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Timeline of Japanese history

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This is a timeline of Japanese history, comprising important legal, territorial and cultural changes and political events in Japan and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Japan. See also the list of Emperors of Japan and Prime Ministers of Japan and the list of years in Japan.

14th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
1400 BC The Jōmon period starts. The Jōmon were the first settlers of the Japanese Archipelago. It is marked by a hunter-gatherer culture that reached a considerable degree of sedentism and cultural complexity. The pottery style characteristic of the first phases of Jōmon culture was decorated by impressing cords into the surface of wet clay and is generally accepted to be among the oldest in the world.

7th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
660 BC The legendary Emperor Jimmu ascends to the throne, marking the end of the Age of the Gods and start of traditional Japanese history.

4th century BC[edit]

Year Date Event
300 BC The Yayoi period starts. It is marked by extensive rice cultivation at paddy fields. Japan transitioned to a settled agricultural society. The Yayoi migrated primarily from East Asia to the Japanese archipelago and they displaced and assimilated with the Jōmon. The modern Japanese people are descendants of both the Indigenous Jōmon people and the immigrant Yayoi people. Japan also gained bronze and iron goods making techniques.

1st century[edit]

Year Date Event
57 The King of Na gold seal is issued by Emperor Guangwu of Han to the coalition of Japanese states in northern Kyushu led by Nakoku state.

2nd century[edit]

Year Date Event
180 The Civil war of Wa ends, bringing shaman queen Himiko to power in Yamatai state somewhere in western Japan.

3rd century[edit]

Year Date Event
201 The Nagata Shrine, Hirota Shrine and Ikuta Shrine, the oldest surviving Shinto shrines in Japan, are founded by legendary Empress Jingū.
238 First embassy of Himiko to Cao Wei
248 Himiko dies and is succeeded by 13 y.o. Queen Iyo after a brief civil war. Some rebels, preferring a male successor, fled Yamatai and founded the Miwa court in Nara.
250 The Kofun period and Yamato period starts. Traditional date to mark the founding of Yamato entity in Nara associated with the Sujin line of kings.
266 Iyo embassy to Emperor Wu of Jin
283 The Hata clan led by Yuzuki no Kimi settles in Japan, introducing sericulture (silk farming).

4th century[edit]

Year Date Event
346 Makimuku site abandoned, possibly due to invaders including Baekje and Gaya confederacy men, indicating large changes of Miwa court
350 Unification of Yamato Province
362 King Chūai of Miwa court replaced by king Ōjin of Kawachi court (Saki Court), marking expansion of Yamato Province to entire Kinai

5th century[edit]

Very little is known about the 5th century in Japan. The period was definitely marked by volatile inter-state warfare, complex alliances, submissions and betrayals. Some of the more constant Yamato polity partners were Baekje and Gaya confederacy, while enemies included Goguryeo, Silla and various Chinese groups. All of the records of the era either did not survive or are contentious.

Year Date Event
404 Goguryeo–Wa conflicts between Wa, Baekje, and Gaya against Goguryeo and Silla
413 King of Wa sends 1st recorded tribute to the Jin.
430 Yamato polity become a regional power after subjugating several states in West Japan. Details are subject to Mimana controversy.
461 Chronology of the Japanese historical records become consistent. All dates before this entry are reconstructed with foreign or archaeological data.
Baekje sends an embassy to Japan, as confirmed by both Japanese and Korean records.

6th century[edit]

Year Date Event
507 Kawachi court is succeeded by King Ohoto of Koshi (Keitai line of kings) in Asuka court.
527 With the suppression of the Iwai Rebellion, the Yamato polity is firmly entrenched in Tsukushi Province, Kyushu.
538 Introduction of Buddhism in Japan by Seong of Baekje.
The Asuka period starts, the Imperial capital was transferred to Asuka. Yamato polity achieve de facto political dominance with full conquest of Shikoku and Kyushu islands.
562 The last states of Gaya confederacy are destroyed, marking extinction of Japonic languages outside Japan.
587 The religious war (Soga–Mononobe conflict) ends with the victory of the pro-Buddhist Soga clan.
593 The Soga clan takes control of Japan with the installation of Empress Suiko on the throne.

7th century[edit]

Year Date Event
603 Introduction of the Twelve Level Cap and Rank System in Japan
607 The first embassy under the command of Ono no Imoko is sent to Sui China.
630 The first of Japanese missions to Tang China
645 The Asuka period ends with the power of the Soga clan broken in the Isshi Incident and Nakatomi clan becoming the dominant power.
646 22 January The Hakuhō period starts with the Taika Reform.
660 Japanese, under command of Abe no Hirafu, massacre the Mishihase people in Hokkaido. The Japanese do not return to Hokkaido until over 700 years later.
662 Japanese enter the Baekje–Tang War.
663 The Japanese navy is decisively defeated in the Battle of Baekgang, marking the withdrawal of Japan from Korean politics.
665 First coastal defences of Kyushu were built at what is now the Ōnojō Castle Ruins.
668 The Ōmi Code was adopted starting the Ritsuryō law system.
672 Succession conflict results in the Jinshin War.
673 With the reign of Emperor Tenmu, Japan becomes an empire.
684 Hakuhō earthquake [ja], severe tsunami and subsidence at Tosa Province
694 The Imperial capital transferred to Fujiwara-kyō.

8th century[edit]

Year Date Event
701 The Taihō Code legal system is accepted.
709 The Fort Ideha is established near modern Akita marking the start of submission of the Emishi people in the Tōhoku region to Japanese.
710 The Nara period starts after Empress Genmei moved the capital to Heijō-kyō.
712 The Kojiki is completed.
713 The provinces are ordered to compile cultural and geographical records, known as fudoki.
718 Fujiwara no Fuhito compiles the Yōrō Code (the update of Taihō Code) which is accepted in 757.
720 The Nihon Shoki (1st volume of historical chronicles Rikkokushi) is completed.
721 The Hayato rebellion ends after a year and half of fighting, marking the complete subjugation of Southern Kyushu.
724 Emperor Shōmu was enthroned. Also, the site of the Taga Castle, near to modern Sendai, is founded.
731 April A fleet of 300 Japanese vessels is defeated on the east coast on Silla.[1]
735 Genbō and Kibi no Makibi returned from China.
A major smallpox epidemic spread from Kyushu, resulting in a third of the population perishing, 10 years of social instability and 4 transfers of the Imperial capital through Kuni-kyō, Shigaraki Palace and Naniwa-kyō before returning to Heijō-kyō in 745.
740 28 September The Fujiwara no Hirotsugu Rebellion erupts on Kyushu.
741 Shōmu established the provincial temples.
743 The Ritsuryō law system incorporated the right of eternal land ownership.
751 The Kaifūsō poetry anthology was completed.
752 The Great Buddha of Nara at Tōdai-ji was completed with the assistance of Bodhisena from India.
754 Priest Ganjin arrived from China.
757 Fujiwara no Nakamaro defeated an attempt by Tachibana no Naramaro to seize power.
The Yōrō Code completes the evolution of Ritsuryō law system.
764 Fujiwara and Emperor Junnin launched a plot against the retired Empress Kōken and the monk Dōkyō (which failed)
773 The Thirty-Eight Years War for the subjugation of Tōhoku starts.
781 Emperor Kanmu was enthroned.
784 The Imperial capital moved to Nagaoka-kyō. This was the capital of Japan from 784 to 794. Its location was in Otokuni District, Kyoto, Yamashiro Province.
788 Saichō built Enryaku-ji.
794 The first shōgun, Ōtomo no Otomaro, was appointed by Emperor Kanmu in 794 CE. The shōgun was the military dictator of Japan with near absolute power over territories via the military.
The Heian period starts after Emperor Kanmu moved the capital to Heian-kyō (ancient name of Kyoto). Emperor Kanmu chose to relocate the capital in order to distance it from the clerical establishment in Nara.
797 The Shoku Nihongi (2nd volume of historical chronicles Rikkokushi) was completed.

9th century[edit]

Year Date Event
802 After the defeat of the Emishi Isawa confederation and execution of Aterui in the final stages of Thirty-Eight Years War [ja], the Japanese controls the entire Honshu island.
806 The Japanese kana scripts (invention popularly attributed to Kūkai) have evolved as distinct from Chinese characters.
810 The Kusuko Incident have propelled Emperor Saga to throne, resulting in 32-years long peaceful period.
815 Shinsen Shōjiroku, the first compilation of Japanese genealogical data, is complete.
829 23 January Kūkai has established the first public school in Japan.
839 Last envoy to Tang China sent (some later embassies were cancelled)
840 Nihon Kōki (3rd volume of historical chronicles Rikkokushi) was completed.
842 The Jōwa Incident mark the raising power of the Fujiwara clan.
858 The Fujiwara clan solidify their rule over Japan with the installation of Emperor Seiwa.
869 Shoku Nihon Kōki (4th volume of historical chronicles Rikkokushi) was completed.
9 July The devastating 869 Sanriku earthquake and tsunami happened off Tohoku coast.
878 March The Akita Castle is overrun during Gangyou disturbance [ja] with the background of heavy drought and famine, resulting in growing independence of the Dewa Province
879 Nihon Montoku Tennō Jitsuroku (5th volume of historical chronicles Rikkokushi) was completed.
894 Sugawara no Michizane advocates for stopping sending embassies to China.

10th century[edit]

Year Date Event
901 Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku (6th and last of historical chronicles Rikkokushi) was completed.
907 Severe epidemics and extreme weather including floods and drought, popularly attributed to persecution of Sugawara no Michizane
935 The Tosa Nikki, the oldest surviving Japanese diary, was written.
939 Tengyō no Ran – the failed rebellion of Taira no Masakado in Hitachi Province and Shimōsa Province, Fujiwara no Sumitomo in Iyo Province and San'yō region, plus opportunistic uprisings in Dewa Province – the first of many rebellions led by professional warriors (samurai), has led to the downfall of the Tachibana clan.
949 The 56 warrior monks of Tōdai-ji stage the public protest, marking the formation of sōhei class and militarization of temples.
984 The Ishinpō, the oldest surviving Japanese medical manual, is compiled.
995 Unprecedented scale epidemic ravages Heian-kyō, killing many nobles on the background of sectarian strife.[2]

11th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1008 The Tale of Genji is written.
1019 Toi invasion to northern Kyushu
1028 Taira no Tadatsune starts a 3-years long war in now Chiba Prefecture before surrendering.
1051 The Former Nine Years War (Zenkunen War) against rebellious Abe clan in now Tohoku have started.
1069 The Ritsuryō system has completely failed due encroachment by private manors. Emperor Go-Sanjō land reform attempt was thwarted by Fujiwara no Yorimichi, signaling the terminal decline of imperial power.
1074 The unification of units of volume measurement[3]
1083 The fighting in Tohoku flares up again, resulting in the Gosannen War (Later Three-Year War).

12th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1156 The Hōgen Rebellion has marked the rise of the samurai class.
1159 The Heiji Rebellion has been defeated, and Taira clan under control of Taira no Kiyomori is dominating the government of Japan – the first example of samurai rule.
1177 Shishigatani incident – an attempted rebellion against Taira clan rule
1180 The Genpei War starts. As result, the Imperial capital is briefly moved to Fukuhara-kyō (modern Kobe).
1181 Severe drought and Yōwa famine
1185 The Kamakura period starts after the Genpei War ends with the defeat of the Taira clan, resulting in establishment of the Kamakura shogunate.
1189 15 June The Battle of Koromo River have ended de facto independence of the Northern Fujiwara clan in Tōhoku. As result, first Japanese refugees have settled in Kaminokuni, Hokkaido.
1192 Kamakura became the de facto capital of Japan in about 1180 AD, following the victories of the Minamoto over the Taira. It officially became the capital in 1192 when Minamoto Yoritomo was declared shōgun.
Minamoto no Yoritomo seized power from the central government and the aristocracy and established a feudal system based in Kamakura. The samurai gained political power over the aristocratic nobility (kuge) of the Imperial Court in Kyoto. Minamoto no Yoritomo was awarded the title of Sei-i Taishōgun by Emperor Go-Toba. The Emperor became a figurehead. The political system that Yoritomo developed with a succession of shōguns as the head became known as a shogunate. The military class would rule Japan near continuously from 1192 till 1868 CE.

13th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1221 Jōkyū War – an attempt of Imperial family to regain independence from the Kamakura shogunate
1230 Kanki famine and legalization of human trafficking
1232 The Goseibai Shikimoku code accepted and used until the Edo period, marking militarization of legal system
1274 1st Mongol invasion in Japan repulsed in the Battle of Bun'ei
1281 2nd Mongol invasion in Japan repulsed in the Battle of Kōan
1293 27 May The deadly 1293 Kamakura earthquake, followed by government in-fighting, struck Japan.

14th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1331 Emperor Go-Daigo initiates the Genkō War.
1333 5 July The short-lived Kenmu Restoration starts with the destruction of the Kamakura shogunate in the Siege of Kamakura (1333).
1334 Imperial court of Japan splits in two until 1392, resulting in the Nanboku-chō period.
1336 The Muromachi period starts with the establishment of the Ashikaga shogunate domination over the imperial Northern Court. The Daimyō system is established.
1341 The Jinnō Shōtōki is written, formalizing Emperor's of Japan role transition from ruler to the mystical symbol.
1348 4 February The Southern Court loses the Battle of Shijōnawate.
1350 Kannō disturbance weakens the Ashikaga shogunate. Wokou pirates from Japan are becoming rampant in region.
1353 The Southern Court wins the Battle of Yawata, enabling the siege of Kyoto in 1354.
1368 De facto independence of the Kantō region
1370 De facto independence of Kyushu
1392 The Nanboku-chō period ends with subjugation of the Southern Court to the Northern Court.

15th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1419 19 June Ōei Invasion to Wokou bases on Tsushima Island
1428 Cholera epidemic and extreme impoverishment in now Shiga Prefecture have resulted in the Shocho uprising.
1438 Flare-up of Eikyō disturbance [ja] in the Kantō region after 22 years of confrontation between local lords and shogunate
1443 The Treaty of Gyehae was signed, resulting in Wokou pirates becoming increasingly non-Japanese.
1454 The Kyōtoku Incident starts the 32 years of instability and bloodshed in the semi-independent Kantō region.
1457 Takeda Nobuhiro emerged victorious after repelling an Ainu assault on Kaminokuni, Hokkaido, marking the beginning of Japanese conquest of Hokkaido.
Edo Castle, a nucleus of modern Tokyo, was built.
1459 Bad handling of the Kanshō famine in the aftermath of flood and plague in Kyoto has resulted in increasing divisions of society.
1467 The Ōnin War starts, marking the beginning of the Sengoku period – during which violence and power struggle has become the norm.
1477 Kyoto has been completely destroyed.
1488 The Kaga Rebellion overthrows samurai rule, establishing a theocratic state Kaga ikki in now Ishikawa Prefecture.
1498 20 September 1498 Nankai earthquake

16th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1523 Japanese in-fighting results in the Ningbo Incident, bringing a trade with China to halt and resulting in a new wave of Wokou piracy.
1540 Tenbun famine [ja] and plague
1543 25 August First Europeans arrive to Japan, opening the Nanban trade period.
1560 Battle of Okehazama: Oda Nobunaga emerged victorious.
1570 Oda Nobunaga have started a 10-year long Ishiyama Hongan-ji War to suppress the warrior monks community and Kaga ikki state.
1573 The Japanese society began to stabilize, starting the Azuchi–Momoyama period under ruling of Oda Nobunaga and later Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
1579 Azuchi religious debate have resulted in enforced religious tolerance.
1581 Oda Nobunaga forces wins the Tenshō Iga War.
Himeji Castle, the largest in Japan, was built.
1582 Incident at Honnō-ji: Akechi Mitsuhide, an Oda general, betrayed Nobunaga at Honnō-ji and forced him to commit seppuku.
1585 Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Shikoku.
1587 Toyotomi Hideyoshi has launched the Kyūshū Campaign.
1590 4 August Toyotomi Hideyoshi has prevailed over the Late Hōjō clan in the Siege of Odawara in the Kantō region, completing the re-unification of Japan.
1591 8 October The Separation Edict and Population Census Edict froze the social structure of Japan.
1592 23 May Toyotomi Hideyoshi, acting as kampaku (regent) in lieu of Oda Nobukatsu, invaded Korea.
1597 5 February Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan were crucified in Nagasaki in the aftermath of the San Felipe incident.
1598 16 December The Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98) have ended with Japanese retreat after the Battle of Noryang.

17th century[edit]

Year Date Events
1600 21 October The Battle of Sekigahara is won by forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
1603 24 March The Edo period starts after Tokugawa Ieyasu received from Emperor Go-Yōzei the title of shōgun.
The town of Edo became the de facto capital of Japan and center of political power. This was after Tokugawa Ieyasu established the bakufu headquarters in Edo. Kyoto remained the formal capital of the country.
November Rokugō rebellion
1605 3 February 1605 Nankai earthquake and tsunami
Ieyasu abdicated from office in favor of his third son and heir, Tokugawa Hidetada.
1609 7 March Invasion of Ryukyu
1610 3 January Nossa Senhora da Graça incident
1611 2 December 1611 Sanriku earthquake and tsunami
1615 3 June The Siege of Osaka is complete with the Battle of Tennōji: Tokugawa Ieyasu ended Toyotomi opposition.
1623 Hidetada resigned his office to his eldest son and heir, Tokugawa Iemitsu.
1635 The Sakoku Edict of 1635 was issued by the Tokugawa Shogunate. This isolationist foreign policy barred Japanese from leaving Japan and barred Europeans from entering, on pain of death. It instituted strict penalties for the practice of Catholicism and severely restricted foreign trade.
The policy of sankin-kōtai was established, which subjected the daimyōs to the will of the shōgun.
1637 17 December Shimabara Rebellion: A rebellion began against the daimyō Matsukura Katsuie over his persecution of Christianity and onerous tax code.
1638 15 April Shimabara Rebellion: The last of the rebels were defeated in their fortress at Shimabara.
1642 The Kan'ei Great Famine happens due combination of government over-spending, Rinderpest epizootic, volcanic eruptions and extreme weather.
1651 24 April Iemitsu died, leaving his office to the ten-year-old Tokugawa Ietsuna.
Keian Uprising: A coup d'état attempted by several rōnin and masterminded by Yui Shōsetsu and Marubashi Chūya failed.
1657 2 March Great Fire of Meireki in Edo
1669 Shakushain's Revolt on Hokkaido
1680 4 June Ietsuna died and was succeeded by his younger brother, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi.
1686 Jōkyō uprising

18th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1703 20 March ChūshinguraForty-seven ronin were ordered to commit seppuku by the shōgun.
31 December 1703 Genroku earthquake and tsunami
1707 28 October 1707 Hōei earthquake and tsunami, followed by the Hōei eruption of Mount Fuji
1709 19 February Tsunayoshi died. His nephew Tokugawa Ienobu succeeded him as shōgun.
1712 The Wakan Sansai Zue, the first Japanese encyclopaedia, was published.
12 November Ienobu died and was succeeded by his five-year-old son, Tokugawa Ietsugu, under the regency of the shōgun's adviser Arai Hakuseki.
1716 19 June Ietsugu died. Tokugawa Yoshimune, a great-grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu, became shōgun.
July The Kyōhō Reforms aimed for monetization of economy and broader import of European knowledge have started.
1720 The foreign books restrictions are reduced, starting a Rangaku practice.
1732 The Kyōhō famine happens due locust infestation in the Seto Inland Sea region.
1745 Yoshimune retired, leaving his public office to his eldest son Tokugawa Ieshige, although he maintained some influence in the affairs of state.
1754 1754 Horeki River Improvement Incident
1760 Ieshige retired, leaving his office to his eldest son Tokugawa Ieharu.
1771 24 April 1771 Great Yaeyama Tsunami
1782 Great Tenmei famine
1789 May Menashi-Kunashir Rebellion on Hokkaido
1790 The Kansei Reforms, including the Kansei Edict, tighten the isolation of Japan.
1792 21 May 1792 Unzen earthquake and tsunami

19th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1806 Chwostoff raids on the Japanese-controlled Kuril islands.
1807 Failed military expedition to Sakhalin
1811 The Golovnin Incident marks increasing contacts with the Russian Empire.
1825 Edict to Repel Foreign Vessels
1833 Tenpō famine
1837 Morrison incident
1842 Tenpō Reforms lifts the price controls and further reduce contacts with Europeans.
1846 10 March Emperor Ninkō died at the age of 45 and was succeeded by Emperor Kōmei.
1848 1 July The isolation policy of the Tokugawa shogunate has begun to crumble by the time of landing of Ranald MacDonald on Rishiri Island.
1853 14 July Matthew C. Perry arrives off the coast of Japan in four ships. Perry orders harbor buildings to be shelled to force negotiations for a letter President Millard Fillmore sent to the ruler of Japan. This incident was coined as the "Arrival of the Black Ships" in Japanese history.
1854 February Second Visit. Matthew C. Perry returns to Japan with eight Black Ships and finds that the shogunate had prepared a treaty accepting virtually all demands from President Millard Fillmore.
March Matthew C. Perry signs the Convention of Kanagawa. Within five years, Japan signs similar treaties with other western countries, thus ending an isolation period of more than 200 years known as sakoku (鎖国), whereby the Dutch and Chinese ships had limited trade exclusivity.
23 December The Ansei great earthquakes series starts with the 1854 Tōkai earthquake and tsunami.
1855 7 February The Treaty of Shimoda with the Russian Empire was signed.
11 November The Ansei great earthquakes series ends with the 1855 Edo earthquake followed by a devastating fire.
1858 26 August The Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce and other Ansei Treaties were signed, resulting in Ansei Purge.
1862 14 September Namamugi Incident: Four British subjects were attacked by guards on the Tōkaidō for failing to pay proper respect to a daimyō. One, a merchant named Charles Lennox Richardson, was killed.
1863 11 March Order to expel barbarians, Battle of Shimonoseki Straits, Bombardment of Kagoshima and other events
16 July Battle of Shimonoseki Straits
15 August Bombardment of Kagoshima
29 September Tenchūgumi incident - the year-long rebellion in Yamato Province starts.
1864 May The Mito rebellion starts in Mito Domain and continues until January 1865.
20 August Kinmon incident - an attempt to kidnap an Emperor Kōmei, resulting in partial burning of Kyoto. It was retaliated by the abortive First Chōshū expedition.
1866 7 June The Second Chōshū expedition starts, only to be halted after death of shōgun Tokugawa Iemochi in August 1866, critically discrediting the Tokugawa shogunate.
1867 3 February Emperor Kōmei died at the age of 35. It's generally believed due to the smallpox epidemic. This marked the end of the Edo period.
3 February Emperor Meiji ascended the Chrysanthemum throne. This marked the start of the Meiji Period.
1868 1868 - 1869 The Boshin War was fought between forces of the ruling Tokugawa shogunate and those seeking to return political power to the Imperial Court.
3 January The Meiji Restoration restored practical abilities and the political system under Emperor Meiji. This ended the Tokugawa Shogunate.
1869 Emperor Meiji moved his residence from Kyoto to Tokyo. Edo castle became the Imperial Palace. This made Tokyo the formal capital of Japan.
1 May The city of Edo was formally renamed to Tokyo ("eastern capital"). The city of Tokyo was officially established.
1871 Abolition of the han system, being replaced by a system of prefectures
1873 Seikanron: The government debated and rejected the idea of the invasion of Korea.
Land Tax Reform (Japan 1873)
1874 Saga Rebellion
1875 Japan quickly transformed in one generation from an isolated feudal society to a modern industrialized nation state and an emerging great power.
1876 Akizuki Rebellion, Hagi Rebellion and Shinpūren Rebellion
1877 Satsuma Rebellion
1878 23 August Takebashi incident - a riot by underpaid Imperial Guards
1888 Chichibu incident – a peasants rebellion
1890 29 November The Constitution of the Empire of Japan (Meiji Constitution) was enacted. This turned Japan into a quasi-absolute monarchy with a representative democracy.
1891 28 October 1891 Mino–Owari earthquake – strongest recorded inland earthquake of Japan
1894 1 August The First Sino-Japanese War starts.
1895 17 April The First Sino-Japanese War is won by Japanese, resulting in the Treaty of Shimonoseki. It was the first major conflict between Japan and an overseas military power in modern times. For the first time, regional dominance in East Asia shifted from China to Japan. Korea became a vassal state of Japan.
29 May Japanese invasion of Taiwan (1895)
1896 15 June The 1896 Sanriku earthquake kills 22,066 people.

20th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1902 30 January Russo-Japanese War: Japan became the first Asian nation to sign a mutual defense pact with a European nation, Britain.
1904 8 February Russo-Japanese War: Japan launched a surprise torpedo attack on the Imperial Russian Navy at Port Arthur.
1905 5 September Russo-Japanese War: Japan became the first modern Asian nation to win a war against a European nation (Russia). The Treaty of Portsmouth was signed, ceding some Russian property and territory to Japan and ending the war. Pro-war activists staged the Hibiya incendiary incident nevertheless. This changed the global world order. Japan became the main Asian power.
1910 22 August The Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910 completes the annexation of the Korean Empire.
December The Japanese Antarctic Expedition starts.
1912 30 July Emperor Meiji died at the age of 59.
30 July Prince Yoshihito became the Emperor of Japan. This marked the start of the Taishō period.
1914 5 September - 6 September The Japanese seaplane carrier Wakamiya conducted the world's first successful naval-launched air raids on 5 September 1914 and during the first months of World War I from Kiaochow Bay off Tsingtao. On 6 September 1914 was the very first air-sea battle in history.
31 October The Siege of Tsingtao starts as part of World War I.
1918 4 April Japanese intervention in Siberia starts and continues until 1922.
July Rice riots of 1918
1919 1 March The March 1st Movement signal the start of the Korean independence movement.
1921 13 November Hōshō, the first Japanese aircraft carrier, is launched.
1923 1 September The 1923 Great Kantō earthquake kills 105,385 people.
1926 25 December Emperor Taishō died at the age of 47.
25 December Prince Hirohito became the Emperor of the Empire of Japan after the death of his father Yoshihito. This marked the start of the Shōwa period.
1927 Shōwa financial crisis
1930 27 October Wushe incident – a rebellion on Taiwan
1931 18 September Japan invaded Manchuria in the aftermath of the Mukden Incident.
1932 1 March Manchukuo, a puppet state of Japan, is established.
1937 7 July The Second Sino-Japanese War starts.
1940 22 September The Japanese invasion of French Indochina starts.
1941 13 April The Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact was signed.
7 December Japan attacked the naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Japan has declared war to the US, Dutch and British, marking the start of the Pacific War theatre of World War II.
1945 6 August Atomic bombing of Hiroshima
9 August Atomic bombing of Nagasaki, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria starts and continues on as the Kuril Islands dispute
15 August Surrender of Japan
1946 3 May In the controversial International Military Tribunal for the Far East, the prosecution began of Japanese military leaders for war crimes.
1947 3 May The Constitution of Japan goes into effect. This changed the Empire of Japan into the State of Japan (Nihon Koku, 日本国) with a liberal democracy. Article 9 turned Japan into a pacifist country without a military.
1951 8 September The US Occupation of Japan ended after the signing of the Treaty of San Francisco and Security Treaty Between the United States and Japan on September 8, 1951, which became effective on April 28, 1952. It restored the sovereignty of Japan and established the U.S.-Japan alliance.
1954 1 July Formation of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF), Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).
1956 12 December Japan joins the United Nations.
1964 1 October The largest Japanese land reclamation project thus far was completed in Lake Hachirōgata, creating the village of Ōgata out of 195 km2 of lakebed reclaimed since 1957.
1 October The first Shinkansen high-speed train railway line was opened.
10 October 1964 Summer Olympics: Tokyo hosted the Olympics, marking the first time the Games were held in Asia.
1968 Japan surpassed West Germany to become the second largest economic power in the world.
The Ogasawara Islands were returned from US occupation to Japanese sovereignty. Japanese citizens were allowed to return.
1969 18 January Student protests against the Vietnam War and American use of bases on Japanese soil culminated in a short-lived takeover of Tokyo University.
1970 11 February The first successful launch of the Lambda 4S rocket places the Japanese Ohsumi satellite on orbit.
20 December The Koza riot was a violent and spontaneous protest against the US military presence in Okinawa.
By the 1970s Japan ascended to great power status again. Japan had record high economic growth during the Japanese economic miracle.
1971 30 September Zengakuren demonstrate and riot in Tokyo against terms for the return of Okinawa from US to Japanese control. They wanted to remove all American military presence.
24 November The 1971 Okinawa Reversion Agreement is ratified and returned the Okinawa Prefecture to Japanese sovereignty.
1974 Prime Minister Eisaku Satō, the first Asian to do so, accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.
1980 Japan became the biggest motor vehicle producing country in the world with 11,042,884 motor vehicles compared to the USA's 8,009,841.
1989 7 January Emperor Hirohito died at the age of 87. His posthumous name is Emperor Shōwa. He was both the longest-lived and longest-reigning historical Japanese emperor, as well as the longest-reigning monarch in the world at that time.
7 January Prince Akihito succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne upon the death of his father Emperor Shōwa. He thereby became the Emperor of Japan. This marked the start of the Heisei period.
29 December The Tokyo Stock Market index, Nikkei 225, hits its peak at 38,957 before closing at 38,916 for the day.
1991 Lost Decade: The Japanese asset price bubble popped.
1995 17 January Great Hanshin earthquake
20 March Tokyo subway sarin attack: Members of the Aum Shinrikyo religious sect release sarin gas on the Tokyo subway system, killing 13 and injuring over 1000.
1997 11 December The Kyoto Protocol to regulate greenhouse gases emissions was adopted.

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event
2005 November The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)'s robotic spacecraft Hayabusa landed on an asteroid and collected samples in the form of tiny grains of asteroidal material, which were returned to Earth aboard the spacecraft on 13 June 2010. It was the first spacecraft in history designed to deliberately land on an asteroid and then take off again. The Hayabusa mission was the first to return an asteroid sample to Earth for analysis.
2011 March The Tokyo Skytree 634.0 metres (2,080 ft) became the tallest tower in the world.
11 March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, followed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster
July The Japan Self-Defense Force Base Djibouti was established.
2012 December Abenomics policies are enacted to handle the consequences of the Lost Decade and the Japan demographic crisis.
2018 7 April Japan activated the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, its first marine unit since World War Two. They're trained to counter invaders from occupying Japanese islands.
The tourist boom in Japan reach unprecedented scale, with a number of yearly visitors counting in millions - 19.73 in 2015, 23.97 in 2016, 28.6 in 2017, and 31.19 millions foreign visitors in 2018.[4][5]
2019 30 April Emperor Akihito abdicated being the first Japanese emperor to do so since 1817. Prince Naruhito succeeded as the Emperor of Japan. This marked the start of the Reiwa period.

See also[edit]

Cities in Japan

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lee Injae、Owen Miller、Park Jinhoon、Yi Hyun-Hae, "Korean History in Maps", p. 696 (60)
  2. ^ Brown, Delmer M.; Ishida, Ichirō (1979). The Future and the Past: A Translation and Study of the Gukanshō, an Interpretative History of Japan Written in 1219. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0520034600.
  3. ^ Brown, Delmer M.; Ishida, Ichirō (1979). The Future and the Past: A Translation and Study of the Gukanshō, an Interpretative History of Japan Written in 1219. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-0520034600.
  4. ^ Sugiura, Eri. "Japan gets more than it bargained for with tourist boom". asia.nikkei.com. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  5. ^ Mae Vogel, Holly. "What is behind Japan's travel boom". asiancorrespondent.com. Retrieved 2 July 2019.

Further reading[edit]

Published in the 19th century
Published in the 20th century
Published in the 21st century

External links[edit]