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Japan History Timeline

100 BC - 800
  • (100 BC) Yayoi migrated to Japan, imported rice, and iron, brought new language and religion
  • (0 AD) Shintoism became national religion
  • (250) Shintoist Shrine of Ise was built
  • (500) Japan adopted Chinese alphabet
  • (538) Buddhism was introduced
  • (550) Sun Dynasty ascended to throne, capital moved to Asuka Valley in central Yamato Plain
  • (593) Prince Shotoku became regent
  • (645) Kotoku became emperor
  • (710) Capital moved from Asuka to Nara
  • (724) Shomu became Emperor
  • (741) Emperor Shomu established provincial temples
  • (781) Kammu became Emperor
  • (794) Heian-kyo (Kyoto) became capital
1100 - 1600
  • (1181) Famine killed hundreds of thousands
  • (1192) Minamoto Yoritomo appointed Shogun, led government which became known as Shogunate
  • (1274) Mongols attempted an invasion, failed
  • (1281) Mongols again attempted invasion and failed
  • (1467) Civil war between feudal lords spread
  • (1542) Portuguese introduced firearms
1600 - 1800
  • (1603) Tokugawa Ieyasu named shogun, established Edo (Tokyo) shogunate
  • (1603) Tokugawa Shogunate divided population into classes, based on importance: lords, samurai, farmers, artisans, merchants
  • (1605) Ieyasu abdicated from office in favor of son and heir Tokugawa Hidetada
  • (1614) Christianity was banned
  • (1635) In Sakoku Edict of 1635, Japanese were restricted from traveling abroad, Europeans were not allowed entry into the country, penalties for practicing Catholicism were instituted and foreign trade was restricted
  • (1638) Shipbuilding was forbidden
  • (1641) The only foreigners allowed into Japan were the Chinese and Dutch
  • (1707) Mount Fuji erupted, ashes were spread as far as 60 miles (100 km) away
  • (1790) Neo-Confucianism became official philosophy
1800s
  • (1820) China and Japan accounted for approximately half of the world's GDP
  • (1853) U.S. Navy Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Uraga, demanded that Japan open up to trade
  • (1854) Japan and U.S. signed Treaty of Peace and Amity, two ports were opened for trade
  • (1855) Russia, Japan established diplomatic relations
  • (1862) Four British citizens were attacked and one killed, by guards on the Tokaido Road for not paying proper respect to a lord
  • (1864) British, French, Dutch, American warships bombed Choshu, forced Japan to open more ports for foreign trade
  • (1889) Constitution of Empire of Japan adopted
  • (1867) Edo shogunate failed
  • (1868) Meiji Emperor took over, major changes occurred in political and social systems
  • (1868) Edo renamed Tokyo
  • (1872) Railway built between Tokyo and Yokohama
  • (1873) Religious freedom was granted, Gregorian calendar adopted
  • (1894) Japan and China went to war, Japan declared victory in nine months
  • (1895) China ceded Taiwan to Japan, allowed trading
1900s
  • (1904) Japan went to war with Russia
  • (1910) Japan annexed Korea
  • (1912) Emperor Meiji died
  • (1914) Japan joined Britain and its allies in World War I
  • (1923) Great Kanto Earthquake destroyed Tokyo and Yokohama, more than 140,000 people killed
  • (1925) Universal male suffrage was introduced, number of voters increased from three to 12 million
  • (1926) Hirohito became emperor
  • (1927) Economy collapsed, Japan plunged into depression
  • (1931) Japan conquered Manchuria, renamed it, installed new puppet regime
  • (1932) Prime minister was assassinated by ultra-nationalist terrorists
  • (1936) Anti-Communist agreement signed with Germany
  • (1937) Anti-Communist agreement signed with Italy
  • (1937) Japan launched invasion of China
  • (1937) Japan captured Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing
  • (1937) Japanese forces committed major atrocities, including killing of 300,000 Chinese civilians
  • (1940) Japan became allies of Germany and Italy in World War II
  • (1941) Japan launched surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Naval Base in Hawaii, sunk 12 ships, damaged nine, nearly 2,500 people killed
  • (1941) U. S. and its allies declared war on Japan
  • (1942) Japan occupied Burma, Philippines, Dutch East Indies, Malaya
  • (1942) U.S. cut off Japanese support lines
  • (1945) U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima, Nagasaki

About Japan

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Japan prefectures & their capitals

Region Capital
Aichi Nagoya-shi
Akita Akita Shi
Aomori Aomori Shi
Chiba Chiba
Ehime Matsuyama
Fukui Fukui-shi
Fukuoka Fukuoka-shi
Fukushima Fukushima-shi
Gifu Gifu-shi
Gunma Maebashi-shi
Hiroshima Hiroshima-shi
Hokkaido Sapporo
Hyogo Kobe
Ibaraki Mito-shi
Ishikawa Kanazawa-shi
Iwate Morioka-shi
Kagawa Takamatsu-shi
Kagoshima Kagoshima-shi
Kanagawa Yokohama
Kochi Kochi-shi
Kumamoto Kumamoto
Kyoto Kyoto
Mie Tsu-shi
Miyagi Sendai-shi
Miyazaki Miyazaki-shi
Nagano Nagano-shi
Nagasaki Nagasaki-shi
Nara Nara-shi
Niigata Niigata-shi
Oita Oita
Okayama Okayama-shi
Okinawa Naha-shi
Osaka Osaka-shi
Saga Saga-shi
Saitama Saitama
Shiga Otsu-shi
Shimane Matsue-shi
Shizuoka Shizuoka-shi
Tochigi Utsunomiya-shi
Tokushima Tokushima-shi
Tokyo Tokyo
Tottori Tottori
Toyama Toyama-shi
Wakayama Wakayama-shi
Yamagata Yamagata-shi
Yamaguchi Yamaguchi-shi
Yamanashi Kofu-shi

Countries of Asia

This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.