Japan Timeline

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16000 BCE 15500 BCE 15000 BCE 14500 BCE 14000 BCE 13500 BCE 13000 BCE 12500 BCE 12000 BCE 11500 BCE 11000 BCE 10500 BCE 10000 BCE 9500 BCE 9000 BCE 8500 BCE 8000 BCE 7500 BCE 7000 BCE 6500 BCE 6000 BCE 5500 BCE 5000 BCE 4500 BCE 4000 BCE 3500 BCE 3000 BCE 2500 BCE 2000 BCE 1500 BCE 1000 BCE 500 BCE 0 CE 500 CE 1000 CE 1500 CE  
16000 BCE: Oldest pottery vessels known found in Japan
14500 BCE - 300 BCE: Jomon Period in Japan.
10000 BCE: The Ice Age ends and land bridges recede leaving groups of people on an island that is to become Japan.
1000 BCE - 300 BCE: The Late phase of the Jomon Period, rice farming and metalworking are brought to Japan.
660 BCE - 585 BCE: Traditional reign dates of Emperor Jimmu, Japan's first emperor.
300 BCE - 250 CE: The Yayoi Period in ancient Japan.
97 BCE - 30 BCE: Possible reign dates of Japan's Emperor Sujin.
4 BCE: Traditional founding date of the Ise Grand Shrine in honour of the Shinto goddess Amaterasu.
82 CE: Contact between Han China and Yayoi Japan.
183 CE - 248 CE: Life of Queen Himiko of Japan.
189 CE - 248 CE: The reign of Queen Himiko.
238 CE: Queen Himiko of Japan sends a tribute delegation to China.
250 CE - 710 CE: The Yamato Period in ancient Japan, consisting of the Kofun Period and Asuka Period.
250 CE - 538 CE: The Kofun Period in ancient Japan.
300 CE - 700 CE: Haniwa terracotta figurines are placed outside Japanese mound tombs or kofun.
366 CE: Japan establishes diplomatic relations with Korea.
413 CE - 478 CE: Japanese kings send ambassadors and tribute to China.
478 CE: The founding of the Toyouke shrine at the Shinto Ise Grand Shrine in Japan.
531 CE - 571 CE: Reign of Emperor Kimmei in Japan.
535 CE - 539 CE: Reign of Emperor Senka in Japan.
538 CE - 710 CE: The Asuka Period in ancient Japan.
538 CE: Alternative date to 552 CE for the introduction of Buddhism to Japan from Korea.
552 CE: Traditional date for the introduction of Buddhism to Japan from Korea.
572 CE - 585 CE: Reign of Emperor Bidatsu in Japan.
585 CE - 587 CE: Reign of Emperor Yomei in Japan.
587 CE - 592 CE: Reign of Emperor Sushun in Japan.
587 CE: The Soga clan establish control of government in Japan.
592 CE - 628 CE: Reign of Empress Suiko, Japan's first empress.
593 CE: The Buddhist Gango-ji temple, the oldest in Japan, is founded at Asuka.
593 CE: The Shitennoji Buddhist temple is built in Japan.
594 CE - 622 CE: Reign of Prince Shotoku as regent for Japanese Empress Suiko.
596 CE: The Hokoji Buddhist temple is built in Japan.
604 CE: Prince Shotoku draws up his Seventeen Article Constitution in Japan.
607 CE: Prince Shotoku of Japan sends the first of many official embassies to Sui China.
607 CE: The Horyuji Buddhist temple is built in Nara, Japan during the reign of Regent Prince Shotoku.
629 CE - 641 CE: Reign of Emperor Jomei in Japan.
642 CE - 645 CE: Reign of Empress Kogyoku in Japan.
645 CE: The Japanese capital is moved from Asuka to Naniwa.
645 CE: The Fujiwara clan in Japan is founded by Fujiwara no Kamatari.
645 CE - 654 CE: Reign of Emperor Kotoku in Japan.
645 CE: Fujiwara no Kamatari leads a coup d'etat in Japan, removing the Soga clan from power.
655 CE - 661 CE: Reign of Empress Saimei in Japan.
661 CE - 671 CE: Reign of Emperor Tenji in Japan.
670 CE: Many structures at the Buddhist Horyuji monastery in Nara, Japan are destroyed by fire.
671 CE - 672 CE: Reign of Emperor Kobun in Japan.
671 CE - 672 CE: The Jinshin Incident in Japan which establishes Temmu as emperor.
672 CE - 686 CE: Reign of Emperor Temmu in Japan.
680 CE: Yakushiji temple is founded in Fujiwara-kyo.
686 CE - 697 CE: Reign of Empress Jito in Japan.
694 CE - 710 CE: Fujiwarakyo is made the Japanese capital.
697 CE - 707 CE: Reign of Emperor Mommu in Japan.
700 CE: Steel-bladed swords are first made in Japan.
707 CE - 715 CE: Reign of Empress Gemmei in Japan.
708 CE: Japan's first coinage, the Wado kaiho, is introduced.
710 CE: The Japanese capital is moved from Fujiwara-kyo to Nara (aka Heijokyo).
710 CE: The Buddhist Kofukuji temple is established at Nara, main temple of the Japanese Fujiwara clan.
710 CE: The buildings of the Buddhist Horyuji monastery in Nara, Japan are rebuilt.
710 CE - 794 CE: The Nara Period in ancient Japan.
710 CE - 784 CE: Nara is the capital of ancient Japan.
710 CE: Date favoured by historians for the founding of the Kasuga Taisha Shinto shrine at Nara, Japan.
711 CE: The Fushimi Inari shrine, dedicated to the Shinto rice god Inari, is founded near Kyoto.
712 CE: The Kojiki is written, a collection of oral myths forming the basis of the Shinto religion.
713 CE: The Japanese Fudoki are composed and record local kami and associated legends.
715 CE - 724 CE: Reign of Empress Gensho in Japan.
718 CE: The Buddhist Gango-ji temple is relocated from Asuka to Nara in Japan.
720 CE: The Nihon Shoki is written, a collection of oral myths forming the basis of the Shinto religion.
724 CE - 749 CE: Reign of Emperor Shomu in Japan.
725 CE: The Usa shrine is founded in northern Kyushu and dedicated to the Shinto god Hachiman.
735 CE - 737 CE: Japan suffers two smallpox epidemics which kills 25-35% of the population.
739 CE: The Hall of Dreams or Yumedono is built at the Buddhist monastery of Horyuji, Nara, Japan.
740 CE: A rebellion led by the Fujiwara exile Hirotsugu is quashed by Emperor Shomu.
747 CE: A statue of Hachiman is ceremoniously transferred from the Shinto Usa shrine to the Buddhist Todaiji shrine in Nara, Japan.
749 CE - 758 CE: First reign of Empress Koken in Japan.
751 CE: The Kaifuso anthology of Japanese poems is compiled.
752 CE: The Buddhist Todaiji temple is founded at Nara, Japan.
758 CE - 764 CE: Reign of emperor Junnin in Japan.
759 CE: The Buddhist Toshodai-ji temple is founded at Nara, Japan by the monk Ganjin.
759 CE: The Manyoshu or 'Collection of 10,000 Leaves' is written, an important Shinto source and classic of Japanese poetry.
764 CE - 770 CE: Second reign of Empress Koken, now known as Shotoku, in Japan.
767 CE - 822 CE: Life of Saicho, founder of Tendai Buddhism in Japan.
768 CE: Official founding date of the Kasuga Taisha Shinto shrine at Nara, Japan.
770 CE - 781 CE: Reign of Emperor Konin in Japan.
774 CE - 835 CE: Life of the monk Kukai (aka Kobo Daishi), founder of Shingon Buddhism in Japan.
781 CE - 806 CE: Reign of Emperor Kammu in Japan.
784 CE: Emperor Kammu moves the Japanese capital from Nara to Nagaokakyo.
785 CE: Saicho establishes the first Buddhist shrine at what would become the Enryakuji temple complex on Mt. Hiei, Japan.
793 CE - 864 CE: Life of Ennin, the Buddhist scholar-monk and abbot of Enryakuji, who brought many esoteric teachings from China to Japan.
794 CE: Emperor Kammu moves the Japanese capital to Heiankyo (Kyoto).
794 CE: Japanese Emperor Kammu sends an expedition led by Otomo no Otomaro against the Emishi.
794 CE: Emperor Kammu builds the Shinto Herano shrine at Heiankyo (Kyoto).
794 CE - 1185 CE: The Heian Period in ancient Japan.
796 CE: The Buddhist To-ji temple near Heiankyo (Kyoto), Japan is founded.
801 CE: Japanese Emperor Kammu sends an expedition led by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro against the Emishi.
806 CE: The Shinto shrine of Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha is built on Mount Fuji.
807 CE: Imibe-no-Hironari writes the Kogoshui, a collection of oral myths forming the basis of the Shinto religion.
808 CE: Ennin joins the monastery of Enryakuji, Japan.
819 CE: Kukai (Kobo Daishi) establishes a monastery and headquarters for Shingon Buddhism on Mount Koya in Japan.
826 CE: A five-storey pagoda is added to the To-ji temple complex in Heiankyo (Kyoto).
838 CE: Last Japanese embassy to China during the Heian Period.
841 CE: Hunting and tree-felling are prohibited in the forests around the Kasuga Taisha temple, Nara, Japan.
845 CE - 903 CE: Life of the deified scholar and court official Sugawara no Michizane, aka Tenjin.
849 CE: Ennin leads the first imperial-sponsored esoteric ritual at Enryakuji, Japan.
854 CE: Ennin becomes the abbot of Enryakuji, Heiankyo (Kyoto), Japan.
866 CE: Fujiwara no Yoshifusa becomes the first Japanese regent not of royal blood.
874 CE: The Buddhist Daigoji temple is founded by Shobo at Heiankyo (Kyoto).
886 CE - 891 CE: Sugawara no Michizane (Tenjin) is the regional governor of Sanuki, Japan.
887 CE - 897 CE: Reign of Japan's Emperor Uda
897 CE - 930 CE: Reign of Japan's Emperor Daigo.
905 CE: The Kokinshu anthology of poems is compiled in Japan by Ki no Tsurayuki.
921 CE: The monk Kukai, founder of Shingon Buddhism in Japan, is given the posthumous title of Kobo Daishi.
947 CE: The Tenmangu Kitano shrine is founded in honour of Sugawara no Michizane, aka Tenjin.
990 CE: The Lecture Hall at the Buddhist monastery of Horyuji in Nara, Japan is built.
995 CE: Fujiwara no Michinaga becomes the Fujiwara clan leader in Japan.
1002 CE: Sei Shonagon completes The Pillow Book, a Japanese classic describing court life during the Heian Period.
1004 CE: Japanese poet Izumi Shikibu writes her 'Izumi Shikibu Diary'.
1020 CE: The Tale of Genji is completed by Murasaki Shikibu in Japan.
1042 CE - 1103 CE: Life of the legendary Japanese warrior Minamoto no Yoshiie.
1046 CE: Yorinobu claims Hachiman patron god and founder of the Minamoto clan in Japan.
1052 CE: The Buddhist temple site Byodo-in is founded in Japan by Fujiwara no Yorimichi.
1073 CE - 1087 CE: Reign of Emperor Shirakawa in Japan.
1073 CE - 1087 CE: Reign of Japan's Emperor Shirakawa.
1135 CE: The Wakamiya Jinja shrine is founded at Kasuga Taisha, Nara, Japan.
1147 CE - 1199 CE: Life of Minamoto no Yoritomo, clan leader of the Minamoto and first shogun of Japan.
1156 CE: Hogen Disturbance in Japan.
1160 CE: Heiji Disturbance in Japan.
1164 CE: The Buddhist Sanjusangendo temple is founded at Heiankyo (Kyoto), Japan.
1168 CE: Taira no Kiyomori significantly remodels the Itsukushima Shrine.
1180 CE: Taira forces defeat an army led by Minamoto no Yorimasa.
1180 CE - 1185 CE: The Genpei War in Japan between the Taira and Minamoto clans.
1181 CE: Taira forces defeat an army led by Minamoto no Yukie.
1183 CE - 1198 CE: Emperor Go-Toba reigns in Japan.
1183 CE - 1198 CE: Reign of Japan's Emperor Go-Toba.
1183 CE: Kiso Yoshinaka defeats a large Taira army at Kurikara in Etchu and occupies the Japanese capital Heiankyo (Kyoto).
1185 CE: Battle of Dannoura where the Minamoto defeat the rival Taira. The young emperor Antoku drowns.
1185 CE - 1333 CE: The Kamakura period in Japan.
1191 CE: The Shinto Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine is moved from Yuinogo to Kamakura, Japan by Minamoto no Yoritomo.
1192 CE - 1199 CE: Minamoto no Yoritomo is shogun in Japan.
1192 CE - 1333 CE: The Kamakura Shogunate rules Japan.
1195 CE: The Todaiji temple at Nara, Japan, is restored by the Minamoto clan.
1202 CE - 1203 CE: Minamoto no Yorie is shogun of Japan.
1203 CE - 1219 CE: Minamoto no Sanetomo is shogun of Japan.
1203 CE - 1205 CE: Hojo Tokimasa acts as regent to Japan's shogun, the first of 16 such regents
1218 CE: The Tale of the Heike (Heike monogatari) is first published in Japan.
1219 CE: Hojo Masako and Hojo Tokimasa take over as regents for the Japanese shogun, thus permanently transferring power from the Minamoto to Hojo clans.
1221 CE: The Jokyu Disturbance - Japan's emperor Go-Toba launches a failed coup against the Kamakura Shogunate.
1225 CE: The position of vice-regent to the shogun (rensho) is created in Japan.
1232 CE: A new law code, the Joei Code (Joei shikimoku), is established in Japan.
1246 CE - 1259 CE: Reign of Japan's Emperor Go-Fukakusa.
1249 CE: A High Court, the Hikitsukeshu, is formed in Japan.
1249 CE - 1253 CE: The Kenchoji Zen Buddhism monastery is built in Kamakura, Japan.
1254 CE: The large gilded wood statue of Kannon is sculpted at Sanjusangendo, Heiankyo (Kyoto), Japan.
1259 CE - 1274 CE: Reign of Japan's Emperor Kameyama.
1274 CE: The first invasion of Japan by the Mongol ruler Kublai Khan fails.
1281 CE: The second invasion of Japan by the Mongol ruler/Yuan dynasty emperor Kublai Khan fails.
1283 CE: The Engakuji Zen Buddhist monastery is established at Kamakura, Japan by Hojo Tokimune.
1318 CE - 1339 CE: Go-Daigo reigns as emperor of Japan.
1327 CE - 1333 CE: Hojo Moritoki reigns as shogun in Japan, the last of the Kamakura Shogunate.
1333 CE - 1573 CE: The Muromachi period of medieval Japan.
1333 CE: Nitta Yoshisada attacks and destroys Kamakura, capital of Japan's Kamakura Shogunate.
1333 CE - 1336 CE: The Kemmu Restoration when the Japanese emperor Go-Daigo uses rebel warlords to oust the Kamakura Shogunate.
1333 CE: The position of deputy shogun (kanrei) is created in Japan.
1336 CE: Ashikaga Takauji captures Heiankyo (Kyoto).
1337 CE - 1392 CE: Japan has two competing emperors: the 'Northern and Southern Courts.
1338 CE: Ashikaga Takauji becomes the new shogun in Japan, it is the beginning of the Ashikaga (Muromachi) Shogunate.
1338 CE - 1573 CE: The Ashikaga (Muromachi) Shogunate rules Japan.
1338 CE - 1358 CE: Ashikaga Takauji rules as shogun in Japan.
1359 CE - 1368 CE: Ashikaga Yoshiakira rules as shogun in Japan.
1395 CE - 1423 CE: Ashikaga Yoshimochi rules as shogun in Japan.
1397 CE: The Kinkakuji or 'Golden Pavilion' is built in Heiankyo (Kyoto) by the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.
1401 CE: Japan joins the tribute system of China's Ming Dynasty.
1407 CE: The five-story Buddhist pagoda is added to the Shinto Itsukushima Shrine.
1420 CE - 1506 CE: Life of the celebrated Zen priest and artist Sesshu (real name Toyo)
1429 CE - 1441 CE: Ashikaga Yoshinori rules as shogun in Japan.
1449 CE - 1474 CE: Ashikaga Yoshimasa rules as shogun in Japan.
1460 CE - 1483 CE: Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion) is built in Heiankyo (Kytoto) Japan by Ashikaga Yoshimasa.
1467 CE - 1477 CE: The Onin War between rival warlords rages in Japan.
1467 CE - 1568 CE: The Sengoku Period or Warring States Period in Japan.
1473 CE: Ryoanji in Heiankyo (Kyoto) becomes a Zen Buddhism temple.
1474 CE - 1489 CE: Ashikaga Yoshihisa rules as shogun in Japan.
1494 CE - 1508 CE: Ashikaga Yoshizumi rules as shogun in Japan.
1508 CE - 1521 CE: Ashikaga Yoshitane rules in his second spell as shogun of Japan.
1521 CE - 1546 CE: Ashikaga Yoshiharu rules as shogun in Japan.
1543 CE: The first European contact is made with Japan when three Portuguese traders have their ship blown onto the shores of southern Kyushu.
1546 CE - 1565 CE: Ashikaga Yoshiteru rules as shogun in Japan.
1549 CE: Oda Nobunaga adds a specialist corps of 500 musketeers to his army.
1560 CE: Oda Nobunaga defeats the warlord of Mikawa, Imagawa Yoshimoto, at the Battle of Okehazama.
1568 CE - 1582 CE: Oda Nobunaga seizes Heiankyo (Kyoto) and is the dominant military leader in central Japan.
1568 CE - 1600 CE: The Azuchi-Momoyama Period in Japan.
1568 CE: Ashikaga Yoshihide rules as shogun in Japan.
1568 CE - 1588 CE: Ashikaga Yoshiaki rules as shogun in Japan (but is exiled by Oda Nobunaga from 1573 CE).
1571 CE: Oda Nobunaga attacks the Buddhist Enryakuji monastic complex near Kyoto.
1573 CE: Oda Nobunaga exiles the last Ashikaga shogun, Yoshiaki.
1575 CE: Oda Nobunaga wins the Battle of Nagashino.
1576 CE: Oda Nobunaga instigates a 'sword hunt' to confiscate all weapons from the Japanese peasantry.
1579 CE: Oda Nobunaga establishes a new headquarters at Azuchi castle.
1582 CE - 1598 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi is the military leader of Japan.
1582 CE - 1598 CE: Oda Nobunaga and his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi conduct an extensive land ownership survey across Japan.
1586 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds the huge Osaka castle.
1588 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi prohibits commoners from carrying weapons, including swords.
1588 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi rules that only full-rank samurai may carry two swords.
1591 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds the massive Odoi ("Great rampart") fortification wall around Heiankyo (Kyoto).
1591 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi redefines the class system of Japan.
1591 CE: Samurai are no longer permitted to farm their own land making them dependent on their lords for income.
1592 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi sends an army to invade Korea. It is not successful.
1594 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds the Fushimi Castle outside Heiankyo (Kyoto).
1597 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi passes his second edict to remove Christian missionaries from Japan and executes 26 Christians in Nagasaki.
1597 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi sends a second army to invade Korea. It is not successful.
1598 CE: Death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the military leader of Japan.
1600 CE: Tokugawa Ieyasu wins the Battle of Skeigahara against those generals who supported Toyotomi Hideyoshi's son. End of the Azuchi-Momoyama Period.
1603 CE - 1868 CE: The Tokugawa Shogunate rules Japan.
1603 CE - 1605 CE: Tokugawa Ieyasu rules as shogun in Japan.
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