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Quiz about History of Japan to 1333
Quiz about History of Japan to 1333

History of Japan to 1333 Trivia Quiz


A general history of Japan, from prehistoric times until the momentous year of 1333.

A multiple-choice quiz by Finduskeepus. Estimated time: 8 mins.
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Author
Finduskeepus
Time
8 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
287,768
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
15
Difficulty
Difficult
Avg Score
7 / 15
Plays
518
- -
Question 1 of 15
1. The modern Japanese are believed to be descended from a mixture of the prehistoric inhabitants of the islands and the Yayoi people, who began to migrate from mainland Asia around 500BC, inaugurating the Yayoi Period. What is the name given to the period preceding the Yayoi, when Japan was inhabited solely by those prehistoric indigenous groups? Hint


Question 2 of 15
2. The earliest evidence of a unified political entity in Japan comes from the records of the Chinese Wei Dynasty in the third century AD. They described a federation of thirty tribes which fought against the surrounding tribes and sent ambassadors to China. What did the Wei call this confederation? Hint


Question 3 of 15
3. By historic times, Japan was ruled by a unified political entity - the Yamato state. By this time, the center of power had moved from Kysh to Honsh, where the Yamato people had settled the two great plains still known as the Kansai and Kant. What does the 'Kan' in these two words mean? Hint


Question 4 of 15
4. The Yamato state was ruled by the Imperial family of Japan, which has survived to the present day. From early times, however, the Emperors were dominated by great aristocratic clans. The sixth century saw the great rivalry between the Soga and Mononobe clans, who were bitterly opposed to each other because of what kind of issue? Hint


Question 5 of 15
5. What are the names of the first two schools of native Japanese Buddhism, founded respectively by two monks who traveled to China on the same government-sponsored study mission in 804? Hint


Question 6 of 15
6. What is the name of the great aristocratic clan that dominated the court during the Heian Period (794-1185)?

Answer: (One Word)
Question 7 of 15
7. The writings of aristocratic women during the Heian Period are considered to have much greater literary merit than those of men. What is the reason for this? Hint


Question 8 of 15
8. During the middle and late Heian Period, powerful aristocrats who had been given territories in the provinces began to put themselves at the head of a new class of people in Japanese society - the samurai. What kind of people were the samurai originally? Hint


Question 9 of 15
9. In the last years of the Heian Period, as power in Japan passed from the court nobility to the samurai, which two great warrior clans fought for supremacy?

Answer: (Three words, middle word 'and')
Question 10 of 15
10. The conflict ended in 1185 with the battle of Dan no Ura, and the death of the Emperor Antoku. How did he die? Hint


Question 11 of 15
11. The new samurai rulers of Japan called their government a 'Bakufu', or 'Shgunate'. Formally established in 1192, it is known to history as the [fill in the blank] Bakufu.

Answer: (One word)
Question 12 of 15
12. During the period of this first Bakufu, many new native schools of Buddhism emerged. Which school, established in the last years of the Heian Period, has a name that translates as 'Pure Land'? Hint


Question 13 of 15
13. Japan was fortunate that the Mongol invasions of the late thirteenth century came during the relatively brief period in which she had a strong, unified military government. Which modern-day Japanese city is the site of the two Mongol landings? Hint


Question 14 of 15
14. Which Emperor plunged the country into civil war in the early fourteenth century, by announcing that he would rule personally, without the Bakufu? Hint


Question 15 of 15
15. In 1333, the Bakufu was overthrown, and the Emperor was 'restored'. The warrior who achieved this victory was Nitta Yoshisada, one of two great generals in the Imperial camp. The other general, in the years to come, would defeat both Nitta and the Emperor, and found a new Bakufu ruled by his own clan, the Ashikaga. What was his name?

Answer: (One Word - Ashikaga [name])

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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The modern Japanese are believed to be descended from a mixture of the prehistoric inhabitants of the islands and the Yayoi people, who began to migrate from mainland Asia around 500BC, inaugurating the Yayoi Period. What is the name given to the period preceding the Yayoi, when Japan was inhabited solely by those prehistoric indigenous groups?

Answer: The Jmon Period

"Jmon" means "cord-patterned". Referring to the cord-marks found on ancient pottery, it is the name given by archaeologists to the prehistoric peoples who inhabited the islands before the arrival of the Yayoi culture from which modern Japan is derived.

The Ainu, whose culture now survives only on Hokkaid, are thought to be descended from Jmon peoples. The Kfun Period, in which the center of power shifted from Kysh to Honsh, succeeded the Yayoi. The Asuka Period, in which Buddhism first appeared in Japan, succeeded the Asuka.
2. The earliest evidence of a unified political entity in Japan comes from the records of the Chinese Wei Dynasty in the third century AD. They described a federation of thirty tribes which fought against the surrounding tribes and sent ambassadors to China. What did the Wei call this confederation?

Answer: The Queen Country

The Chinese records provide strong evidence that Japan at this time was in the process of changing from a collection of independent tribes into a unified political entity. The identity of the 'Queen' who apparently ruled over this alliance of tribes is uncertain, as is the location of the 'Queen Country' - it was possibly in the northern half of Kysh.
3. By historic times, Japan was ruled by a unified political entity - the Yamato state. By this time, the center of power had moved from Kysh to Honsh, where the Yamato people had settled the two great plains still known as the Kansai and Kant. What does the 'Kan' in these two words mean?

Answer: Barrier

'Kant' (dominated by Tky) and 'Kansai' (centering on Kyto and saka) mean, respectively, 'east of the barrier' and 'west of the barrier'. The barrier refers to the Hakone checkpoint - the government office in the Hakone pass that led travelers through the mountains which divide the two great plains.
4. The Yamato state was ruled by the Imperial family of Japan, which has survived to the present day. From early times, however, the Emperors were dominated by great aristocratic clans. The sixth century saw the great rivalry between the Soga and Mononobe clans, who were bitterly opposed to each other because of what kind of issue?

Answer: Religious

In the Yamato court, the great families were tasked with different administrative responsibilities. The Mononobe were the guardians of Japan's ancient Shint shrines. The Soga, possibly because of familial links to Korea, championed the new religion of Buddhism. Although simple greed for power was
at the heart of their conflict, the two sides descended into violence because of this religious issue. The Soga, and Buddhism, eventually triumphed.
5. What are the names of the first two schools of native Japanese Buddhism, founded respectively by two monks who traveled to China on the same government-sponsored study mission in 804?

Answer: Tendai and Shingon

Saich and Kkai were the two monks and Tendai (based on Chinese Tiantai Buddhism) and Shingon (meaning 'true word') were the schools they founded. Both schools found support from the powerful aristocrats of Kyto and flourished.

The Enryakuji and the Tji are two major Buddhist temples, the former a Tendai temple, the latter a Shingon temple. Nichiren and Jd are two later schools of native Japanese Buddhism, founded by monks who became dissatisfied with the two older schools.
6. What is the name of the great aristocratic clan that dominated the court during the Heian Period (794-1185)?

Answer: Fujiwara

In 645 the founder of the Fujiwara clan, Fujiwara no Kamatari, overthrew the Soga and brought his own family to prominence. During the Heian Period, Fujiwara leaders reached the pinnacle of power, by marrying a daughter to the current Emperor and thus ensuring that they would be the maternal grandfather of the next Emperor.

In the Japan of the time, this was considered the most important familial relationship and the young Emperors, unable to go against their Fujiwara grandfathers, spent their time writing poetry while the Fujiwara ruled the country.
7. The writings of aristocratic women during the Heian Period are considered to have much greater literary merit than those of men. What is the reason for this?

Answer: Women wrote in Japanese and men wrote in Chinese

During the Heian Period, the massive cultural influence of China still dominated Japan and only literature that followed the Chinese model was considered serious, and thus fit for the distinguished male writers of the day, who represented the sounds of the Japanese language with Chinese written characters.

However, the very different structure of the two languages meant the result was stilted and unnatural. The recently-invented kana, which represented Japanese sounds more naturally, were considered trivial, and fit only for the ladies of the court.

As a result, the female writers produced some of the most acclaimed works in the Japanese canon, the 'Genji Monogatari' being the most famous example.
8. During the middle and late Heian Period, powerful aristocrats who had been given territories in the provinces began to put themselves at the head of a new class of people in Japanese society - the samurai. What kind of people were the samurai originally?

Answer: Farmers

As new lands were broken in, settler-farmers in the outer provinces found themselves in frontier conditions, menaced by bandits, local warlords, importunate tax collectors and Ainu raiders. They formed leagues to defend themselves and grew into a class of hardened, skilled fighters. Over time these new leagues of samurai began to pledge their loyalty to the great provincial aristocrats, gaining further protection in return for their allegiance.
9. In the last years of the Heian Period, as power in Japan passed from the court nobility to the samurai, which two great warrior clans fought for supremacy?

Answer: Taira and Minamoto

After a certain number of generations, direct descendants of the Emperors were disinherited from the Imperial family and sent to found their own aristocratic families in the provinces. The new families were given the clan name of either Minamoto or Taira.

Once in the provinces, these new families began to function as leaders of the new samurai class. As the court's ability to keep order in the country faltered, the nobility increasingly had to call on Taira or Minamoto warlords to do its fighting. Finally, it became clear that the power needed to rule the country had passed into their hands. Neither clan, however, was prepared to share power with the other.
10. The conflict ended in 1185 with the battle of Dan no Ura, and the death of the Emperor Antoku. How did he die?

Answer: He drowned

The Taira, under their leader Kiyomori, were originally successful, defeating the Minamoto and taking power in Kyto. Kiyomori attempted to continue the pattern set by the Fujiwara, by marrying his daughter to the emperor Takakura, and thereby becoming the maternal grandfather of the new Emperor, Antoku.

After Kiyomori's death, however, the fortunes of the Taira turned and they were driven out of Kyto by the Minamoto, under their leader Yoritomo, one of the most significant figures in the history of Japan. The Taira, taking Antoku with them, fled first to Shikoku, and then to Kysh, where they were defeated in the naval battle of Dan no Ura. Antoku, along with his grandmother, and many Taira warriors, chose to jump into the sea rather than surrender. He drowned, aged six years old.
11. The new samurai rulers of Japan called their government a 'Bakufu', or 'Shgunate'. Formally established in 1192, it is known to history as the [fill in the blank] Bakufu.

Answer: Kamakura

In contrast to Kiyomori, Minamoto no Yoritomo made a decisive break with the patterns of the past. He did not attempt to link his clan with the Imperial family by marriage. Instead he conceived his new government as a feudal institution based on his claims on the loyalty of the military class.

It was to be completely separate from the court, which would henceforth be respected, but irrelevant. To set the seal on the new system, Yoritomo chose to base the Bakufu not in Kyto, but in his eastern heartland, in the city of Kamakura.
12. During the period of this first Bakufu, many new native schools of Buddhism emerged. Which school, established in the last years of the Heian Period, has a name that translates as 'Pure Land'?

Answer: Jd

Jd was founded in the late twelfth century by the monk Hnen, who felt that the scholarly disciplines of Tendai and Shingon, which required years of study to reach enlightenment, did not offer enough to ordinary people. His new school taught that anyone could reach enlightenment by the simple repetition of the nembutsu, an expression of gratitude to the Buddha, who in return would allow the practitioner to be reborn in the 'Pure Land'.

Nichiren and Zen are different schools of Buddhism, which became popular in Japan during the Kamakura Period. Shinran was a disciple of Hnen and founder of a sub-sect of Jd, the 'True Pure Land' school.
13. Japan was fortunate that the Mongol invasions of the late thirteenth century came during the relatively brief period in which she had a strong, unified military government. Which modern-day Japanese city is the site of the two Mongol landings?

Answer: Fukuoka

Fukuoka, or Hakata as it was historically known, is situated in the northwest of Kysh, and is close to Dazaifu, the Kamakura Bakufu's administrative base on the island. It was thus the target of Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281. In the first invasion, the Mongols were dismayingly successful, driving the local government forces back inland. The Mongols then retreated, alarmed by the onset of a fierce storm that threatened to wreck their ships.

Luckily for the Japanese, the threat came during the brief window between the militarily ineffectual aristocratic rulers of the Heian Period, and the era of disunity that followed the collapse of the feudal system. The Kamakura Bakufu was able to mobilize the Kysh samurai who met the second invasion in Fukuoka in 1281, holding the Mongol forces on the beach for two months. When the famous typhoon, the Kamikaze, blew up, the Mongols were still on their ships and were smashed to pieces in Fukuoka's harbor.
14. Which Emperor plunged the country into civil war in the early fourteenth century, by announcing that he would rule personally, without the Bakufu?

Answer: Go-Daigo

Go-Daigo's blithe announcement that the era of military rule was over should have been met with polite amusement by the Hj regents, the military family that controlled the Minamoto Shguns. However, in the 1220s and 30s, the Bakufu's claims on the loyalty of the samurai clans were faltering, thanks to their inability to dispense the rewards due to those who had fought against the Mongols.

The aggrieved samurai were ready to give their allegiance to powerful, ambitious warriors who saw in Go-Daigo the perfect vehicle to advance themselves. Declaring themselves Imperial 'loyalists', they launched their attacks on the Bakufu ostensibly in his name.
15. In 1333, the Bakufu was overthrown, and the Emperor was 'restored'. The warrior who achieved this victory was Nitta Yoshisada, one of two great generals in the Imperial camp. The other general, in the years to come, would defeat both Nitta and the Emperor, and found a new Bakufu ruled by his own clan, the Ashikaga. What was his name?

Answer: Takauji

Takauji, a descendant of the Minamoto, began his career as a Bakufu general and, in 1333, was sent at the head of a Bakufu force to defeat the adherents of Go-Daigo. But Takauji turned his coat and the rest is history. While Go-Daigo might have believed that his 'restoration' meant the end of samurai rule over the country, Takauji had other ideas.

He intended samurai government to continue, with himself and his heirs at the head of it. In 1335, Emperor and warlord fell out once and for all. In the long struggle that followed, Takauji's fortunes would rise and fall several times, but in the end Go-Daigo's cause withered away and Japan had a new Shgunal family - the Ashikaga.
Source: Author Finduskeepus

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor bloomsby before going online.
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