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maritime trade. Travel and trade expanded as never before, and more and more foreigners came to China.

Thriving Trade and Cultural Exchange By welcoming traders and other foreigners, the Mongols encouraged cultural exchange. The Mongols respected merchants and actively promoted trade. They set up stations along the Silk Road every 20 miles, where traders could find food and a place to sleep. Muslim merchant associations managed the Silk Road trade. They traded Chinese silk and porcelain for medicines, perfumes, and ivory.

Some of the foreign visitors who traveled the Silk Road from Europe to China were Christian missionaries. They wanted to convert the Chinese to Christianity. They also wanted Kublai Khan to form an alliance between Europeans and Mongols against the Muslims. Both goals failed. Still, Christian missionaries did make some converts, and they helped bring new ideas to China.

Sea trade also flourished under the Mongols. Ships from India brought diamonds and pearls. Ginger, cotton, and muslin came from Ceylon. From Java came black pepper, white walnuts, and cloves.

Many foreigners who came to China brought special skills. Muslim architects, for example, built the Mongol capital of Dadu, today’s Beijing. Persians brought their advanced knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, medicine, and water management. Jamal al-Din, a Persian astronomer, introduced new and better astronomical

Kublai Khan and other Mongol officials enjoyed hunting.

maritime relating to the sea
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instruments. He also helped to develop a new calendar and set up an observatory. Muslim and Persian doctors established new hospitals.

Foreign contacts also allowed skills and information from China to spread to other parts of the world. Europeans, for example, learned about the Chinese inventions of gunpowder and printing.

The Role of Foreigners in China Foreigners enjoyed high status under the Mongols. Foreign merchants were given special privileges. Unlike Chinese merchants, they could travel freely and didn’t have to pay taxes. They also spoke foreign languages, which the Chinese were forbidden to learn.

Kublai Khan appointed many visiting foreigners to official positions in his government. The most famous was Marco Polo, the young Italian you met in Chapter 17.

Polo first traveled to China as a teenager with his father and uncle, who were merchants from Venice. Their route took them across Persia and along the southern branch of the Silk Road. All along the way, Marco Polo paid attention to the interesting new things he saw.

After three and a half years and over 5,000 miles, the Polos reached the court of Kublai Khan. The khan liked Marco and enjoyed his accounts of his travels. As emperor of China, he sent Marco on inspection tours around China.

Although Marco Polo didn’t read or write Chinese, he observed carefully. He traveled around China for about 17 years before beginning his journey home. When he returned to Italy, he dictated an account of his experiences to a writer who wrote a book about him. The tale of Polo’s travels gave Europeans firsthand knowledge of China and further stimulated interest in trade.

Under Kublai Khan, life was more pleasant for Mongols and foreigners like Marco Polo than it was for the native Chinese. The Chinese were at the bottom of the social order. They resented the restrictions placed on them. They also disliked being ruled by foreigners, especially since a few foreign government officials were harsh and dishonest. The Chinese hated a Muslim finance minister named Ahmed so much that they assassinated him. The resentment that built up under Mongol rule helped make the Chinese suspicious of further contact with foreigners.

Marco Polo followed a land route to reach China. He returned home by sea.

observatory a building designed for observing the stars and planets
(Map Title)

Route of Marco Polo, 1271-1295
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19.4 Foreign Contacts Under the Ming Dynasty

The Chinese eventually rebelled against the Mongols. From 1368 to 1644, the Ming dynasty ruled China. Although foreign contacts continued, later Ming rulers tried to isolate China from foreign influences.

Tributaries and Maritime Expeditions The Ming saw China as the oldest, largest, most civilized, and most important country in the world. Other nations, they felt, should acknowledge China’s superiority by paying tribute.

Under the Ming, many other countries were China’s tributaries. The Chinese emperors acknowledged their rulers, provided military help, and allowed them to trade with China. When ambassadors from the tributaries visited China, they had to kowtow before the emperor. This meant they had to kneel three times and touch their heads to the floor three times each time they knelt.

In return for bringing tribute, the ambassadors were given valuable gifts. They were also allowed to buy and sell goods at official markets. These exchanges benefited the foreigners even more than the Chinese.

Emperor Chengzu, who came into power in 1402, wanted more tributaries. He gave a trusted adviser, Zheng He, the title “Admiral of the Western Seas” and told him to sail to “the countries beyond the horizon…all the way to the end of the earth.” Zheng He was to parade China’s power, give gifts, and collect tribute.

In 1405, Zheng He set off with a fleet of more than 300 ships. The fleet was the greatest in the world. It carried more than 27,000 men. They included sailors, soldiers, officials, translators, merchants, and doctors. To feed this enormous force, ships carried huge loads of rice and other food. They had tubs of earth for growing vegetables and fruit on board. Large watertight compartments were converted into aquariums that held fresh fish for the crew.

The largest ships had 4 decks, 9 masts with 12 sails, and 12 watertight compartments. Cabins were provided so that merchants on long trading voyages could bring their wives.

Zheng He made seven expeditions between 1405 and 1433. At first, he traveled only as far as India. Later he reached the Persian Gulf and even sailed to ports along the east coast of Africa. Thirty or more of the places he visited became tributaries of China.

The Chinese had never seen a giraffe before Zheng He brought one back to China.

tributary a ruler or country that pays tribute to a conqueror
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The admiral’s ships returned laden with precious gifts. From India they brought sashes made of gold thread and decorated with pearls and gems. They also brought back medicinal herbs, dyes, spices, gems, pearls, and ivory. There were even exotic animals such as zebras, ostriches, lions, leopards, and giraffes.

Turning Inward When Zheng He died, in about 1434, a new emperor was on the throne. The government needed money to fight off attempted Mongol invasions. Scholar-officials persuaded the emperor to stop the expensive expeditions.

From that time on, the dynasty turned inward. Ming rulers wanted to protect their people from foreign influences, so they forbade travel outside China. All contact with foreigners had to be approved by the government.

The Ming and its scholar-officials wanted a strongly unified state based on a single ruler and traditional values. The huge and complex government bureaucracy was staffed by scholar-officials chosen by examinations. The outlook of the scholars dominated Chinese thought and government into the 20th century.

The Ming desire for uniformity made it difficult for the government to change in response to new conditions. In the end, the government became too rigid to adapt. Peasant rebellions helped to bring down the government in 1644, ending the Ming dynasty.
19.5 Chapter Summary

At various times, China welcomed or rejected foreign contacts. During the Tang dynasty, ideas and goods from other places flowed into China. Buddhism became very popular. Eventually, however, many Chinese turned against Buddhism and other foreign influences.

China’s Mongol rulers promoted trade and gave foreigners important positions in the government. Cultural exchange flourished. At the same time, the Chinese resented their foreign rulers. Their distrust lasted long after Mongol rule ended.

Under the early Ming, China collected tribute from other lands and undertook great maritime expeditions. Later Ming emperors, however, tried to close off China from foreign influence.

This chapter concludes your study of China. In the next unit, you will learn about China’s neighbor to the east, Japan.

Zheng He made seven voyages of exploration. He eventually reached Africa.
(Map title)

Naval Voyages of Zheng He, 1405-1433
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Imperial China Timeline

About 850 Tang dynasty records a formula for gunpowder.
618 – 907 Buddhist religion expands under the Tang dynasty.
920 First written record of foot binding, which reduces the status of women.
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About 1050 Movable type is invented in China.
1065 Song dynasty begins regular civil service exams.
1405 – 1433 Zheng He’s voyages gain new tributary states for China.
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Unit 5

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(Unit TOC)

Chapter 20 The Influence of Neighboring Cultures on Japan

Chapter 21 Heian-kyo: The Heart of Japan’s golden Age

Chapter 22 The Rise of the Warrior Class in Japan
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Setting the Stage

Japan During Medieval Times

In the last unit, you learned about imperial China. In this unit, you will explore the civilization of Japan from 500 to 1700 C.E.

One ancient legend says Japan was created by a god who reached down from the sky and dipped a spear into the ocean. As he drew the spear back up, drops of water fell from the sky and became the islands of Japan. When you look at a map, it is easy to see how such a story could have been told. Japan is a series of islands in the Pacific Ocean, off the northeast coast of Asia. There are four large islands and 3,900 smaller ones. The large islands—Hokkaido, Honshu (the largest), Shikoku, and Kyushu—form the shape of half-moon.

Natural disasters are common on the islands of Japan. Typhoons begin over the
(Map Labels)

Physical Map of Japan
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ocean and then hit the land. There are many active volcanoes on the islands. And earthquakes occur frequently.

There is not a lot of land for growing crops in Japan. Mountains cover three fourths of the land, and lush forests grow on their slopes. But the land between the mountains is fertile plain. Rain falls frequently. It is a good environment for growing crops that need a lot of water, such as rice.

Japan’s culture is very old. Scholars can trace Japanese history back to about 10,000 B.C.E. This unit focuses on the period from around 500 C.E. when Japan began to develop a unified civilization, through the 1600s, when warriors known as

samurai lived in castles.
(Map Labels)

Population Map of Japan

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Chapter 20

The Influence of Neighboring Cultures on Japan

This scroll illustrates the exchange of products and ideas between China and Japan.
20.1 Introduction

The island country of Japan lies just off the eastern coast of the Asian mainland. Japan’s culture has been enriched by borrowing from other places in Asia. In this chapter, you will explore how Japan’s neighbors influenced Japanese culture from the sixth to the ninth centuries C.E.

Many cultural ideas traveled to Japan by way of the Korean Peninsula. Some of these ideas had originally come from China and India. For example, Japan learned about Confucianism from a Chinese scholar who came to Japan from a Korean kingdom. In the mid 500s, Buddhist priests from Korea visited Japan. In this way, Japan was introduced to Buddhism, a religion that had begun in India 1,000 years earlier.

In 593, a young man named Prince Shotoku came to power in Japan. The prince admired Chinese and Korean culture, and he encouraged contact with the mainland. In 607, he sent an official representative to the Chinese court. Upper-class Japanese began traveling to China, where they learned about Chinese literature, art, philosophy, and government.

Over the next 300 years, Japan eagerly absorbed elements of culture—objects, ideas, and customs—from the Asian mainland. The spread of cultural elements from one society to another is called cultural diffusion. In this chapter, you will learn how cultural diffusion helped to shape Japanese culture. You’ll also discover how Japan blended ideas from other cultures into its own unique civilization.

Use this graphic organizer to help you learn more about the neighboring cultures that influenced Japan.
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20.2 Cultural Influences of India, China, and Korea on Japan

By the time Prince Shotoku came to power in 593, cultural inflences from the Asian mainland had been reaching Japan for hundreds of years. For example, craftspeople from the Korean Peninsula had brought knowledge of bronze casting and advanced ironworking to Japan. Visitors from Korea had also introduced Japan to Confucianism and Buddhism. But as Shotoku and later rulers sought out contact with the mainland, the pace of cultural diffusion quickened.

The Japan of Prince Shotoku’s day was an agricultural society. People grew rice and other crops. The upper classes owned slaves and lived in houses with wooden floors and roofs of wood or thatch. The common people lived in huts with dirt floors and thatched roofs. Family life centered on the mother, who raised the children. Fathers often lived apart from their families. Compared to later eras, women enjoyed relatively high status.

Japan at this time was far from being a unified country. Power was divided among the chiefs of a number of clans called uji. But one ruling family in the region of Yamato, on the island of Honshu, had grown powerful enough to loosely control much of Japan. Prince Shotoku, who ruled as regent under the Empress Suiko, came from this line of rulers.

Under Shotoku and later rulers, Japan took an active interest in Korean and Chinese culture. Sometimes knowledge of mainland culture came from Japanese who traveled to China. Sometimes it came in the form of gifts, such as books and objects of art, sent from the mainland to Japan. Sometimes it came from Korean workers who settled in Japan, bringing their knowledge and skills with them.

During the next three centuries, Japan sent thousands of people—officials, students, translators, and monks—on flimsy ships across the sea to China. Often these people stayed in China for years. When they returned home, they brought with them what they had learned. They also brought many examples of mainland culture, including paintings, religious statues, and musical instruments. As a result of these contacts, the Japanese acquired new ideas in government, the arts, architecture, and writing.

The Japanese didn’t just change their old ways for new ways. Instead, they blended new ideas with their own traditions to create a unique culture. Let’s look at several areas in which this happened, beginning with government.

regent one who rules in the name of another
(Map Title)

Countries That Influenced Japanese Culture
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20.3 Government: Imitating the Chinese System

Starting with Prince Shotoku, Japanese rulers adopted new ideas about government from China. China’s form of government was both like and unlike Japan’s. For example, the emperors in China and Japan had quite different powers. In China, the emperor was the sole ruler. In Japan, the emperor had only loose control over semi-independent clans, the uji. Each uji controlled its own land. The uji leaders struggled among themselves for the right to select the emperor and influence his decisions.

While Japanese emperors depended on local leaders, the Chinese emperor ruled with the help of a bureaucracy of government officials. At least in theory, appointments to government jobs were based on merit. Any man who did well on an examination could become an official.

During the seventh and eighth centuries, Japanese rulers adopted a Chinese style of government. Japanese tradition credits Prince Shotoku with starting this development. Borrowing Confucian ideas, the prince created a set of ranks for government officials. In 604, he issued a set of guidelines called the Seventeen Article Constitution. The guidelines stated that the emperor was the country’s supreme ruler: “In a country there are not two lords; the people have not two masters. The sovereign is the master of the people of the whole country.”

Later rulers went much further in bringing Chinese-style changes to Japan. In 645, the future emperor Tenchi created the Taika Reforms. A major purpose of the reforms was to strengthen the central government. Control of the land was taken away from clan leaders and given to the emperor. The emperor then redistributed the land to all free men and women. In return, people paid heavy taxes to support the imperial government.

By the 700s, Japan’s imperial government looked much like China’s. It was strongly centralized and supported by a large bureaucracy. Over time, however, one key difference emerged. Prince Shotoku had called for government officials to be chosen on the basis of their ability, as in China. But during the ninth century, a powerful aristocracy developed in Japan. As a result, members of noble families held all the high positions in the government.

Prince Shotoku was the first Japanese ruler to borrow ideas about government from China. Shotoku is shown here with his two sons.

imperial belonging or related to an emperor

aristocracy a ruling class of noble families
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20.4 City Design: Adapting Chinese Ideas for a Magnificent City

With a stronger central government and a large bureaucracy, Japan needed a new capital city. In 710, the imperial government built a Chinese-style capital on the site of the modern city of Nara.

The new city was a smaller version of Chang’an, China’s capital. Chang’an had an area of 35 square miles and a population of 2 million people. Nara, with about 8 square miles, had no more than 200,000 people. As in Chang’an, Nara’s streets were laid out in an orderly checkerboard pattern. A wide boulevard ran down the center. In the northern section, Buddhist temples and monasteries clustered near the imperial palace buildings.

There was one major difference between the two capitals. Chang’an was surrounded by a wall as protection against enemies. Nara did not have a wall.
20.5 Religion: Buddhism Comes to Japan by Way of China and Korea

Nara’s Buddhist temples were another result of cultural diffusion. Buddhism began in India in the 500s B.C.E. About 1,000 years later, it came to Japan from China by way of Korea.

Japan’s original religion was Shinto. This religion expresses the love and respect of the Japanese for nature. Its followers worship spirits called kami. Impressive natural objects are kami, such as wind, lightning, rivers, mountains, waterfalls, large trees, and unusual stones. So are the emperor and other special people.

Instead of emphasizing a code of morality, Shinto stresses purifying whatever is unclean, such as dirt, wounds, and disease. Touching the dead also makes one unclean. Most of all, however, Shintoists celebrate life and the beauty of nature.

In contrast, Buddhists see life as full of pain and suffering. The founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha

The Horyuji Temple in Nara contains Japan’s oldest existing wooden structures.
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Gautama, taught that life is an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. To escape this painful cycle, one must follow a moral code called the Eightfold Path. Buddhism’s moral code emphasizes showing respect for others, acting rightly, and achieving wisdom through

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