Japan is an archipelago or a series of islands. While Japan consists of more than 3,000 islands, the Japanese live on four main islands. The four main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. The waters that surrounded Japan protected it from invaders. Unlike China and India, foreign armies never conquered Japan. However, cultural diffusion did occur. Japan received many ideas from Korea and China. The Japanese adapted these ideas to fit their own culture. Thus, while the Japanese borrowed many ideas from other cultures, they still maintained their own unique culture.
Japan is also mountainous. While the mountains are not high enough to separate the people of Japan, the mountains make farming difficult. Japan has little arable or good for farming land. In addition, Japan lacks many natural resources. As a result of this lack of natural resources, the Japanese have had to conquer other lands or trade to acquire these natural resources.
1- Why is Japan an archipelago? ___________________________________________________________________________________________
2- List the four main islands of Japan. ________________________________________________________
3- What are two geographic effects of the Japanese islands on the people of Japan? ___________________________________________________________________________________________
4- Who have the Japanese borrowed cultural ideas from? ________________________________________________________
5- Why does Japan lack arable land? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
6- Why do the Japanese believe that they must trade or die in the world today? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Because of Japan’s nearness to China, it was greatly influenced by Chinese ideas, culture, and technology. Scholars and merchants brought Chinese culture to Japan, including their method of writing, Confucianism, Buddhism, which had spread from India to China. Chinese culture influenced Japanese styles and tastes in music, art, pottery, and cooking.
Like the Chinese emperor, the Japanese emperor claimed absolute power and built a capital city. However, Japanese culture was never an exact copy of China. The Japanese rejected several Chinese practices. For example, the Japanese never adopted the Chinese idea of the Mandate of Heaven or the belief that the gods chose the emperor but could also remove a corrupt emperor. The Japanese, unlike the Chinese, believed that the emperor was directly descended from the Sun Goddess. The Japanese had one dynasty of emperors due to this belief. The Japanese also had a unique religious tradition known as Shintoism or the worship of spirits found in nature.
7- Why was Japan influenced by Chi...