March 23, 2019, Sea Day, 71/183 Lectures on Japan and China
Brian Unger spoke on Japan.
Japan has the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world, dating from 660 BC to present monarch, Akihito, with 125 different emperors. Eight of the emperors were female, but this practise was officially prohibited in 1889, in conjunction with the new Meijji Constitution being enacted.
Sumo wrestling started about the 5th century as a method to pray for bountiful crops but has evolved into a cultural and sporting phenomenon, taking on its present form in the Edo period, 1600s.
Over 81,000 shrines are located in Japan, with their main function being to safe guard sacred objects.
Samurai would dominate Japanese government and society from the 12 century until 1868, when the Meijji movement ended feudalism. The traditional samurai code of honor, discipline and morality known as Bushido, or "the way of the warrior", was revived and made the basic code of conduct for much of Japanese society.