Chronology 

660 BCE

Mythological first emperor Jimmu establishes control of Japan

 

200 BCE-250 CE

Yoshinogari thrives, as first known regional center

 

183-248 CE

Reputed dates for reign of Himiko

 

400-500

Height of kofun (mounded tomb) culture

 

552

Buddhism arrives in Japan, according to traditional dates

 

607

Suiko and Shotoku Taishi send embassy to China

 

710-784

Nara serves as first “permanent” capital

 

752

Dedication of Great Buddha draws representatives from across Asia

 

794-1185

Heian serves as capital, under rule of aristocratic classes

 

805-806

Indigenous Buddhist sects, Tendai and Shingon, founded

 

894

Japan terminates embassies to China

 

1006-1008

Tale of Genji produced by Murasaki Shikibu

 

1185-1333

Kamakura serves as military capital; imperial court still in Heian

 

1191

Eisai of Rinzai sect establishes first Zen temple

 

1274, 1281

Mongol fleets attack Japan; their defeat gives rise to idea of kamikaze

 

1333-1573

Muromachi area of Kyoto serves as capital under shogun

 

1467-1477

Onin Upheaval ends Kyoto’s power, initiates warring states period

 

1499

Rock Garden of Ryoanji in Kyoto completed

 

1543

Portuguese ship stranded on Tanegashima Island: first Westerners in Japan

 

1590

Toyotomi Hideyoshi completes military unification of Japan; two years later he unsuccessfully invades Korea

 

1600-1868

Edo serves as administrative capital under Tokugawa; emperors reside in Kyoto

 

1641

The Dutch, the only Westerners still in Japan, are restricted by Tokugawa to Dejima island, Chinese to quarters in Nagasaki

 

1673

Mitsui dry-goods store founded in Kyoto, the beginning of a financial giant

 

1688-1704

Genroku era produces a flowering of urban culture

 

1805

World’s first use of anesthesia in surgery, by Hanaoka Seisho

 

1853

U.S. commodore Matthew Perry demands that Japan open its ports to American ships; his demands are granted the next year

 

1868

Meiji Restoration topples shogunate, initiates massive reforms

 

1871

Yokohama Mainichi Shimbun launched as Japan’s first daily newspaper

 

1889

Meiji Constitution makes Japan Asia’s first constitutional monarchy

 

1894-1895

Sino-Japanese War, won decisively by Japan; Taiwan becomes Japan’s first colony

 

1904-1905

Russo-Japanese War, won by Japan, though not decisively

 

1910

Japan annexes Korea, greatly expanding its empire

 

1923

Great Kanto Earthquake claims nearly 140,000 lives

 

1925

Peace Preservation Law restricts speech; Universal Male Suffrage Law expands electorate

 

1931

Railway bombing in Manchuria launches Japan’s takeover of northeast China and creation of Manchukuo

 

1937

Skirmish at Marco Polo Bridge, near Beijing, initiates Japan’s second war with China

 

1941

World War II in Pacific begins with Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

 

1945

U.S. drops atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Japan surrenders

 

1945-1952

Japan is occupied by American-led SCAP administration

 

1964

Summer Olympics held in Tokyo

 

1968

Kawabata Yasunari is first Japanese to win Nobel Prize in literature

 

1972

Okinawa reverts to Japanese control

 

1973

World oil crisis triggers inflation, new energy policies

 

1989

Showa emperor (Hirohito) dies after sixty-two years on throne

 

1990-1992

Bubble economy bursts, leading to a decade of economic woes

 

1995

Diet expresses “deep remorse” for colonialism and World War II

 

2003

Diet votes to send troops to Iraq, the first assignment of Self Defense Forces to an active combat zone

 

2009

Democratic Party of Japan ends LDP’s decades-long hold on power

 

If you find an error or have any questions, please email us at admin@erenow.org. Thank you!