Samurai Time Line
Legend says Jimmu Tenno became Japan's first emperor and set up the ruling
Yamato State. Weapons and armor develop.
Horses introduced to Japanese fighting.
Buddhism arrives in Japan; becomes a powerful philosophy for rulers and
Taika Reforms Began.
Taiho law codes established the Great Council of
The Japanese court establishes first long term capital
in the city of Nara.
Heian period begins, the capital is moved to the city of
Taira Masakado revolted and proclaimed himself "The New
Emperor." Other samurai leaders exerted their influence across the land
and changed the history of Japan.
The warrior class gains strength in the
Fujiwara Michinaga comes to
Sei Shonagon composes "The Pillow
Murasaki Shikibu writes "The Tale of Genji"
Taira Kyomori over comes the Minamoto to become military
leader of Japan, Fujiwara dominance ends.
Minamoto Yoritomo takes up arms against the Taira clan in The Gempei War.
And establishes the Kamakura bakufu Heian era ends.
Yorimoto became first permanent Shogun of japan and set up his
samurai government in Kamakura.
Mongols invade Japan. The samurai defeat the Mongols after many
years of fierce fighting, that change the way wars are fought by the samurai.
A second attempt by the Mongols in 1281 also fail. They develop a
style of formation combat and depend more on swords as a primary weapon in
Go-Daigo becomes the 96th Emperor of Japan. After
battling Emperor Go-Daigo for supremacy, the Kamakura bakufu is
Ashikaga Takauji defeats Go-Daigo's forces and names a new
emperor in Kyoto, Go-Daigo sets up a southern court.
The northern and southern courts are
Master swordsmen establish dojos to teach kenjutsu.
The Onin War sees the decline of Shogun power and begins the Sengoku Jidai
(The Age of the Country at War) which last 150 years.
Portuguese guns are introduced into
Jesuit Francis Xavier arrives and begins
Oda Nobunaga begins the process of unifying Japan.
Oda Nobunaga seizes Kyoto, Sengoku Jidai draws to
Last Ashikaga shogun is expelled from
Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu win battle at
After Nobunaga is assassinated, Toyotomi
Hideyoshi seizes power.
Hideyoshi invades Korea for the first time, a
second invasion occurs in 1597.
Troops are withdrawn from Korea after Hideyoshi
Ieyasu asserts military hegemony with a victory at
Sekigahara, the first Dutch ship arrives.
Tokugawa Ieyasu acquires title of shogun, Okuni's
troupe perform first kabuki dances in Kyoto.
Miyamoto Musashi, Japans most famous swordsman,
begins hi musha-shugyo (Warrior Pilgrimage). Musashi fought and won more
than 60 duels before the age of 30. He founded the Individual School of
Two Skies and taught for many years. At the age of 60, Musashi wrote Gorin
No Sho (The book of Five Rings), the most famous writing about the Japanese
sword arts. He also wrote "The 35 Articles on the Art of
The Dutch establish a trading post on
Tokugawa expels the Franciscans and Jesuits and outlaws
Osaka Castle falls to Tokugawa, Tokugawa
Ieyasu draws up the Buke Sho Hatto (Rules for Martial Families) before his
death. It gave the samurai 13 guides to living as a warrior during peace
Japan closes its doors to the outside world
for more than 200 years.
Genroku era begins.
Matsuo Basho's "The Narrow Road to the
Deep North" is published.
Earthquakes, floods, and fires ravage Japan, Mount Fuji erupts, and
a measles epidemic breaks out.
Genroku era ends.
Commodore Matthew Perry opened trade between
the United States and Japan.
Emperor Mutuhito regained his traditional
powers and took the name Meiji. It was the beginning of the Meiji
Restoration. Meiji set up his new capital city in Edo (Tokyo).
Emperor Meiji introduced the "Five Articles
Oath" which began the dismantling of the Samurai caste.
Emperor Meiji established an army based on
conscription; an army open to anyone.
Emperor Meiji declared a new law that ended
the wearing of swords. The samurai had lost their profession and their
right to wear swords. Their position as a special class ended after almost
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