and the downfall of the direct political power of the Imperial House.
1158 Go-Shirakawa abdicates. Nijō becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Shirakawa becomes Cloistered Emperor. Fujiwara Motozane becomes Regent (until 1166).
1160 Minamoto Yoshitomo (Tameyoshi's son) and Fujiwara Nobuyori conspire to overthrow the government when Kiyomori leaves the city on vacation. With about 500 well armed men, they kidnap both Nijō and Go-Shirakawa and kill many others. Nobuyori has himself appointed Chancellor. Kiyomori returns to the capital and raises an army, later helping the Emperor and ex-Emperor to escape the palace. After weeks of fighting the uprising is crushed (with the help of armed monks from Mt. Hiei). Yoshitomo is betrayed and killed by a retainer, and the only Minamoto males remaining from the main family are his sons Yoritomo, Noriyori, and Yoshitsune. (This episode is known as the Heiji no ran/Heiji Uprising)
1165 Nijō dies. Rokujō becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Shirakawa remains as Cloistered Emperor.
1166 Fujiwara Motofusa becomes Regent (until 1179).
1168 Rokujō abdicates (although in reality he was disposed by Go-Shirakawa). Takakura becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Shirakawa remains as Cloistered Emperor. Takakura's mother is Kiyomori's sister-in-law so the Taira's power and prestige begin to rise rapidly at this point.)
Summer 1168 Myōan Eisai (many researchers say the the kanji are pronounced Yōsai) spends the summer on pilgrimage in China studying Tendai and other exoteric Buddhist teachings.
1175 Hōnen Shōnin founds the Pure Land (Jōdo) sect of Buddhism.
1177 Several Fujiwara (although none of high standing) plot to assassinate Kiyomori. Kiyomori finds out about it and kills most of the plotters, including one monk. This is called the Shishigatani Affair.
1177 About one-third of the capital city is destroyed by fire. Thousands of people lose their lives.
1179 In a passage in the Hyakirenshō, is one of the first mentions of the growth of monetary transactions in Japan. ("There is a strange sickness going round the country nowadays. It is called the money disease.") The use of coins increased quickly and by the end of the 13th century Chinese copper cash is legal tender for the payment of taxes and for use in private transactions.
1179 Fujiwara Motomichi becomes Regent (until 1183).
December 1179 Kiyomori marches into the capital with several thousand troops in retaliation for Go-Shirakawa's having confiscated some Taira property earlier in the year (the two men had always disliked each other, this was just the final straw). Go-Shirakawa is placed under house arrest and numerous high government officials are banished or reduced in rank.
1180-1185 Gempei Wars (Gen from "Genji" or Minamoto, and Hei form "Heike" or Taira)
January 1180 Takakura abdicates (After seeing Kiyomori's treatment of Go-Shirakawa). Antoku (Kiyomori's grandson and only two years old) becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Shirakawa remains as Cloistered Emperor. Kiyomori becomes effective head of State.
May 1180 Minamoto Yorimasa (until now a respected member of the government because he had refrained from taking sides with the Minamoto against Kiyomori and the Taira) plots to overthrow Antoku and Kiyomori and place Prince Mochihito, the son of Go-Shirakawa, on the throne. Mochihito publicly calls for the overthrow of the Taira. Kiyomori foils the plot and while trying to escape Mochihito is captured and killed while Yorimasa is wounded and commits seppuku.
June 1180 Kiyomori forces the Emperors both Titular and Cloistered) to move his residence to Fukuwara, his residence outside of Kyōto on the Inland Sea. Provisions are made to move certain government functions there at a later date. The plans fail and the entire Court returns to the capital six months later.
August 1180 Toidaiji and Kōfukuji of Nara are attacked and burned on orders from Kiyomori (partly in fear of the monastery's armies?).
August 1180 Minamoto Yoritomo (who had been in exile in Izu and living under the guard of Hōjō Tokimasa, appointed by Kiyomori, since 1160) raises a small group of supporters and attacks and defeats a Taira official in Izu. (He had earlier converted Hōjō Tokimasa to his side and married his daughter, Masako.)
September 1180 Yoritomo leads a small body of troops out of Izu and over the Hakone Pass. They claim they are responding to the Imperial call to chastise the Taira (remember Mochihito's call when he and Yorimasa revolted in May). Taira forces defeat Yoritomo's troops at the Battle of Ishibashiyama. Yoritomo and his men scatter and find safety in the Hakone mountains.
November 1180 Yoritomo raise a large army from several of the eastern provinces and advances to the Fujikawa in Suruga province. Taira forces are sent again and meet him there. Taira forces are surprised by a rear attack at night from a supposed ally and retreat. Yoritomo does not follow but remains and strengthens his position.
1180 Yoritomo establishes the Samurai-dokoro in Kamakura, an office which regulates the affairs of the military - its privileges, obligations, property, ranks, and treatment in general. (It should be noted that at the start of the feudal period, "Samurai" was not the term used for just any fighting man, but a reserved high rank for certain warriors.)
February 1181 Taira forces defeat troops led by Minamoto Yukiie (Yoritomo's uncle) in Mino province.
March 1181 Kiyomori dies and affairs of state are left in the hands of his son, Munemori (a man of no political talent).
March 1181 Taira forces defeat troops led by Minamoto Yukiie at the Battle of Sunomata River.
August 1181 Government issues order calling for the pacification of the northern provinces (the Hokurikudo) where the Minamoto were rising. However, the Taira troops sent to Echizen were defeated by Minamoto Yoshinaka, Yoritomo's cousin, in the autumn.
1182 A famine affects the Western provinces greatly and weakens morale in the capital as hunger and the plague affect many. Overall, the famine was so severe that it brought the Gempei war to a halt for the year.
1183 Fujiwara Moroiye becomes Regent (until 1184).
March 1183 Yoritomo attacks Yoshinaka out of distrust of Yoshinaka's growing strength and success. They come to an agreement and the battle stops.
April & May 1183 Taira Koremori attacks and subdues Echizen province and takes several of Yoshinaka's strongholds.
May 1183 Yoshinaka succeeds in retaking the province of Echizen and defeats Koremori at the Battle of Tonamiyama in Etchû province (sometimes called the Battle of Kurikara Pass).
June 1183 Yoshinaka is advancing towards Kyōto from the north while Yukiie is threatening from the east.
August 1183 Go-Shirakawa escapes Kyōto (where he was still under house arrest since Kiyomori ordered it in late 1179) and goes to Mt. Hiei. The Emperor and his consorts go to a monastery in the suburbs. (Having the two Emperors flee the Taira seems to add the color of legitimacy to the Minamoto as they close in on the capital)
August 1183 The Taira abandon the capital and flee west with Emperor Antoku, his mother, and a few attendants (and the Imperial Regalia). Go-Shirakawa is escorted into the capital by Yoshinaka and gives him a mandate to destroy Munemori and the Taira army. (Yoshinaka prefers to attack Yoritomo, who he fears and hates, but Go-Shirakawa convinces him to concentrate on the Taira)
September 1183 Taira forces reach Kyûshû and set up temporary Court at Dazaifu. Local revolts drive them out and they move to Yashima, Shikoku (now called Takamatsu) directly across from Kojima Bay in Bizen province.
November 1183 Yoshinaka pursues the Taira, but is defeated by Taira troops at Mizushima on the border of Bitchû and Bizen provinces.
November 1183 Yoshinaka conspires with the Taira and Fujiwara leaders to take over the capital, seize Go-Shirakawa, and set up a new government in the Northern provinces. Go-Shirakawa gets word of the plot to Yukiie who, in turn, passes word on to Yoritomo.
December 1183 Yoshinaka seizes the capital and his troops ravage the city. Yukiie leaves the city with his men and attack the Taira in the province of Harima, where he is defeated. Go-Shirakawa sends word to Yoritomo asking him to come to Kyōto to subdue Yoshinaka. Yoritomo ignores the request thinking it more important to solidify his position in the eastern provinces. After repeated requests, though, Yoritomo calls on his brothers, Yoshitsune and Noriyori, to advance on the capital and destroy Yoshinaka.
Early 1184 Yoshinaka attacks Hōjōji and takes Go-Shirakawa captive. He also sends troops to Ishikawa in Kawachi province to attack troops of Yukiie who had set up a garrison there and was threatening the capital.
March 1184 With Yoshitsune and Noriyori converging on the capital, Yoshinaka flees the city with only a few men. He is pursued and killed in fighting with Noriyori's troops at Awazu in ōmi province.
March 1184 Yoshitsune and Noriyori lead troops out of the capital towards Yashima to attack the Taira and regain the Emperor. Meanwhile, the Taira abandon Yashima (with the Emperor in tow) by sea. Taira troops land in Settsu and begin to build a defensive position while leaving the Emperor on a ship with guards near Wada Misaka.
March 1184 Before Taira defensive positions at Settsu are completed they are overcome and defeated by Yoshitsune and Noriyori. Yoshitsune and Noriyori split up and encircle the remaining Taira at Ichinotani. Taira forces are defeated badly, the leaders are killed or captured, and only a few thousand are able to retreat by ship to Yashima (with the Emperor and the Imperial Regalia).
September 1184 Noriyori sets out from Kamakura to attack the Taira under Yoritomo's orders. Yoritomo remains in Kamakura (as he has till present) making the strategic decisions and dealing with the diplomatic problems of relations with and between the various warrior families and their leaders. Noriyori's troops are brought to a stalemate in the far western provinces due to a lack of food, supplies, and ships.
November 1184 Yoritomo brings ōe Hiromoto and Miyoshi Yoshinobu (two respected scholars and administrators) to Kamakura from Kyōto to set up the Kumonjo (Office of Administration) and the Monchûjo (Office of Inquiry) respectively. The Monchûjo serves as a court of appeals, enforces penal regulations, and kept judicial and cadastral records.
1184 Antoku deposed. Go-Toba (four years old) becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Shirakawa remains as Cloistered Emperor. Fujiwara Motomichi becomes Regent again (until 1186).
March 1185 Yoshitsune dispatched to the West to assist Noriyori. He crosses to Shikoku with only a few hundred men and attacks the palace in Yashima. The Taira, not knowing the size of the attacking force, flee by boat to Dannoura in the Straits of Shimonoseki with Antoku and the Imperial Regalia.
April 1185 With the help of officials and ships from Suō province and Miura Yoshizui, who was familiar with the currents in the Straits of Shimonoseki, Yoshitsune pursues the Taira. The Taira are totally defeated in a sea battle at Dannoura. Antoku dies (at the age of seven) and the Imperial sword (one of the three Imperial Regalia) is lost in the sea. This ends the reign and supremacy of the Taira family (almost - read about the Hōjō).
Kamakura Period (1185-1333)
April 1185 After the defeat of the Taira at Dannoura, Yoritomo assumes control of the entire nation from his offices in Kamakura.
May 1185 Yoshitsune arrives in Kyoto with Munemori and other Taira captives. He is given rewards and court titles by Go-Shirakawa and this infuriates Yoritomo. Yoritomo declares that anyone accepting gifts or appointments from the Court are no longer considered loyal to the Minamoto and will be punished.
June 1185 Yoshitsune escorts the Taira prisoners to Kamakura but is stopped at Koshigue, a small village outside of Kamakura. The prisoners are taken and interrogated in Kamakura, but Yoshitsune is not allowed to enter the city. After interrogation the prisoners are sent back to Kyōto under Yoshitsune's guard, but Yoritomo changes his mind and sends troops to catch up with them and kill the prisoners. Yoshitsune continues to Kyōto.
Sepetember 1185 Yoritomo orders attack on Yukiie. Yukiie calls on Yoshitsune for assistance. Word reaches Kamakura (falsely) that Yoshitsune is planning to use this opportunity to revolt against Yoritomo, in alliance with Yukiie. Yoritomo orders Yoshitsune to attack Yukiie, but Yoshitsune declines saying he can not for reasons of health.
November 1185 Yoritomo sends a hundred men, led by a renegade monk (Tosabō Shōshun), to attack and kill Yoshitsune. The attackers are defeated and Tosabō is killed. Go-Shirakawa orders Yoshitsune and Yukiie to proceed to Kamakura and punish Yoritomo. Both leave Kyōto and head west to collect men and supplies. Yoritomo sends troops to Kyōto and forces Go-Shirakawa to cancel his previous order and issue an order for Yoritomo to punish Yoshitsune and Yukiie (both of which had now fled).
December 1185 Establishment of the Jitō system. Kamakura appointed Stewards (Jitō) and Constables (Shugo) are appointed in all provinces and on all land (private and public) to collect a "commissariat tax" (hyōrō-mai) ostensibly to be used to support the pursuit of rebels and threats to the nation - namely Yoshitsune and Yukiie - but in reality imposed to gain total control over the nation's land. (Since Japan has a land-based economy, he who controls the land controls the country.)
April 1186 After declining to accept the position several times, Fujiwara Kanezane becomes Regent at the insistence of Yoritomo. The levy of the commissariat rice tax is suspended.
June 1186 Yukiie is finally found, captured, and killed. Soon after, Shizuka, Yoshitsune's lover and companion, is captured and interrogated but she does not reveal Yoshitsune's whereabouts.
1187 Myōan Eisai returns to China in an attempt to make a pilgrimage through to India. He is refused travel permits so makes his way to Mt. T'ien-t'ai and studies for four years under a Ch'an master.
June 1189 Yoritomo finds that Yoshitsune is hiding in northern Mutsu province in Hiraizumi. He orders the local Fujiwara rulers to attack and this order is obeyed after the third insistence. Yoshitsune kills his wife and children and then commits seppuku to avoid capture. His head is sent back to Kamakura for verification that it was in fact him.
Sept & Oct 1189 Yoritomo leads troops to conquer Mutsu and Dewa provinces in the north, the last non-Minamoto strongholds in the country and governed by the Fujiwara. The provinces easily fall to Kamakura control.
December 1189 Yoritomo returns to Kamakura and spends the next twelve months strengthening his control over the military class and the country's administration.
1190-1199 Kenkyū Era
December 1190 Yoritomo goes to Kyōto. He sets up his headquarters in Rokuhara, the headquarters of the Taira when Kiyomori ruled, and spends time discussing government and governmental appointments with Go-Shirakawa and others. He accepts several military titles, but no Court titles.
Early 1191 The Kumonjo (established in 1184) is converted into the Mandokoro with ōe Hiromoto remaining as its head. The Mandokoro, or Office of Administration, is organized with the Shikken (Regent) presiding over a Board of Councilors. This was the Bakufu's highest administrative organ.
1191 Eisai returns to Japan and introduces the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism (although his teachings still contained elements of Vinaya and both Tendai and Shingon Esoteric Buddhism).
Spring 1192 Go-Shirakawa dies. Go-Toba remains as Emperor with no Cloistered Emperor.
August 1192 On Kanezane's insistence (which means Yoritomo's as well, of course) Go-Toba gives Yoritomo the title of Shōgun, which Go-Shirakawa had refused to give him while alive.
1193 Yoritomo continues to distrust Noriyori and has him assassinated.
1194 Yoritomo executes all the male members of the family of Yasuda Yoshisada (a very loyal Minamoto supporter) after accusations (false) from a third person.
1194 Enryakuji supporters gain an imperial ban on the continued teaching of Zen Buddhism in Kyōto. Eisai begins the long process of defending both himself and Zen.
March 1195 Yoritomo attends the re-dedication service of Tōdaiji in Nara and spends a few months in Kyōto.
November 1196 Minamoto Michichika leads revolt in Kyōto. Kanezane and his supporters are overthrown and Michichika's supporters are placed in power. His professed aim is to lead a return to Imperial rule and a diminution of Bakufu power but he real intent is just to remove all Fujiwara from offices and take them for himself and his supporters.
1198 Go-Toba abdicates and becomes Cloistered Emperor. Tsuchimikado, Go-Toba's infant son, becomes Titular Emperor. He had been chosen as Heir Apparent earlier in the year by Michichika without seeking the input of Kamakura. Yoritomo does nothing about this demonstration of independence by Michichika, but lets it be known that he will visit Kyōto in the near future (although he dies before he makes the trip).
1199-1201 Shōji Era
1199 Yoritomo dies after being thrown from a horse. Minamoto Yoriie, Yoritomo's eldest son and only seventeen years old, succeeds his father. However, Go-Toba doesn't give him the title of Shōgun until 1202 in order to stress the prerogative of the throne. (This didn't anger Kamakura because everyone there was already questioning Yoriie's ability to govern.)
1199 Eisai, after deciding that he is not strong enough to defeat the opposition of Enryakuji, abandons Kyōto and goes to Kamakura. Hōjō Masako (the widow of Yoritomo) appoints him as founder of Jufukuji, the first Zen center in the city.
1201-1204 Kennin Era
1202 Yoriie appointed Shōgun in ceremonies performed in Kamakura by imperial envoys.
1203 Yoriie is forced to abdicate after becoming gravely ill and having attempted to have Tokimasa assassinated. Minamoto Sanetomo, Yoriie's younger brother and eleven years old, becomes third Shōgun (and given the title). Hōjō Tokimasa becomes Shikken (Head of the Office of Administration) and hence regent over the Shōgun (a minor) and de facto head of the government. (It is interesting to note here that the Hōjō are of Taira lineage!)
1204-1206 Genkyū Era
1204 Taira family in Ise use the uncertain political climate in Kamakura as a chance to rise in revolt but the revolt is easily put down. Yoriie is assassinated in Izu province, where he had been living in exile, by Tokimasa's men.
1204 Saying the Nembutsu is prohibited on Mt. Hiei and followers of the Jōdo sect of Buddhism are banned from the mountain.
1205 Tokimasa conspires to kill Sanetomo but the plot is discovered by Masako. Tokimasa is forced to resign and lives in exile in Izu under guard. Hiraga, the Deputy Shōgun in Kyōto, was also part of the plot and killed by troops sent from Kamakura. Tokimasa's son, Yoshitoki, becomes Shikken and Regent.
1205 Construction of Kenninji in Kyōto is completed on lands earlier donated by Yoriie. Eisai is appointed founder.
1206-1207 Kenei Era
1206 Konoe Ieznae becomes Imperial Regent (until 1228)
1207-1211 Jōgen Era
1207 Hōnen Shōnin is stripped of his clerical status and exiled from Kyōto for his teachings of the Jōdo sect. As a layman he assumes the name Fujii Motohiko but still continues to attract disciples. (Other major sects resented his teaching that the only requirement for salvation was saying the Nembutsu and that temples, monasteries, rituals and even the priesthood were all unnecessary. In addition he taught that all were equal in Buddhism - high, low, men, and women.)
1210 Juntoku becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Toba remains as Cloistered Emperor.
1211-1213 Kenryaku Era
1211 Hōnen is released from exile.
1212 Hōnen dies.
1213-1219 Kempō Era
1213 A large plot is uncovered to overthrow Sanetomo and replace him with a son of Yoriie. The plot is overcome and many of the leaders are killed.
1215 Eisai dies
1219-1222 Jōkyū Era
1219 Sanetomo is assassinated, thus bringing to an end the rule of Minamoto Shōguns. Fujiwara Yoritsune, the infant son of Michiie, then Minister of the Left, and a Minamoto descendant from Yoritomo's daughter, is brought from Kyōto, adopted into Masako's house, and installed as Titular Shōgun (although he is not granted the title for several years).
1221 Kanenari (later known as Chūkyō) becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Toba remains as Cloistered Emperor. This only lasts for seventy days and then Chūkyō is deposed.
June 1221 Go-Toba raises an army from Imperial shoen and certain monasteries and leads a rebellion against the Kamakura Shōgunate (known as the Jōkyū no Hen, Jōkyū Disturbance). The rebellion is put down within a month. Both Go-Toba and Juntoku are banished and Tsuchimikado and Emperor Kanenari are sent to distant provinces, but not put under arrest.
(As an aside, Go-Toba's main supporters were Tendai monks from Mt. Hiei, Shingon monks from Mt. Kōya, and Hossō monks from Kōfukuji in Nara. This was one of the main questions that seemed to bother Nichiren later - with all of the prayers and incantations offered by all of these monks, how was it that the imperial forces lost to the Shōganate? He decided, according to Kitagawa, that Go-Toba and Juntoku lost and died in excile because of their bad karma.)
July 1221 The position of Deputy Shōgun (Tandai) is established in Kyōto with offices maintained in Rokuhara. These offices were almost a duplicate of Bakufu offices in Kamakura and held complete control over Kyōto and all provinces west of, and including, Mikawa. The Tandai's power was so complete that the Bakufu issued orders in these areas only through the his offices and in his name. The Bakufu now held absolute power over the entire nation. Tradition soon developed that the Regent in Kamakura was always someone who had held the post of Tandai in Kyōto.
Late 1221 Go-Takakura chosen by the Bakufu and becomes Cloistered Emperor (until 1223). Go-Horikawa (son of Go-Takakura) becomes Titular Emperor. The Bakufu also made it clear that they must approve before an Imperial Regent is chosen.
1222-1224 Jōō Era
1222-1223 Bakufu carries out a complete land survey of all land in all provinces.
1223 Dōgen departs to China for a five year period of study of Sōtō Zen (Ts'ao-tung, in Chinese).
1224-1225 Gennin Era
1224 Shinran (a student of Hōnen's) founds the True Pure Land sect (Jōdo Shinshū) of Buddhism. (Actually, according to Kitagawa, Shinran never intended to establish a sect of his own. He refused to call anyone a disciple, but rather called them fellow believers. It was those that considered themselves his disciples that actually formed the sect by forming local fellowships.)
July 1224 Yoshitoki dies. Hōjō Yasutoki, his son, and Tokifusa, his brother, become co-Shikken (co-Regents). (In practice, though, Tokifusa preferred to let Yasutoki make the decisions).
1225-1227 Karoku Era
August 1225 Hōjō Masako dies. Of all the people who had helped Yoritomo shape the bakufu in its early days, none were more influential than Masako and ōe Hirimoto (who had died in July). Now that they were gone, Yasutoki could institute reforms in the system so that it matched the conditions and needs found in the country after the Jōkyō revolt.
January 1226 Yasutoki forms a Council of State (Hyōjōshū), and eleven member deliberative assemble which stood behind the Regent and advised the Shōgun on all matters of state. The Regent was bound by its decisions. (It soon replaced the Mandokoro and the Monchūjo)
January 1226 Fujiwara Mitora assumes the title of Shōgun, and the name Yoritsune, at the age of eight (although he is a complete puppet of the Hōjō Regent).
1226-1231 Japan is rocked by six years of drought, famine, smallpox and other diseases, storms, floods, and earthquakes.
1227-1229 Antei Era
1227 Dōgen Zenji returns to Japan and founds the Sōtō sect of Zen Buddhism. He stays at Kenninji in Kyōto.
1228 Kujō Michiie becomes Imperial Regent. (until 1231)
1229-1232 Kanki Era
1230 Yoritsune is married to a daughter of Minamoto Yoriie to give the impression of continuing Minamoto leadership.
1230 Angered by Dōgen's criticism, and rejection, of Tendai practices, Enryakuji forces him to leave Kyōto. He goes to Fukakusa, to the south of the city, and founds the Kōshōji monastery.
July 1230 Yasutoki announces an Act of Grace, a moratorium on payments of debt and similar obligations. Soon after, an Imperial order is issued fixing the price of rice.
Early 1231 An Imperial order is issued restricting expenditures and ordering the distribution of tax rice to the poor. The Bakufu issues orders to Jitō and Shugo to remit taxes in their provinces and undertake other measures of relief.
1232 Go-Horikawa abdicates. His two year old son, Shijō becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Horikawa becomes Cloistered Emperor (until 1234). Kujō Yorimichi becomes Imperial Regent (until 1235)
1232-1233 Jōei Era
August 1232 The Jōei Code (Jōei Shikimoku. Also called the Goseibai Shikimoku?) is issued by the Council of State. This is the first codification of feudal law in Japan and was a simple digest of fifty-one administrative principles and regulations to be used in the guidance of the samurai serving under the shōgunate.
Winter 1232-33 Because of severe hardships caused by several years of famine, a law is passed allowing the sales of human beings (not just slaves) in order to allow families to raise needed money.
1233-1234 Tempuku Era
1234-1235 Bunryaku Era
1235-1238 Katei Era
1235 Kujō Michiie becomes Imperial Regent again (until 1237).
1236 Monks from Mt. Hiei and Kōfukuji cause problems all year over issues of land rights. Many people are killed and much damage is done. The Bakufu does not succeed in subduing them until near the end of the year.
1237 Konoe Kanetsune becomes Imperial Regent (until 1242).
1238-1239 Ryakunin Era
April 1238 The Shōgun visits Kyōto. He receives numerous titles and stays for almost nine months.
1239-1240 Enō Era
1239 The law allowing the sales of human beings is rescinded and the release of persons already sold is ordered.
1240-1243 Ninji Era
February 1242 Shijō dies suddenly and a succession dispute breaks out over a son of Tsuchimikado and a son of Tsuchimikado's younger brother, Juntoku. The Bakufu's opinion is requested.
April 1242 The son of Tsuchimikado is chosen by the Bakufu and becomes Emperor Go-Saga. (Remember that Juntoku was exiled by Yasutoki's father and still disliked Kamakura) There is no Clositered Emperor.
1242 Yasutoki dies and his grandson, Hōjō Tsunetoki, becomes Shikken and Regent.
1243-1247 Kangen Era
1243 Dōgen and his suporters leave Kōshōji as they are increasingly opposed by other Buddhists in Kyōto (mainly, but not exclusively, Tendai). They move to the mountains of Echizen province where he eventually builds the Eiheiji monastery.
June 1244 Yoritsune is forced (under Imperial order, which is forced by Hōjō demands) to abdicate. He is replaces as Shōgun by his infant son, Yoritsugu. Yoritsugu is promptly married to a sister of Tsunetoki.
April 1246 Tsunetoki dies suddenly and his younger brother, Tokiyori, becomes Shikken and Regent. Several outbreaks develop between supporters of the disposed Shōgun Yoritsune and supporters of the new Regent Tokiyori.
September 1246 Yoritsune is sent, under guard to live in Kyōto and is established in Rokuhara.
1246 Go-Saga abdicates. Go-Fukakusa, his three year old son, becomes Titular Emperor and Go-Saga becomes Cloistered Emperor.
1247-1249 Hōji Era
1247 Miura Yasumura conspires against the Hōjō regency. After trying to settle it peacefully and seeing that the Miura were arming themselves, Tokiyori attacks and Yasumura's entire family is killed. From this time, the Hōjō had no rivals in the east.
1247 Dōgen travels to Kamakura at the invitation of Tokiyori. He is offered the abbacy of a new monastery being built there, but refuses and returns to Echizen.
1249-1256 Kenchō Era
1249 Tokiyori establishes a standing committee (the Hikitsuke-shū) which investigates all suits and appeals brought to the Council of State. It consited of five members of the Mandokoro under a rotating chairmanship of one of three members of the full Council.
Late 1251 A plot against the Bakufu is discovered and (correctly or not isn't known) attributed to the ex-Shōgun Yoritsune. Tokiyori uses this as an excuse to remove Yoritsugu from the Shōgunate.
April 1252 Go-Saga's son (and Emperor Fukakusa's elder brother) Prince Munetaka, is chosen to replace Yoritsugu and is installed as Shōgun.
1252 The Fujiwara house splits into five houses from which the post of Regent is filled in rotation.
1253 Nichiren founds the Lotus (Hokke) sect of Buddhism. (Almost always called the Nichiren Sect)-Dōgen dies. (no connection here, I think)
1256-1257 Kōgen Era
1256 Tokiyori retires on grounds of ill health and retires to a monastery (but he continues to rule until his death in 1263). His son Tokimune becomes Shikken. But, Tokimune is a minor (5 years old) so Hōjō Nagatoki, a member of the Council of State, is appointed as his guardian and Regent (until 1264).
1257-1259 Shōka Era - Severe natural disasters plague the Eastern provinces for two years. The Bakufu must shift its focus to problems of relief instead of government.
1259 Go-Saga forces Go-Fukakusa to abdicate so that another of his son's can be made emperor. Kameyama (age 10) becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Saga remains Cloistered Emperor (until his death in 1272).
1259-1260 Shōgen Era
1260-1261 Bunō Era
1260 The Shōgun, Munetaka, is married to a daughter of Konoe Kanetsune, a court noble and previous Imperial Regent.
1261-1264 Kōchō Era
1261 Nichiren is banished to a remote section of the Izu peninsula for his continued verbal attacks on the leaders of the bakufu and the other Buddhist sects. He is released in 1263.
1262 Shinran dies
1263 Hōjō Tokiyori dies. Nichiren returns to Kamakura and continues with his preachings against the bakufu and other Buddhist sects.
1264-1274 Bunei Era
1264 Hōjō Masamura replaces Nagatoki as guardian of Tokimune and Regent.
July 1266 The Shōgun, Munetaka, is suspected of plotting against the Regent and he is stripped of his office by the Council of State and sent to Kyōto. He is placed under house arrest in Rokuhara and Go-Saga is told to disown him, which he does. (However, several months later he was released, offered valuable estates, and Go-Saga was asked to accept him back in the family, which he did.)
August 1266 Imperial Prince Koreyasu (Munetaka's son) is sent to Kamakura and appointed Shōgun.
1268 Kubilai Khan sends envoys to Japan demanding that the Japanese become vassals of the Mongol state. The demand is refused and the envoys are sent back to China.
1268 Hōjō Tokimune becomes Shikken and Regent.
1271 Because of his repeated attacks on the leaders of the bakufu and on other religious institutions, Nichiren is exiled again, this time to Sado Island. He is released in 1274.
1272 Go-Saga dies. In his will he leaves the majority of his property and fortunes to Kameyama instead of Go-Fukakusa (his eldest son) as custom dictated. A vicious power struggle between supporters of Go-Fukakusa and Kameyama ensues. The Imperial line is divided into two branches each competing for the throne: the senior (Jimyōin) branch, represented by Go-Fukakusa, and the Junior (Daikakuji) branch, represented by Kameyama.
1274 Kameyama abdicates. His son (and therefore also of the Junior line), Go-Uda, becomes Titular Emperor. Kameyama becomes Cloistered Emperor even though Go Fukakusa is the senior retired emperor.
1274 Nichiren is released from exile on Sado Island and returns to Kamakura, where he continues his teachings as before. When it becomes clear that the bakufu is not going to take him seriously he leaves Kamakura and goes to Mt. Minobu were he lives the rest of his life in self-imposed exile.
November 1274 First invasion by Mongol, Chinese, and Koryo armies (Bunei War). They conquer Tsushima and Ikishima islands, and then land on Kyūshū near Hakata but are met by Japanese forces assembled by the Shōgunate. A fortuitous storm (hence, kamikaze) destroys the fleet and those that can flee back to Korea.
1275-1278 Kenji Era
1275 Musō Kokushi is born to a father from a Genji family and a mother from a Heike family.
May 1275 Khubilai Khan sends further envoys to Japan to demand its submission. The envoys are executed in October and defense preparations in Kyūshū continue for an expected second invasion.
1278-1288 Kōan Era
June-August 1281 Second invasion by Mongol, Chinese, and Koryo armies (Koan War). Again they land on Kyūshū near Hakata and again are met by stiff Japanese resistance who had prepared well by building a protective wall along the coast. After a month of fighting, another fortuitous storm destroyed the Mongol fleet and the remainder of the attacking army fled to Korea.
1282 Nichiren dies
1284 Tokimune dies. His son, Hōjō Sadatoki, (fourteen years old) becomes Shikken and Regent. One of his first tasks is to attempt to fulfill samurai demands for compensation for their expenses, and rewards for their successes, during the Mongol invasions. But, since all of the bakufu's resources had been expended in Japan's defense, there was virtually nothing to distribute. This breeds serious unhappiness with the bakufu.
1286 Claimants against the bakufu and the court for compensation or reward stemming from the Mongol invasions are forbidden from appealing directly to Kamakura or Rokuhara.
October 1287 Go-Uda abdicates. Go-Fukakusa becomes Cloistered Emperor. Fushimi, son of Go-Fukakusa and of the Senior Line, becomes Titular Emperor. (His isn't formally installed, though, until March 1288.)
1288-1293 Shōō Era
August 1289 Hisa-akira, a son of Go-Fukakusa, is named Shōgun and moved to Kamakura.
February 1290 Go-Fukakusa takes the tonsure and Fushimi becomes Cloistered Emperor as well as Titular Emperor.
1290 Retired Emperor Kameyama is implicated in an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Fushimi, although he denied involvement. The Hōjō impose a compromise on the two competing lines of the Imperial family. The Senior and Junior lines now alternate succession to the throne.
1293-1299 Einin Era
1294 The bakufu decrees that no further claims for reward or compensation stemming from the 1274 and the 1281 Mongul invasions will be granted.
1294 Khublai Khan dies and Japan finally is allowed to relax its defenses.
1297 In recognition of its continually mounting financial difficulties, the bakufu decrees another Act of Grace (Tokusei) which, among the many sever provisions, sets a maximum rate of interest and demands a partial cancellation of debts. Money lenders and merchants are hurt but eventually find ways to work around the laws. Eventually the Act proved unworkable and was amended within a year. (Thus leaving the warrior class indebted, impoverished, and even more unhappy.)
July 1298 Fushimi abdicates and becomes Cloistered Emperor. Go-Fushimi, his son and again of the Senior line, becomes Titular Emperor.
1299-1302 Shōan Era
1301 Sadatoki resigns office and enters the religious life. His cousin, Hōjō Morotoki, becomes Titular Regent. Sadatoki's son, Takatoki, is too young to take office. (Sadatoki still rules from behind the scenes until his death in 1311.)
January 1301 Go-Fushimi retires and Go-Nijō (of the Junior line and son of Go-Uda) becomes Titular Emperor. Go-Uda replaces Fushimi as Cloistered Emperor.
1302-1303 Kengen Era
1303-1306 Kagen Era
1306-1308 Tokuji Era
August 1308 Hanazono (of the Senior line and another son of Fushimi) becomes Titular Emperor when Go-Nijō dies. Fushimi once again becomes Cloistered Emperor. Prince Morikuni becomes Shōgun, the last as it turns out.
1308-1311 Enkyō Era
1311-1312 Ōchō Era
1312-1317 Shōwa Era
1316 Takatoki is installed as Shikken and Regent. (But by this time it is obvious to all that the power of the Hōjō family has passed. In fact, in later years, Takatoki's sanity is questioned. Numerous people all around the country look for an excuse to overthrow the Hōjō.)
1317-1319 Bumpō Era
1317 The bakufu imposes a compormise settlement on the imperial family (the Bunpō Wadan) stating that when Go-Daigo (who was now Crown Prince) succeeds Hanazono, the next Crown Prince must be named from the Senior line, thus forcing the emperor to come from altering lines.
April 1318 Go-Daigo (of the Junior line and son of Go-Uda) becomes Titular Emperor. Hanazono becomes Cloistered Emperor. Go-Daigo makes it clear that he intends to rule as long as he is able and does not intend to abdicate and make way for an infant of the Senior line. He indicates that he intends to make reforms and stop the alternation between junior and senior lines.
1319-1321 Genō Era
1321 The Office of Ex-Emperors is abolished and many Imperial land holdings are taken over and given to the public treasury. Go-Daigo's father, Go-Uda-In, resigns from the office of Cloistered Emperor to demonstrate his approval of the policy.
1321-1324 Genkō Era
1324 Bakufu agents in Rokuhara uncover a plot against the Shōgunate. The plot is broken up and people are arrested, but no severe punishments are handed down. Go-Daigo pleads that he knew nothing of the plot and this is accepted.
1324-1326 Shōchū Era
1325 On the advice of Musō Soseki, an official envoy is sent to China, the first in nearly five centuries.
1326 Go-Daigo names his son (of the Junior line) as heir-apparent. This was contrary to the bakufu's demand that he name a son of Go-Fushimi (of the Senior line). Go-Daigo and his supporters recognize that the system of alternating Emperors had to stop and the decision of legitimacy had to be settled. To do this, they realized that the Hōjō regency had to overthrown.
1326-1329 Karyaku Era
1329-1331 Gentoku Era
May 1331 Kamakura sends thousands of troops to Kyōto after a confidant of Go-Daigo informs the Bakufu that he is privy to many conspiracies against the Hōjō. These troops are led by Nikaido.
September 1331 Emperor Go-Daigo revolts against the Bakufu. He flees the capital (with the Imperial Regalia) and takes refuge first at Tōdaiji and then in a monastery on Mount Kasagi.
September 1331 Kamakura orders the installation of Prince Kazuhito, son of Go-Fushimi and of the Senior line, as Emperor Kōgon. (The accenssion ceremony takes place, but the enthronement is postponed for a year in the hopes that the official Imperial Regalia can be recovered.)
October 1331 Go-Daigo is captured by bakufu troops and sent back to Kyōto. He is forced to relinquish the Imperial Regalia to Kōgon.
November 1331 Bakufu forces defeat Kusunoki Masashige of Kawachi Province, the only warrior willing to openly support Go-Daigo's revolt. Kusunoki escapes to build another force of supporters. Prince Morinaga, Go-Daigo's son, also escapes and goes to Yoshino.
1331-1334 Genkō Era
1332 As Hōjō domination was about to fall, as an indication of how their power had grown, in 1199 when Yoritomo had died, the Hōjō house had direct control over 2 of the 36 shugo appointments (5.6%). In 1286 they controlled 26 out of 52 (50%), and in 1332, just before their fall, they controlled 30 out of 57 (52.6%).
April 1332 After refusing to abdicate and enter a monastery, Go-Daigo is exiled to Oki Island off the east coast of Japan. Kōgon, of the senior line, is enthroned as Emperor. All Imperial lands are taken over by the government. (Later, even the kuge, the court aristocracy, lost their lands and lived a meager life at the mercy of shōgunate handouts.)
Summer/Fall 1332 Kusunoki continues with military raids on bakufu forces. Morinaga continues with a political call to arms to all warrior clans to resist and overthrow the Hōjō. This forces bakufu to send the majority of their troops to stop these efforts. However, by employing more troops against Kusunoki and Morinaga, other warrior families find they have the opportunity to revolt when bakufu troops are pulled out of their provinces. Defeat of bakufu forces, and, therefore, signs of the vulnerability of the Hōjō, brings more and more people to the Imperial cause.
March 1333 Bakufu forces make a major attempt to regain control of the country. While regaining some territory, they fail to capture Kusunoki or Morinaga. These failures further encourage the loyalists and bring even more supporters to the cause.
Spring 1333 Go-Daigo escapes exile and resumes his revolt, this time at the head of a large uprising which included many powerful military leaders unhappy with Hōjō rule. He sets up a temporary court in Hōki Province.
June 1333 Ashikaga Takauji sent by Kamakura to defeat Go-Daigo and his supporters in Kyōto and Hōki Province.
June-July 1333 Takauji deserts to Go-Daigo's side and captures Kyōto. Nitta Yoshisada leads an army of dissatisfied warrior families and defeats the Hōjō in Kamakura.
July 1333 Go-Daigo returns to Kyōto and reestablishes himself in the palace. Kōgon is deposed but treated generously. Go-Daigo reaffirms his intention of implementing reforms.
September 1333 Go-Daigo awards provinces and governorships to the most senior warriors who supported his cause. He delays and, in general, blunders the task of rewarding the lesser warriors and this seriously dampens their loyalty to him.
Late 1333 On Go-Daigo's orders, Kitabatake Akiiye escorts Prince Norinaga (Go-Daigo's six year old son) to the north and installs him as Governor-General of the entire northern region, comprising Dewa and Mutsu Provinces. Kitabatake serves as Deputy.
1334-1336 Kemmu Restoration and Kemmu Era. Go-Daigo attempts to reestablish direct imperial rule under an imperial government in Kyōto.
Early 1334 Without imperial order, Ashikaga Tadayoshi (Takauji's brother) escorts Prince Narinaga (Go-Daigo's eleven year old son) to Kamakura and installs him as Governor of the province of Kōtsuke, with Tadayoshi as Deputy.
1334 Go-Daigo appoints many courtiers as provincial governors and announces intention to grant title of Shōgun to his son, Prince Morinaga.
September 1334 Takauji has Morinaga and several of his followers arrested and taken to Kamakura for a plot to attack him.
March 1335 Remnants of the Hojō revolt in Kamakura. While they are put down, Takauji puts his troops on alert in Kyōto.
August 1335 Hōjō Tokiyuki, the son of the late Regent Takatoki, attacks and takes Kamakura, driving out Prince Narinaga and Tadayoshi. As he flees Tadayoshi has Prince Morinaga killed.
August 1335 Takauji asks Go-Daigo to grant him the titles of Shōgun and Constable-General so that he can surpress the rebels. This is denied but, claiming familial duty he leaves Kyōto anyhow and goes to his brother's aid.
September 1335 Takauji defeats (and kills) Tokiyuki in Kamakura and puts down the Hōjō rebellion. Go-Daigo congratulates him on his success and summons him back to Kyōto for planned celebrations. Takauji refuses, saying he feels threatened in the capital, and begins to set up a palace in Kamakura.
November 17, 1335 Tadayoshi, in the name of Takauji, calls on all warriors to come to their assistance to destroy Niita Yoshisada. Go-Daigo appoints his son, Takanaga, as Shōgun and sends him with Nitta Yoshisada towards Kamakura to put down Takauki and Tadayoshi.
December 1335 Imperial loyalists are defeated by forces supporting Takauji. Fighting continues as Takauji, Tadayoshi, and their supporters drive towards Kyōto.
February 22, 1336 Anticipating defeat, Go-Daigo flees to Enryakuji.
February 23, 1336 Takauji's forces defeat the Imperial suporters and take Kyōto. Thus ends Go-Daigo's attempt to restore Imperial rule.
February/March 1336 Loyalist troops defeat Takauji supporters and, again, retake Kyōto.
March 16, 1336 Go-Daigo returns to Kyōto as Takauji flees to Kyūshū.
Late March, 1336 A deal is arranged between Takauji and ex-Emperor Kōgon (of the Senior, Jimyōin, line) so that Takauji can now say that he is fighting to support Kōmyō's claim to the throne. Kōmyō gives him a commission to "chastise the rebel Nitta Yoshisada."
1336-1340 Engen Era
May 15, 1336 Takauji and his troops start the return trip towards Kyōto in order to retake the capital
July 5, 1336 In the famous battle of Minatogawa, Takauji forces defeat the loyalist army.
July 6, 1336 Nitta retreats to Kyōto and convinces Go-Daigo to flee, again, to Hieizan with the imperial regalia.
July 13, 1336 Takauji retakes Kyōto.
August-October 1336 Continual fighting in and around the capital between loyalist troops and supporters of Takauji
September 20, 1336 Kōmyō-In accends to the throne and is declared the Emperor. Thus begins the conflict between the two Courts. (But, Kōmyō isn't enthroned until the end of 1337)
October 5, 1336 Takauji defeats Nitta and tells Go-Daigo that to this point he had only been fighting to surpress Nitta and his clan. He invites Go-Daigo to return to Kyōto to resume control of the country.
November 13, 1336 Go-Daigo returns to Kyōto and moves into Kazan-In palace. He is immediately arrested and forced to turn the regalia over to Kōmyō-In.
November 17, 1336 Go-Daigo's son Narinaga is named as the Crown Prince by Takauji, thus naming a member of the Junior line as the next in line to be Emperor.
Late 1336 Ashikaga Takauji assumes title of Go-Dainagon (Acting Grand Counsellor) and begins as ruler of the country.
January 1337 Go-Daigo escapes confinement ad he and his court followers flee to Yoshino. He becomes the Southern Dynasty while Kōmyō remains in Kyōto as the Northern Dynasty.
Muromachi Period (1338-1573)
(Nambokuchō Period: 1331-1392)
Late 1336 Ashikaga Takauji assumes title of Go-Dainagon (Acting Grand Counsellor) and begins as ruler of the country. His bakufu releases the Kemmu Shikimoku but it has little substance and makes no changes to the older Jōei Shikimoku of 1232.
January 1337 Go-Daigo escapes confinement and flees to Yoshino with his court followers. He (of the Junior line) becomes the Southern Dynasty while Kōmyō (of the Senior line) remains in Kyōto as the Northern Dynasty.
1337-1338 Continuous fighting around the country between forces loyal to Go-Daigo and those loyal to Takauji, with the Imperial loyalists often winning major victories.
1338 Takauji assumes the title of Shōgun. He shares administrative duties with his younger brother, Tadayoshi. Takauji held supreme military power and issued certificates of reward and appointed the shugo. Tadayoshi made the day-to-day civil, judicial, and economic decisions such as confirming land rights, making judicial rulings, issuing customs-barrier permits, and issuing regulatory codes for monasteries.
August 1338 Nitta Yoshisada is killed in battle.
October 1338 Prince Norinaga is named Crown Prince (of the Junior line).
1339-1340 Continued fighting througout the country between Loyalist troops and those supporting the Ashikaga Bakufu. Bakufu supporters finally defeat the loyalists in the northern provinces. Fighting shifts to the south.
September 19, 1339 Go-Daigo dies at the age of fifty-two. Norinaga is enthroned as Emperor Go-Murakami of the Southern Court at twelve years of age.
1340-1346 Kōkoku Era
1341-1348 Continued fighting throughout the country, but mainly in Kyūshū.
1342 To earn money abroad for the completion of Tenryūji, Takauji reopens trade with China. While Takauji is given credit, Tadayoshi was probably the driving force behind the construction of Tenryūji and and all other religious matters. (Trade will later be temporarily suspended again by Yoshimochi, but then revived by Yoshinori and then sporadically continue until the mid-sixteenth century)
1346-1370 Shōhei Era
1349-1350 With serious loyalist victories on Kyūshū, fighting begins to heat up in the Home Provinces around the capital. By this time, as a result of victories and defeats on both sides, the Southern and Northern courts are now essentially equal and people begin again to talk of uniting them through negotiations.
Early 1350 After serious infighting between himself and the Kō brothers (Moronao and Moroyasu), Tadayoshi is relieved of all duties and replaced by Takauji's son, Yoshiakira. Tadayoshi becomes a monk and enters a monestary.
November 1350 Tadayoshi leaves the monestary and goes to Yamato. Kō Moronao calls on Takauji to dispose of him, but he is not pursued.
January 1351 Emperor Sukō (of the Senior line) is enthroned as the emperor of the Northern Court. Tadayoshi swears allegiance to the Southern Court, calls for the destruction of the Kō brothers, and calls for the recapture of Kyōto.
March 1351 Kō Moronao and Moroyasu taken prisoner and killed in fighting around the capital. Tadayoshi returns to Kyōto and reassumes his administrative positions with Yoshiakira as his superior. However, he and Takauji continue to quarrel.
April-June 1351 Tadayoshi continues to try and reconcile the Northern Courts, but nothing can be worked out.
August 1351 Tadayoshi, fearing for his life, and distrusting Takauji and Yoshiakira, flees to Etchū Province. Some battles take place between supporters of the two sides, but nothing serious.
October 1351 Takauji and Tadayoshi come to terms but fighting continues between some of their respective supporters. Tadayoshi goes to Kamakura where he takes up administrative affairs.
November 1351 Takauji and Yoshiakira submit themselves to the Southern Court in an attempt to reunite the two courts. Emperor Sukō and his Crown Prince are 'retired.' By the end of the year the Imperial Regalia are handed over to the Junior Line. Takauji commissioned to punish Tadayoshi.
January 1352 Takauji take troops northeast to confront Tadayoshi. Tadayoshi is captured and taken to Kamakura.
March 1352 Tadayoshi is poisoned and dies while in confinement in Kamakura.
April 1352 The Southern Court now sees an opportunity to retake control of the country. They attack and drive Takauji from Kamakura and retake the offensive in the north. They also drive Yoshiakira from Kyōto (to Enryakuji), retake the capital, and send the Northern Emperor, retired Emperors, and Crown Prince to Anau as captives.
June 1352 Yoshiakira and supporters retake the capital and drive Go-Murakami and his supporters back to Yamato. Fighting continues throughout the country with supporters of the Southern Court now in control of the majority of Western Japan.
September 25, 1352 Iyahita, a fourteen-year old younger brother of Crown Prince Tadahito, is named as successor to Sukō and enthroned as Go-Kōgon, the Northern Court Emperor. But, since the regalia were in the position of the Junior line, many considered this enthronement invalid.
July 1353 Supporters of the Souther Court retake Kyōto and drive Yoshiakira out of the city.
July 1353 For safety reasons, Yoshiakira escoorts Go-Kōgon from Enryakuji to Tarui in Mino Province and establishes the Northern Court there.
August 24, 1353 Ahikaga forces once again retake Kyōto and drive the loyalists out.
October 11, 1353 Takauji goes to Tarui, from Kamakura, to pay respect to Go-Kōgon. Yoshiakira joins them a few days later.
October 18, 1353 Takauji and Yoshiakira escort Go-Kōgon back into Kyōto.
March 1354 Loyalist forces subdued in Kyūshū by Shimizu clan.
January 1355 Loyalists are once again defeating the bakufu forces. Yoshiakira is on the run in the central provinces and Takauji, with Go-Kōgon on tow, flees to ōmi Province as the loyalists retake the capital.
March 1355 Takauji, Yoshiakira, and their supporters begin battles to retake the capital.
April 1355 Bakufu retakes Kyōto and Go-Kōgon is escorted back into the city. For whatever reason, this defeat crushes the loyalist troop's morale and the opposition of the Southern Court comes to an end - although localized fighting continues around the country. Takauji begins the process of consolidating the bakufu administration in Kyōto.
1355 Of interest regarding Kyōto at this time, this is from George Sansom's History of Japan:
...nearly all the royal palaces, the mansions of the nobility, and the offices of the ministers of state were destroyed by fire, only two or three buildings in ten having escaped. In some parts of the city there were wide areas in which no houses were left standing, only the barracks of the soldiery. On the outskirts of the city grass had grown over the ruins and all that could be seen was the bleached bones of the victims.
June 8, 1358 Takauji dies in Kyōto at the age of fifty-four from a malignant tumor. (Can we say that his counterpart, as visonary and leader, on the Southern Court side was Kitabatake Chikafusa?)
Late 1358 Yoshiakira named as second Ashikaga Shōgun.
Early 1362 Loyalist forces advance on Kyōto once again. Yoshiakira abandons the city with Go-Kōgon in hand. Loyalist forces take the city without a fight. However, twenty days later, Yoshiakira retakes the city, again without a fight.
January 1368 Yoshiakira dies and is succeeded by his nine-year old son, Yoshimitsu, as the third shōgun. The bakufu is managed by Hosokawa Yoriyuki until 1379 and, for the first time since the Hōjō, law is enforced and maintained by a central government.
1368 Go-Murakami dies in Settsu Province. His son, Chōkei, succeeds him as Emperor of the Southern Court and Junior Line.
1369 The Ming government in China sends its first of several diplomatic missions to Japan, but they are turned back at the port in Kyūshū.
1370-1372 Kentoku Era
1371 Go-Enyū becomes Emperor of the Northern Court.
August 1371 Bakufu forces begin campaign against Kyūshū, the last stronghold of loyalist forces.
1372-1375 Bunchū Era
1375-1381 Tenju Era
1378 Yoshimitsu builds a residence called Hana no Gosho (the Palace of Flowers) in the Muromachi district of Kyōto.
1379 Yoriyuki resigns from post as Kanrei (Deputy Shōgun) after being severly criticized by several leading warriors.
1381-1384 Kōwa Era
1383 Go-Kameyama is enthroned as Emperor of the Southern Court.
1383 Go-Enyū abdicates. His six year old son is enthroned as Go-Komatsu of the Northern Court. By this year, loyalist forces have been all but defeated and any hope of success on their part now looks hopeless.
1384-1390 Genchū Era
1386 After several years of uneasy relations, China refuses to receive a Japanese diplomatic envoy because of continued Japanese pirate activities. Relations come to a halt.
1390-1394 Meitoku Era
1391 Yoriyuki returns to Kyōto and resumes duties as Kanrei.
Early 1392 Bakufu approaches Southern Court with proposal to end fighting and reunite the two Courts.
December 1392 Agreement is reached and the Northern and Southern Dynasties are reunited (actually, you could say that the Southern Court simply ceases to exist). The Imperial Regalia is returned to the Northern Court, Go-Kameyama gives up any claim to the throne and Go-Komatsu becomes the sole emperor. However, the agreement stipulates that future successions will alternate between the Junior and Senior lines.
1394-1428 Ōei Era
Late 1394 Yoshimitsu, at the height of his career and powers, retires and enters the religious life (although he holds on to power). His nine year old son, Yoshimochi, assume the title of Shōgun.
1398 Yoshimitsu builds his retirement retreat at Kinkakuji.
1401 Yoshimitsu sends a diplomatic mission to China pledging to stop pirate traders.
August 1402 A Chinese diplomatic mission comes to Japan and is met and entertained by Yoshimitsu himself. Yoshimitsu is given a crown and robes of state and investited as the "King of Japan" and a subject of the Ming Empire. Diplomatic relations between the two countries recontinues.
1404 Authorized ships begin official tally trade with China, but pirating continues.
Summer 1408 Yoshimitsu dies. He is succeeded by his son, Yoshimochi, as the fourth shōgun.
Late 1408 Chinese Emperor sends a diplomatic envoy to Japan to perform special rites for Yoshimitsu and then to name Yoshimochi as the new King of Japan.
1411 Yoshimochi refuses a Chinese envoy and breaks off official relations with the Chinese. Official relations were non-existant until 1434 although the Shimazu in Kyūshū probably continued privately trading. Yoshimochi refuses to agree to renewed relations although the Chinese year after year send requests and threats to do so.
1412 Go-Komatsu abdicates in favor of his son. This goes against the earlier pledges to Go-Kameyama that future successions would alternate between the Junior and Senior lines. Shōkō (of the Senior line) becomes emperor (but the coronation ceremony isn't until 1414).
1418 Yoshimochi has his brother, Yoshitsugu, assassinated - probably because Yoshitsugu had been his fathers absolute favorite and Yoshimochi had been, therefore, ignored as a youth.
1423 Yoshimochi enters the religious life and his fifteen year old son, Yoshikazu, becomes the fifth shōgun.
1425 Yoshikazu slowly, but continuously, drinks himself to death. Yoshimochi is forced to resume duties as Shōgun.
1428-1429 Shōchō Era
1428 Yoshimochi dies at the age of forty-two. Just before his death he tells the bakufu to choose his successor by drawing lots from among four sons of Yoshimitsu. They do and Yoshinori, the thirty-five year old, sixth son of Yoshimitsu, is selected as the sixth shōgun. He was at that time the Chief Abbot of the Tendai sect.
1429 Go-Hanazono becomes emperor.
1429-1441 Eikyō Era
1432 The new Ming Emperor sends a message to Yoshinori inviting him to send an envoy to China and to restart official relations. Yoshinori sends an official diplomatic mission and it is treated royally.
June 1434 An official Chinese envoy visits Japan and official trade between the two countries resumes. (Japanese export volume rose yearly until 1453, when it began to decline. By this time the Chinese were complaining about Japanese insistence on bringing goods for sale every time they came to China. Trading problems even back then?)
1441-1444 Kakitsu Era
Fall 1441 Yoshinori is assassinated by Akamatsu Mitsusjke, one of his chief retainers. The bakufu punishes Akamatsu by killing him and most of his kinsmen and taking their land. Yoshinori is replaced as Shōgun by his first son, Yoshikatsu.
1443 Yoshikatsu dies at the age of ten, and only a few months after the court officially appoints him as Shōgun. Yoshikatsu's younger brother (eight years old) is chosen to replace him and given the name Yoshishige.
1444-1449 Bunnan Era
1449-1452 Hōtoku Era
1449 Yoshishige is officially appointed by the court as the eighth shōgun and is renamed Yoshimasa. He has no interest in affairs of state and this, along with his wasteful extravagance, invites the disasters that come to the Shōgunate.
1452-1455 Kyōtoku Era
1455-1457 Kōshō Era
1457-1460 Chōroku Era
1460-1466 Kanshō Era
1464 Yoshimasa announces that he wants to resign from office. Hosokawa Katsumoto, as Kanrei, favors Yoshimasa's younger brother, Yoshimi, an abbot in a Jōdo monastery. Although Yoshimi didn't want the job and didn't want to leave the religious life, he is persuaded to join Yoshimasa and assist him until he suceeds the the Shōgunate.
1464 Go-Tsuchimikado becomes emperor, although the coronation ceremony isn't until the next year.
1465 Yoshimasa's wife, Tomiko, gives birth to a son, Yoshihisa. A succession dispute now breaks out with Yoshimasa, supported by Yoshimi and Hosokawa, on one side and Tomiko, supported by Yamana, on the other.
1466-1467 Bunshō Era
Late 1466 Yamana finally finds the reason he has been looking for (since long before the succession dispute) to challenge Hosokawa and the two sides raise armies.
1467-1469 Ōnin Era
1467-1477 Ōnin War - Starts as a Shōgunal succession dispute and a dispute between the Hosokawa and Yamana houses (both major Shugo houses). It ends the Ashikaga hegemony, Kyōto is virtually destroyed, and the country ends up completely decentralized.
January 1467 Yamana complains to Yoshimasa that Hosokawa is interfering in a succession dispute in the Hatakeyama family and asks permission to punish him. This is denied. The two antagonists face off in Kyōto but hold a very tense peace.
May 1467 With both sides fighting the other outside the capital on a monthly basis, Hosokawa finally attacks Yamana troops in the capital at the end of the month. Fighting breaks out throughout the city.
1467-1568 Sengoku Jidai (Period of Warring States) - From the outbreak of the ōnin War to the time Oda Nobunaga takes control of Kyōtō. The imperial family and the Shōgun lose power, but retain their titles & positions, and a new Daimyō class rises to power in the provinces. The shōen system collapses and the
The shōen system collapses and the domains are divided into fiefs controlled by the daimyō.
1469-1487 Bummei Era
Early 1469 With a political and military standoff now in place in the capital, Yoshimi ends up becoming one of Yamana's leading generals. Yoshimasa names Yoshihisa (now four years old) as his heir. The war that started between Hosokawa and Yamana now becomes one between Yoshimasa and his brother, Yoshimi.
1473 Both Yamana and Hosokawa die and the two opposing armies begin talking of finding a solution and end to the fighting. But the talking takes years as Yoshimasa and Yoshimi are still at odds.
1473 Yoshimasa retires to lead a quiet life as a lay priest, devoting his time to the arts and a cultural life. Yoshihisa becomes the ninth shōgun, but his power doesn't extend outside of his home province of Yamashiro.
December 1477 The last of the warriors finally disperse and leave Kyōto for their home provinces. Fighting continues, though, throughout the provinces between various families.
1485 A provincial uprising in Yamashiro drives out the shugo armies, leaving the province under the control of the government. The uprising is lead by peasants and petty warriors.
1487-1489 Chōkyō Era
1488 An Ikkō sect uprising drives the Shugo and his army out of Kaga Province, thus becoming the de facto rulers of the entire province. (They aren't driven out themselves until 1576)
1489 Yoshimasa begins construction of Ginkakuji. (It is completed in 1493, three years after his death)
1489-1492 Entoku Era
1490 Yoshimasa dies. Yoshihisa dies during a campaign against the Rokkaku house in Omi province. Yoshitane, Yoshimi's son, becomes the tenth shōgun but is a Hosokawa puppet.
1492-1501 Meiō Era
1493 Yoshitane is removed from office and exiled by Hosokawa Masamoto. Ashikaga Yoshizumi, a nephew of Yoshimasa, becomes the eleventh shōgun although he is 14 years old and a Hosokawa puppet.
circa 1500 The important picture here is not just the fighting for, against, and around the Shōgun, but the ongoing process of decentralization and redistribution of power throughout the country. By the year 1500 there were around 300 warrior families of prominance throughout the country. By the year 1600 there were about 100 daimyō with a revenue of 50,000 koku per year, and in 1614 there were about 200 daimyō each with a revenue of 10,000 koku or more (Sansom). In addition, as the daimyō took control of the country, they forced their vassals to live in towns around the castle, thus starting the growth of castle towns, the urbanization of the warrior class, and the growth of the merchant class.
1500 Go-Kashiwabara becomes Emperor (but the enthronement ceremony is not held until 1521 due to a lack of funds).
1501-1504 Bunki Era
1504-1521 Eishō Era
1508 Hosokawa is assasinated in Kyōtō and Yoshizumi flees. Yoshitane is restored to office with the help of the ōuchi of Yamaguchi, but now battles take place among the Hosokawa for the title and position of Kanrei.
1521-1528 Daiei Era
1521 Yoshitane flees the capital and goes into exile. Ashikaga Yoshiharu becomes the twelfth shōgun at the age of ten. He serves as Hosokawa Takakuni's puppet.
1526 Go-Nara becomes Emperor (although the enthronement ceremony is not held until 1536 due to a lack of funds).
1528-1532 Kyōroku Era
1532-1555 Temmon Era
1532 The Ikkō Buddhist sect (as the Jodō Shinshū/True Pure Land sect was then known) establishes Ishiyama as their headquarters.
1542 Three Portuguese land at Tanegashima, a small island off the coast of Kyūshū, when their ship is blown off course. When they return to China (from where they had come) they tell other Portuguese about Japan and traders and missionaries begin to arrive a year or two later. Firearms are introduced to Japan when they see those carried by the original Portuguese who had landed on Tanegashima.
1546 Ashikaga Yoshiharu flees Kyōto. His son Yoshiteru becomes the thirteenth shōgun and serves under Hosokawa control.
1549 Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary, arrives in Kagoshima, Kyūshū.
1551 Tally trade with China breaks down. An unrestrained number of Japanese ships now sail between Japan and China.
1552 Francis Xavier leaves Japan and returns to Goa. Six other missionaries come to Japan to continue his work.
1555-1558 Kōji Era
1557 Ōgimachi becomes Emperor.
1558-1570 Eiroku Era
1560 One of the Jesuit missionaries meets with Yoshiteru in Kyōto. Yoshiteru issues orders that the missionaries are to be well treated and not taxed, and are authorized to work in Kyōto. By this time there are about 12 missionaries in Japan, most living and working on Kyūshū.
1560 Imagawa, the daimyō of Suruga Province, leads an army into Owari Province on his way to Kyōto. His hope is to take the capital and rule the country. He is defeated and killed in the battle of Okehazama by an army led by Oda Nobunaga.
1561 Tokugawa Ieyasu (then called Matsudaira Motoyasu), who had been a thirteen year hostage of Imagawa, and had marched with him the previous year, makes a pact with Oda and agrees to support him. He takes the name Ieyasu.
1564 Oda makes an alliance with Asai Nagamasa, the daimyō of ōmi Province, by sending his sister to be Asai's wife.
1565 Ashikaga Yoshiteru, along with his wife and mother, is assassinated by Matsunaga, an agent of the Miyoshi house (vassals of the Hosokawa). Yoshihide becomes the forteenth shōgun and Yoshiaki escapes to Echizen.
1566 The emperor, under pressure from the Buddhists, issues an order expelling Christian missionaries from Kyōto. They flee to Kyūshū and Sakai. The court gives Ieyasu the right to use the name Tokugawa.
1567 Portuguese traders arrive in Nagasaki. Ieyasu has, by this time, subdued the last of the Imagawa and become the ruler of all of Mikawa Province.
Early 1567 Yoshiaki (the younger brother of Yoshiteru), from his exile at Asakura's estate in Echizen, asks Oda to help him restore the Ashikaga Bakufu.
Late 1567 Oda subdues the Saitō clan and takes control of Mino Province. His wins are due, in part, to the skills and judgement of one of his junior commanders, Hideyoshi.
Mid 1568 Oda defeats the Rokkaku in ōmi and, as this was his last obstacle, his road to the capital was clear.
November 1568 Oda Nobunaga occupies Kyōto and installs Yoshiaki as the fifteenth, and last, Ashikaga Shōgun.
Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568-1600)
1568 Oda Nobunaga occupies Kyôto and installs Ashikaga Yoshiaki as the fifteenth, and last, Ashikaga Shôgun
1569 In Kyôto, Nobunaga issues regulations governing currency, exchange, and barter regulations in an attempt to imrove civil administration.
Spring 1569 After a meeting with Nobunaga and Yoshiaki in Kyôto, Jesuit missionaries are allowed back in the capital to preach.
(By 1582, the estimated number of Christian converts in Japan was about 150,000, with about 200 churches.)
Late 1569 Nobunaga defeats and subjugates Ise Province.
1570-1573 Genki Era.
May 1570 Nobunaga leaves Kyôto to fight Asakura in Echizen. Asai (even though married to Nobunaga's younger sister) betrays Nobunaga and sides with Asakura. Nobunaga and his men escape and successfully retreat to the capital.
July 1570 Nobunaga, with the help of reinforcements and an army led by Tokugawa Ieyasu from the East, defeats forces led by Asai (of Ômi) and Asakura (of Echizen) in the north of Ômi Province.
November 1570 Nobunaga troops attack Ishiyama Honganji in Ôsaka but are completely defeated by troops led, for the most part, by the Ikkô sect.
October 1571 Nobunaga destroys the Enryakuji manastery complex on Mt. Hiei, burning down 3,000 buildings and killing over 1,600 monks.
Late 1571 Nobunaga completes construction of a new Imperial Palace. He also begins the first cadastral survey in selected provinces.
Nobunaga forces attack Ikkô believers in Owari Province but are defeated.
November 1572 Takeda Shingen of Kai Province begins a march towards Kyôto to attack Nobunaga.
January 1573 Nobunaga and Tokugawa battle Takeda forces in Tôtômi Province. Tokugawa Ieyasu barely escapes alive and Nobunaga arranges a diplomatic solution and truce. Yoshiaki sides with Takeda against Nobunaga.
1573-1592 Tensho Era
1573 Nobunaga forces attack Ikkô believers in Owari Province but are defeated again.
March 1573 Nobunaga ousts Yoshiaki from the Shôgunate. He flees to exile on Shikoku and then unsuccessfully wanders the country looking for support until his death in 1597. This is the end of the Ashikaga Shôgunate and no one holds the title again until 1603.
August 1573 Nobunaga troops fight one last battle with Asakura in Echizen and Asai in Ômi. Asai and Asakura lose and commit suicide. Nobunaga gives Asai's lands to Hideyoshi (who builds a castle at Nagahama, Ômi Province) and the remainder of the land to others.
1574 Nobunaga issues orders and regulations regarding the construction and repair of roads in all of the provinces he controls. He also abolishes the barriers on roads in these provinces.
Early 1573 Nobunaga forces attack Ikkô believers in Owari Province but are defeated again.
Summer 1574 Nobunaga defeats Ikkô sect followers and their supporters in a protracted seige of their strongholds at Nagashima. He accomplishes this by by offering peace and then massacring 40,000 believers when they accept.
1575 Nobunaga's inner circle is now restricted to 10 generals: Hideyoshi, Takigawa Kazumasu, Akechi Mitsuhide, Niwa Nagahide, Shibata Katsuie, Sassa Narimasa, Maeda Toshiie, Sakuma Nobumori, Ikeda Tsuneoki, and Môri Nagayoshi.
June 1575 Nobunaga and Ieyasu defeat Takeda forces at Nagashino in Mikawa Province.
June 1575 Nobunaga defeats the Ikkô sect in Echizen and Kaga Provinces- and massacres another 40,000 believers.
August 1575 Môri ships resupply Ishiyama Honganji in Ôsaka via the inland sea. Nobunaga ships (he has a navy of about 300 ships) try to block it but are defeated in a short battle.
Fall 1575 Hideyoshi and Akechi Mitsuhide commence driving to the west and north to subdue the Môri family (Hideyoshi along the Sanyôdô and Akechi along the Sanindô). They meet very stiff resistance and this isn't accomplished in Nobunaga's lifetime.
Early 1576 Nobunaga commences building a castle on Azuchiyama on eastern bank of Lake Biwa in Ômi Province (completed in 1579). He also commences the process of disarming peasants in selected territories.
June 1576 Nobunaga attacks Ishiyama Honganji in Ôsaka with a small number of troops but is completely defeated and withdraws after being slightly wounded.
1577 Nobunaga receives the title of Minister of the Right (Udaijin) from the emperor.
March 1577 Nobunaga troops attack and defeat Ikkô troops and supporters in Kii Province, thus cutting off supply routes to Ishiyama Honganji.
1578 Nobunaga supporters start expanding to lands West of Kyôto. Nobunaga resigns all court offices and titles and transfers them to his heirs.
1579 Nobunaga moves to Azuchi castle.
April 1580 With no supplies, no relief in sight, and having received a letter from the emperor advising them to do so, Ishiyama Honganji surrenders to Nobunaga. This ends the power of the Ikkô sect. but many believers flee to Saginomori in Kii Province.
1582 Nobunaga forces make a last attempt to eliminate the Ikkô believers in Saginomori, but the campaign is never completed because of Nobunaga's death.
April 1582 Nobunaga, Ieyasu, and Hôjô attack Takeda Katsuyori in the east (in Kai Province). Takeda is killed and the family comes to an end. Hideyoshi attempts to take Takamatsu castle in the west (in Bitchû Province). As the castle defenses weaken, the Môri family sends reinforcements from the west. Hideyoshi sends word to Nobunaga asking for help.
Late June 1582 Nobunaga sends his armies west to reinforce Hideyoshi at Takamatsu.
Nobunaga is assassinated by Akechi Mitsuhide at Honnôji while heading to Takamatsu himself (he was 49 years old). Nobutada, Nobunaga's eldest son and heir is also assassinated at Nijô palace in Kyôto. (By this time, Nobunaga controlled land in 20 of Japan's 66 provinces)
Late June 1582 Hideyoshi negotiates a compromise settlement with the Môri at Takamatsu and then returns to Kyôto to defeat, and kill, Akechi.
July 1582 At Hideyoshi's insistence, Sambôshi, Nobunaga's three-year old grandson (later called Oda Hidenobu) is appointed heir under the guardianship of four generals. Joint authority over Kyôto is given to Hideyoshi, Niwa Nagahide, Ikeda Tsuneoki, and Shibata Katsuie but Hideyoshi, alone, actually governed.
Late 1582 Hideyoshi receives a minor court title from the emperor. He also orders the beginning of land surveys in provinces throughout the country. These continue through the year 1598.
May 1583 Hideyoshi defeats Shibata Katsuie (who had now turned against him) at the battle of Shizugatake in Echizen.
Fall 1583 Hideyoshi begins reconstruction of Ôsaka Castle (site of the fallen Ishiyama Honganji fortress) for use as his headquarters. He also announces a policy of destroying all castles and fortresses in the country except those of the major daimyô who support him. In addition, he stations his generals in areas outside of their home provinces and where they have no traditional authority.
1584 Hideyoshi takes the provinces of Kaga, Noto, and Etchû. He also fights two battles with Tokugawa Ieyasu in Owari. Nobutaka (Nobunaga's third son) is confined to a monastery in Owari Province after supporting Hideyoshi opponents and he commits suicide while there. (Hideyoshi now controls 30 provinces)
1584 A Spanish trading ship, blown off course in a storm, enters Hirado. Because he is jealous of Nagasaki's monopoly with Protuguese traders and he dislikes the Jesuits, Matsuura, the daimyô there, welcomes it and agrees to receive other Spanish traders and non-Jesuit missionaries in Hirado if they wish to come.
Early 1585 Hideyoshi comes to terms with Ieyasu and fighting between them stops. Ieyasu retires to Mikawa Province in the east. This makes Hideyoshi the overall power in the country and the leader of most of the country.
1585 Hideyoshi commences unification of the Shikoku daimyô and defeats the Chôsôkabe house. He also subdues Kii and Izumi Provinces. Emperor Ôgimachi resigns and Go-Yozei becomes the new (and 107th) emperor.
1585 Hideyoshi assumes title of Kampaku (used to designate the regent of an adult emperor) and is given the surname of Toyotomi. Copper, silver, and gold coins begin to be officially minted.
1585 Hideyoshi subjugates the priests and sects at Negoro, on Shikoku, as well as at Kumano, Mt. Kôya, and Tônomine.
According to Sansom, "His method was simple & effective, for by the mere threat of force, by confiscating weapons in his Sword Hunt & by impounding Kôyasan revenues in the course of his land survey, he frightened the monks into submission & then gained their esteem by returning their estates."
1586 Hideyoshi assumes the title of Chancellor.
February 1587 Hideyoshi calls on supporters around the country and commences unification of the Kyûshû daimyô. His main concern is the defeat of the Shimazu of Satsuma.
July 1587 Satsuma surrenders to Hiyeoshi and pledges to support him. In return, Hideyoshi allows them to keep their lands (in contrast to Nobunaga who would have killed them all and taken their lands). Hideyoshi now controls all of Kyûshû.
July 1587 After returning from Kyûshû, Hideyoshi issues an order officially banning Christianity and expelling Jesuit missionaries from the country (although the order was not energetically enforced until 1597). Hideyoshi moves from Ôsaka to Jûrakudai, his newly completed palace in Kyôto.
1588 Swords are confiscated from all non-samurai.
Early 1590 Ieyasu (from his base in Mikawa) attempts to talk the Hôjô into submitting to Hideyoshi but is unsuccessful.
April 1590 Hideyoshi begins a siege of the Hôjô in Odawara. His troops begin to defeat and take the minor castles in land controlled by the Hôjô.
August 1590 Odawara unconditionally surrenders to Hideyoshi. With the exception of the far north (Matsu and Dewa Provinces) unification of Japan is now virtualy complete. Tokugawa Ieyasu becomes the lord of the Kantô region, based in Edo.
The social structure is frozen into the classes of samurai, peasant, & merchant. Class mobility and change of status are prohibited.
1590 Statistical Interlude: Population: According to Ikegami Eiko in The Taming Of The Samurai, "Miyamoto Matarô estimates that the population of Japan may have started from 12 million in 1600..."
In addition, "Prior to the close of the Warring States period, ... Kyôto was the only large city in Japan with a population in excess of 100,000 at one point; 100 major castle cities were not yet in existence before the late-16th century." In particular, the city of Edo "... claimed a polulation of only a few thousand citizens in 1590 when Tokugawa Ieyasu first became the lord of the region."
Late 1590 Hideyoshi orders the a national census to be taken. After they begin to appear in the census figures, Hideyoshi orders the expulsion of all rônin from towns and villages in which they did no farm work or military service. He even orders that all people who entered a village from another village or province after the fall of Odawara were to be expelled from the village.
Late 1591 Hideyoshi orders that all military personnel, of whatever rank, who entered a village from another village or province after the fall of Odawara were also to be expelled from that village.
1591 Hideyoshi appoints his eldest nephew (Hidetsugu) as heir, establishes him at Jûrakudai, gives him the title of Kampaku (although Hideyoshi continues to rule), and then takes the title of Taikô for himself.
1591 Hideyoshi briefly exiles Sen no Rikyu to Sakai. He is soon called back to Kyôto and ordered to commit suicide. Hideyoshi sends a letter to the governor of the Phillipines telling them to submit and pay tribute or he would attack when he finished attacking Korea and China.
1592-1596 Bunroku Era
Late April 1592 200,000 Japanese troops invade Korea with plans to continue on to China. Hideyoshi directs the invasion from a headquarters he sets up in Hizen Province on Kyûshû. Seoul is occupied by mid June.
July 1592 Japanese troops take P'yongyang but stop and wait for orders to enter China. However, Korean resistance is getting much stronger and the Korean navy is defeating the Japanese navy on numerous occasions.
February 1593 Japanese troops are driven out of P'yongyang and back to Seoul by Chinese and Korean forces.
May 1593 Franciscan missionaries enter Japan and begin to build churches and proselytize in Kyôto and Ôsaka.
September 1593 Hideyori (Hideyoshi's second and last son) is born to his mistress Yodogimi in Ôsaka. Hideyoshi has not been satisfied with Hidetsugu as he was brutal by nature and had been leading a disreputable life in Kyôto while Hideyoshi was in Kyûshû.
May 1593 A truce is negotiated and most of the Japanese troops return home. However, fortifications are left in four southeast Korean provinces.
August 1595 Hidetsugu is ordered into exile on Kôyasan and then ordered to commit suicide. Shortly thereafter, Hidetsugu's entire family is executed and Jûrakudai is destroyed. Hideyori is named as Hideyoshi's heir.
1596-1615 Keicho Era.
1596 Tokugawa, Maeda, Môri, and other generals are called to Kyôto and made to swear allegiance to Hideyori. Hideyori, at the age of three, is installed as Kampaku (Regent).
December 1596 When ambassadors from China arrive to invest Hideyoshi with the title King of Japan and to give him royal robes and a crown (all part of the signed truce in Korea), Hideyoshi gets angry at the tone of the letter from the Chinese Emperor and threatens to attack China. (Many say that this irrational threat shows Hideyoshi's mental unstability in his last years.)
January 1597 Franciscan missionaries and numerous followers are tortured and crucified. The Jesuits seem to have recovered some of their status with Hideyoshi at the same time, although technically associating with christians was still banned.
March 1597 Korean campaign resumes with another attack by Japanese troops, although they never accomplish more than fighting defensive battles in the southern part of the country.
In Japan, the first Christians and Japanese converts are crucified and/or executed.
(Total lands throughout Japan now assessed at 18.5 million koku)
October 1597 Hideyoshi issues an order to expell all christians from the country. (He allows a few to remain to serve the small Portuguese community in Nagasaki.) The vast majority of missionaries go into hiding and never leave. There are an estimated 300,000 converts in the country by this time.
1598 The first extant work printed by Japanese from movable type. It is a copy of the Confucian Analects printed on the orders of Emperor Go-Yôzei.
August 1598 Seeing that he was dying, Hideyoshi calls the five greatest daimyô (Tokugawa, Maeda, Môri, Uesugi, and Ukita) together and make them sign an oath to support Hideyori (then 6 years old). Ieyasu is appointed as Hideyori's guardian until he comes of age and can rule on his own.
September 1598 Hideyoshi dies at the age of sixty-three. Hideyori is now 5 years old.
October 1598 A truce is reached between the Chinese/Koreans and the Japanese and Japanese troops withdraw from Korea.
Early 1599 Charges are brought against Ieyasu that he is arranging marriages for political ends, contrary to his pledge to support Hideyori. War is averted when the charges are retracted. An unsuccessful assassination attempt, prompted by Ishida Mitsunari, is made on Ieyasu as he goes to Ôsaka castle with Hideyori.
Summer 1599 Another unsuccessful assassination attempt is made against Ieyasu by Ishida Mitsunari. Mistunari is sent back to his home province of Sawayama (Hikone) but escapes further punishment. Ieyasu moves to Ôsaka castle and appoints his son Hideyoshi as warden of Fushimi castle. He also appoints his other son, Toshinaga, to the Council of Regency to replace Maeda Toshiie, who had just died.
May 1600 Uesugi Kagekatsu begins preparations to attack Ieyasu from his fief in Aizu, to which he had recently retired. Learning of this, Ieyasu begins planning an attack himself.
Late July 1600 Ieyasu leaves Ôsaka with an army to attack Uesugi. He leisurely marches his troops to Edo, arriving in mid-August.
Early September 1600 Ishida Mitsunari, seeing that Ieyasu has left the Ôsaka area, brings an army and takes Fushimi palace. He thens begins a march towards Edo with the intention of confronting Ieyasu.
Late September 1600 Convinced that other allies were controlling the Uesugi army in Aizu, Ieyasu orders his troops and other allies to head west in order to meet Ishida Mitsunari and his supporters in Mino Province.
Edo Period (1603-1868)
Late October 1600 Ieyasu defeats his opponents at the battle of Sekigahara. He now controls virtually all of Japan, but publicly swears loyalty to Hideyori, who remains in Ōsaka Castle.
Early November 1600 Mōri Terumoto surrenders Ōsaka castle to Ieyasu, who now becomes the de facto ruler of the country. Ieyasu decides that he will reside in his castle in Edo.
Early 1600 The Dutch trading ship Liefde wrecks on the shores of Bungo and the English Pilot-Major, William Adams, is introduced to Ieyasu.
1601 Ieyasu begins confiscating land from those who didn't support him at Sekigahara and rewarding those that did. Among those that lost land, the Mōri went from lands worth 1,205,000 koku to only 369,000 koku. Remember this when we get to the mid 1800's. Ieyasu increases his wealth to vast proportions by placing Edo, Ōsaka, Kyōto, Nagasaki, Yamada, and Nara under direct Tokugawa control. (Tokugawa and fudai daimyō controlled land is now estamated worth about 17 million koku, of a national total of about 26 million koku.)
Early 1602 Ieyasu negotiates a settlement with Shimazu of Satsuma and Shimazu Tadatsune submits to Ieyasu in ceremonies at Fushimi palace. After seeing that Shimazu was well treated, other, northern, daimyō also submit peacefully.
1603 Ieyasu assumes the title of Shōgun but still makes a show of deferring to Hideyori. He installs his eldest son, Hidetada, in Edo castle and moves to Sumpu in Suruga Province (now Shizuoka and where he had been raised as a child - as a hostage). He continues the political process of consolidating his power while living in Sumpu.
1604 A bakufu edict establishes a bakufu monopoly on the sale of silk imported from China, thus beginning the bakufu's policy of governmental control of foreign trade.
1605 Ieyasu hands over the title of Shōgun to his son Hidetada but continues the process of consolidating his political power from his residence in Sumpu. As he continues to reassign the daimyō to various fiefs, he is careful to ensure that all tozama daimyō are surrounded, and watched over, by fudai daimyō.
1609 A Dutch trading post is established at Hirado.
1611 Ieyasu begins to put pressure on Hideyori to relinquish official power. He also exacts an oath of allegiance from daimyō in central and western Japan.
1611 Go-Mizunoo becomes emperor.
1612 Full persecution of the Christian faith recommences. Ieyasu exacts an oath of allegiance from the daimyō in northern Japan.
1613 An agent of the English East India Company establishes an English trading post at Hirado.
January 1614 Ieyasu issues an order which suppresses Christianity throughout the country. Churches were destroyed and many missionaries were imprisoned.
December 1614 Ieyasu begins a siege of Ōsaka castle by sending 70,000 troops under the command of Hidetada to surround the castle. The castle is supported by thousands of rōnin who come from fiefs around the country.
1615-1624 Genwa Era.
January 1615 A peace proposal is signed between Ieyasu and Hideyori but Ieyasu breaks the agreement and Hidetada begins the process of filling in the moats and tearing down the outer walls of Ōsaka castle.
May 1615 The siege of Ōsaka castle recommences.
Early June 1615 Ieyasu troops enter the inner defense areas of Ōsaka Castle. Days later the castle falls and is defeated. Hideyori commits suicide and his mother is killed by a retainer to prevent her capture. Ieyasu is now in total control of Japan.
August 1615 Ieyasu imposes 17 clause code of conduct on the military class (the Buke Shohatto). Among the prohibitions, each daimyō is restricted to the possession of one military castle or garrison headquarters. In addition, repairs or enlargements could only be made with prior approval from the bakufu and all marriages had to be approved by the shōgun. In addition, the power of the throne and of Buddhist clerics are severly limited.
June 1, 1616 Ieyasu dies and Hidetada assumes all Shōgunal powers.
1616 The ban on Christianity is reaffirmed. All foreign trade, except Chinese, is retricted to Nagasaki and Hirado.
1619 Widespread famine hits Japan. (During the Tokugawa Period, there were 154 famines, of which 21 were widespread and serious.)
1620 The bakufu arranges a marriage between Emperor Go-Mizunoo and the daughter (Kazuko) of Hidetada.
1622 Hidetada orders the execution of 55 Christian missionaries and converts in Nagasaki.
1623 Hidetada retires and his son, Iemitsu, becomes third Shōgun. However, as is usual, Hidetada retained all authority until his death. The English abandon their trading post at Hirado and abandon the idea of trading with Japan.
1624-1644 Kan'ei Era.
1624 Spaniards (priests and laymen) are banned from the country and further contact with them is prohibited.
1627 The bakufu further limits the emperor's powers by stripping him of the right to select and nominate senior priests. The bakufu's deputy in Kyōto cancels several already made appointments and Emperor Go-Mizunoo threatens to abdicate, but the bakufu refuses to change the ruling.
1628 Hidetada orders the execution of more Christians in Nagasaki.
1629 Go-Mizunoo is forced to abdicate the throne.
1630 Princess Oki-ko, Go-Mizunoo's daughter with Kazuko, succeeds to the throne as Empress Myōshō (Meisei?). (This means that a granddaughter of the shōgun now occupies the throne.)
1630 The bakufu issues a prohibition against books intended to propagate christianity and singled out books that had been translated by Jesuit missionaries into Chinese - and were thus readable by more Japanese than other books published in European languages.
1632 Hidetada dies and Iemitsu assumes full Shōgunal powers.
1633 Ban on overseas sailing of ships other than Hosho-sen.
1634 Iemitsu leads an army of over 300,000 men to Kyōto as a show of force and a reminder to the court and the tozama daimyō that he is in control.
1634 The bakufu structure is strengthened with the creation of the posts of Rōjū (Elders), Wakadoshiyori (Junior Elders), Bugyō (Commissioners), and Hyōjōshū (Judicial Council).
1635 Buke Shohatto is revised. This revision includes a formalization of the Sankin-Kotai system. All religious matters brought under control of the Jisha Bugyō (Commissioner of Temples & Shrines).
1636 Ban on Japanese travel abroad. Portuguese traders confined to Deshima Island off Nagasaki.
1637 - 1638 A peasant uprising (the Shimabara Uprising), in which Christians take a leading role, takes place on the Shimabara Pensinsula of Kyūshū. It is estimated that of the 37,000 people who took part, only about 100 escaped alive.
1638 Portugese priest and traders are ousted and Portuguese trading ships are banned from the country. Travel abroad by Japanese is further restricted as the death penalty is imposed on anyone who attempts to leave the country or who, having already left, tries to return. In addition, the building of ships with a capacity of more than 2,500 bushels is forbidden.
1639 Policy of total exclusion implemented (Sakoku Rei).
1640 All members of a Portuguese diplomatic mission from Macao are executed when they arrive in Japan to request a reopening of trade. All Japanese ordered to register at temple of their choice.
1641 Dutch traders moved from Hirado and restricted to Dejima. Chinese restricted to Nagasaki.
1642 Widespread famine hits Japan
1643 Go-Kōmyō becomes emperor.
1644-1648 Shoho Era.
1644-1694 Matsuo Basho. First and best(?) writer of serious haiku. Born a samurai but became a wandering poet/recluse.
1648-1652 Keian Era.
1651 Ietsuna, Iemitsu's son, becomes the fourth Shōgun at the age of eleven. (He suffers from poor health during his entire 29 year reign.)
1652-1655 Jōō Era.
1653-1724 Chikamatsu Monzaemon. The most well known Kabuki and Bunraku writer - and an ex-rōnin. (The best?)
1654 Go-Sai becomes emperor, although the formal coronation ceremony isn't until 1656.
1654 Ingen, a Chinese priest, founds the ōbaku sect of Zen Buddhism.
1655-1658 Meireki Era.
1657 Great Edo fire.
1658-1661 Manji Era.
1661-1673 Kanbun Era.
1663 Reigen becomes emperor.
1673-1681 Empo Era.
1675 Widespread famine hits Japan
1680 Ietsuna dies without a son and is succeeded by his younger brother. Tsunayoshi, of Tatebayashi, becomes the fifth Shōgun at the age of 34.
Whereas the first four Tokugawa Shōguns had emphasized that samurai were to devote half of their time to martial arts and the other half to learning, by the time Tsunayoshi took office learning was almost completely predominant. In addition, relations with the imperial court had relaxed in severity and Tozama daimyō were given much more leeway in running their own lives and provincial affairs - including in matters of marriages and succession..
1680 Widespread famine hits Japan
1681-1684 Tenwa Era.
1684-1688 Jokyo Era.
1685 The ban against books intending to propagate christianity is renewed.
1687 Higashiyama becomes emperor.
1688-1704 Genroku Era. First major cultural expansion of this time period. Centered in Kyōto and Ōsaka. Total lands now assessed at 25.8 million koku.
1700 George Sansom writes of Japanese society as it entered the 18th century: "The fixed pattern of feudal administration was liberal enough to allow a measure of freedom in spheres remote from politics, so that during the eighteenth century Japan developed a society based on law and privilege, governed by harsh principle, but nevertheless achieving in practice great urbanity and style. It was closed to outside influences and therefore could not be refreshed by the winds of new doctrine then blowing about the Western world; but probably no contemporary European community was more civilized and polished."
1701- 1703 Incident of the 47 Ronin (made famous in the Kabuki play Chushingura). After 47 ronin kill a daimyō in his Edo headquarters in revenge of their former daimyō's death, they are ordered to commit seppuku. This was an important precedent as it showed that the government now held civil law over the acceptance of military honor.
1703 An earthquake in the Kantō area kills an estimated 150,000 people in Edo.
1704-1711 Hoei Era.
1707-1708 Mt. Fuji erupts on numerous occasions, destroying hundreds of square miles of surrounding farmland.
January 1709 Tsunayoshi dies and his nephew, Ienobu, of Kōfu, becomes the sixth Shōgun.
1709 Nakamikado becomes emperor.
1711-1716 Shotoku Era.
Late 1712 Ienobu dies after an illness of several months. Ietsugu, his three and a half year old son, becomes the seventh Shōgun.
1713-1714 Russians visit Kuril Islands in an attempt to find Japan.
1716 Ietsugu dies, thus ending Hidetada & Iemitsu line of shōguns. Yoshimune, Kii Daimyō, becomes 8th Shōgun. Thinking samurai were tilted too far towards learning & leisure & away from martial arts & discipline, frequently issues edicts demanding frugality & self-discipline. These are largely ignored.
Under Yoshimune's leadership, the legal and judicial system undergoes considerable expansion. Although the Tokugawa bureaucracy is staffed only by samurai, a non-militaristic and more rational approach is brought to conflict resolution. Yoshimune also reforms the currency and tries to revive the agricultural underpinnings of the country in order to take back some power form the now strong merchant class. However, the next two successors were incompetent and power eventually fell to dishonest and greedy counsellors.
1716-1736 Kyoho Era.
1720 Ban lifted on the importation of foreign books and Chinese translations (with the exception of books directly concerned with Christianity).
1720 Statistical Interlude: Population: Population of Japan reaches over 31 million by 1720, & remained stable thereafter. Also, Edo population approaches 1 million by 1700 as it develops into the natioinal political center. By the 18th century more than 15% of population lived in major cities & towns.
1721 Five-year census begun.
1730 Because bakufu policy closed the country to food imports and actively discouraged crop diversification, farmers had to increase the amount of land under cultivation in order to feed the growing population - with the amount being doubled between the beginning of the Tokugawa Period and about 1730. After 1730, lesser and lesser amounts of land were converted to cultivation and, therefore, the population was unable to increase.
1732 Widespread famine hits Japan, affecting about 1,600,000 people and killing at least 17,000.
1735 Sakuramachi becomes emperor.
1736-1741 Gembun Era.
1739 A Russian ship, captained by a Dane, visits several points along the east coast of Japan - including a reported sighting off the coast of Shimoda.
1741-1744 Kanpo Era.
1742 Codification of Bakufu laws begun.
1744-1748 Enko Era.
1745 Yoshimune retires and names Ieshige as the ninth Shōgun.
1747 Momozono becomes emperor.
1748-1751 Kanen Era.
1751-1764 Horeki Era.
1751 Yoshimune dies.
1753-1806 Kitagawa Utamaro. Ukiyoe artist famous for his pictures of the "ideal" woman.
1760 Ieharu becomes tenth Shōgun.
1760-1849 Katsushika Hokusai. Ukiyoe artist famous for his landscape pictures.
1762 Go-Sakuramachi becomes emperor, although the formal coronation ceremony isn't until the next year.
1764-1772 Meiwa Era.
1769 A proposal to relax the ban on building ships capable of ocean travel is proposed, but defeated by conservatives.
1770 Go-Momozono becomes emperor, although the coronation ceremony isn't until the next year.
1771 Japanese dissect a criminal's body while following diagrams and plates in a translation of a Dutch book on anatomy. Japanese interest in 'Dutch' learning is increasing and spreading.
1772-1781 An'ei Era.
1777-1779 Russian's again visit the Kuril islands. Meeting Japanese form Matsumae, they inquire about trade but are told that all trade is restricted to Nagasaki.
1780 Kōkaku becomes emperor.
1781-1789 Tenmei Era.
1783 Mount Asama, located on the western border of the province of Kozuke, erupts. A large number of towns and villages are destroyed and ashes buried the province and its farm lands to a depth of several feet, as well as areas in other, nearby, provinces. Famine soon follows.
1783-1787 The Famine of Temmei reduces the population of Japan by an estimated one million people.
1786 Ieharu dies and Ienari becomes eleventh Shōgun. Matsudaira Sadanobu becomes regent until 1793 while Ienari is a minor. Ienari was notorious for his inneficiency, extravagance, and vanity. According to Kitagawa, his chief accomplishment while in office was to have maintained 40 mistrisses and sired 55 children.
1789-1801 Kansei Era.
1792 The governor of Siberia sends an expedition to Japan. They make it through Hokkaido but are escorted under heavy guard to Matsumae where they are told to leave as no interactions with foreigners are allowed by law. It is reiterated that any trade that might be approved must go through the port of Nagasaki.
1797-1858 Ando Hiroshige. Ukiyoe artist famous for his "53 Stages of Tokaido Highway" and other landscape pictures.
1792 Russian ship enters Nemuro harbor asking to open trade relations for Russia. Request is denied but they are given permit to enter Nagasaki instead.
1798 Shōgunate begins colonizing Hokkaido.
1801-1804 Kowa Era.
1804-1829 Bunka-Bunsei Period. Second major cultural expansion of the Tokugawa period. Centered in Edo.
1804-1818 Bunka Era.
1804 Russian ship enters Nagasaki harbor asking for trade concessions. Japan refuses and ship leaves after six unfruitful months.
1808 British frigate enters Nagasaki harbor under Dutch flag looking for Dutch Ships. Leaves without finding and without bombarding the harbor as threatened.
1811 Japanese outpost captures Russian naval officer. They hold him but treat him well.
1811 Department of official translators of Western books set up within the bakufu.
1813 Russians capture bakufu monopoly merchant and exchange him for Japanese-held Russian naval officer.
1817 Ninkō becomes emperor.
1818-1830 Bunsei Era.
1819 British ship enters Uraga Bay. Armed struggle with Japanese ensues before they leave.
1824 British ship lands on island off Satsuma coast. Armed fighting ensues before they leave.
1825 Bakufu issues orders for all authorities to drive away all foreign vessels "without second thought."
1830-1844 Tenpo Era
Crop failures widespread between 1824 & 1832, severe famine in Northern Japan in 1833, Nationwide famine in 1836, debt to Ōsaka merchants alone by 1840 total more than 60 million ryo (1 ryo of gold = 1 koku of rice).
1832 Total land now assessed at 30.4 million koku.
1834 Another famine reduces the population to less than it was in the 1730's.
1836-1837 Widespread famine hits Japan.
1837 Oshio Heihachiro, until recently a minor official in the Ōsaka city magistrate, leads an attack on Ōsaka Castle to gain control of the city and relieve the famine starved city dwellers. The rebellion is quickly put down.
1837 Ienari resigns. Ieyoshi becomes twelfth Shōgun (although Ienari retains political control).
1837 An American merchant ship (the Morrison) enters Edo Bay but is driven off by gun batteries at Uraga. It goes to Kagoshima and is driven off there as well.
1839-1842 The "Opium War" takes place between China and Great Britian. As the Japanese hear of this from both Chinese and Dutch contacts, Japanese 'Dutch Learning' (rangaku) shifts from just medicine, economics, and botony, to include military science as well. Rangaku is slowly replaced with Yōgaku (Western Learning).
1841 Ex-Shōgun Ienari dies. Ieyoshi begins purge of government officials and implementation of Tempo reforms. Under leadership of Mizuno Tadakuni, bakufu tries to reestablish control over daimyō affairs, but this ultimately proves unsuccessful.
1842 Order to drive off all foreign ships relaxed, allowing ships that are "storm-damaged or shipwrecked, come seeking food, fuel, or water" to enter port.
1844-1848 Koka Era.
1844 A Dutch warship enters Nagasaki harbor with an envoy carrying a letter to the Shōgun from the King of Holland. The letter tries to explain to the bakufu that Western advances in science and the growth in international trade would make the opening of Japan inevitable. The bakudu politley, but negatively, replies the the country must stay closed.
1845 Mizuno Tadakuni removed from office (for the second and final time) in disgrace. Other associates are jailed and/or imprisoned.
1845 Commodore James Biddle is sent to Japan by the US with two warships in order to open trade between the two countries. The Japanese refused and Biddle simply left.
1847 Kōmei becomes emperor.
1848-1854 Kaei Era.
1852 Dutch warn bakufu that Perry will come and what he will seek.
1853 Iesada becomes thirteenth Shōgun. Over the next years, it becomes apparent that he is not 100% mentally competent and the nation is administered in his name by the senior minister, Abe Masahiro. In addition, he never marries and produces no heirs, forcing the bakufu to choose one at a later date.
July 8, 1853 Commodore Perry arrives at Uraga with letter for the Shōgun demanding an opening of trade relations with the US. He leaves the letter and tells the bakufu that he will return for answer early in 1854. He then departs to Okinawa for the winter.
Late 1853-Early 1854 Bakufu asks opinion of emperor and all daimyō on the issue of what to do about Perry's demands.
1854-1860 Ansei Era.
February, 1854 Perry returns to Edo to begin negotiations on the opening of trade relations between Japan and the US.
February, 1854 Yoshida Torajiro and another man attempt to board one of Perry's ships in an attempt to get to the West, but they are sent back to shore and later arrested by the Japanese for attempting to leave the country.
March 31, 1854 The Treaty of Kanagawa is signed between Japan and the US opening Hakodate and Shimoda to US vessels for provisioning, promising fair treatment of shipwrecked sailors and extraterritoriality, allowing US trade agents to live in open ports, and approving a future US Consul to live in Shimoda. (In fact, the Japanese bureaucracy obfuscated, stalled, and did anything to prevent any trade from taking place.)
October, 1854 A treaty similar to that signed with the US is signed between Japan and Great Britain.
1854 Bakufu lifts ban on building large ships and Satsuma (the most progressive of the han) begins building large western-style sailing ships.
February, 1855 The emperor gives his approval to the treaty that had been concluded with the US - although he had been misled as to what it really contained. A treaty similar to that signed with the US is signed between Japan and Russia.
November, 1855 A treaty similar to that signed with the US is signed between Japan and Holland..
August, 1856 Townsend Harris arrives in Shimoda as the first US Consulate.
March, 1857 Harris warns the bakufu that the US will not tolerate Japanese stalling in trade agreements for much longer. This is taken to heart and the bureaucracy is told to cooperate.
June 1857 The bakufu agrees to ammendments to the Treaty of Kanagawa as proposed by Harris. The ammendments include opening the port of Nagasaki to American ships and affirming extraterritoriality.
December 7, 1857 The Shōgun takes the unprecedented step of meeting in person with Harris.
April 1858 Ii Naosuke (Daimyō of Hikone, the largest of the han) is appointed regent to the Shōgun. He supports temporarily opening the country to the westerners in order to learn enough to fight them and begins negotiations with Harris. He is bitterly opposed by Tokugawa Nariaki, the Daimyō of Mito, who opposes the opening of the country and vows to fight at any cost. Those throughout the country who oppose the opening of the country despise Ii for his policies and his high-handed treatment of people who oppose him and start working to overthrow the bakufu.
July 29, 1858 The Treaty of Amity & Commerce is signed with the US giving free trade at 6 ports, allowing permanent foreign residents in Edo and Ōsaka, and normal trade tariffs. Ii Naosuke, as bakufu regent, approves the treaty unilaterally and against the wishes of a good many of the other daimyō. The Daimyōs of Mito, Owari, and Fukui are punished for expressing their disapproval of the signing. Mito and his heir, Hitotsubashi Keiki, are placed under house arrest and the others are forced to retire. This infuriates many and the loyalist movement begins to grow.
This treaty also allows the freedom of worship for foreigners, but not Japanese, and approves the building of cemetaries for foreigners who die in Japan.
July 1858 Within a week of signing the commercial treaty with the U.S., Ii Naosuke appoints Iemochi, the son of the daimyō of Kii, as the successor to the shōgun. His selection comes about after a bitter dispute within the bakufu. Traditionally, the next shōgun was chosen from the houses of Kii, Mito, or Owari when the current shōgun didn't produce an heir. Although Iemochi was qualified to succeed, he was only twelve years old and not experienced enough to lead the country. On the other hand, Yoshinobu (Hitotsubashi Keiki), the son of the daimyō of Mito and therefore also qualified to succeed, was proposed as the successor. He was older and thus more experienced but to this time Mito had always been excluded from the list of successors to the Shōgunate. The argument between the two candidates thus came down to a fight between the traditionalists and the pragmatists.
August, 1858 Iesada dies and Iemochi is appointed the fourteenth Shōgun. Treaties similar to those signed a month ago with the US are signed with Great Britain, Russia, Holland, and France.
October, 1858 The emperor orders Ii Naosuke to come to Kyōto to explain his conduct in approving the foreign treaties and his treatment of other daimyō. He refuses to go and sends Manabe as his representative.
February, 1859 Manabe convinces the emperor that the bakufu is, at heart, opposed to opening the country and gets the emperor to consent to the current treaties.
1859 Chaplains from several countries and from several denominations begin arriving to minister to foreigners in Japan. Of course they also hope to server as missionaries to the Japanese, but that is still forbidden.
1860-1861 Manen Era.
Spring 1860 80 bakufu officials are sent to Washington D.C to ratify the Treaty of Amity & Commerce. They sail in a Japanese made ship with an all-Japanese crew.
March 1860 Ii Naosuke is assassinated in Edo by samurai opposing his signing of the commercial treaty, his opening of the country, his appointment of Iemochi as Shōgun, and his harsh treatment of those who oppose him.
1861-1864 Bunkyu Era.
1861 Preoccupied at home with its own civil war, the U.S. relinquishes its leading role in Japanese affairs to Great Britian, which, by 1864, controlled nearly 90% of Japan's trade with Western nations.
January 1862 Ando Nobumasa, an advisor to the shōgun, escapes an assassination attempt in Edo. While he survives, he is hurt badly enough to be forced to retire. He is despised for his plans to marry the shōgun to Chikako, the emperor's younger sister, (which eventually did take place) and for the rumors that he plans to replace Emperor Komei with someone more loyal to the bakufu. Loyalist opponents understood that, had the marriage plan been allowed to go through, it would have been impossible for them to attack the bakufu without also indirectly attacking the imperial family.
June 1862 Chōshū and Satsuma station troops in Kyōto in an attempt to influence the Emperor into supporting their positions. (Note that their positions were not the same. Chōshū-han, like Tosa-han, was now controlled by men who supported the complete overthrow of the bakufu and restoration of power to the emperor. Satsuma-han, under the control of Shimazu Hisamitsu supported the policy of uniting the imperial court and the bakufu - much like Ando had proposed with his plans to intermarry the two families.)
June 1862 Having become the most powerful of the daimyō in Kyōto, and therefore wielding the most influence with the imperial court, Shimazu Hisamitsu arranged to have himself appointed by the emperor to escort an imperial messenger who was to go to Edo to demand that the Shōgun come to Kyōto for consultations.
August 1862 Tosa troops, escorting Yamanouchi Yodo, the Daimyō of Tosa, to Edo, arrive in Kyōto under the leadership of Takechi Hanpeita. Takechi, through imperial cohorts and colleagues, had arranged for an imperial decree demanding that yamanouchi stop in Kyōto on his way to Edo. After arriving, Takechi arranges for another imperial decree that demands that the daimyō remain in Kyōto, thus making it impossible for him to continue to Edo and fulfill his responsibilities under Sankin Kotai.
August 1862 The Shōgun succumbs to the military might shown by Shimazu Hisamitsu and agrees to go to Kyōto as summoned by the Emperor! On Shimazu's return to Kyōto, four British cross paths with his entourage in the town of Namamugi, a small town outside of Yokohama. Not getting out of the way of the entourage one of them (C.L. Richardson) is killed by a Shimazu retainer. Others are injured, but escape. Upon his return to Kyōto, Shimazu finds that he has lost his influence with the imperial court to the more radical Chōshū.
October, 1862 The sankin kotai system is rescinded - almost assuredly dooming the bakufu to future collapse.
1863 Fukuzawa Yūkichi founds a college based on western principles and subjects. The college will, at a later date, become Keio University.
March, 1863 Iemochi goes to Kyōto - the first shōgun to do so in two centuries. He agrees to court demands that all foreigners be expelled from the country and all ports would be closed on July 24. When bakufu representatives passed this on to foreign representatives in Edo, the representatives were given oral assurances that the bakufu would not enforce it.
April 1863 Britain demands compensation for the murder of C.L. Richardson the previous summer and told that Japan will be attacked by warships if they don't pay. Britain demands: a) a public apology, b) 100,000 pounds payable by the bakufu to London, c) 25,000 pounds payable by Satsuma to the family of Richardson and the same to each of the other three British attacked at the same time, and d) the arrest and execution of the assassins.
June 1863 The bakufu pays the 100,000 pounds demanded by the British for Satsuma's killing of C.L. Richardson. Satsuma, however, refuses to pay, saying that it was Edo's fault for not warning the British that the entourage would be passing that day. (To prevent these problems, normal procedure was for Edo to inform foreign legations when a daimyō entourage was scheduled to travel the Tōkaidō. Foreigners would then plan to stay away on those days. For some reason, the British, and hence Richardson, had not been informed of Hisamitsu's travels and that is why they happened to cross paths.)
July 24, 1863 American warship bombards and destroys 2 Chōshū warships and coastal batteries after being attacked in the Shimonoseki Straights between Honshū and Kyūshū. This being the day that the emperor had said all foreigners would be driven from the country, Chōshū loyalists took it upon themselves to begin the process.
July 1863 Chōshū loyalists attack (but fail to damage and sink) British, French, and Dutch ships passing through the Shimonoseki Straights. The French retaliate, even landing and destroying the costal batteries and one of the villages around them. However, Chōshū manages to keep the Straits closed for more than a year.
July 1863 British warships go to Kagoshima to demand that Satsuma pay the required compensation for the assassination of C.L. Richardson outside of Edo in 1862. When Satsuma officials refuse, the British seize several steamers that Satsuma had recently purchased from traders in Nagasaki. Satsuma retaliates and the British attack and destroy Kagoshima. (After later negotiations in Edo, Satsuma agrees to pay the indemnities and the two sides become allies.)
Summer 1863 British legation in Edo attacked and burned down by Chōshū loyalists.
August 1863 Chōshū loyalists are driven out of the imperial court in Kyōto by supporters of the bakufu - including Tokugawa, Aizu, Tosa, and Satsuma troops. Chōshū and Tosa loyalists return to their respective han, and Chōshū is branded as an Enemy of the Throne.
September 1863 Thinking they have regained the upper hand with the loyalists, the bakufu tries to reimpose the sankin kotai system but the order is ignored by all daimyō.
1864-1865 Genji Era.
Early 1864 The shōgun returns to Kyōto, conceding even more to the emperor. Included this time is agreement that henceforth daimyōs succeeding to power in their han will receive investiture from the emperor and not the shōgun. He also agreed to accept the daimyō of Satsuma, Tosa, Echizen, and Aizu as 'advisors.'
July 1864 Tokugawa and bakufu supporters attack and defeat Chōshū loyalists as they attempt to retake power in Kyōto. Bakufu forces win, but not easily.
September, 1864 British, French, Dutch, and US ships attack and destroy Chōshū batteries along the coast of the Shimonoseki Straits for their continued firing on western ships. This opens the Straits for the first time in over a year. (The foreigners had secret bakufu support - the bakufu loaned maps of the area to the French). Conservatives gain power in Chōshū and, like Satsuma, signs a peace treaty with Britain.
November 1864 The bakufu masses over 100,000 troops (financed by the French and led by Saigo Takamori of Satsuma) along the borders of Chōshū in preparation for a final attack and defeat. Saigo convinces Chōshū conservative leaders to accept bakufu demands and when they capitulate the conflict is avoided. However, Chōshū loyalists, angered at the capitulation, attack Chōshū government offices in Shimonoseki.
1865-1868 Keio Era.
1865 A Catholic Church is reestablished in Nagasaki. In time about 20,000 Japanese who had been "hidden" Christians" come out and admit that they had secrectly kept the faith.
Jan-Feb 1865 Chōshū loyalists (led by Takasugi Shinsaku and Katsura Kogoro) retake control of Chōshū han.
May 1865 The shōgun goes to Kyōto to organize another military expedition against Chōshū Han.
Summer 1865 Satsuma leaders secretly assist Chōshū to buy weapons from foreign arms traders in Nagasaki as Chōshū prepares for the upcoming invasion by Tokugawa lead forces
September 1865 Nine foreign warships (5 British, 3 French, 1 Dutch) steam into Ōsaka harbor and demand that the bakufu pay (by the end of 1866) compensation for Chōshū attacks on their warships in Shimonoseki Straits. The bakufu is told that the amount demanded will be reduced if the ports of Ōsaka and Kobe are opened to foreign traders and if the bakufu obtains Imperial sanction of all previously signed commercial treaties.
October 1865 Imperial ratification is granted for all treaties with foreign powers and for opening the country to foreign trading, in particular the ports of Kobe and Ōsaka. (While the emperor ratifies the agreement in public to appease foreign demands, he privately tells the bakufu not to actually open the ports close to Kyōto.)
January 1866 Chōshū and Satsuma enter into a secret agreement of mutual support - with Satsuma promising not to participate in the attack on Chōshū that the bakufu was in the process of planning. Satsuma also agrees to assist Chōshū in buying weapons through foreign traders in Nagasaki. (The agreement is negotiated by Okubo Toshimichi and Saigo Takamori on the Satsuma side and Kido Koin on the Chōshū side)
January 1866 The bakufu convinces the emperor to issue and edict calling for the Daimyō of Chōshū to retire, for lands to be surrendered to the bakufu, and for a reduction in income to the daimyō. Chōshū blatantly ignores the edict.
June 1866 A second bakufu military expedition is launched against Chōshū. But, with Satsuma not involved, and the modern arms Chōshū had purchased from abroad, this time the Tokugawa forces are beaten easily.
August 17, 1866 Iemochi dies in Ōsaka. Yoshinobu is urged by the bakufu to become the next Shōgun. He changes his name from Hitsubashi Keiki to Tokugawa and accepts the title of Head of the House of Tokugawa, but refuses to accept the position of Shōgun.
1867 The government once again cracks down on the growing Christian movement and arrests many of its leading members.
January 1867 Yoshinobu succumbs to pressure and becomes the 15th, and last, Shōgun. He accepts the post reluctantly, but once in office attempts to reform the bakufu under French guidance. (Note that the British are supporting Chōshū and Satsuma).
February 3, 1867 Death of Emperor Kōmei. Enthronement of Mastsuhito (Meiji) at age fifteen.
(This is a blessing to the loyalists. While Kōmei wanted to take power back from the bakufu, he was an avid supporter of the bakufu because he believed that only they could keep the foreigners out of the country. However, Matsuhito's guardian, and grandfather, supported the loyalist cause completely.)
May 1867 With continued demands from foreigners, the bakufu convinces the emperor to sanction the opening of the port of Kobe. In the meantime, Satsuma and Chōshū begin the process of convincing the emperor to issue two decrees: one pardoning Chōshū and withdrawing an earlier decree branding them as enemies of the throne, and another calling for an army led by Satsuma and Chōshū to overthrow the bakufu.
June 1867 Yoshinobu goes to Nijo palace in Kyōto to meet with the daimyōs of Satsuma(Shimazu), Tosa (Yamanouchi), Echizen (Shungaku), and Uwajima (Date) to discuss the current political situation. The meeting immediately falls apart when Tosa leaves upon suspecting that Satsuma and Chōshū are imminently close to declaring war on the bakufu and attacking. (While Tosa is rapidly being pulled into the loyalist camp and is very near to officially and openly joining the Satsuma-Chōshū alliance against the bakufu, the daimyō of Tosa still officially supports the bakufu because Ieyasu had made his ancestors the daimyō in Tosa.)
July 1867 Two British sailors are killed in Nagasaki and Tosa samurai are suspected. Although tempers on all sides flare, a lengthly investigation later proves that it was a samurai from Fukuoka. (This could have been important because it could have given the British a reason to attack Tosa, and this would have weakened them in the now looming battle with the bakufu.)
September 1867 Satsuma begins amassing troops in and around Kyōto while Chōshū, and other supporting hans, begin the same in their own territories.
October 1867 Tosa representatives present a petition to the bakufu. Under the political compromise (known as the Tosa Memorial), the shōgun's political authority will be returned to the emperor while the head of the Tokugawa house (Yoshinobu) retains Tokugawa lands and continues to serve as Prime Minister.
November 8, 1867 Realizing that he has no alternative (Satsuma and Chōshū have now obtained an imperial decree pardoning Chōshū and calling for the ouster of the Tokugawa bakufu), Yoshinobu, from his offices in Nijō palace in Kyōto, resigns as Shōgun.
January 3, 1868 Forces from Satsuma, Echizen, Owari, Tosa, & Aki do not accept the Tosa Memorial and seize the Nijo palace. The emperor is induced to abolish the Shōgunate and Tokugawa is reduced to the level of daimyō. Administration of the country is returned to the emperor with a provisional government formed by representatives of Satsuma, Tosa, Aki, Owari, and Echizen - but no Tokugawa. (The Meiji Restoration)
The provisional government consists of a Supreme Controller and Junior and Senior Councils of State.
January 25, 1868 Yoshinobu accepts the Meiji Restoration and withdraws his troops to Ōsaka. Late in the month, however, other Tokugawa forces attempt to retake Kyōto but are defeated by Satsuma, Chōshū, & Tosa forces - the battle of Toba-Fushimi. (Northern Tokugawa forces hold out longer, and the Tokugawa navy holds out in Hokkaidō until 1869, but this battle effectively ends Tokugawa rule)
Meiji Period (1868-1912)
1868 Resumption of government with Emperor as Head of State.
April 6, 1868 The five-article Charter Oath is announced and taken by the Emperor. This could be called modern Japan's first constitution as it lays out the new Meiji government's basic (and very vague) policies. The Junior and Senior Councils of State are modified.
April 1868 The emperor receives foreign representatives in audience.
June 1868 The Councils of State are completely revamped. The supreme governing body is now a single Council of State, consisting of an Upper and Lower House for deliberations, an Office of the President of the Council, and five Departments of State (Shintō Religion, War, Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Justice). The system is not modeled on any western system, but rather on the administrative system established in Japan in 701, with most of the same offices and titles. However, the entire system undergoes several modifications until 1871, and then a final modification in 1889.
September 1868 Edo is renamed Tōkyō (Eastern Capital) and established as the capital city.
1868-1870 The Meiji government arrests over 3000 christians in Kyūshū in their attempt to stamp out Christianity and exalt Shintō.
March 1869 The emperor is moved to Tōkyō and the city is made the seat of government.
The daimyō of Satsuma, Chōshū, Tosa, and Hizen return their domains to the Emperor. Most of the other daimyō do likewise by the end of the year. To encourage this surrender, the government grants the daimyō one-half of their revenue.
July 1869 Daimyō who have returned their domains to the emperor are appointed as governors of the domains they once ruled.
1869 Yokoi Shonan is assassinated.
1869 The status of the Department of Shintō is elevated so that it supersedes the status of the Council of State. All Buddhist priest who had been associated with Shintō shrines are either returned to secular life or reinstalled as Shintō priests.
1869 A shrine (Tōkyō Shōkonsha) is built in Tōkyō for the repose of those who had died for the royalist cause during the Meiji Restoration.
February 3, 1870 The government issues the Proclamation of the Great Doctrine which restores the 'way of the kami' (kannagara) as the guiding principle of the nation. Every Japanese is now required to register at the shrine of the local kami of his residence.
1870 A conscription law is introduced in order to build a national army. (But it didn't take effect for a few more years with the first army taking shape in 1873)
1870 Japan borrows about one million pounds sterling from Great Britian in order to build her first railway.
1871 The Council of State is abolished and divided into the Central Board (policy making), Left Board (advisory board), and Right Board (administration).
1871 A Ministry of Education is established which encourages Western learning and begins the process of building a national system of education.
1871 A new currency system is adopted with the Yen established as the main monetary unit. It's value for the next few decades varies between a half and one U.S. dollar.
1871 The Department of Shintō is replaced with the Shintō Ministry. All Buddhist ceremonies that had been performed in the imperial household are abolished. All Buddhist temple lands are confiscated by the state and a great many temples nationwide are simply destroyed.
August 29, 1871 The government (finally felling strong enough to enforce it) suddenly announces that it is abolishing all domains and converting them into three urban and seventy-two rural prefectures. New governors are appointed for each prefecture and all former Daimyō are ordered to leave their estates and move to the capital with their families. In return they receive pensions of one-tenth of the han's income and the government takes over some of their debt.
1871 The government removes old class distinctions and divids people into new classes. Equal opportunity is declared for all, but while all had an equal opportunity to rise, all are not treated equally under the law.
November 1871 In an attemt to imporve governmental finances, a mission, headed by Iwakura (a former court noble) and including Okubo (of Satsuma), Kido (of Chōshū), and Itō (also of Chōshū), is sent to the U.S. and then Europe asking for a revision of the unequal trade treaties. It was unsuccessful.
1872 Statistical Interlude: Population - 34,806,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 42.8 (m), 44.3(f); Real GNP - ??
1872 The government revokes all ranks and privileges previously bestowed on the Buddhist hierarchy. All Shintō functionaries (and some Buddhist priests) are made 'government priests' and divided into fourteen ranks. The cultic aspects of Shintō are assigned to the government Board of Ceremonies. The religious aspects are assigned to the Department of Religion and Education.
1872 Japan asserts administrative control over the Ryūkyū Islands.
1872 The government authorizes the establishment of national banks.
1872 The government issues the Education Act calling for universal, state controlled, education (compulsary at the primary school level) and no illiteracy. The education provided in this system was to be organized along western lines.
1872 Baseball is introduced to Japan.
1872 The first Japanese Protestant Church is established in Yokohama.
1872 The first railway is constructed in Japan. It connects Tōkyō and Yokohama and is 18 miles long.
January 1, 1873 The western calendar system is adopted with the 3rd day of the 12th month of 1872 set as January 1, 1873.
January 1873 The government declares universal conscription (as per an 1871 law) and raises the first national army from men of former Satsuma, Chōshū, and Tosa, thus ending the samurai's lock on military power.
July 1873 The Land Tax is shifted from a percentage of yield to a fixed money tax allowing the national government to predict its revenue for budgeting purposes. At the same time, ownership of the land is shifted to the person who had been paying the land tax. This effectively took ownership of the land away from the ex-daimyō and gave it to the farmers themselves.
1873 Japan places the Bonin Islands under the control of the Navy.
1873 The ban on Christianity is officially lifted although many Buddhists, Shintōists and Confucianists allied in an all-out anti-Christian campaign.
1873 Compulsory registration at the local Shintō shrine is terminated after vigorous criticism from many.
1873 A second loan (and the last foreign loan for 25 years) is raised from Great Britian in order to release funds to pay the pensions due to ex-Daimyō and retainers.
September 1873 When the Iwakura Mission returns to Japan, they find that Saigo Takamori, Itagaki Taisuke (of Tosa), Goto, and others are making plans to invade Korea and Formosa. The plan to invade Korea is overruled by Iwakura, Kido, and Okubo. Saigo and Itagaki leave the government in protest (along with Goto, Eto, and others). The plan to invade Formosa is not overruled and Kido resigns in protest for that.
Late 1873 Itagaki forms the first political association in Japan. Headquartered in Tōkyō, the Aikoku-kōtō (Public Society of Patriots) was not a political party, but it was the first organized political group and opposed the government. At the same time he establishes a political academy/training school back in Tosa called the Risshisha (Society of Independent Men or Society of Freethinkers). Membership was limited to former samurai.
January, 1874 An unsuccessful assassination attempt is made against Iwakura for his role in reducing the status and income of the samurai.
January, 1874 Itagaki, Goto, Eto, and others present a memorial to to the government demanding the early establishment of a representative assembly. They also launch a public campaign. While it doesn't come about, a compromise is attempted and Itagaki rejoins the government - only to leave again after a short while.
1874 Itagaki returns to Tosa and founds the "Freedom and People's Rights" movement (Jiyu Minken Undo) and the Aikok Koto (Public Party of Patriots).
1874 All local police departments brought under control of central Ministry of Home Affairs.
May, 1874 Government troops put down uprising in Saga (Saga Rebellion).
May, 1874 An expeditionary force is sent to Formosa (now Taiwan) in retaliation for Japanese fishermen from the Ryūkyū Islands (now Okinawa) that had been killed. In fact, many in Japan had been looking for a reason to justify an invasion. To forestall problems with China, Okubo himself goes to Peking for talks with the Chinese government. China agrees to pay an indemnity and the Japanese forces are withdrawn from the island.
1875 In an attempt to, in part, appease Itagaki, the government is reorganized. The Council of State is retained and the Senate and a Supreme Court are added. In fact, though, all power continues to reside solely in the Council of State.
1875 A Press Law is enacted which implements censorship and severely restricts political criticism of the government. Japan trades Sakhalin Island to the Russians for the Kuril Islands (still a hotly contested political issue today).
1875 Japan uses Perry-style gunboat diplomacy to try and open trade with Korea. A naval ship is sent to the waters off Hanghwa Island, on the west side of Korea, knowing that the Koreans would fire on it (the Unyō Incident). When they did, Japan protested an attack on an peaceful mission.
1875 In an attempt to discourage the traditional practice of married women dying their teeth black, the empress gives up the custom.
1876 Government cancels ex-daimyo stipends. The daimyo paid off with government bonds (which, of course, would have no value if the central government fails).
1876 Samurai are denied the right to wear swords.
February 1876 Japan sends more warships and troops to Kanghwa Island in Korea in order to force the Koreans into trade agreements. The two countries sign the Treaty of Kanghwa, ostensibly to protect Japanese fishing boats in Korean waters, but in reality it was to weaken China's power and control over the country. It had many provisions typical of an unequal treaty, and gave Japanese much leeway in Korea. A revision a few months later granted even more economic privileges to Japanese merchants now in Korea.
Late 1876 Itagaki leaves the government again as it is clear that neither the Senate nor the Assembly of Provincial Officials will ever be given any power. The Council of State has no intention of relinquishing any decision making.
1877 The Home Ministry is assigned to administer religious affairs.
1877 Japan's second railway line is completed, connecting Ōsaka and Kyōto.
January, 1877 Close to 80,000 samurai in Satsuma, led by Saigo Takamori, begin a rebellion uprising (Seinan Rebellion, Seinan no eki). The government puts it down after almost nine months of fighting and Saigo commits seppuku. The important point coming from the government victory is that a national army consisting of non-samurai could defeat the elite samurai from Satsuma. The government no longer need fear an armed samurai uprising.
June, 1877 The Rishhisha sends a memorial to the emperor asking for the creation of an elective assembly, accusing the government of usurping the emperor's authority, and interfering with the emperor's announced plan of granting political rights to the people. The memorial is rejected and several members of the Rishhisha are arrested.
1877 Kido dies
May 1878 Okubo is assassinated in revenge for Saigo's death.
1879 Tōkyō Shōkonsha is renamed to Yasukuni Jinja.
1879 Prefectural Assemblies are instituted and replace the previous (and discredited) Assembly of Provincial Officials. While they still hold no real power, they do teach local authorities needed administrative skills. Okinawa is incorporated into the state and becomes Okinawa Prefecture.
1879 Military General Staff is created. It reports to the emperor (and hence the genro) and not to the civilian government.
1879 In response to a decade of growing dissatisfaction with a centralized, state controlled, educational system, the Education Act is revised. The new ordinance lays out education principles in general terms but leaves it to local prefectures to apply the them acccording to local rules and decisions.
1880 The first translation of the New Testament into Japanese is completed.
1880 Village, Town, and City Ward Assemblies are instituted.
1881 ōkuma calls for a full and immediate implementation of the British Parliamentary system. Others in government favor a more gradual approach and reject the proposal.
1881 ōkuma is expelled from the government after his criticism of government plan to sell off holdings in Hokkaido Colonization Commission. At the same time, the government publicly announces a plan to draft a constitution and to form a national assembly by 1890 in order to quell public outrage. (Now free from government duties, ōkuma founds a college that at a later time becomes Waseda University)
1881 Government opponents begin forming national political parties in anticipation of the establishment of a national assembly. The Liberal Party (Jiyūtō) is established with Itagaki as president. The Constitutional Progressive Party (Rikken Kaishintō) is formed with ōkuma as president.
1881 A national political party called the Constitutional Imperial Party (Rikken Teiseitō) is formed by pro-government supporters. However, it never became successful due to lack of government support.
1881 As Korea begins to open to the west, they begin to reform their miitary and bring a Japanese military officer over to train them.
1882 The Law of Public Meetings is enacted restricting political gatherings and assemblies.
1882 The Bank of Japan (modeled on the Belgian Central Bank) is created as the nation's central bank.
1882 The government divides Shintō into 'State Shintō,' which is allowed to use the title jinja for it's shrines, and 'Sect Shintō,' which must use the title kyōkai (church) or kyōha (sect). In addition, the former received state privileges and financial subsidies while the later didn't. Also, Sect Shintō establishments were forbidden from using torii.
April, 1882 In preparation for writing a draft constitutioin, Itō, with a large staff, goes overseas to tour several constitutional systems of government - spending most of his time in Germany studying the system of Bizmark.
July 1882 During a military uprising in Korea, the Japanese training officer to the Korean military is murdered and the Japanese legation building is burnt to the ground, although the Japanese Minister escapes.
August 1882 The Japanese Minister to Korea returns to Seoul with warships and troops. While his intention was to demand reparations for the attack on the Japanese legation and the death of the Japanese training officer, these efforts were stymied when he found that Chinese troops had also arrived, but with superior numbers. In the end, a new treaty was signed, which gave Japan the right to station troops in Seoul to guard the Japanese legation.
1883 Iwakura dies, thus ending rule by the original group of Meiji leaders. Government now passes to the younger generation.
Early 1884 Itō returns to Japan. A special bureau is formed to draw up the constitution. It is housed under the Ministry of the Imperial Household instead of the Home Ministry to emphasize that the new constitution will be a present from the emperor himself.
1884 Itagaki dissolves the Liberal Party to quell the rising radicalism of its members. ōkuma and his followers leave the Reform Party but the party survives for a while without them. WIth the loss of these oppositon voices, conservative forces inteh government have their way. They also begin the process of building the emperor up as the absolute, supreme ruler of the state, "by whom all rights were granted and to whom all duties were owed." (Sansom)
1884 A Peerage is created of ex-Daimyo, court aristocracy, and government leaders to counter popular assembly.
Late 1884 During a coup d'etat in Korea, the Japanese Minister reneges on an promise of military support he had made to support the plotters. Chinese troops put down the coup within three days. Most of the Japanese legation escaped to Japan (with some of the plotters), while others stayed, burned the legation, and fought the Chinese.
April 1885 Itō Hirobumi goes to China to discuss a compromise settlement in Korea. In the Convention of Tienstsin, Japan and China come to an agreement where both sides agree to remove their troops from Korea within four months. This eases some of the tension between the two countries, but opens the way for right-wing nationalists in Japan to begin pushing for expansion throughout Asia. At the same time, China intensifies it's interventions in Korea by appointing a regent in Seoul to ensure that Chinese interests are strengthened.
December 1885 The Council of State is abolished in a major government reorganization. A modern cabinet system is adopted (but never written into the constitution) to be presided over by a Prime Minister. The public continues to be told that the emperor is supreme and rules with the advice of the Prime Minister. This effectively quells almost all public criticism of the government as it would be construed as criticism of the emperor.
December 1885 A Civil Service system is established with entrance into the system decided by examination. Like the new cabinet system, it is based on a German model.
December 1885 Itō Hirobumi becomes the first Prime Minister.
1886 The Education Act is revised yet again, this time bringing the education system back under state control. The new (1885) Minister of Education, Mori Arinori, declares that education is not for the sake of the pupils, but for the sake of the country.
Mid-1887 The public finds out that the Foreign Minister is preparing to sign new treaty agreements with foreign representatives in Tōkyō that, while going a ways toward abolishing the extraterritorial rights granted foreigners in the unequal treaties, still allowed foreign judges to sit on trials where foreign nationals were involved. The public raises such a loud outcry that the Foreign Minister is forced to resign and all negotiations are canceled.
December 25, 1887 Anti-foreign sentiment is becoming extreme and secret societies are being formed. There is a lot of violence against officials. In response, the government imposes the Peace Preservation Ordinance (Hoan Jōrei) which basically puts Tōkyō under martial law. ōkuma is brought back to the cabinet as Foreign Minister to attempt new negotiations with foreigners, but his suggestions are violently rejected and this ends all negotiations.
1888 Final prefectural reorganization. The country is divided into 43 Ken, 3 Fu, and 1 Tō.
1888 City Assemblies are instituted.
April 1888 Kuroda Kiyotaka becomes Prime Minister. (Itō resigned to devote time to continue drafting the constitution).
1889 Statistical Interlude: Population - 40,000,000
February 11, 1889 The constitution is promulgated. It is influenced more by the German constitution than the American, French, or English examples and, therefore, stresses national rights over popular rights. A House of Representatives is created. A House of Peers is created from the previously created Peerage. On paper, the emperor is given broad political powers with the Prime Minister responsible to Emperor, not the Diet. (But, the Genro still controlled the emperor, so still controlled the government).
February 1889 On the day the constitution is promulgated, the Minister of Education is assassinated for his alleged unpatriotic political views.
December 1889 Yamagata Aritomo becomes Prime Minister.
1890's From the book Korea Old and New: A History: "...by the early to mid-1890s Japanese economic activity had reached astonishing levels. Japanese commercial establishments could be found in overwhelming numbers in each of the opern ports...; in 1896, 210 of 258 such businesses were Japanese run. Japan also dominated the carrying trade in Korean waters .... Thus, 72% of the vessels and over 78% of the gross tonnage came in under the Japanese flag. Japan's proportion of Korea's foreign trade volume loomed correspondingly large — over 90% of exports went to Japan while more than 50% of imports ame from Japan."
July 1890 The first Diet is elected (July) and convened (November). Virtually all of the new Diet members opposed the government and ended up organized as: 60 members in Goto's Daidō (General Agreement Group) and 50 members in each of the two major parties: the Liberal Party (Jiyūtō - Itagaki supporters) and the Reform Party (Kaishintō - ōkuma supporters). The remaining 140 members are all independents with nothing in common.
1890 The Imperial Rescript on Education is issued reinserting Shintō and Confucian morality into the education system - but saying virtually nothing about education.
1890 Ōkuma (the Minister of Foreign Affairs at this time) is severly injured in a bomb explosion
1891 A commercial legal code, with strong German elements, goes into effect.
May 6, 1891 Matsukata Masayoshi becomes Prime Minister.
October 28, 1891 An earthquake rocks Gifu Prefecture killing or injuring over 25,000 people.
December 1891 The first Diet is dissolved after the government is unable to get the budget passed, but the administration remains in power (although disliked throughout the country for its strong arm tactics).
February 1892 Following the dissolution of the Diet, new elections are held and a new Diet is formed. The government, however, still fails to get a majority.
August 8, 1892 Unable to work with the Diet, the cabinet resigns. Itō Hirobumi becomes Prime Minister again in an attempt to restore order.
November 1892 A new Diet session opens but the battle between it and the govenrment continues.
February 1893 The Lower House submits an address to the emperor accusing the cabinet of misconduct. The cabinet, gets the emperor to issue a message which tells both sides to work together, but is, in effect, a rebuke of the Diet
December 1893 After another Diet appeal to the emperor, and another negative imperial reply issued on behalf of the cabinet, the Diet is dissolved.
1893 A civil legal code, with strong French elements, goes into effect. While it did recognise some individual rights, the code still makes the household the legal unit. All Japanese are registered as either the head of a household or the subordinate to a head.
March 1894 General elections are held
March 1894 A religious group in Korea rebels against the Korean monarchy. Both Japan and China send troops to help put the rebellion down.
May 1894 A new Diet is assembled. It immediately begins proceedings to impeach the government, but an imperial order, in turn, immediately dissolves the Diet - all within three weeks of its sitting.
June 1894 With the rebellion over in Korea, China calls for all foreign troops to leave the country. Itō refuses and sends China a list of proposals for reforms (to be jointly supervised) in Korea instead. China rejects the list of proposals and begins preparing for a possible war.
July 16, 1894 A new treaty is signed with Great Britian. In this treaty, it is agreed that all extrateritoriality rights in Japan will be eradicated by 1899.
July 23, 1894 Japanese forces in Seoul sieze the Korean king and in his place install a pro-Japanese puppet cabinet. This cabinet then demands the withdrawal of all Chinese forces from the country.
August 1, 1894 War begins between China and Japan in Korea. To the surprise of all, Japan trounces the Chinese army and navy.
October 1894 Chinese forces have now been comletely driven out of Korean Territory.
March 1895 The Chinese send out peace overatures to the Japanese.
April 17, 1895 The Treaty of Shimonoseki (also called the Treaty of Tientsin?) ends the Sino-Japanese War. China pays Japan an indemnity and cedes Fomosa (now Taiwan), the Pescadores Islands, and the Liaotung Peninsula to Japan. They also recognize the independence of Korea and give Japan the same "unequal" treaty rights in China as given other Western powers. Japan begins to reform the Korean government to increase their power there.
April 23, 1895 Russia, France, and Germany demand that Japan return the Liaotung Peninsula to Chinese control. Japan does so (rather unhappily) in exchange for an additional 4.9 pounds of indemnity. (But it is worth noting that just 3 years later these same countries that demanded Japan give back the Liaotung Peninsula, themselves seized pieces of Chinese territory - with Russia taking the Liaotung Peninsula!)
October 1895 Because the Korean Queen was aligning herself with the Russians in an attempt to drive the Japanese out of Korea, the Japanese Minister in Korea has the queen assasinated. He is brought back to Japan and tried, but found not guilty due to insufficient evidence. Armed groups form throughout Korea to fight Japanese troops and pro-Japan officials.
February 1896 Pro-Russian and pro-American government officials in Korea smuggle the King and Crown Prince out of the palace and, thus, out from under control of Japanese officials. Pro-Japan ministers are murdered and Japanese advisors are dismissed. A pro-Russian government is formed. This brings a temporary end to Japan's ability to control events in Korea.
1896 The Reform Party (Kaishintō) and other minor parties merge to form the Progressive Party (Shimpotō).
September 1896 Matsukata Masayoshi becomes Prime Minister again.
December 28, 1897 Matsukata Masayoshi resigns the prime ministership after dissolving the Diet when they passed a motion of non confidence in him and his cabinet.
Janurary 12, 1898 Itō Hirobumi becomes Prime Minister for a third time.
Early 1898 Realizing that it was becoming impossible for the genro to rule without Diet support, Itō suggests to Yamagata and Matsukata that he form his own parliamentary party. Yamagata and Matsukata, with the support of the Emperor, refuse.
1898 A government order forbids teachers and priests of Sect Shintō establishments from teaching within the compounds of State Shintō shrines.
1898 The Liberal Party (Jiyutō) and Progressive Party (Shimpotō) merge to form the Constitutional Party (Kenseitō). (Now, instead of two parties, there was one party is two factions).
June 1898 ōkuma Shigenobu becomes Prime Minister, with Itagaki selected as Home Minister. (This is Japan's first experiment in party governments.)
November 8, 1898 Yamagata Aritomo becomes Prime Minister again after it becomes clear that the parties of ōkuma and Itagaki could not work together. In addition, both the army and navy decided that they could not work with these two. The new government is openly anti-party and determined to restore the semblance of imperial rule.
1899 The Western powers give up their extraterritoriality privileges in return for granting foreigners the right to purchase property outside the old treaty settlements. The Western powers also started giving up control of tariffs and Japan was able to start increasing its import tariffs.
1899 Yamagata makes a trade with the opposition. He gets: a law that all bureaucrats up through level of vice-minister must be professional bureaucrats who entered the system by taking an entrance exam, a raise in the land tax, and large electoral districts with multiple candidates per district so that candidates from the same party must run against each other. He gives: an increased number of Diet seats, the secret ballot, and a lowering of the tax qualification to be eligible to vote.
1900 A Bureau of Shrines and a Bureau of Religion are established inside the Home Ministry.
1900 An Imperial ordinance is issued stipulating that only active military officers can hold the posts of Naval Minister and War Minister, thus giving the military a voice in political issues and the ability to veto cabinets.
June 1, 1900 The Boxers, a Chinese secret society, begin an uprising against foreigners and Chinese Christians. The Russians take advantage of the situation by sending troops into Manchuria.
Summer 1900 Japan sends troops to support an international force that goes to China to put down the Boxer Rebellion.
September 26, 1900 Increasingly worried about Japan's growing rivalry with Russia over control of Korea, the Japanese foreign minister seeks, and obtains, a pledge of neutrality from Germany in the case Japan and Russia would go to war. He then petitions the emperor for permission to declare war on Russia immediately. Having done all of this without informing Yamagata, Yamagata resigns the prime ministership in disgust when he finds out about it.
October 1, 1900 Itō Hirobumi forms the Seiyukai political party (by merging his followers with those of Itagaki) and becomes its party president. Leaders of Kenseitō dissolve their party. Some members join the Seiyukai while other members form the Kenseihontō (True Kensei Party).
October 19, 1900 Itō Hirobumi becomes Prime Minister.
April 29, 1901 (Future Emperor) Hirohito is born. (He is the first emperor since 1758 not born of an Imperial concubine)
May 1, 1901 Itō resigns the prime ministership for his last time - thus ending the Genro domination of the cabinet and control of the nation. Itō retains, however the presidency of the Seiyukai.
June 1, 1901 (General) Katsura Taro, a Yamagata protégé, becomes Prime Minister.
March 15, 1905 The first Social Democratic Party is formed. Five of the six founders are Christians.
January 1, 1902 Japan and Britain sign the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. In it, Britain acknowledges Japan's interest in Korea in return for Japan's acknowledgement of Britain's interests in China. In addition, it guarantees that Britain will remain neutral unless Japan is attacked by more than one country.
Early 1903 Japan demands that Russia remove its troops from Manchuria. Russia pledges to do so, but never does.
July 1, 1903 Russian troops move south of the Yalu River and into northern Korea. When there, they buy land, set up permanent housing, and open a trading port. The Japanese and Russian governments begin negotiations to lower the growing tensions between the countries.
March 17, 1905 Itō resigns the presidency of the Seiyukai.
March 17, 1905 The Bureau of Religion in the Home Ministry is transferred to the Department of Education.
March 18, 1905 A government order forbids teachers and ministers of Sect Shintō establishments from participating in celebrations of State Shintō rituals.
February 5, 1904 As the rivalry between Japan and Russia grows over Korea, Russia refuses demands to withdraw its troops form Manchuria along Korea's northern border. In response, Japan severs diplomatic relations with Russia.
February 8, 1904 Japan carries out a successful surprise attack on Russia's Far Eastern Fleet based at Port Arthur. At the same time, Japan send troops to Seoul and forces the Korean government to sign an agreement giving Japan numerous concessions in the country, including the stationing of troops at strategic places throughout the country.
February 10, 1904 Japan declares war on Russia over the issue of control of Korea and control of the Liaotung peninsula in China.
August 1, 1904 Japan forces the Korean government to sign further agreements that installs Japanese officials in numerous Korean ministries, including finance and foreign affairs.
May 27-28, 1905 Japan defeats the Russian navy in the Battle of Tsushima.
May 31, 1905 Japan asks President Roosevelt to act as mediator in ending the war with Russia.
July 1, 1905 The US and Japan sign a secret agreement (the Taft-Katsura Agreement), in which Japan agrees to acknowledge the US's control of the Phillipines in return for US recognition of Japan's control over Korea.
August 1, 1905 Britain and Japan renegotiate the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and Britain acknowledges Japan's control of Korea
September 5, 1905 Japan and Russia sign a peace treaty in the US city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Japan wins control of the Liaotung Peninsula, control of Korea, and control over the southern half of Sakhalin Island.
Late 1905 Japan sends Itō Hirobumi to Korea to begin the process of making Korea a protectorate.
November 17, 1905 Whe the Korean Prime Minister refuses to sign a protectorate treaty, Japanese troops go to the foreign ministry, find the official stamp, and then stamp the the treaty themselves. This gives Japanese vast control of all aspects of Korean government.
January 1, 1906 Saionji Kimmochi (an Itō protégé) becomes Prime Minister after Katsura resigns due to the unpopularity of the terms of the peace treaty with Russia.
August 1, 1907 Japan forces Korea to sign an amended agreement which gives them complete control. Japanese are installed in all government ministries. Japan then disolves the entire Korean military, leaving them completly defensless.
July 1, 1908 Katsura Taro becomes Prime Minister again.
March 22, 1905 The Kenseihontō merges with several smaller parties to form the Constitutional Nationalist Party (Rikken Kokumintō).
March 23, 1905 Itō is assassinated by a Korean while in Manchuria for his role in making Korea a protectorate.
August 22, 1910 Japan annexes Korea and imposes military rule.
March 25, 1905 Tariffs imposed by the "unequal treaties" are abolished.
August 1, 1911 Saionji Kimmochi becomes Prime Minister again.
July 12, 1912 Emperor Meiji dies of cancer at the age 59. Enthronement of Yoshihito (Taishō).
Taishō Period (1912-1926)
December 1, 1912 The army, unhappy with the current military budget, withdraws its minister from the cabinet forcing Saionji to resign as prime minister. KATSURA Taro becomes prime minister and forms a new political party called the Constitutional Association of Friends (Rikken Doshikai).
February 1, 1913 KATSURA resigns as Prime Minister just before a vote of no-confidence in the Diet over defense spending. (Admiral) YAMAMOTO Gonnohoe becomes Prime Minister.
April 1, 1914 ŌKUMA Shigenobu becomes Prime Minister after the YAMAMOTO cabinet falls due to a scandal concerning navy finances.
March 28, 1905 World War I breaks outand Japan enters on the side of the allies in accordance with the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, although they play a very minor role. They do, however, seize Germany's holdings in China and the North Pacific.
March 29, 1905 INOUE dies.
January 18, 1915 Japan presents a list of 21 demands to China, in effect demanding China's acceptace of Japan's takeover of German rights in China and the acceptance of Japan's expanding economic position in China..
March 1, 1915 ŌKUMA dissolves the Diet over their opposition to his policies of expanding the military. During the following elections, ŌKUMA becomes the first Prime Minister to actively campaign in elections. Doshikai, therefore, wins the majority of seats and Seiyūkai is weakened.
May 1, 1916 China signs the list of Japanese demands, but refuses to sign the most controversial section on hiring Japanese advisors, buying arms from Japan, etc. In the end, Japan gains little other than animosity from these concessions.
October 1, 1916 ŌKUMA resigns the prime ministership due to ill health and soon dies. (General) TERAUCHI Masatake becomes Prime Minister.
July 1, 1918 Japan and the US send troops to Siberia to assist Czech troops trying to get to the Western front. While US troops only grow to 7,000 men, Japan eventually sent 72,000.
August 1, 1918 Riots break out throughout the country in protest of high rice prices. (Inflation became major problem as economy grew rapidly during WW1)
September 1, 1918 HARA Takashi becomes Prime Minister. As head of Seiyukai and not member of genro, his cabinet becomes first "party" government in Japan.
January 1, 1919 Japan participates in negotiations at Versailles at end of WW1. Japan wins concession of German territories in China and the Pacific but not statement of racial equality with West.
April 2, 1905 According to Ernest BEST, during and after WWI, the top 2% of Japanese society received 10% of her total income, while 78% of the population (the farmers and working class) lived on one-half of the national income.
April 3, 1905 Depression hits and prices for many products drop 50% or more.
December 1, 1920 Socialist League formed.
April 4, 1905 Statistical Interlude: Population - 56,666,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 42.1 (m), ??(f); Real GNP - ??
June 1, 1921 Socialist League disbanded by the government.
August 1, 1921 Japan joins the US, Britain, France and other countries in Washington, D.C. to negotiate naval treaties and other issues. In Four Power Pacific Treaty, Japan agrees to limits on capital ships for US, Britain, and Japan in the ratio of 5-5-3 respectively. In Nine Power Treaty, all parties agree to continue Open Door policy in China.
November 4, 1921 Prime Minister HARA is assassinated by an ultra-rightist. TAKAHASHI Korekiyo becomes the new Prime Minister. Hirohito (the future Emperor Shōwa) becomes regent for the ailing Emperor Taishō and becomes Emperor in all but title.
Spring 1922 YAMAGATA Aritomo dies.
June 1, 1922 (Admiral) KATO Tomosaburo becomes Prime Minister.
April 5, 1905 Under considerable foreign pressure, Japan removes troops from Siberia.
July 1, 1922 The Japanese Communist Party (Nihon Kyōsantō) secretly established.
August 1, 1923 Prime Minister KATO dies.
September 1, 1923 A severe earthquake strikes Tōkyō, Yokohama, and much of the surrounding area. Over 106,000 people die or are missing. Over 500,000 are injured and 694,000 houses are destroyed.
September 2, 1923 (Admiral) YAMAMOTO Gonnohyoe becomes Prime Minister again. Government arrests Socialist and Communist Party leaders.
December 7, 1923 An anarchist makes an assassination attempt on Hirohito. He survives, but the gunman is put to death. To accept responsibility, Yamamoto resigns the prime ministership the next day.
January 1, 1924 KIYOURA Keigo becomes Prime Minister.
April 7, 1905 The U.S. Congress passes a bill excluding further immigration of Japanese, on no grounds other than their race. To his credit, the U.S. embassador to Japan resigns in protest. Using this as one of their issues, Japanese nationalists began to gain prestige nationwide.
January 26,1924 Hirohito marries Nagako-san.
June 1, 1924 KATO Komei becomes Prime Minister.
April 7, 1905 The Japanese Communist Party dissolved.
January 1, 1925 Japan and Russia establish diplomatic relations. Japan removes troops from Sakhalin.
March 1, 1925 Government implements Peace Preservation Law making it illegal to advocate either change in the national polity or the abolition of private property. Universal suffrage enacted giving all men over 25 (with a few qualifications) the right to vote.
January 1, 1926 WAKATSUKI Reijiro becomes Prime Minister.
April 9, 1905 The Japan Communist Party reorganized underground. By the end of Taisho Period there were many parties, including: Labor-Farmer Party (Rodo Nomintō), Social Mass Party (Shakai Minshutō), Japan Labor-Farmer Party (Nihon Ronotō), and Japan Farmer Party (Nihon Nomintō)
December 18, 1926 Death of Taishō and enthronement of Hirohito (Shōwa).
Shōwa Period (1926-1989)
December 18, 1926 Death of Taishō and enthronement of Hirohito (Shōwa).
April 10, 1905 A severe depression hits Japan. Many Japanese commercial banks collapse and it soon becomes a world depression.
April 1, 1927 As the Kuomintang gradually consolidates its control over China, Japan begins to lose market share for its products. A combination of the zaibatsu, the bureaucrats, and the Seiyūkai forces an end to the WAKATSUKI cabinet. TANAKA Giichi (an army general and president of the Seiyūkai) becomes Prime Minister. Japanese foreign policy formally switches from noninterference to intervention.
Japan sends troops to the Tientsin International Concession at Shantung to "protect" Japanese residents.
June 1, 1927 Seiyuhonto and Kenseikai merge to form the Minseito Party (Minseito is financially supported by the Mitsubishi zaibatsu while the Seiyukai is ssupported by the Mitsui zaibatsu)
December 1, 1927 A Manchurian-based Japanese Kwangtung Army staff officer and activist dynamites a bridge on a Manchurian railway line. The damage is attributed to "bandits." This is repeated several more times over the next few months.
April 1, 1928 Japanese troops from the Tientsin International Concession (sent to protect Japanese civilians) clash with Nationalist Chinese troops (under Chiang kai-shek) in Tsinan. (Japanese commanders claim more than 300 Japanese were massacred but, in fact, only 13 had died.)
May 8, 1928 Japan sends troop reinforcements to Tsinan and launches a major assault, killing at least a thousand Chinese soldiers and civilians.
March 1, 1928 The government begins the long process of crushing Japan's communist party by arresting, torturing (and allowing to die) communist party members and sympathizers.
June 1, 1928 Japanese Kwangtung Army members assassinate Chang Tso-lin, the warlord of Manchuria, in an attempt to create a reason for Japanese troops to enter into his territory. The effort fails as the warlord's son assumes control, keeps peace, and sides with Chaing Kai-shek.
November 11, 1928 Hirohito is officially enthroned in ceremonies which take place at the Imperial palace in Kyōto.
July 1, 1929 The TANAKA cabinet is defeated in national elections. HAMAGUCHI Osachi of the Minseitō becomes Prime Minister and tries to swing foreign policy back towards international cooperation.
April 12, 1905 Several radical Army officers form the One Evening Society (Issekikai) to discuss political issues.
October 1, 1929 The U.S. stock market crashes and the world slips into depression. The Japanese economy tumbles.
April 13, 1905 Statistical Interlude: Population - 64,450,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 46.9 (m, 1935), 49.6 (f, 1935); Real GNP - ¥13,500,000,000
April 13, 1905 The Five Power Naval Treaty signatories (1921) meet in London and extend the original treaty. Japan accepts limits of 10:10:6 for cruisers and 10:10:7 for destroyers while getting equality with the US in submarines. The navy is unhappy with this and appeals directly to the Emperor, but the government forces ratification through the Diet
April 13, 1905 The Cherry Blossom Society (Sakurakai) is formed by radical military officers advocating an overthrow of the government and the establishment of a military regime.
November 14, 1930 Prime Minister HAMAGUCHI is shot and seriously injured by a right-wing nationalist for his part in ratifying the Naval Treaty. SHIDEHARA acts as Prime Minister while HAMAGUCHI recovers. (HAMAGUCHI does return to office, but dies nine months later. The man who shot him spent three months out on bail, was sentenced to death, and then released three months later. He lived the rest of his life on a pension provided by nationalists.)
March 1, 1931 A plot is hatched among key army staff officers and members of the Cherry Blossom Society to overthrow the government with a military coup and reinstall a government led by the emperor and run by the military. The coup is never carried out.
April 1, 1931 WAKATSUKI Reijiro of the Minseito becomes Prime Minister
September 18, 1931 The Japanese Kwantung Army in China blows up a section of the South Manchurian Railroad in Mukden (The Mukden Incident) and claims that the Chinese had done it and then attacked the Japanese. This is then used to justify the subsequent Japanese takeover of Mukden and move into southern Manchuria.
September 30, 1931 Japanese emmisaries go to Tientsin and tell Henri Pu'yi, the ex-emperor of China, that if he would go to Manchuria they were prepared to restore the Manchu dynasty there.
October 1, 1931 Another military coup is plotted, intending to overthrow the diet and to murder the entire cabinet. This time Prince Chichibu (Hirohito's brother) is implicated. Once again, the plot is never carried out and, even though it was discovered and a few people were arrested, it is hushed up by all.
October 1, 1931 The League of Nations calls for Japan to withdraw from Mukden and Manchuria but the Kwangtung Army ignores the demand and expands further.
December 1, 1931 INUKAI Tsuyoshi of the Seiyukai becomes Prime Minister.
January 1, 1932 Japan sends troops to Shanghai to "protect" Japanese residents. The Japanese navy bombs the city. (The Shanghai Incident)
February 7, 1932 The Finance Minister is assassinated by a member of the Ketsumeidan (Blood Brotherhood League). Thus begins a plan to assassinate political and business leaders in order to overthrow political order in Japan and return the country to an agrarian society led by the emperor.
March 5, 1932 DAN Takuma, a banker, is assassinated by a member of the Ketsumeidan outside his offices in Tōkyō.
March 1, 1932 The Kwangtung Army establishes the independent state of Manchukuo in Manchuria. Former Chinese Emperor Pu Yi is made the head of state but in reality it is controlled by Japanese army and civilian officials.
May 15, 1932 Prime Minister INUKAI assassinated for attempting to curb army actions in Manchuria. This effectively ends party government & ends chance of anyone trying to oppose military. (All conspirators, including gunmen, were out of jail by 1940, most out by 1935.)
(Admiral) SAITO Makoto becomes Prime Minister
August 1, 1932 The police discover and stop a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister.
September 1, 1932 The Japanese government recognizes the legitimacy of Manchukuo. (Germany and Italy are the only other two countries that recognize it in the future)
September 1, 1932 The police discover and stop a plot to assassinate late prime minister WAKATSUKI.
November 1, 1932 The police discover and stop a plot to assassinate Count Makino.
Early 1933 According to Joseph GREW, then US ambassador to Japan, by early 1933, maps of the Far East in Japanese primary schools showed (now) South Vietnam, Thailand, the Straits Settlements, the Philippines, and (now) Indonesia all under the Japanese flag.
February 1, 1933 The Kwangtung Army moves into Inner Mongolia and then towards the south. They obtain a treaty from China recognizing it's presence in, and control of, this territory.
March 1, 1933 The Leaguer of Nations releases the Lytton Report stating that Manchukuo is not a legitimate state and call for the withdrawal of Japanese troops. It recommends the creation of an autonomous regime in Manchuria under Chinese sovereignty. Japan (on the army's insistence) withdraws from the League in protest.
July 1, 1933 Police discover and stop a planned military coup similar to the planned March 1931 coup.
December 1, 1933 Empress Nagako finally gives birth to a male heir to the throne - Crown Prince Akihito. (This after three previous daughters and serious talk in Japan of once again using an Imperial concubine if necessary)
April 17, 1905 Japan releases the Amau Statement stating that it will take full responsibility for peace in East Asia and will exert a protectorate over China's relations with the Western powers. (Sometimes called the Asiatic Monroe Doctrine)
July 1, 1934 (Admiral) OKADA Keisuke becomes Prime Minister
September 1, 1934 A reorganization of local administration in Manchuria puts Manchukuo under the overall supervision of the Japanese military police.
December 1, 1934 Japan abrogates the Washington and London Naval Treaties when the US and Great Britain refuse to accept parity with Japan.
March 1, 1935 Russia sells Chinese Eastern Railway in northern Manchuria to Japan, thus easing tensions and improving relations between the two countries.
August 1, 1935 Kōdō-ha (Imperial Way Faction) army officer assassinates General NAGATA (Tosei-ha member and head of the Military Affairs Bureau) for his role in removing General MAZAKI as Director of Military Education and removing General Araki and other of his supporters from power.
Frbruary 20, 1936 In Diet elections, the more liberal Minseito wins 205 seats (out of 296 candidates) and the more right leaning Seiyukai wins only 174 seats (out of 336 candidates).
February 26, 1936 The army First Division, in order to overthrow the government and effect the Showa Restoration, mutiny and take over the Police Headquarters, the War Ministry, the General Staff Headquarters, and the Diet Building. (The Ni·Niroku Jiken.) Several top politicians, government, and military leaders are killed. The rebellion is put down after three days and this time the participants are punished. Some now realize that radical troops are getting out of control.
March 1, 1936 HIROTA Koki becomes Prime Minister. (He would later be sentenced to death and hanged as a Class A war criminal after WWII)
August 1, 1936 The government releases The Fundamental Principles of National Polity stating, as national objectives, the consolidation of Japan's empire in East Asia and a Japanese advancement into the South Pacific.
February 1, 1937 (General) HAYASHI Senjuro becomes Prime Minister
March 1, 1937 Ministry of Education releases the Cardinal Principles of the National Entity of Japan (Kokutai no Hongi) which describes the unique characteristics of Japan and sets out the only acceptable ideology of Japan.
June 1, 1937 KONOE Fumimaro becomes Prime Minister
July 5, 1937 The Kuomintang and the Chinese Communists sign a pact agreeing to set their differences aside and declaring that the Japanese are their common enemy.
July 7, 1937 A minor skirmish takes place between Japanese and Chinese troops near Peiking (The Marco Polo Bridge Incident). The Japanese government tells military commanders to settle the issue locally but mobilizes troops in Manchuria and Korea just in case the problem expands.
August 1, 1937 As fighting continues to spread in China, Japan sends troops to Shanghai. Fighting commences between Japanese and Chinese troops, and the Chinese government orders full mobilization of its military.
September 1, 1937 Japan mobilizes military and entire country. Begins major military expansion throughout northern and central China.
December 1, 1937 Japan takes control of the Chinese capital of Nanking, killing over 200,000 civilians and POWs, raping tens of thousands of women, and looting the entire town.
January 1, 1938 Japanese government announces an end to all talks with Chinese Nationalist government and continues military expansion in both northern and central China.
February 1, 1938 Government enacts National Mobilization Act.
July 1, 1938 Japanese and Russian troops fight along the border between Korea, Manchuria, and Siberia. Japanese troops defeated.
January 1, 1939 HIRANUMA Kiichiro becomes Prime Minister
May 1, 1939 Japanese and Russian troops clash along the border between Manchuria and Outer Mongolia. The incident expands into a major Russian mobilization and conflict between the Russian and Japanese armies.
June 1, 1939 The Russian army defeats the Japanese. The Kwantung Army asks Tōkyō for reinforcements but these are denied.
August 1, 1939 HIRANUMA resigns for "giving the Emperor bad advice." ABE Nobuyuki becomes Prime Minister. Germany signs a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union.
September 1, 1939 Hitler attacks Poland. Japan and the Soviet Union agree to a cease-fire.
April 23, 1905 Statistical Interlude: Population - 71,933,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 50 (m, estimated), 53 (f, estimated); Real GNP - ¥20,800,000,000
January 1, 1940 Major shortages of foods and other goods in Japan. Prices already rising. (Admiral) YONAI Mitsumasa becomes Prime Minister
March 1, 1940 A puppet Japanese government is established in Nanking under WANG Ching-wei.
June 1, 1940 Japane sends military advisors to French Indochina to stop war materiel from flowing to China.
July 1, 1940 KONOE Fumimaro becomes Prime Minister. Cabinet approves Major Principles of Basic National Policy setting out Japan's intention to build new (Japan-dominated) order in East Asia. Decision is made at this time to expand south even if this means war with Great Britain & U.S.
September 27, 1940 Japan signs a military alliance with the Axis powers. Japan completes its occupation of northern French Indochina. In retaliation, the U.S. embargoes iron and steel scraps and British reopens Burma Road.
October 1, 1940 All political parties are dissolved and the Imperial Rule Assistance Association is established with KONOE as "party" head.
March 1, 1941 Japan and the U.S. begin negotiations in Washington, D.C. to settle disputes between them.
April 1, 1941 Japan and the Soviet Union sign a neutrality pact providing for neutrality if either party is attacked by another country.
June 22, 1941 Germany invades the Soviet Union.
July 26, 1941 In order to remove MATSUOKA from his position as Foreign Minister, KONOE resigns with his entire cabinet and then retakes office on the 28th with the exact same cabinet - but with a new foreign minister. (MATSUOKA had become a virtual puppet of Hitler and KONOE couldn't agree with or accept that. By this time KONOE wasn't at all sure that war with the U.S. was winable.)
July 29, 1941 Japan moves troops into southern French Indochina. In retaliation, the U.S. freezes Japanese assets in the U.S. and imposes a total embargo on exports to Japan (including oil, but excluding cotton and food). Great Britain and the Dutch East Indies also freeze Japanese assets in their countries. (This severs Japan from all major sources of oil imports with only a two year reserve on hand for the Navy)
August 1, 1941 ROOSEVELT and CHURCHILL meet and agree to issue a warning to Japan that any further encroachment to the south would force the U.S. and Great Britain to take countermeasure even if these would inevitably lead to war.
October 16, 1941 Prime Minister KONOE resigns, unable to support drive towards war with U.S., & the Army is unwilling to make concessions required by U.S. to secure diplomatic solution. (General) TŌJŌ Hideki becomes Prime Minister while still retaining the War & Home Ministry portfolios.
November 1, 1941 Imperial conferences finalize plans to go to war in early December. Negotiations with the U.S. continue in Washington, but both sides know that this is a ruse and a stall for time. In preparation for the attack on Pearl Harbor, a naval task force is brought together off Etorofu Island (one of the Kuril Islands).
December 1, 1941 A final imperial conference (gozen kaigi) is held and Hirohito approves all military preparations and plans and December 7th as the date to start hostilities.
December 7, 1941 (December 8th in Japan) The Japanese navy attacks Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii as well as Guam, Wake Island, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Malaya. War with the West has begun.
April 18, 1942 The first of many air raids are carried out by the US on Tōkyō, Yokohama, Nagoya, and Kōbe.
Early 1942 US cryptanalysts break Japan's naval code, giving the US access to Japan's strategic planning.
June, 1942 Japan loses the Battle of Midway, and a lot of her Navy.
April 18, 1943 The plane carrying Admiral YAMAMOTO, the head of Japan's Navy and the leader of the attack on Pearl Harbor, is shot down. YAMAMOTO is killed.
May 1, 1943 The U.S. and Great Britain formulate a three-offensive plan to defeat Japan: 1) Army's recapture of Aleutian Islands near Alaska, 2) MacArthur led army drive northward through South and Southwest Pacific Islands, and 3) Nimitz led naval drive through Central Pacific Islands.
December 1, 1943 Cairo Declaration proclaims that Japan will be stripped of all land seized or occupied since the beginning of WW1 in 1914.
July 13, 1944 TŌJŌ resigns as Army Chief of Staff, although he keeps his hats a Army Minister and Prime Minister. He is also forced to fire SHIMADA Shigetaro who had been serving as Navy Chief of Staff and Navy Minister.
July 18, 1944 TŌJŌ resigns as Prime Minister and is soon forced to resign as Army Minister. KOISO Kuniaki becomes Prime Minister.
November 1, 1944 Allied air raids begin over Tōkyō on a major scale.
February 1, 1945 Stalin secretly pledges to CHURCHILL and ROOSEVELT at Yalta that he will enter the war against Japan when Germany is defeated.
March 9, 1945 Air raids over Tōkyō kill over 100,000 people and burn down most of the city.
April 2, 1945 KOISO is forced to resign as Prime Minister when Hirohito learns that he had been negotiating with China to end hostilities there in order to bring those troops back to Japan. (Retired Admiral) SUZUKI Kantaro becomes Prime Minister.
April 1, 1945 American troops land on Okinawa Island. The Soviet Union informs Japan that it will not renew the Soviet-Japanese neutrality pact when it expires. SUZUKI Kantaro becomes Prime Minister. Harry TRUMAN becomes President of the U.S.
May 7, 1945 Germany surrenders to the allies.
June 20, 1945 Okinawa falls to the Allies. In addition to the military casualties, some 120,000 civilians also died.
Late June 1945 Japan approaches the Soviet Union offering concessions in return for a non-aggression pact. The offer is politely refused.
Mid July 1945 Japan asks the Soviet Union to mediate an end to the war in any way short of an unconditional surrender. Due to a secret promise made by Stalin to the Allies at Yalta, this is refused, but only after stalling for weeks.
July 26, 1945 The U.S., Great Britain, and China issue the Potsdam Declaration calling for Japan to immediately and unconditionally surrender or to suffer prompt and utter destruction. CHURCHILL looses to ATTLEE in Great Britain general elections.
July 27, 1945 Japan's Supreme War Guidance Council meets to discuss the Potsdam Declaration. They decide to do nothing as they had still not heard from the Soviet Union about their request for mediation. On government orders, the Asahi Newspaper calls the declaration "a thing of no great value."
August 6, 1945 The US drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Shock freezes the Japanese government into complete inaction.
August 8, 1945 The Soviet Union declares war on Japan and its troops enter Manchuria. They also take over the Kuril Islands, four small islands just north of Hokkaido.
August 9, 1945 US drops atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Japan's Supreme War Guidance council meets & splits 3 in favor of immediate acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration & 3 against. War Minister & Army & Navy Chiefs of Staff argue that all is not yet lost & they should hold out in attempts to get more favorable conditions from the allies. In a gozen kaigi later that night, emperor decides it is time to surrender. After a meeting of the cabinet, telegrams are sent to the Allies signaling their acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration.
August 14, 1945 Hirohito records his surrender speech late at night. Later still, one last attempt to halt the surrender was made with a coup by Junior army officers. It is finally put down early the the next morning.
August 15, 1945 The Emperor's surrender speech is broadcast by radio message, telling the people for the first time that Japan will end the war for humanitarian reasons. (He never actually admits that Japan is surrendering.)
August 16, 1945 HIGASHIKUNI Naruhiko becomes Prime Minister.
April 28, 1905 Japan Communist Party holds its first legal Congress after the war.
September 1, 1945 Prewar women's movement leaders petition the government to grant woman suffrage.
September 2, 1945 Japan formally surrenders aboard the USS Missouri. Occupation under Douglas MACARTHUR as SCAP begins. (SCAP offices open in Tokyo on October 18th)
September 8, 1945 General MACARTHUR arrives in Tōkyō
September 27, 1945 MACARTHUR and Emperor Hirohito meet for the first time in MacArthur's personal residence. (They meet 10 times over the years)
October 4, 1945 MACARTHUR orders the government to remove all restrictions on political, cival, and religious liberties.
October 5, 1945 When SCAP tells HIGASHIKUNI to dismiss his Interior Ministry because he had been (was) a militarist, HIGASHIKUNI refuses and resigns from office. SHIGEMITSU Mamoru becomes Prime Minister.
October 1, 1945 Minister of Agriculture and Forestry proposes land reform plan. Diet passes Trade Union Law which guaranteed right to organize, bargain collectively, and to strike.
November 1, 1945 Japan Socialist Party is formed. First nationwide woman's organization is established.
November 13, 1945 Emperor Hirohito reports the 'end of the war' to the Grand Shrine of Ise, to Emperor Jimmu's mausoleum in Unebi, Nara Prefecture, and to Emperor Meiji's mausoleum in Momoyama, Kyōto Prefecture.
Nov-Dec 1, 1945 The Japan Liberal Party, the Japan Progressive Party, and the Japan Cooperative Party formed
December 15, 1945 Disestablishment of State Shinto.
December 1, 1945 First Land Reform Act passed by Diet at the end of the month (although it proved defective).
April 29, 1905 Adoption of popular elections to elect provincial governers instead of appointment by the central government. Abolition of the Ministry of Interior.
January 1, 1946 The Rescript to Promote the National Destiny, a message from the emperor to the people, is printed in newspapers nationwide. In it, the emperor affirms the ideals of the 1868 Charter Oath and denounces his divinity (kind of, sort of, depending on how you read it).
January 1, 1946 Many prewar conservative politicians are purged from government and barred from holding political office. This includes HATOYAMA Ichirō, founder and first president of the Liberal Party.
February 19, 1946 Emperor Hirohito make his first, of many, trips out to mingle with the people. On this trip he tours a factory and black market in Yokohama.
March 6, 1946 A draft of a new constitution, rewritten and based on Anglo-American legal traditions, is presented to the public. Both Japanese government and non-government groups had been preparing drafts since October but the final government version was deemed by SCAP to contain nothing but superficial changes to the original Meiji Constitution. SCAP, therefore, wrote their own version and presented it to the public as having been written by the Japanese government.
April 3, 1946 The Far Eastern Commission exempts Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal
April 10, 1946 The first Diet elections in which women are empowered to vote takes place. 79 women entered as candidates; 39 were elected. Four communist party members also won Diet seats. In total, voters had to choose between 2,770 candidates (95% of which had never held public office) representing 363 different political parties.
May 3, 1946 IMFTE War Crimes trials begin in Tōkyō. Neither Hirohito nor anyone associated with Unit 731 (the biological and chemical weapons unit) are indicted.
May 22, 1946 YOSHIDA Shigeru (of the Liberal Party) becomes Prime Minister.
June 18, 1946 Prosecuters at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East publicly announce their exemption of Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal.
June 21, 1946 The emperor formally submits the new constitution to the Diet for consideration. It is submitted by the emperor as an 'amendment' to the Meiji constitution - even though the emperor had no involvement in the drafting of it and even though it was not an amendment, but a complete rewriting.
August 1, 1946 Two labor federations are established: the Sōdōmei (All Japan General Federation of Trade Unions), an anti-communist, socialist-led organization, and the Sanbetsu (National Congress of Industrial Unions), a communist-led organization.
September 20, 1946 Diet passes the Labor Relations Adjustment Law.
October 21, 1946 Revised land reform enacted with passage of the second Land Reform Act by the Diet.
November 3, 1946 The emperor announces the promulgation of the new constitution.
January 31, 1947 An ongoing campaign for a strike by all government workers forces the end of the YOSHIDA cabinet (although SCAP intervened and forbid the strike before it actually occured) .
March 1, 1947 The US announces the Truman Doctrine.
March 31, 1947 The Diet passes the Fundamental Law of Education, which liberalized the curriculum and promoted coeducational egalitarianism.
April 1, 1947 General elections are held.
May 3, 1947 The new constitution takes effect.
May 1, 1947 KATAYAMA Tetsu (of the Socialist Party) becomes Prime Minister. (Coalition cabinet with socialist prime minister)
September 1, 1947 The Ministry of Labor is established.
December 1, 1947 The Diet passes the Law for Elimination of Excessive Concentration of Economic Power, thus giving the Holding Company Liquidation Commission (HCLC) the power to dissolve the Zaibatsu.
January 1, 1948 Decentralization Review Board (DRB) set up to review HCLC orders and corporate reorganization plan. (This in effect started the end of the decentralization and corporate dissolution plans)
February 1, 1948 HCLC designates 325 companies as chargeable under the new liquidation law and order their dissolution.
February 10, 1948 Cabinet falls when head of the budget committee in the Diet rejects Supplementary Budget. KATAYAMA resigns.
March 1, 1948 ASHIDA Hitoshi (of the Socialist Party) becomes Prime Minister.
June 1, 1948 Diet votes to annul the Imperial Rescript on Education.
July 1, 1948 After much political maneuvering and back room negotiations, HCLC ammends previous list and reduces the number of companies to be dissolved to 100 and excludes all banks from the list entirely. (Thus begins the "reverse course")
October 1, 1948 ASHIDA is implicated in a major government-wide (and SCAP) corruption scandal involving a fertilizer company (The Shōwa Denkō Scandal). He resigns and is arrested. YOSHIDA Shigeru (of the Liberal Party) becomes Prime Minister.
November 12, 1948 The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal announces its verdict. While the final verdict was unanimous, several justices submitted individual dissenting opinions.
December 1, 1948 All but nine companies are removed by the DRB from the HCLC list of companies subject to deconcentration.
December 19, 1948 The US National Security Council issues the Nine-Point Program. These are nine principles of economic stabalization that were to be imposed on Japan and its economy.
May 2, 1905 In general elections, the Communist Party increases the number of seats they hold from 4 to 35.
February 1, 1949 Joseph DODGE (a Detroit banker) is appointed by Washington and sent to Japan to implement the Nine-Point Program.
April 23, 1949 DODGE unilaterally announces a single fixed exchange rate of 360 yen/dollar (and then leaves the country in a week).
May 1, 1949 The Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Board of Trade are merged to create the Ministry of Internatiional Trade and Industry (MITI).
May 3, 1905 Statistical Interlude: Population - 83,200,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 59.6 (m), 63.0 (f); Real GNP - ¥1,611,500,000,000
May 3, 1905 Alarmed at the growth of Communist power, SCAP purges leaders of the Communist Party and ban the publication of their party paper, Akahata (Red Flag).
June 25, 1950 Outbreak of the Korean War as North Korea attacks the South.
July 8, 1950 MACARTHUR orders the Japanese government to create a 75,000-man Police Reserve Corps (most countries called it an army) and to add 8,000 men to the already existing Maritime Safety Corps. (Washington was secretly asking Japan to build an army of between 300,000-350,000 but YOSHIDA refused)
April 11, 1951 MACARTHUR is dismissed by President TRUMAN. General Matthew RIDGEWAY is appointed as his relacement as Supreme Commander Allied Powers (SCAP).
April 15, 1951 MACARTHUR leaves Japan.
June 1, 1951 Political purges end and prewar conservatives flood back into government. These newly returned politicians, led by HATOYAMA, find it hard to work with the YOSHIDA led faction. Eventually they break off and form the Democratic Party with Hatoyama as its president.
September 8, 1951 International Peace Treaty, signed by forty-eight nations in San Francisco, brings Japan back into the international family. WWII officially ends for Japan, and Japan regains its status as an independent country. Necessity for Japan to pay any further reparations is abolished. At the same time, the U.S. and Japan sign a mutual Security Treaty.
October 1, 1951 Socialist Party splits into Left and Right Socialist Parties. (Left party opposed both the Peace Treaty and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty while the Right party approved the Peace Treaty but opposed the Security Treaty.)
April 28, 1952 U.S. occupation of Japan officially ends. Security Treaty (with attached administrative agreements) goes into effect.
June 2, 1952 Emperor Hirohito travels to the Grand Shrine at Ise to report the signing of the peace treaty and Japan's sovereignty to Amaterasu.
July 1, 1952 Diet passes the Prevention of Subversive Activities Law.
July 28, 1953 Ceasefire agreement signed in P'anmunjom, Korea.
July 1, 1954 Mitsubuishi completes process of rebuilding Mitsubishi Shoji from companies that had been part of the Mitsubishi Zaibatsu.
December 1, 1954 YOSHIDA loses vote of confidence in Diet and resigns. HATOYAMA Ichiro (of the Democratic Party) becomes Prime Minister.
October 1, 1955 Left and Right Socialist Parties reunite and form single party (Nihon Shakaitō).
November 1, 1955 Conservatives (the Liberal and the Democratic parties), now faced with a united Socialist party and under pressure from the corporate world, merge to form the Liberal Democratic Party (Jiminto). Thus, for the first time in the postwar period, Japan has a two party political system.
April 1, 1956 Mitsui Bussan completes process of reassembling into one all of the companies that had originally been part of the Mitsui Zaibatsu (a process started in February 1949).
December 1, 1956 HATOYAMA resigns. ISHIBASHI Tanzan becomes Prime Minister. Japan admitted into the United Nations.
February 1, 1957 ISHIBASHI resigns due to bad health. KISHI Nobusuke becomes Prime Minister. It is interesting to note that after WWII Kishi had been imprisoned as a Class A war criminal, but never went to trial.
May 13, 1905 Statistical Interlude: Population - 93,419,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 65.3 (m), 70.2 (f); Real GNP - ¥65,145,400,000,000
January 1, 1960 U.S. and Japan renegotiate 1952 security treaty and replace it with new, revised Treaty of Mutual Security and Cooperation. Forty moderate socialists leave the Japan Socialist Party (Shakaito) to form the Democratic Socialist Party (Minshu Shakaito).
June 23, 1960 Treaty of Mutual Security and Cooperation goes into effect after US Senate ratification. President EISENHOWER trip to Japan canceled due to the large number of violent student demonstrations in Tōkyō against the treaty.
July 1, 1960 IKEDA Hayato becomes Prime Minister.
September 1, 1960 Announcement of IKEDA's income doubling plan for the decade.
April 1, 1964 Japan joins the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
October 1, 1964 Summer Olympic Games held in Tōkyō.
November 1, 1964 Soka Gakkai (lay Nichiren Buddhist organization) forms Clean Government Party (Komeito).
November 1, 1964 IKEDA diagnosed with cancer and resigns from office. SATO Eisaku becomes Prime Minister.
October 1, 1968 KAWABATA Yasunari awarded Nobel Prize for Literature.
May 23, 1905 Statistical Interlude: Population - 93,419,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 65.3 (m), 70.2 (f); Real GNP - ¥171,292,600,000,000
July 1, 1971 Japan suffers the first "Nixon Shock" as President NIXON announces that he will make a sate visit to China.
August 1, 1971 Japan suffers the second "Nixon Shock" as he announces that the dollar is no longer convertible into gold and imposes a 10% surcharge on all imports into the U.S.
December 1, 1971 Exchange rate of Yen changed to 308 yen/dollar in Smithsonian Agreement
February 1, 1972 Winter Olympic Games held in Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido.
May 1, 1972 The United States returns control of Okinawa to Japan. Okinawa becomes the 47th prefecture.
July 1, 1972 TANAKA Kakuei becomes Prime Minister (after bribing all possible LDP Diet members so that they would elect him as party president)
Oct 1973-Jan 1, 1974 Japan suffers the first "oil shock" as the price of oil increases four-fold over four months.
November 26, 1974 TANAKA resigns as Prime Minister after months of public charges of corrupt politics. While he resigns as prime minister, LDP party president, and LDP party member, he refuses to give up his seat in the Diet. He continues to control the party and succeeding prime ministers from behind the scenes until just before his death.
December 1, 1974 MIKI Takeo becomes Prime Minister. Ex-Prime Minister Sato Eisaku awarded Nobel Peace Prize.
June 1, 1976 KONO Yohei and other LDP members leave the party to form the New Liberal Club (NLC) in response to Tanaka's continually scandal ridden government.
July 27, 1976 TANAKA Kakue is arrested for accepting bribes from the Lockheed Corporation. He spends 21 days in the Tokyo Detention House before being released on bail.
December 1, 1976 MIKI suffers from an internal LDP coup and is ousted from the Prime Ministership because many LDP members felt he should have done more to protect TANAKA. FUKUDA Takeo becomes Prime Minister.
January 1, 1977 Trial opens for former Prime Minister TANAKA - charged with accepting bribes from the Lockheed Corporation.
May 31, 1905 A group of right-wing socialists leave the Japan Socialist Party (Shakaito) to form the United Social Democratic Party (USDP)
October 1, 1978 Japan suffers from second "oil shock" as price of oil increase dramatically overnight.
December 1, 1978 ŌHIRA Masayoshi becomes Prime Minister
January 1, 1979 Institution of the first uniform national university entrance exams.
May 1, 1979 ŌHIRA suffers defeat in a no confidence vote presented in the lower house by the Socialist Party. He dissolves the lower house and a campaign begins for new elections. ŌHIRA dies during the campaign.
June 2, 1905 Statistical Interlude: Population - 117,060,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 73.4 (m), 78.8 (f); Real GNP - ¥266,633,500,000,000
July 1, 1980 SUZUKI Zenko becomes Prime Minister
November 1, 1982 NAKASONE Yasuhiro becomes Prime Minister (his cabinet is frequently referred to as the 'Tanakasone Cabinet.').
October 12, 1983 Former Prime Minister TANAKA found guilty of accepting bribes in his long running court case. He is given a sentence of 4 years in prison and a 500 million yen fine, but he immediately appeals the sentence and is released on bail. He again refuses to give up his seat in the diet.
November 1, 1983 Since opposition Diet members couldn't force TANAKA to resign his Diet seat, and the LDP was unwilling to pressure him into doing so, national elections are called for to make the voters decide what to do with TANAKA.
December 1, 1983 The LDP loses its majority in the lower house in elections. However, TANAKA is reelected by a record landslide vote in Niigata Prefecture and the overall power of TANAKA's gundan in the Diet increased. The LDP and NAKASONE form coalition with the New Liberal Club (NLC) and adds one NLC member to the cabinet.
January 1, 1985 TAKESHITA Noboru, KANEMARU Shin, & ŌZAWA Ichiro (of the Tanaka faction of the LDP) announce their intentions of breaking away from TANAKA by establishing the Future Creative Society (Sōsei-kai).
February 26, 1985 TANAKA suffers a stroke. This debilitates him enough that he loses all power to the TAKESHITA, KANEMARU, ŌZAWA team. The Tanaka faction in the Diet effectively becomes the Takeshita faction - with KANEMARU, TAKESHITA, and ŌZAWA as the behind the scene power brokers and controlling the Diet until 1993.
June 8, 1905 New Liberal Club disbanded and members rejoin the LDP
November 1, 1987 TAKESHITA Noboru becomes Prime Minister
June 10, 1905 A 3% consumption tax is instituted.
January 7, 1989 Death of Hirohito (Shōwa) and enthronement of Akihito (Heisei).
Heisei Period (1989-Present)
January 7, 1989 Death of Hirohito (Shōwa) and the beginning of the Heisei Period.
April 25, 1989 TAKESHITA resigns as Prime Minister after it is proven that he (and dozens of other politicians and bureaucrats) had received bribes from the Recruit Company.
June 1, 1989 UNO Sosuke becomes Prime Minister
July 1, 1989 The LDP loses its majority for the first time in the Upper House of the Diet. It captures only 36 of the 126 seats up for reelection.
August 1, 1989 KAIFU Toshiki becomes Prime Minister
June 12, 1905 Statistical Interlude: Population - 123,611,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 75.9 (m), 81.9 (f); Real GNP - ¥401,812,300,000,000
August 2, 1990 Iraq invades Kuwait, thus beginning the Persian Gulf crisis and war. Japan has a very difficult time deciding how to participate in the war given the constraints of the "Peace Constitution."
November 1, 1991 MIYAZAWA Kiichi becomes Prime Minister
May 1, 1992 HOSOKAWA Morihiro forms the Japan New Party. He was formerly of the LDP but had resigned and spent the past eight years as the governor of Kumamoto Prefecture on Kyūshū.
October 1, 1992 KANEMARU Shin is forced to resign his Diet seat after it is proven that he (and dozens of other politicians and bureaucrats) had received bribes from the Sagawa Kyubin Company.
December 1, 1992 ŌZAWA Ichiro and 42 supporters leave the TAKESHITA faction and start their own within the LDP.
June 18, 1993 The MIYAZAWA cabinet looses a no-confidence vote in the lower house, thus forcing a dissolution of the government and new lower house elections.
June 1, 1993 ŌZAWA Ichiro, HATA Tsutomu, and 43 others leave the LDP and form the Japan Renewal Party (Shinseitō). TAAKEMURA Masayoshi and 9 others leave the LDP and form the New Harbinger Party (Shintō Sakegaki).
July 1, 1993 The LDP loses its majority in the lower house for the first time since 1955. (Although they remain the largest single party). Eight opposition parties (with little in common) form a coalition government with ŌZAWA Ichiro, who had led the oposition away from the LDP, brokering power and making the decisions from behind the scenes.
August 6, 1993 HOSOKAWA Morihiro (leader of Japan New Party and member of opposition coalition) is chosen by ŌZAWA to become the Prime Minister, thus ending LDP rule for the first time since 1955.
December 1, 1993 TANAKA Kakue dies
April 8, 1994 HOSOKAWA is forced out of office after it is proven that he had received bribes from the Sagawa Kyubin Company. ŌZAWA chooses HATA Tsutomu (of the opposition coalition) as the next Prime Minister. New Party Sakigake (Shintō Sakigake) is formed.
April 1, 1994 MURAYAMA Tomiichi, as head of the party, takes the Socialist Party out of the ruling coalition in protest of the way ŌZAWA is marginalizing it.
June 1, 1994 The opposition coalition disintegrates. The LDP and the Socialist Party form a coalition allowing the LDP to retake power in the lower house of the Diet. TAKESHITA chooses MURAYAMA (of the Socialist Party) as the Prime Minister. (This is the first socialist PM since 1948, and the Socialist Party had to abandon almost every plank they ever stood for in order to work with the LDP.)
June 27, 1994 The Aum Shinrikyo religious cult under the leadership of ASAHARA Shoko (Chizuo MATSUMOTO) releases deadly sarin gas in the town of Matsumoto (Naganoken) killing seven people and injuring hundreds more.
December 1, 1994 The New Frontier Party (Shinshinto) is formed from a merger of Japan Renewal Party (Shinseito), the Democratic Socialist Party (Minshu Shakaito), the Japan New Party, Clean Government Party (Komeito) and five other parties and splinter groups (excluding the Japanese Communist Party). It is led by ŌZAWA.
January 17, 1995 An earthquake of magnitude 7.2 strikes the Kobe area (Hyogoken/Nambu) causing $100 Billion in property losses and killing over 5,000 people.
March 20, 1995 The Aum Shinrikyo religious cult under the leadership of ASAHARA Shoko (Chizuo MATSUMOTO) releases deadly sarin gas in the Tokyo subway system killing a dozen people and injuring thousands more.
August 15, 1995 On the aniversary of the end of WWII, MURAYAMA defies LDP tradition and makes the first official apology to other Asian countries for Japan's wartime atrocities.
December 1, 1995 The Citizens Action League (five lower house members) is formed by members of the former Japan New Party and Social Democratic Party. The Liberal League is founded (related to the LDP).
January 1, 1996 MURAYAMA resigns and HASHIMOTO Ryutaro (of the Takeshita faction of the LDP) becomes Prime Minister after a parlimentary vote. He defeats ŌZAWA (as leader of the opposition party) in a reasonably close vote - possibly the first time the winner of a vote for Prime Minister wasn't known before the vote was cast.
The New Socialist Party (Shin-Shakaitō) is formed by former Social Democratic Party members.
September 1, 1996 The Democratic Party (Minshutō) is formed by HOSOKAWA and KAN Naoto. (Many Minshutō members are liberal ex-members of the Social Democratic Party, Sakigake and the parliamentary group Citizens Action League)
December 1, 1996 HATA Tsutomu and 12 Diet members resign from the New Frontier Party (Shinshintō) and form the Taiyo Party (Taiyotō).
April 1, 1997 The Consumption tax is raised from 3% to 5% over loud public outcry.
December 1, 1997 The Shinshintō is disbanded with the formation of several new parties, among them the Liberal Party (Jiyutō), the New Fraternity Party (Shintō Yuai), the Voice of the People Party (Kokumin no Koe), and the New Peace Party (Shintō Heiwa).
January 1, 1998 The Taiyo Party, From Five Party, and Voice of the People Party merge to form the Good Governance Party (Minseitō).
January 8, 1998 Six parties: the Democratic Party (Minshutō), the New Fraternity Party (Shintō-Yuai), Voice of the People (Kokumin-no-koe), the Taiyo Party (Taiyo-tō), From Five, and the Democratic Reform Party (Minshu-Kaikaku-Rengo) merge to form Minyuren (Minshu-Yuai-Taiyo-Kokumin-Rengo)
February 1, 1998 The Winter Olympic games are held in, and around, Nagano.
March 12, 1998 The Good Governance Party (Minseitō), New Fraternity Party (Shintō-Yuai), and the Democratic Reform Party agree to merge with the Democratic Party (Minshutō), forming a new, bigger Minshutō.
June 1, 1998 HASHIMOTO resigns as Prime Minister after disappointing results for the LDP in Upper House elections.
July 1, 1998 OBUCHI Keizo (of the LDP) becomes new Prime Minister.
October, 1999 Sumitomo Bank and Sakura Bank announce plans to merge
November 1, 1998 The LDP (led by OBUCHI) and the Liberal Party (led by ŌZAWA Ichiro) form a coalition.
April-May 1999 I walk the Shikoku Pilgrimage around the island of Shikoku, taking 54 days to visit all 88 main temples and the 20 associated bangai temples.
September 30, 1999 A nuclear accident occurs at a uranium processing facility in Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture (140 km northeast of Tokyo). It is rated as a 4 (on an international scale of 0 to 7), exposes at least 70 people to various levels of radiation, and ends up taking the lives of two.
October 6, 1999 The Liberal Democratic Party (Jimintō), Liberal Party (Jiyutō), and Clean Government Party (Komeitō) form a coalition government.
April 1, 2000 ŌZAWA Ichiro announces that the Liberal Party is leaving the government coalition. Most party members follow him, but some remain.
April 2, 2000 Prime Minister OBUCHI suffers a stroke and falls into a coma. LDP Chief Cabinet Secretary AOKI Mikio temporarily takes governmental control while the LDP elects a new party president.
April 5, 2000 MORI Yoshiro is elected LDP party president and therefore replaces OBUCHI as Prime Minister.
May 14, 2000 OBUCHI Keizo dies in his Juntendo, Tōkyō hospital.
June 2, 2000 Opposition parties file a motion of no confidence against the MORI government in the Lower House of the Diet. In response, MORI dissolves the lower house in preparation for elections secheduled for June 25th, thus avoiding a vote on the motion.
June 15, 2000 Empress Dowager Nagako dies at the Imperial medical facility in Tōkyō. The first daughter of Kuni Kunihiko, a descendant of a 13th century emperor, she was chosen as Hirohito's wife when she was 14 years old.
June 19, 2000 Former Prime Minister TAKESHITA Noboru dies of respiratory failure in a Tōkyō hospital.
June 25, 2000 The LDP and its partners Komeitō and the Conservative party (Hoshutō) win 271 seats of 480 total in lower house elections (down 65 seats from pre-electioin totals), thus giving them a majority and keeping the LDP in power. MORI is reconfirmed as Prime Minister.
July 19, 2000 A new 2000 Yen bill is released into circulation by the bank of Japan. This is the first release of a new banknote since 1958.
September, 2000 Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, Fuji Bank, and The Industrial Bank of Japan (IBJ) agree to merge and set up a joint stock holding company. The new bank will be called The Mizuho Financial Group.
November 20, 2000 Prime Minister MORI survives a no confidence motion (Fushinninan) submitted to the Lower House by the opposition parties. He survives solely because the KATO faction of the LDP decides at the last minute to abstain from voting instead of voting for the motion as they had been threatening.
February 9, 2001 The U.S.S. Greeneville, a US nuclear submarine, collides with the Ehime Maru, a Japanese fishing trawler and training ship for high school students, in waters near Honolulu, Hawaii. Nine people on the Ehime Maru die as the trawler sinks within minutes and the bodies have not been recovered.
March 5, 2001 Prime Minister MORI survives another no confidence motion (Fushinninan) submitted to the Lower House by the opposition parties. However, reports are now surfacing that he will announce his resignation before the start of the LDP party convention on the 13th.
March 10, 2001 MORI announces that the LDP will hold emergency party presidential elections in April, well before they are due in September, indicating his intention to step down then.
March 13, 2001 The LDP announces that even though emergency party presidential elections will be held in April to replace MORI, normal elections will be held again in September. I.E., whoever replaces MORI in April is only temporary.
March 13, 2001 Opposition parties submit a non-binding censure motion against MORI in the upper house.
March 14, 2001 MORI survives as the censure motion against him in the upper house is voted down. It seems a bit bizzarre that the coalition parties have now voted down two no confidence motions and a censure motion - yet as soon as they vote in favor of MORI they turn around and tell him that he needs to resign.
March 26, 2001 Prime Minister MORI and Russian President PUTIN sign an accord which says that both countries recognize the validity of a previously signed 1956 joint document agreeing to the return of two northern islands to Japan. It appears that Russia is agreeing to return Shikotan and Hakomai to Japan, but saying that they have no intention of returning Etorofu and Kunashiri.
April 5, 20001 MORI formally announces his resignation. Elections for a new President of the LDP, and hence new Prime Minister, are scheduled for April 24th.
April 24, 2001 KOIZUMI Junichiro wins the post of LDP Party President (on his 3rd attempt) by a landslide and will become the new Prime Minister in a Diet Session on the 26th. At his first news conference he comments that he wants to ammend Article 9 of the constitution and make it clear that the SDF is Japan's armed forces and that Japan has the right to defend itself.
April 26, 2001 KOIZUMI is elected the 87th Prime Minister in the Diet and then appointed by the Emperor. Expectations of him are enormous!
June 24, 2001 The LDP wins the majority of seats in Tokyo Metropolitan elections, increasing the number of seats they hold by 5 to 53. This seems to augur well for House of Councillors elections coming up in July.
July 1, 2001 This has been another bad month for the Japanese economy. Now in their 11th year of slumps, recessions, and overal bad performance, the stock market dropped to a 16 year low and the unemployment rate is at an all time high of 4.9%.
On the political front, the month hasn't been that much better. Over the course of the past several months there have been three major scandals in the Foreign Ministry involving the misuse (theft) of public funds. Then, KOIZUMI has vowed that he will visit Yasukuni Shrine on August 15th to commemorate those that gave their lives to end WWII (and ignoring the fact that Class A war criminals have been enshrined there as well). And finally, KOIZUMI seems to have approved (through his refusal to criticize or condemn it) the printing and release of a new history textbook that seems to whitewash many of the more atrocious acts that Japan was involved in during WWII. The government simply says there is nothing they can do when China and South Korea complain about the ommissions and whitewash. It is now up to the local school districts to decide if they will use the new text, but South Korea has already cancelled several planned political and military meetings with Japan.
July 29, 2001 In Upper House elections, the LDP, Komeitō, and Conservative parties maintain their majority, and hence control. The LDP picks up 3 extra seats, Komeitō breaks even, and the Conservative party loses 2 seats. Both the Democratic party and the Freedom party gain seats at the expense of the Communist and Social Democratic parties. KOIZUMI vows to carry on with the reforms he has promised, even if it splits up the LDP.
August 1, 2001 In the ever worsening political situation between Japan and South Korea, South Korea has begun fishing off the coast of the four islands north of Hokkaidō claimed by both Japan and Russia. Japan says this is an infringement of their territorial rights but South Korea claims that they have the right under agreements with the Russian government. In retaliation, Japan will forbid them from fishing in other Japanese waters.
August 1, 2001 Not to be outdone by the national government's seeming tilt towards mild nationalism, the Wakayama Prefectural government has decided that it can no longer tolerate the presence of 'non-Japanese' monkeys in the prefecture's forests. A plan will now be drawn up on how to go about catching and eliminating the approximately 200 such foreigners.
August 10, 2001 KOIZUMI wins reelection as LDP party president (he runs unopposed), assuring his continued role as Prime Minister.
August 11, 2001 New population figures show that Japan's population is now up to 126,284,805, an increase of 0.17% from the previous year.
August 13, 2001 In an attempt to find a compromise with both Japanese and foreign critics of his planned visit to Yasukuni Shrine on the 15th, KOIZUMI makes a surprise visit today instead. As expected, this seems to have satisfied nobody, but it looks as if China and South Korea are not imposing any sanctions in return.
August 17, 2001 The Nikkei sinks to yet another 16 year low. Days after the Bank of Japan eased its money policies to inject more cash into the economy, people have decided that that isn't going to help.
August 23, 2001 New unemployment figures show that 4.7% of women and 5.2% of men are now out of work. This is a new record high.
August 27, 2001 As another display of is anger with KOIZUMI's visit to Yasukuni Shrine and the government's approval of the new right-wing history textbook for middle schools, South Korea has refused KOIZUMI's request to go to Soeul to discuss the issues.
August 27, 2001 Toshiba and Hitachi announce that they will each lay off about 20,000 employees.
August 28-30, 2001 For three consecutive days, the Nikkei Stock Market closes at new 17 year lows.
September 10, 2001 The Nikkei Stock Market closes at yet another new 17 year low.
September 11, 2001 Terrorists hijack and crash commercial airplanes into both towers of the World Trade Center in New York City causing them to collapse. Thousands of people are killed, including 24 Japanese.
September 12, 2001 The Nikkei Stock Market closes at yet another new 17 year low, due this time, in large part, to the forced closure of Wall Street and the uncertainty of what the terrorist attack will do to the U.S. economy.
September 19, 2001 Japan announces that it will assist a U.S. retaliation against terrorists (and attack against Afghanistan) by deploying SDF forces and ships to the region around Afghanistan to support logistics in the areas of medicine, transportation, and supply.
October 8, 2001 Prime Minister KOIZUMI travels to China and meets Chinese leaders in Beijing in an attempt to smooth relations between the two countries.
October 15, 2001 Prime Minister KOIZUMI visits Seoul, South Korea, in an attempt to smooth relations between the two countries.
November 8, 2001 Japan dispaches two destroyers and a supply ship to the Indian Ocean to support US forces fighting in Afganistan. This is the first time for Japan to send military ships outside of her own waters since the end of WWII.
December 6, 2001 Economic data released for the second quarter of the fiscal year shows that Japan is once again officially in recession.
June 1, 2002 Japan and Korea co-host the 2002 FIFA World Cup games with matches taking place throughout Japan.
September 1, 2002 Prime Minister KOIZUMI visits North Korea. While there KIM Jung Il admits that North Koreans had previously kidnapped Japanese nationals in Japan. They were brought to North Korea as wives for Japanese radicals living in North Korea and to teach Japanese language and customs to North Korean spys who would operate in Japan.
October 1, 2002 North Korea allows 5 Japanese who had been kdnapped 20 years ago to return to Japan. Their children were not allowed to accompany them and they were supposed to go back to North Korea, but the Japanese government convinced them that they couldn't.
September 1, 2003 The Liberal Party (led by Ichiro ŌZAWA) merges with the Democratic Party of Japan (led by Yukio HATOYAMA and Naoto KAN).
March 1, 2004 Japan dispaches Army Self Defense Forces to Samawah, in southern Iraq. This is the first time troops have been deployed to an active war zone since WWII. Their work will focus on humanitarian efforts such as building and water, and even though they will carry weapons, they will not take part in combat operations and will be protected by soldiers from other countries, mainly Britain.
May 1, 2004 Prime Minister KOIZUMI travels to North Korea to discuss the familes of kidnapped Japanese still in North Korea. When he returns to Japan, the children of two of the couples that returned from North Korea in October 2002 come back to Japan with him.
July 1, 2005 Prime Minister KOIZUMI disolves the Diet and calls snap elections after the upper house votes down his plan to privatize the Postal System.
September 11, 2005 The LDP wins in a landslide in the elections, returning KOIZUMI to office with even more power. He vows to resubmit the Postal Privatization bills in the Diet and to punish diet members who voted against it the last time.
October 14, 2005 Bills finally pass both houses of the Diet allowing KOIZUMI to privatize the Postal System.
July 25, 2006 Japanese military troops are withdrawn from Iraq and return to Japan, thus ending a two and a half year mission in Southern Iraq. The mission was non-combat, and the troops focused on humanitarian work, but it had been the first time since WWII that Japanese troops had been deployed to a war zone.
September 6, 2006 The Crown Priunce's younger brother, Akishino, and his wife have a baby boy, the first male heir to the imperial throne born since the mid 1960's. He is named Hisahito and is now the third in line of succession to the throne.
September 26, 2006 Shinzo ABE is elected Prime Minister in LDP elections and replaces Junichiro KOIZUMI. He is the youngest Prime Minister to date and the first born after the end of WWII. At the start of his term, he supports continued strong ties with the US, a stronger, more assertive, Japanese military, a revision of Article 9 of the constitution, and continued economic reforms. He also says he will work to improve the strained relations Japan has with both China and South Korea, yet has not promised to avoid visiting Yasukuni Shrine.
July 29, 2007 The LDP takes a beating in Upper House elections and loses control of the Upper House for the first time since the end of World War II. The Democratic Party, led by Ichiro ŌZAWA, takes control of the house and vows to end Japan's involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shinzo ABE refuses to resign as Prime Minister to atone for the lose, which surprises many.
September 12, 2007 Shinzo ABE resigns as Prime Minister and checks himself into the hospital citing ill health from too much stress. The race begins to find a replacement.
September 25, 2007 Yasuo FUKUDA is elected Prime Minister. The Lower House voted to elect Fukuda, while the Upper House, controlled by the opposition Democratic Pary, elected Ichiro ŌZAWA. Japanese law says that the Lower House takes precedent if the two houses can not agree so FUKUDA was given the post.
November 1, 2007 Japan announces the expiration of the law that authorizes Japan to have ships in the Indian Ocean that refuel warships of other countries supporting fighting in Afghanistan. The DPJ, which controls the Upper House of the Diet, would not agree to an extension of the law, thus forcing the Japanese government to halt the operations and call their ships back to Japan.
November 4, 2007 Since taking office in September, Yasuo FUKUDA has been unable to get one bill passed in the Diet due to the opposition of the DPJ, which controls the Upper House. FUKUDA calls on the DPJ to form a coalition and Ichiro ŌZAWA, the DPJ leader, considers it, but other DPJ members force him to reject the idea. ŌZAWA resigns as DPJ party president.
November 6, 2007 Ichiro ŌZAWA, the DPJ leader, retracts his resignation as DPJ party president and agrees to stay on after fierce lobbying from other party members. It seems they were all worried that if he left others would follow and he would establish another party.
August 29, 2008 Several members of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the largest opposition party, have quit and started a new political party called the Reform Club. They say the DPJ has completely abused their control of the Upper House of the Diet and paralyzed the government.
September 1, 2008 Prime Minister Yasuo FUKUDA suddenly announces his resignation from office, saying that the only way to attain political reform is for him to leave and have and a new team of leaders take over.
September 22, 2008 Taro ASO wins LDP presidential elections and is named the new Prime Minister. With a gerneral election all but certain sometime in November, and Aso not overwhelmingly popular, speculation is that he may not hold the position long.
July 21, 2009 Taro ASO dissolves the Diet ahead of general elections that will take place on August 30. General opinion says that there is a good chance that the LDP will lose the election and the DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan) will win. Some political commentators are saying that this is the start of true "multi-party politics" in Japan.
July 26, 2009 Two Japanese riders are the first Japanese to finish the Tour de Frnace. A couple of riders had ridden in the Tour previously, but neither had been able to finish it. This year, Yukiya ARASHIRO and Fumi BEPPU accomplished that.
August 30, 2009 In today's lower house elections, the ruling Jimintō (LDP) and Kōmeitō block were completely overwhelmed. The LDP came into the election with 300 seats and ended up with only 119. Kōmeitō started with 31 and ended up with 21. Meanwhile, the Minshutō (DPJ) came into the election with 115 seats and finished with 308. When all is settled, it appears that the LDP/Kōmeitō block will become the opposition party and have 140 seats.The new ruling block of DPJ, Shamintō, and Kokumin Shintō will have 318. Taro ASO has tendered his resignation as president & head of the LDP. Yukio HATOYAMA, the leader of the DPJ, will be the next Prime Minister, but one unanswered question for now is what role will Ichiro ŌZAWA play in the new administration? Japanese politics just got interesting!
September 9, 2009 The Minshutō (Democratic Party, DPJ), Shamintō (Social Democratic Party, SDP), and Kokumin Shintō (People's New Party, PNP) come to agreement on enough issues that they agree to form a coalition. While the DPJ won enough seats to control the lower house, they need the coalition to control the upper house of the Diet. The two largest differences between them that remain unsolved are what to do with US military bases on Okinawa (move them to another location on Okinawa, move them to another location in Japan, kick them out of the country?) and whether or not to immediately end Japan's military refueling mission off the coast of Afghanistan in support of US/NATO forces.
September 15, 2009 Yukio HATOYAMA is formally elected Prime Minister.
January 15, 2010 Japan ends it's refuling mission in the Indian Ocean and it's military support of the war in Afghanistan. All ships are ordered to return to Japan.
May 28, 2010 After eight months of negotiations with the United States, Prime Minister HATOYAMA backs down from campaign pledges and agrees to keep US military bases on Okinawa. The official reason is greatly increased tensions on the Korean Penninsula. The base at Futenma, which Okinawans wanted moved off the island, will now move to Camp Schwab in a less populated part of the island.
May 29, 2010 Mizuho FUKUSHIMA, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, is dismissed from her cabinet post after she refuses to sign the agreement keeping US bases on Okinawa.
May 30, 2010 The Social Democratic Party withdraws from the coalition government in response to the new agreement allowing US military bases to remain on Okinawa. Despite their calls for him to step down, HATOYAMA says that he will remain in office and will lead the Democratic Party through Upper House elections coming in July.
June 2, 2010 Prime Minister HATOYAMA announces that he is resigning from office. At his request, Ichiro ŌZAWA, the Secretary General of the Democratic Party, and the architect of the DPJ's rise in power, is also resigning his position.
June 4, 2010 Naoto KAN, Finance Minister under ex-Prime Minister Yukio HATOYAMA, is elected Prime Minister. A few of his most immediate problems are an economy that refuses to grow, worsening deflation, a huge amount of public debt, a high unemployment rate, a rapidly aging population with one of the world's lowest birthrates, and convincing the people on Okinawa to accept the 2006 agreement between Japan and the U.S. regarding US military bases on the island.
July 6, 2010 For the first time since WWII, NHK, Japan's public broadcasting network, has said it will not broadcast the upcoming sumo tournament, scheduled to take place in Nagoya. This comes after evidence that many sumo wrestlers and coaches have been betting on baseball games. Given that the gambling is organized and run by the yakuza, this also brings up (again) the long-standing contention that the yakuza is heavily controlling aspects of sumo, including possible match rigging. Today, one top ranked wrestler (Kotomitsuki) and his coach have been banned for betting. All of this is in addition to other wrestlers who have recently been banned for marijuana use, the top yokozuna (Asashoryu) recently being forced to retire for bad behavior, a recent hazing death in one of the stables, and more. Sumo's reputation is in a shambles.
July 11 2010 In Upper House elections today, the ruling DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan) was thoroughly defeated and unable to hold a majority of the house seats. The most likely cause was the DPJ's call for a sales tax increase in order to bring down Japan's huge public debt. The public has not been very happy with that suggestion and today's vote proves it. Pressure is now on for Prime Minister KAN to resign, which, when it happens, will be the third change in leadership in a year.
March 11, 2011 A 9.0 magnitude earthquake followed by a resulting huge tsunami devastates the area around Fukushima Prefecture. Included in the damage is the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor facility, causing all 4 units to melt down and release radiation. Approximately 16,000 people die (mainly from the tsunami) and another 5,000 are missing. An area of 20 km (12 mi) around the site is evacuated and declared uninhabitable, and will probably remain so for decades.
August 26, 2011 Prime Minister Naoto KAN resigns. The process of choosing a new head of the DJP, and new prime minister, begins.
August 29, 2011 Finance Minister Yoshihiko NODA is elected the new head of the DJP and will be confirmed by the Diet as the new prime minister on August 30. Issues he must deal with include a stagnant economy, a huge national debt, a Yen that is too strong, cleanup of the Fukushima reactor facility and surrounding area, relocating the 100,000 people still living in temporary shelter since the tsunami that devastated Fukushima, and the perennial problem of an aging population and, hence, decreasing tax base.


JAPANESE SWORD SOCIETY OF HAWAII 2011