history of Christianity
History of Japan

Much of the early development of this nation could be traced back to the Asian lines. The written language at first utilized Chinese characters with elements of Confucianism and later during the 6th century, Buddhism was introduced as supplements to the indigenous Shinto beliefs. Imperial power began to be eclipsed by the rich land-owning families.

Following a period of bitter fighting between the Minamoto and Taira clans in the late 12th century, imperial power collapsed completely, to be replaced by that of the newly titled shoguns. The line of emperors continued, though with little more than ceremonial purpose.

Much of the 16th century was marked by fighting in the independent domains within the country, each under the rule of a local aristocratic lord known as daimyo. It was only with the advent of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his successor Tokugawa Ieyasu that the country was reunified. Ieyasu's victory at the beginning of the Tokugawa period-also known as Edo(the name of the town from which was destined to be renamed Tokyo). Japan was ruled under the shogun families until the restoration of the emperor in 1868.

After some 80 years of contact with Europeans, the Tokugawas resolved to have no more to do with outsiders, so Japan embarked on a period of isolation from the outside world, which was finally broken in 1853. Thereafter, Japan modernized its administrative and economic structure and started out on its quest for world power. However, defeat in World War II put an end to the country's aspirations th that direction.

Today, as Asia's dominant economic power, Japan has emerged as world financial power.

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