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Japan History Trivia

Japan History Trivia Quizzes

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21 Japan History quizzes and 250 Japan History trivia questions.
  Famous Japanese Samurai    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
All questions included in this quiz relate to famous Japanese samurai from the Heian (Fujisawa) period through the modern era.
Tough, 10 Qns, fleecyewe, Jun 19 22
Jun 19 22
1329 plays
  Japan - A Tour Through Its History   best quiz  
Ordering Quiz
 10 Qns
Let's take a tour around Japan through its rich and long history. Place the events in order, think about the clues, and have fun!
Easier, 10 Qns, LeoDaVinci, Oct 18 22
LeoDaVinci editor
Oct 18 22
431 plays
Historic Realms The Tokugawa Shogunate
  Historic Realms: The Tokugawa Shogunate   top quiz  
Photo Quiz
 10 Qns
A little rusty on your history? Come learn a little about the world's historic realms in this photo quiz series. Here we will talk about the Tokugawa Shogunate. (If you would like to have a better view of the images/maps, please click on them to enlarge!
Average, 10 Qns, trident, Sep 02 14
trident editor
507 plays
  So You Want to Be a Samurai   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Do you like standing with your legs apart and your hands on your hips? Do you frequently find yourself yelling "banzai" for no apparent reason? Maybe you should have been a samurai. Take this quiz to find out.
Average, 10 Qns, deputygary, Jan 13 10
785 plays
  Japanese History Review   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This is a fairly difficult Japanese history quiz. It is designed as a challenge for experts in the history of Japan, and as a learning experience for non-experts. Please enjoy.
Tough, 10 Qns, thejazzkickazz, Aug 17 05
thejazzkickazz gold member
3574 plays
  History of Japan, 1615-1868   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
Continuing further this general history of Japan, from the end of the civil wars in 1615, to the revolution of 1868.
Tough, 15 Qns, Finduskeepus, Oct 21 08
836 plays
  Tokyo - A History   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Tokyo, Japan has a long history stretching back to at least the 3rd millennium BC. Today, it is one of the most populous and modernized cities in the world. This quiz explores Tokyo's rich history from humble village to bustling metropolis.
Average, 10 Qns, Joepetz, Aug 25 14
Joepetz gold member
2559 plays
  History of Japan, 1868-Present   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
Completing this general history of Japan, from the end of the feudal era to the present day.
Tough, 15 Qns, Finduskeepus, May 27 19
May 27 19
953 plays
  The Reunification Period   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
By the mid-16th century, central authority in Japan had been broken down for nearly 100 years. With the rise of Oda Nobunaga, and after him Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, the country was reunified. A quiz on the three great unifiers of Japan.
Average, 15 Qns, Finduskeepus, Jun 15 09
451 plays
  History of Japan, 1333-1615   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
Continuing this general history of Japan, from the fall of one Shôgunate in 1333, to the rise of another in 1615.
Difficult, 15 Qns, Finduskeepus, Jul 10 09
668 plays
trivia question Quick Question
Samurai is derived from the Japanese word meaning what?

From Quiz "The Samurai"

  The Samurai   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
I love the Samurai. I hope this quiz will aid in learning about the culture and traditions of these warriors.
Average, 10 Qns, Bdawg89, May 12 12
1678 plays
  Sengoku Jidai    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
The Sengoku Jidai, or Warring States Period of Japan is one of the best known topics in Japanese history. I'm not going to make this easy for you, though. So, do you think you have what it takes to fight with the samurai?
Tough, 10 Qns, sanguo, Feb 13 10
549 plays
  The Edo Period of Japan: 1603 - 1868    
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
The Edo period is a fascinating time in Japanese history.
Average, 15 Qns, LuH77, Jul 20 21
Jul 20 21
206 plays
  History of Japan to 1333    
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
A general history of Japan, from prehistoric times until the momentous year of 1333.
Difficult, 15 Qns, Finduskeepus, Jun 18 08
521 plays
  Japan in the 18th Century   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Japan has a very long history but this quiz just focuses on the 18th century. Enjoy.
Average, 10 Qns, Joepetz, Aug 16 17
Joepetz gold member
Aug 16 17
149 plays
  The Bakumatsu Period    
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
This quiz deals with the period 1853-1867 when, following the arrival of American ships, the Japanese struggled over the great question of how Japan should face the future and who should lead her. It requires some familiarity with the subject.
Difficult, 15 Qns, Finduskeepus, Mar 01 08
460 plays
  The Japanese Abductions   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
In the 1970s and 1980s, Japanese citizens were abducted from their homeland and while overseas. This quiz is about this international incident and the fates of those abducted.
Tough, 10 Qns, albinerhawk, Apr 07 09
405 plays
  The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1945    
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
Like the companion quiz on the Imperial Japanese Army, this gives more attention to policies, politics, and people than to weapons and battles. Names are in Japanese order, family name first.
Difficult, 15 Qns, Guiguzi, Apr 15 14
193 plays
  The Imperial Japanese Army, 1868-1945    
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
This quiz will test your knowledge of the personnel, institutions, and policies of the IJA, with less emphasis on battles and weapons. Names of people are in Japanese (and Chinese) order, family name first.
Difficult, 15 Qns, Guiguzi, Jan 14 14
237 plays
  The History of Okinawan Martial Arts    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This quiz is a mix bag of questions about Okinawan martial arts. History, people and the martial arts themselves.
Tough, 10 Qns, NewBudo, Dec 18 15
179 plays
  Five Japanese History Stumpers    
Multiple Choice
 5 Qns
Japanese history was filled with civil wars during the Shengoku Period, leading to the final unification with Tokugawa Ieyasu. Here are some tidbits of earlier Japanese people.
Difficult, 5 Qns, thejazzkickazz, Mar 07 14
thejazzkickazz gold member
1265 plays
Related Topics
  Japan [Geography] (46 quizzes)

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  Japanese Baseball [Sports] (5 quizzes)

  Japanese Music [Music] (6 quizzes)

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  Japanese Language [World] (22 quizzes)

Japan History Trivia Questions

1. During the Edo period, Japan was under the control of the Tokugawa shogunate. Who was its first shogun?

From Quiz
The Edo Period of Japan: 1603 - 1868

Answer: Tokugawa Ieyasu

Tokugawa Ieyasu seized power in 1600. He was made shogun (a military governor in Medieval Japan) in 1603, starting the Edo period. A shogunate is the government of the shogun who had absolute power, except when answering to the Japanese Emperor. During Tokugawa Ieyasu's rule, he created a set of rules for the samurai, designed to keep them in line during the rule of his shogunate. He voluntarily resigned from his office in 1605. This was likely due to his age, as he was 60 when he was first appointed shogun in 1603. He still remained in power until he died in 1616.

2. The entire 18th century in Japanese history is contained within which era?

From Quiz Japan in the 18th Century

Answer: The Edo Period

The Edo Period ran from 1603-1868. It also called the Tokugawa Period because Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa Shoguns during this era. The Edo Period was characterized by reforms, mostly involving strengthening Japan's government from within, a flourishing period of the arts and sciences and, for the most part, economic growth.

3. In which year did the three kingdoms of Okinawa unite to form the Kingdom of Ryukyu?

From Quiz The History of Okinawan Martial Arts

Answer: 1429

During the Three Kingdom Period (1322-1429), also known as the Sanzan Period, the island of Okinawa was divided into three kingdoms: Chuzan, Hokuzan and Nanzan. In 1429 King Sho Hashi completed the unification of the three kingdoms and founded one Ryukyu Kingdom. The capital was at Shuri Castle.

4. Japan's Imperial Army was dominated for decades by men from the former feudal domain of Choshu. Men of which domain played a comparable role in the Navy leadership?

From Quiz The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1945

Answer: Satsuma

Satsuma was the largest and richest of the domains that brought about the imperial restoration in 1868. It also had the most powerful domain navy.

5. The Battle of Sekigahara was a famous battle toward the end of the Sengoku Period. Who were the two main commanders of the battle?

From Quiz Sengoku Jidai

Answer: Tokugawa Ieyasu and Ishida Mitsunari

The Battle of Sekigahara was also known as the Realm Divide. Ishida's army consisted of Toyotomi loyalists and many groups from western Japan, whereas Tokugawa's forces hailed from eastern Japan. In the end, Ishida lost and was later beheaded; his death sealed the fate of the Toyotomi clan and soon, Tokugawa Ieyasu seized power over the land. The Tokugawa Shogunate or Bakufu would last from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration.

6. The first thing you need to check before you try to become a samurai is whether you are in the right social class. From which class did samurai come?

From Quiz So You Want to Be a Samurai

Answer: Warriors

Samurai were first and foremost warriors. They also tended to be literate. They studied military strategy as well as music, poetry and other subjects. Royalty in Japan were Emperors or daimyos (lords). Peasants, as a rule, were illiterate and therefore not samurai material. It is true there were some priests who were samurai but they were warriors first. Even in Japan, even in those days, a peasant could never be more than a peasant.

7. Which country eventually confessed to being behind the abduction of thirteen Japanese citizens?

From Quiz The Japanese Abductions

Answer: North Korea

The Japanese government had always suspected that North Korea was behind the abductions, but Pyongyang denied involvement until September 17, 2002. It is believed that the citizens were abducted for their identities and to train North Korean agents. Despite the confession, Japan still doubts North Korea's account of what happened. The Japanese government has identified seventeen people as having been abducted by North Korea, which does not equal the thirteen that North Korea has confessed to. Seventy to eighty missing persons have also been claimed to have been abducted according to their families, but they have not been recognized by either government to be in this group.

8. Samurai is derived from the Japanese word meaning what?

From Quiz The Samurai

Answer: to serve

The word "samorau" means to serve. A samurai is a warrior in the service of a lord or Daimyo.

9. Who was Shôgun when Perry's ships arrived in 1853?

From Quiz The Bakumatsu Period

Answer: Tokugawa Ieyoshi

When Commodore Perry's "black ships" arrived in Tôkyô Bay in 1853, Ieyoshi, the 12th Tokugawa Shôgun, was supposedly so shocked that the incident contributed to his subsequent death. He was succeeded by Iesada, who presided over the signing of the unequal treaties. He held office until his death in 1858, when he was succeeded by the young and sickly Iemochi. He died at the age of 21 and was succeeded by Yoshinobu, the last Shôgun.

10. He was the first Samurai to try to unify all of Japan.

From Quiz Famous Japanese Samurai

Answer: Oda Nobunaga

Near the end of the warring states period in Japan, Oda Nobunaga (1534-82) tried to unify Japan under "a single sword". He failed but his successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, eventually succeeded in 1590 after the siege of Odawara.

11. Who was the first Shogun in Japan?

From Quiz Five Japanese History Stumpers

Answer: Minamoto Yoritomo & Minamoto no Yoritomo

12. What is the name of the earliest known culture existing on the island of Japan?

From Quiz Japanese History Review

Answer: Jomon

The Jomon culture is synonymous with the pottery that they crafted, perhaps the world's first pottery-making culture.

13. Which hairstyle is particularly associated with Edo Japan?

From Quiz The Edo Period of Japan: 1603 - 1868

Answer: Chonmage

During the Edo period, Japanese men would shave both the top and front of their head. The remaining long hair was oiled, tied, and folded around the top of the head in a topknot. This hairstyle is called a chonmage. These days the chonmage is only usually sported by sumo wrestlers and kabuki, a classical style of Japanese drama and dance, actors.

14. In 1701, the legendary Ako Incident occurred which saw the ritual suicide of how many ronin?

From Quiz Japan in the 18th Century

Answer: 47

The forty-seven ronin and their ritual seppuku (or suicide via belly cutting) is something of a legend in Japanese history. As the story goes, the forty-seven ronin were once samurai under the daimyo Asano Naganori. Asano was forced to commit seppuku for disrespecting Kira Yoshinaka. The forty-seven ronin sought revenge for their master's death and killed Kira Yoshinaka. They were then ordered to commit seppuku for their crimes or murder and revenge. The Ako Incident was a real life event. However it is most popular in its fictionalized forms called Chushingura. This is because at the time there were strict censorship laws in regards to current events so the account had to be fictionalized to pass legal muster.

15. Kobudo is an ancient Okinawan martial art which is defined as the art of using agricultural and fishing tools as weapons. What does the word "kobudo" mean?

From Quiz The History of Okinawan Martial Arts

Answer: "Old martial way"

Some examples of kobudo weaponry and their original functions are: Nunchaku (horse briddle); Eku (boat oar); Tonfa (millingstone handle) and Kama (sickles used for cutting crops or long grass).

16. In its formative years, the Imperial Army followed first French and later German models. Which foreign navy did the Imperial Japanese Navy choose to pattern itself after?

From Quiz The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1945

Answer: British Navy

Satsuma began to forge ties with Britain even before the Meiji Restoration. As the world's leading naval power in the 19th century, Britain was the obvious model. Promising young officers such as the future admiral Togo Heihachiro were sent to study at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

17. What is the name of the religious institution in Tokyo where Japan's war dead since 1868 are enshrined as Shinto deities?

From Quiz The Imperial Japanese Army, 1868-1945

Answer: Yasukuni Shrine

The Yasukuni Shrine has not been supported by the Japanese government since the implementation of post-World War II reforms abolishing State Shinto, but in recent decades the visits of prime ministers to pay their respects has been controversial. The number of spirits (kami) now enshrined at Yasukuni is more than 2,466,000.

18. In his youth, Oda Nobunaga did many outlandish and foolish things. His antics earned him the name "Owari no Outsuke," or ...?

From Quiz Sengoku Jidai

Answer: Fool of Owari

Nobunaga was known as the "Fool of Owari" during his young adulthood because he would often run around with those of lower rank than himself, wear bright and gaudy clothing, and impolitely stuff food into his mouth without a care. However, his militarism, strong hand, and callous nature in battle would later earn him the title of "Demon King."

19. It is important for a samurai to know for whom he fights. Who does a samurai directly support?

From Quiz So You Want to Be a Samurai

Answer: Daimyo

The ruler of Japan was the Emperor. This title stayed within the ruling family. A shogun was the military commander. If the Emperor was weak in power, the shogun became, in essence, the ruler of Japan. A daimyo was a feudal lord who controlled his own area. The daimyos supported the shogun and the Emperor. Samurai worked directly for a daimyo. Samurai itself means "one who serves." The samurai held service to their daimyo in high regard and were expected to follow the daimyo should he choose to rebel against the shogun or Emperor. There were instances, however, of samurai remaining true to the Emperor and refusing to follow rebel daimyos. One shogun tried to use pirates to fight his battles. He called them sam-ARR-ais.

20. Other than Japan, where else were some of the Japanese abducted from?

From Quiz The Japanese Abductions

Answer: Europe

Toru Ishioka and Kaoru Matsuki were apparently abducted at the same time while living in Europe. Keiko Arimoto was studying in the United Kingdom. The last known contact from her was a letter that came from Copenhagen. A letter, postmarked from Poland, from Ishioka to his family informed them that all three of them were in North Korea.

21. What is the Bushido?

From Quiz The Samurai

Answer: the Samurai warrior code

The Bushido code was closely observed by the Samurai. The code was heavily influenced by Buddhism and Confucianism. In particular, it stressed loyalty, frugality, martial arts mastery and honor until one's death.

22. Although Go-Daigo had been driven out of Kyôto, he still commanded the loyalty of powerful warriors such as Nitta Yoshisada and Kusunoki Masashige. However, they were defeated by the Ashikaga in 1336, at which battle?

From Quiz History of Japan, 1333-1615

Answer: The battle of Minatogawa

Kusunoki Masashige, one of the greatest generals in the history of Japan, advised Go-Daigo not to directly confront the Ashikaga forces as they advanced north toward Kyôto, but his advice was not followed, and he was ordered to meet the enemy at Minatogawa, near the modern city of Kobe. Loyal to the end, Masashige obeyed his Emperor and met his death in the resulting defeat. The battles of Okehazama and Nagashino are key dates in the career of Oda Nobunaga, the warlord who would begin the process of re-unifying Japan in the sixteenth century. The battle of Sekigahara, perhaps the most significant in Japan's history, sealed the triumph of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the warlord who completed the process of re-unification.

23. Sonnô jôi, the philosophy of the shishi, means...

From Quiz The Bakumatsu Period

Answer: Revere the Emperor, expel the barbarians

The early part of the Bakumatsu period was dominated by the shishi, young samurai radicals who believed Japan could deal with the foreign threat by force, united by loyalty to the Imperial house. The shishi campaign of violence, however, ended in the deaths of most of its leaders, and Japan's destiny was taken up by more level-headed and farsighted people, who planned to learn from the "barbarians'" technological prowess and compete with them on their own terms.

24. During the time of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the low point of Christianity in Japan, this samurai was tolerant of Christians and even wanted to extend trade with the Europeans.

From Quiz Famous Japanese Samurai

Answer: Date Masamune

Tokugawa Ieyasu, during his reign in the early 1600s, believed that Date Masamune had intentions of overthrowing the Tokugawa Shogunate and so was seeking European assistance.

25. Who was defeated at the Battle of Okehazama in 1560, which marked a pivotal point in the Sengoku period?

From Quiz Five Japanese History Stumpers

Answer: Yoshimoto

26. Murasaki Shikibu wrote what may have been the world's first novel around 1000 A.D. What was its name?

From Quiz Japanese History Review

Answer: The Tale of Genji

'The Tale of Genji' or 'Genji Monogatari', is attributed to Murasaki Shikibu, a courtesan of the Fujiwara period in Japan. It tells the story of a prince, "the shining Genji", and his descendants. It is full of tales of tragedy, love, betrayal and all of the other good stuff you find in great novels. Check it out!

27. The Tokugawa shogunate was born after what military battle?

From Quiz The Edo Period of Japan: 1603 - 1868

Answer: Battle of Sekigahara

In what is now the Gifu Prefecture, Chûbu region, Japan, the Battle of Sekigahara took place in 1600. It unofficially established the Tokugawa shogunate. Tokugawa Ieyasu led his fighters against the clans loyal to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who were led by a fellow samurai, Ishida Mitsunari.

28. The first of its kind, what was the Wakan Sansai Zue that was introduced in 1712?

From Quiz Japan in the 18th Century

Answer: A Japanese-language encyclopedia

The Wakan Sansai Zue was inspired by its Chinese counterpart and its name makes reference to China. The word Wakan means Japan-China. Although it is considered an encyclopedia, the western world would think of it more as an almanac as it talks at length about farming conditions, weather, the stars etc. It was primarily used by the people as a guidebook. It was contained in 81 books.

29. Under the cabinet system that Japan adopted in 1885, who was the first man to hold the Navy portfolio? (His elder brother was much more famous.)

From Quiz The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1945

Answer: Saigo Tsugumichi

Saigo Tsugumichi (1843-1902) of Satsuma was Navy Minister from 22 December 1885 to 10 July 1886, in the first Ito cabinet. His brother Saigo Takamori was a key figure in the Meiji Restoration (1868) and leader of the Satsuma Rebellion (1877). Both Tsugumichi and the Satsuma-heavy Navy remained loyal during the Rebellion, though Tsugumichi commanded the Imperial Guard at that time rather than the Navy. He is widely regarded as the founding father of the modern Japanese Navy and became admiral of the fleet in 1898, although he did not have any background as a professional naval officer. Oyama Iwao was an Army general who held the Navy portfolio from July 1886 to July 1887, showing the extent to which the IJA was regarded as the senior service at that time. Enomoto Takeaki was Minister of Communications in the first Ito cabinet. Katsu Kaishu (or Rintaro) was an important naval reformer in the last years of the Tokugawa shogunate.

30. If the makers of "The Last Samurai" had been more concerned with historical accuracy, the character played by Tom Cruise would have been of what nationality?

From Quiz The Imperial Japanese Army, 1868-1945

Answer: French

Oui, c'est vrai! French officers served as trainers and advisers for the Japanese army throughout the 1870s, the time period in which the movie is set. The number peaked at around forty officers. They were sent home in 1879, and a much smaller German advisory mission arrived in 1885. Britain provided some instruction for the Imperial Japanese Navy, but not for the IJA. Americans had a role in setting up Japan's modern, civilian education system during the Meiji period. Of course, had Tom Cruise been cast as either a mild-mannered academic or a Frenchman, the film would have had a short run at a few art houses and then vanished into obscurity.

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Last Updated Apr 13 2024 5:48 AM
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