Imagine rice cultivation to augment hunting and fishing,

Imagine passing dazziling temples and shrines
with red cherry blossom trees hanging high above it. Not many places in the
world have an enchanting landscape as beautiful as Japan. When people usually
hear the word “Japan” many are prone to say that Japan is a highly exquisite place.
In fact, Japan has a fascinating history, interesting current events and a rich
literary history that helps contribute to what everyone knows it today as modern
Japan. According to the website, US News,
Japan is known worldwide for its traditional arts including tea ceremonies,
calligrapghy and flower arranging. The country has a legacy of gardens,
sculptures and poetry.”

The Japanese history starts off
with many time periods that contributed to it’s culture. One of the most
prominent culturual periods in Japan was around the Jomon era. It is said in
the website, Jomon Archeological Sites, “Pottery was created just as the Jomon period began. Jomon people kneaded clay to create
pottery in shapes they liked and they learned to make strong containers through
chemical changes by applying heat.” This
helped shape the people in learning to find beauty in their piece of art work. In the area handbook series, Japan a country study, says “this period
is marked by a hunting, fishing, and food-gathering culture” (5).  As
this period of time was concluded the Yayoi period became its next substantial change
bringing in new inventions. The book confirms that, “During the Yayoi period
waves of immigrants came from China and Korea: these settlers introduced wet
rice cultivation to augment hunting and fishing, weaving, and the use of bronze
and iron implements.” Lucien Ellington adds, “People during the Yayoi period
produced a variety of implements, including jars and urns..and established some
sea trade with Korea and China” (17). Encyclopedia also states, “In the Yayoi Period, however, trade
flourished with cities holding precious resources and trading centers becoming
the largest settlements. The largest Yayoi settlement found was a trading
center named Asahi, in modern-day Aichi Prefecture, which covered 200 acres (c.
0.8 km²).”  Furthermore, in this era,
designing pottery was another creation the Yayoi people put time into. Not only
were they people of agriculture, but they were also people of fine art like the
Jomon people. By the time the Nara period had approached, Japan had already
found a sense of agriculture and sense of place. During this particular era Japan established its
first capital. Wa-Encycopedia
recognizes, “The Empress
Gemmei established the capital at Nara, also known as Heijo kyo, where it
remained the capital of Japanese civilization until the Emperor Kammu
established the new capital at Nagaoka (and, only a decade later, Heian, or
Kyoto).” It was also the beginning of temple establishments and according to
the acclaimed website, Wikipedia,

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major cultural development of the era was the permanent establishment of Buddhism. Buddhism was introduced by Baekje in the sixth century but had a
mixed reception until the Nara period, when it was heartily embraced by Emperor Sh?mu. Sh?mu and his Fujiwara consort were fervent Buddhists and
actively promoted the spread of Buddhism, making it the “guardian of the
state” and a way of strengthening Japanese institutions. The next major
era that is essential to Japan’s history was the Heian Period. According to the,
Metropolitan Museum of Art,

One of the
most influential groups of the Heian era was the aristocratic Fujiwara family.
The Fujiwaras succeeded in dominating the royal family by marrying female clan
members to emperors and then ruling on behalf of the offspring of these unions
when they assumed the throne. Not only did the powerful aristocratic Fujiwaras
control the politics of this era, but they also dominated the cultural milieu.
Fujiwara courtiers encouraged an aura of courtly sophistication and sensitivity
in all of their activities, including the visual and
literary arts, and even religious practice. This refined sensibility and
interest in the arts is clearly expressed in the literary classic The
Tale of Genji, written by a member of the Fujiwara clan.

Literature in Japan became
very popular after the publishing of The
Tale of Genji. Although Japan is well known for their historical eras; they
are known to have produced high quality literature. Ellington goes on to say

The most famous of all Heian
Literature, The Tale of Genji, was
completed by Lady Murasaki Shikibu early in the eleventh century. This book,
considered to be a masterpiece of world literature and the world’s first
psychological novel, reveals much of the life of the Heian nobility. The hero,
Prince Genji, epitomizes what Heian aristocrats considered to be good. He is
handsome, a thoughtful lover, a poet, a musician, and he possesses impeccable

Japanese Viewpoints Acknowledges, “To some Japanese, Genji has not seemed not only a
literary masterpiece but an expression of the soul of their civilization.” Genji
was a well thought out novel. In the book, Japanese
Viewpoints, it writes, “Genji shows us the world created by the Heian
builders of civilization. It’s unusual world in which the people are concerned
in almost all their waking moments with cultivating beauty in people, things
and scenes; creating or evoking beauty in song, painting, and poetry.”

From the website, Britannica,

made Lady Murasaki’s work different is this: although it is prose, it is
clearly informed by a comprehensive knowledge of Chinese and Japanese poetry;
it is a graceful work of imaginative fiction, not a personal account of life at
court; it incorporates some 800 waka, courtly poems purported to be the writing
of the main character; and its supple narrative sustains the story through 54
chapters of one character and his legacy.

Japanese literature was not
commonly written in their own style of writing. According to Japan: A Country Study, argues that, “the
Japanese had written exclusively in Chinese or with a combination of Chinese
for both meaning and phonetic representation of Japanese sounds. The kana
script, which came in two forms, made possible the production of literary
works.” This is where Japan had began their work of





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