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Major Events and Cultural Milestones in Japan Major World Events
  From the age of hunting to the age of rice cultivation C. 3500 BC First civilization develops in Mesopotamia
Stone Age People live by hunting and gathering C. 3000 BC Unified state emerges in Egypt
Jomon Period Permanent settlement begins; people use polished stone tools and earthenware C. 2500 BC Indus civilization develops in India
Yayoi Period Start of rice cultivation and use of metal utensils C. 1760 BC Code of Hammurabi is established in Babylonia
    C. 1600 BC Yin dynasty is founded in China
    116 Roman Empire covers its largest area
4th-5th C. Unification of the Yamato court proceeds; burial mounds built around the country; Buddhism, Chinese characters, new technologies, and other culture brought to Japan from the continent
The Nintoku-Tenno-Ryo Tumulus
313 Christianity officially recognized by Emperor Constantine I
589 Sui dynasty unites China
  Age of city building and nobility    
593 Prince Shotoku becomes regent    
607 Horyuji temple, including the oldest surviving wooden structure in the world, is completed
Horyuji temple
7th C. Islam founded by Mohammed
710 Capital moves to Nara    
752 Great Buddha at Todaiji temple is completed    
794 Capital moves to Kyoto

The nobility becomes more powerful

Use of Japanese kana syllabaries begins

photo Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji), the world's oldest novel, is written by Murasaki Shikibu
800 The Frankish king Charlemagne or Charles the Great is crowned emperor of the Western Roman Empire
962 Otto I is crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
  From the age of nobility to the age of warriors    
1192 Minamoto no Yoritomo establishes the Kamakura shogunate 1206 Genghis Khan establishes the Mongol Empire
1274 Mongols attack Japan (and again in 1281) 1299 Ottoman Empire is established
1336 Ashikaga Takauji establishes the Muromachi (Kyoto) shogunate 1337 Hundred Years' War between England and France begins
1397 Temple of the Golden Pavilion is built in Kyoto    
1482 Temple of the Silver Pavilion is built in Kyoto

Wars among feudal lords spread throughout the country
Samurai armor
1492 Christopher Columbus discovers the American continent
1543 Portuguese introduce the first firearms to Japan    
1549 Christianity introduced to Japan by Francis Xavier    
1590 Toyotomi Hideyoshi unifies Japan    
Himeji Castle (Himeji City Hall)
  From the age of warriors to the age of merchants 1600 England establishes the East India Company

European powers colonize large parts of the world
1603 Tokugawa Ieyasu establishes the Edo(Tokyo) shogunate

Merchants become more powerful as commerce flourishes
1639 Japan becomes completely closed to the world

The number of temple schools increases; reading, writing, abacus, morals, and other subjects are widely taught
C. 1750 Industrial Revolution begins in Europe
1776 America declares independence
1853 US Navy Commodore Matthew Perry arrives in Uraga to demand that Japan open up 1789 French Revolution begins, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man is issued
The Matsuzakaya department store as it looked in 1768 (Matsuzakaya Co., Ltd.)
  Japan opens up to the world    
1854 Japan and the United States conclude the Convention of Kanagawa, ending Japan's seclusion    
1858 Commerce treaties are concluded with various countries    
1867 Edo shogunate falls, and the Emperor becomes central to politics    
1868 Meiji Restoration occurs, and Edo is renamed as Tokyo

Big changes in political and social systems and people's lifestyles

Compulsory education system is established; construction of elementary schools begins around the country
1876 Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone
1889 Constitution of the Empire of Japan is issued 1886 Karl Benz invents the gasoline-powered car
1890 First Imperial Diet is held    
1894- 95 War between Japan and China

Silk industry develops
1904- 05 War between Japan and Russia 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first flight by airplane
1914- 18 World War I

Heavy industries develop
1914- 18 World War I
1923 Great Kanto Earthquake    
1925 Universal male suffrage is introduced 1929 Great Depression begins
1941- 45 Pacific War 1939- 45 World War II
1945 Atomic bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 1945 United Nations is established
Kaichi School, one of the oldest schools in Japan (Matsumoto City Hall)
  Toward a new postwar Japan    
1946 Constitution of Japan is issued

Social reforms are carried out
1949 Yukawa Hideki becomes the first Japanese to win the Nobel Prize in physics    
1951 Peace treaties are concluded with various countries 1957 Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the first man-made satellite
1956 Japan becomes a member of the United Nations

Economic growth proceeds
1961 Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union becomes the first human in space
1964 Olympic Games are held in Tokyo, the first Games in Asia; Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train) begins operating 1969 Humans set foot on the moon for the first time
1970 World Exposition is held in Osaka, the first EXPO in Asia    
1972 Okinawa is returned to Japan
Winter Olympics are held in Sapporo
1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake    
1998 Winter Olympics are held in Nagano    
2002 FIFA World Cup is cohosted by Japan and the Republic of Korea    
2004 Niigata-Chuetsu Earthquake 2004 Major tsunami in the Indian Ocean
2005 Kyoto Protocol comes into force
World Exposition is held in Aichi on the theme of "Nature's Wisdom"
Cityscapes like this are a symbol of Japan's postwar development (JNTO)
2011 Great East Japan Earthquake    
2013 Mt. Fuji is designated as a World Cultural Heritage Site