Ancient Japan: the culture and customs of the islands
Ancient Japan is a chronological layer,which some scholars date to the III century. BC. - III century. AD, and some researchers are inclined to continue it until the IX century. AD As we can see, the process of the emergence of statehood on the Japanese islands subsided, and the period of the ancient kingdoms was quickly replaced by a feudal system. This may be due to the geographic isolation of the archipelago, and although people inhabited it 17,000 years ago, links to the mainland were extremely episodic. Only in the V century BC. here they begin to cultivate the land, but the society continues to be tribal.
Ancient Japan left behind herself extremelylittle material and written evidence. The first chronicle mentions of the islands belong to the Chinese and date back to the beginning of our era. By the beginning of the VIII. AD include the first Japanese chronicles: Kojiki and Nihongi, when the tribal chiefs of Yamato, who were highlighted, had an acute need to substantiate the ancient, and therefore sacred, origin of their dynasty. Therefore, the annals contain many myths, legends and legends, surprisingly intertwined with real events.
At the beginning of each chronicle, a storyformation of the archipelago. "The age of the gods", preceding the era of people, gave birth to the god-man Jimma, who became the ancestor of the Yamato dynasty. The cult of ancestors, which was preserved on the islands from the primitive communal system, and new religious beliefs about the heavenly goddess Amaterasu became the basis of Shinto. Also, ancient Japan practiced and widely practiced totemism, animism, fetishism and magic, as well as all agricultural societies, the basis of life which was favorable for harvest weather conditions.
Approximately from the II century. BC. ancient Japan begins to establish close ties with China. The influence of a more developed neighbor was total: in the economy, culture, beliefs. In the IV-V centuries there appears writing - naturally, hieroglyphic. New crafts are born, new knowledge about astronomy, technology is coming. From China also penetrate into the territory of the islands and Confucianism with Buddhism. This gives rise to a real revolution in culture. Especially important was the impact of Buddhism on the mentality of society: the belief in the transmigration of souls accelerated the disintegration of the clan system.
But despite China's considerable superiority,Ancient Japan, whose culture was particularly affected by the neighbor, remained an original country. Even in the political system it did not have the features inherent in Ancient China. In the social structure of society back in the 5th century. AD a significant role was played by the tribal elders and leaders, and the main class were free farmers. Slaves were few - it was "domestic slaves" in the families of farmers. The classical slave system did not have time to develop on the territory of the islands, since the tribal relations were swiftly replaced by feudal relations.
Japan, whose culture and traditions are closely connectedwith Confucianism and Buddhism, gave many architectural monuments of religious architecture. These include temple complexes in the ancient capitals of Nara and Heian (modern Kyoto). Particularly striking with their skill and completeness are the ensembles of the Nike sanctuary in Ise (III century), Izumo (550) and Horyuji in Nara (607). The originality of Japanese culture is most evident in literary monuments. The most famous work of this period - "Magnyushu" (VIII century) - a huge anthology of four and a half thousand poems.