Japan and Korea to 1500

Korea

Japan

Government

Kings: relatively weak, with powerful bureaucracies and localities

Emperor: Ever-weakening with Shogunate, then local Samurai taking increasing power

Religion

Shamanic Animism
Pure Land and Sŏn Buddhism
Confucianism

Shinto (animism and myth)
Buddhism:
Nara esoterics
Pure Land and Shin
Zen

Aristocracy

hwabaek councils
Bone-ranks, especially True Bone

Imperial Court nobility

Warriors

Hwarang
military Yangban

Samurai

Confucianism

increasingly important over time

mild interest until 17c

Chronology

Three Kingdoms:
northern Koguryŏ (3c-668) (followed by Parhae),
western Paekche (246-668),
eastern Silla (350s-918);
also southern Kaya (4c-5c)

Silla (668-918)

Koryŏ (918-1392)

Yi/Chosŏn (1392-1910)

645 Taika Reform
Nara (8c)
Heian (9c-1185)
Kamakura (Minamoto) 1185-1333
Kemmu Restoration
Muromachi (Ashikaga) 1336-1487
Sengoku 1487-1577

Important Shared Dates

proto-historic wars and migrations
Transfer of Buddhism and Chinese Statecraft to Japan (6c-7c)
Mongol Invasions (late 13c)
Japanese invasion of Korea (1590s)

Histories

Samguk Sagi (14c)

Nihongi and Kojiki (8c)

Written Language

Classical Chinese
Idu
(Korean written phonetically in Chinese characters)
Hangul
(phonetic syllabary)

Classical Chinese
Sino-Japanese (Japanese written phonetically in Chinese characters
hiragana
and katakana (phonetic syllabaries)

Important people

Wang Kon (Koryo founder)
Yi Songgye (Choson founder)
King Sejong (15c)

Prince Taika (7c state-builder)
Minamoto Yoritomo (12c; first Shogun)
Toyotomi Hideyoshi (16c; unifier of Japan)

Literature

Samguk Yusa
pansori storytelling

Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of Genji
poetry, diaries, war tales

© 2003, 2004 — Jonathan Dresner