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Major Historical Events in Japan
From Richard Tames' "A Traveller's History of Japan", pp 235-8

BC
8000 Approximate beginning of Jomon period
660 Traditional date for accession of Emperor Jimmu
300 Approximate ending of Jomon period

AD
300 Approximate ending of Yayoi period
400 Approximate date for emergency of Yamato dynasty; Kofun period begins
538 (or 552) Traditional dates for the introduction of Buddhism
577-622 Prince Shotoku
587 Soga clan achieves ascendancy at court
604 Prince Shotoku's 'Seventeen Article Constitution'; adoption of Chinese calendar
607 First official mission to China; foundation of Horyuji
645 Taika reformes introduce Chinese-style administration
663 Loss of Japanese foothold in Korea
701-2 Taiho law code
710 Establishment of capital at Heijo, later known as Nara
712 Publication of Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters)
720 Publication of Nihon Shoki (Chronicle of Japan)
724-49 Emperor Shomu
741 Provinces ordered to build Buddhist monasteries
749-58 Empress Koken (and 764-70)
ca 760 Man'yoshu poetry anthology compiled
794 Establishment of capital at Kyoto
858 Fujiwara clan achieves ascendancy at court
ca 1000 Composition of Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book and Tale of Genji
1185 Battle of Dannoura ends Heike/Gempe wars
1192 Shogunate established at Kamakura
1232 Samurai legal code issued
1274 First Mongol invasion
1282 Second Mongol invasion
1333-8 Restoration of imperial rule by Go-Daigo
1338 Ashikaga shogunate
1392 Reunification of northern and southern courts
1467-77 Onin wars
1543 Portuguese land at Tanegashima
1549 Arrival of St Francis Xavier
1573 End of Ashikaga shogunate
1582 Death of Oda Nobunaga; Toyotomi Hideyoshi takes over drie for national reunification
1588 'Sword hunt' separates warriors from peasants
1590 Hideyoshi completes reunification of Japan
1592 & 1597 Japanese invasions of Korea
1597 Martyrdom of twenty-six Christians at Nagasaki
1600 Battle of Sekigahara; William Adams arrives in Japan
1603 Tokugawa Ieyasu adopts title of shogun
1614-15 Seige of Osaka Castle; suicide of Hideyori
1636-9 Japan closed to foreign contacts
1688-1704 Genroku period
1701-2 Forty-Seven Ronin affair
1707 Last eruption of Mount Fuji
1722 Partial lifting of ban on importation of Western books
1781-8 Major famines, risings and riots
1837 Popular uprising in Osaka
1839-42 'Opium War' in china
1853 Commodore Perry's 'Black Ships' 'open' Japan
1854 Treaty of Kanagawa signed with USA
1858 'Unequal treaties' signed
1867 Fall of Tokugawa shogunate
1868 'Meiji Restoration'; Tokyo becomes the capital
1872 Tokyo-Yokohama railway opened
1877 Satsuma rebellion crushed
1889 Adoption of Meiji constitution
1894-5 Sino-Japanese war
1896 First demonstration of cinema in Tokyo
1902 Anglo-Japanese alliance
1904-5 Russo-Japanese war
1910 Annexation of Korea
1911 Japan regains tariff autonomy
1912 Death of Meiji Emperor
1915 'Twenty One Demands' submitted to China
1918 Hara forms first party cabinet; 'Rice Riots'
1921 Crown Prince Hirohito visits London; assassination of Hara
1921-2 Washington Naval Conference
1922 Prince of Wales tours Japan
1923 Great Kanto earthquake
1925 Males over 25 given the vote
1926 Death of Taisho Emperor
1927 Banking crisis leads to fall of government
1930 London Naval Conference; Prime Minister Hamaguchi shot
1931 'Manchurian Incident'
1932 'Manchukuo' puppet-state established in Manchuria
1933 Japan withdraws from League of Nations
1936 Attempted coup d'état by junior officers; Japan joins Anti-Comintern Pact
1937 Marco Polo bridge incident
1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor
1942 Battle of Midway; conquest of Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia
1945 Invasion of Okinawa (April); Potsdam Declaration (July); bombing of Hiroshima (6 August) and Nagasaki (9 August); formal surrender of Japan (15 August) followed by Allied Occupation under General Douglas MacArthur
1947 Democratic constitution comes into force
1948 General Tojo and other war-leaders hanged
1951 Japan signs San Francisco Peace Treaty
1952 End of Occupation
1953 TV broadcasting begins
1954 Self-Defence Forces established
1955 Liberal Democratic Party established
1956 Japan admitted to United Nations
1958 Japan launches world's largest oil-tanker
1959 Crown Prince Akihito marries a commoner
1960 Riots accompany revision of US Security Treaty
1964 Tokyo hosts Olympic games; Japan joins OECD; 'bullet train' begins
1967 Population passes 100,000,000
1970 Suicide of Mishima Yukio; Expo '70 at Osaka; first industrial robot
1972 Okinawa reverts to Japanese sovereignty; Sapporo hosts Winter Olympics; restoration of diplomatic relations with China
1973 First 'oil shock'
1976 Lockheed bribery scandal
1978 Narita airport opened
1979 Second 'oil shock'
1985 Yen revalued 40 per cent against the dollar
1986 Maekawa Report calls for opening of Japanese economy to imports and inward investment
1988 Japan becomes world's largest creditor nation and aid donor; Seikan tunnel links Honshu and Hokkaido
1989 Death of Showa Emperor (Hirohito); scandals force resignation of Prime Ministers Takeshita and Uno; Kaifu Toshiki succeeds as prime minister
1991 Miyazawa succeeds Kaifu as prime minister
1992 New law allows up to 2,000 Japanese troops to perform humanitarian tasks overseas under United Nations command
1993 Engagement of Crown Prince Naruhito to Miss Owaka, a commoner and career diplomat