Art of Asia
- Introduction to Japan
- Buddhism in Japan
- Zen Buddhism
- A brief history of the arts of Japan: the Jomon to Heian periods
- A brief history of the arts of Japan: the Kamakura to Azuchi-Momoyama periods
- A brief history of the arts of Japan: the Edo period
- A brief history of the arts of Japan: the Meiji to Reiwa periods
- Japanese art: the formats of two-dimensional works
Introduction to Japan
Japan is an island country consisting of four major and numerous smaller islands. The islands lie in an arc across the Pacific coast of northeastern Asia, forming a part of the volcanic “Rim of Fire.” From north to south this chain of islands measures more than 1,500 miles, but it is only about 130 miles across; its total landmass is just under 150 thousand square miles. If placed alongside the Pacific coast of North America, the Japanese islands would extend from northern Washington State to the southern tip of Baja California in Mexico, and as a result Japan has a wide variation in climate.
Japan’s closest neighbors are Russia, Korea and China. In early history the Korean Peninsula acted as a bridge between Japan and the vast expanse of China, where a great civilization emerged—later on, Japan made connections with China directly by sea. As an island people, the Japanese have been aware of their physical isolation since ancient times, and this isolation has had many positive aspects. For much of Japan’s history, the seas protected it from invasion. The Japanese also controlled international contact by expanding, narrowing, and sometimes terminating diplomatic relations with other nations.
Despite such concern with managing contact with the outside world, many Japanese have admired, been curious about, and studied aspects of foreign cultures whenever they have reached their home shores. During closed periods, they digested foreign influences and, based on their tastes and necessities, transformed those influences into distinctly Japanese forms and styles.
Want to join the conversation?
- where did the japanese evolve?(7 votes)
- The Japanese are considered in popular discourse as the blending of two distinct cultures, perhaps two distinct genetic branches of humanity. The first is the Jomon period culture of hunter-gatherers, which spans 14000 BCE to 300 BCE approximately. This was a culture of somewhat migratory hunter-gatherers known for their distinctive and unique ceramics. From human remains, anthropologists vary in their opinions about the appearance and relatedness of Jomon people. They certainly weren't stereotypically Japanese in appearance and may be related to the native Ainu or Ebisu of northern Japan. Geneticists and biologists have theorised that they represent a pro to-mongoloid branch of the human family, related more closely perhaps, to south east asians or siberian tribes than to modern-day mainland Chinese or Koreans. If they resembled the Ainu they had more stereotypically Caucasoid features. The latter Yayoi people brought rice cultivation and superior metalworking techniques from mainland Asia, or perhaps via Taiwan and Ryukyu from southern China or Southeast Asia. Their migration can be dated from about 300 BCE to 300CE, where the doings of the Japanese Royal lineages and contact with Imperial China mark the first recorded history of the islands of Japan. The Yayoi seem to be more typically Asian in appearance, smaller boned and with less protruding brows, noses and jaws. The Japanese are more than likely a blending of these two populations, with conflict as well as intermarriage between mainstream Yamato Japanese and Ebisu and Ainu tribal peoples continuing throughout even the early modern period. Linguists also suggest a proto-Polynesian influence or substructure on the language and hence the genetic inheritance of the Japanese people, though this theory is not yet a mainstream one.(21 votes)
- Hi. how many mountains are in Japan?(9 votes)
- There is at least 2,000 mountains located in japan.(1 vote)
- How far away is japan from America and how are there Cultures Different(4 votes)
- 6,303 miles and the culture is way different I don't know where to begin.(6 votes)
- Japan holds home to a very diverse culture to begin with, however how diverse are they percentage wise? i.e( What types of cultures and religions holds home in Japan?)(2 votes)
- Smart. I was pretty sure there would be more main groups than that, maybe four or five.I'm impressed(1 vote)
- what was the most famous Japanese piece of art?(2 votes)
- The most iconic is probably The Great Wave off Kanagawa from the 36 Views of Mount Fuji. You've probably seen it before. Here is a link to the file on Wikipedia: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa2.jpg(3 votes)
- Is Japan very open to other countries to visit them in the last centuries??(2 votes)
- Japan welcomes visitors. Follow this link to learn about tourist visas.. http://bfy.tw/Ivrn Let me know if it helps.(2 votes)
- What is a negative aspects of isolation ?(2 votes)
- I guess not being able to travel easily or being rather closed off(2 votes)
- Is Japanese people open to foreigners living in Japan?(2 votes)
- Apparently not. Read this article from 2017: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-discrimination-foreign/foreigners-in-japan-face-significant-levels-of-discrimination-survey-shows-idUSKBN1720GP(2 votes)
- Was Japan rich or poor or in the middle? I am bored so I am asking a random question. Please answer it. ^_^(2 votes)
- What are the characteristics of Japanese Art?(1 vote)
- Wow, Ben, you ask this a bit early in the curriculum. I recommend you follow the rest of the videos and essays in this section. YOu'll learn the characteristics of Japanese art by doing so.(3 votes)