THE MAURYAS, c.322-184 BC Chandragupta(Gk. Sandrokotos) c

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THE MAURYAS, c.322-184 BC Chandragupta(Gk. Sandrokotos) c
Emperors of the Sangoku,
the "Three Kingdoms,"
of India, China, & Japan
India and China are the sources of the greatest civilizations in
Eastern and Southern Asia. Their rulers saw themselves as
universal monarchs, thereby matching the pretentions of the
Roman Emperors in the West. The only drawbacks to their
priority are that India suffered a setback, when the Indus Valley
Civilization collapsed (for disputed reasons), and China got
started later than the Middle Eastern civilizations. By the time
India recovered, it was a contemporary of Greece, rather than
Sumeria, with many parallel cultural developments, like
philosophy. And, curiously, China reached a philosophical
stage of development in the same era, the "axial age," 800 to
400 BC. Later, when the West, India, and China, all had contact
with each other, it was at first India that had the most influence
on China, through the introduction of Buddhism. Indian
influence on the West, though likely through the skepticism of
Pyrrho, and possibly evident in the halos of Christian saints
(borrowed from Buddhist iconography), did not extend to
anything more substantial. While China then made Buddhism
its own, India later endured the advent of Islâm, which
introduced deep cultural and then political divisions into the
Subcontinent. The only comparable development in China was
the application of Marxism by the Communist government that
came to power in 1949.
The idea that there are "Three Kingdoms"
(Sangoku) is a Japanese conceit, placing those
peripheral islands on equal standing with the
great centers of civilization, India and China.
Until the 20th century, there would not have
been a shadow of justification for that, except
perhaps in subjective judgments about the creativity or
originality of Japanese culture, which I am sure would be
disputed by Koreans and Vietnamese. However, after a process
of self-transformation sparked by American intervention, Japan
lept to the status of a Great Power by defeating Russia in 1905.
The Empire then spent the next 40 years throwing its weight
around, occupying Korea and invading of China, ultimately
taking on the United States in a disastrous bid for hegemony
(1941-1945). Catastrophic defeat slowed Japan down a little,
but by the 1980's, the country had vaulted to the highest per
capita income in the world, with wealth and economic power
that deeply frightened many, even in the United States. Japan
remains the only Great Power, in economic terms (as the
Japanese military establishment remains low profile), not
directly derived from European civilization. Now, even after a
decade of economic stagnation, Japan remains the second
largest economy in the world (about half the size of the United
States, more than 2.5 times the size of Germany), although in
per capita terms smaller than Luxembourg and, of all places,
Bermuda. This all might be thought to justify the Japanese view
of themselves as unique, or at least special, certainly
geopolitically important, giving us some motivation for the
inclusion of Japan in a "Sangoku" page.
Index
Emperors of India
The Mauryas, c.322-184 BC
The Sakas/Parthians
The Saka Era, The Indian Historical Era, 79
AD
The Kushans
The Guptas, c.320-550 AD
Sult.âns of Delhi, 1206-1555
Mu'izzî or Shamsî Slave Kings, 1206-1290
Khaljîs, 1290-1320
Tughluqids, 1320-1414
Sayyids, 1414-1451
Lôdîs, 1451-1526
Sûrîs, 1540-1555
Sikh Gurûs and the Khâlsâ
Moghul Emperors, 1526-1540, 1555-1858
Nawwâbs of Bengal, 1704-1765
British Governors of Bengal and
Governors-General of India, 1765-1858
British Coinage of India, 1835-1947
Nawwâbs of Oudh, 1722-1856
Niz.âms of Hyderabad, 1720-1948
British Emperors and Viceroys, 1876-1947
(1858-1950)
Emperors of China
The Chinese Historical Era, 2637 BC
Shang Dynasty, 1523-1028
Chou Dynasty, 1027-256
Ch'in Dynasty, 255-207 BC
Former Han Dynasty, 206 BC-25 AD
Later Han Dynasty, 25-220 AD
The Three Kingdoms, 220-265
Northern and Southern Empires, 265-589
Sui Dynasty, 590-618
T'ang Dynasty, 618-906
The Five Dynasties, 907-960
Sung Dynasty, 960-1126
Tartar Dynasties
Southern Sung Dynasty, 1127-1279
Yüan (Mongol) Dynasty, 1280-1368
Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644
Southern Ming Dynasty, 1644-1662
Manchu Ch'ing Dynasty, 1644-1912
Tibet
Republic of China, 1911-present
Communist China, 1949-present
Categories of Chinese Characters
The Dialects of Chinese
Examples of Dialect Differences Between
Peking, Shanghai and, Canton
Pronouncing Mandarin Initials
The Contrast between Classical and Modern
Chinese
The Solar Terms and the Chinese Calendar
The Chinese 60 Year Calendar Cycle
The Occurrence of the Solar Terms in
1995-2003
Groundhog Day and Chinese Astronomy
Emperors, Shoguns, & Regents of Japan
The Japanese Historical Era, 660 BC
The Legendary Period, 660 BC-539 AD
The Historical Period, 539-645
The Yamato Period, 645-711
The Nara Period, 711-793
The Heian Period, 793-1186
Fujiwara Chancellors and Imperial Regents,
858-1867
The Kamakura Period, 1186-1336
Hôjô Regents
The Nambokuchô Period, 1336-1392
Ashikaga Shôguns
The Muromachi Period, 1392-1573
The Azuchi-Momoyama Period, 1573-1603
Himeji Castle
The Edo Period, 1603-1868
Edo Castle, Tôkyô Imperial Palace
The Modern Period, 1868-present
Prime Ministers, 1885-present
The Periphery of China -- Korea, Vietnam, Thailand,
Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Tibet, and Mongolia
Kings of Korea
Kings of Koguryo
Kings of Paekche
Kings of Silla and Korea
Kings and Emperors of Vietnam
Kings of Champa
Kings and Emperors of Annam and Vietnam
Kings of Thailand
Kings of Sukhothai, c.1240-1438
Kings of Lan Na, 1259-1774
Chao of Chiang Mai, 1781-1939
Kings of Ayudhya, 1351-1767
King of Thonburi, 1767-1782
Kings of Bangkok, Chakri Dynasty,
1782-present
Kings of Laos
Kings of Vientiane, 1353-1778
Kings of Luang Prabang, 1707-1975
Kings of Cambodia, 6th century AD-present
Kings of Burma
Kings of Arakan, 788-1784
Kings of Pagan, c.900-1325
Kings of Pinya, 1298-1364
Kings of Ava, 1364-1555
Kings of Shan, 1287-1757
Kings of Taungu, 1531-1751
Kings of Konbaung/Burma, 1753-1885
Kings of Tibet and the Dalai Lamas
First Kingdom of Tibet
Mongol Regents
Second Kingdom of Tibet
The Dalai Lamas
The Panchen Lamas
The Mongol Khâns
Index
The Conquests of Chingiz Khân, 1227
The Great Khâns and the Yüan Dynasty of
China
The Grandsons of Chingiz Khân, 1280
The Chaghatayid Khâns
The Khâns of the Golden Horde
The Khâns of the Blue Horde
The Khâns of the White Horde
The Khâns of Kazan
The Khâns of Astrakhan
The Khâns of the Crimea
The Il Khâns
The Jalâyirids, 1340-1432
The Qara Qoyunlu, 1351-1469
The Timurids, 1370-1500
The Aq Qoyunlu, 1396-1508
Emperors of India
India has had less of a tradition of political unity than China or
Japan. Indeed, most of the names for India ("India,"
"Hindustân") are not even Indian. As Yule & Burnell say in
their classic A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and
Phrases ["Hobson-Jobson," Curzon Press, 1886, 1985, p. 433]:
It is not easy, if it be possible, to find a truly native
(i.e. Hindu) name for the whole country which we
call India; but the conception certainly existed from
an early date. Bhâratavarsha is used apparently in
the Purânas with something like this conception.
Bhâratavars.a meant the "division of the world" (vars.a) of the
Bhâratas" -- the heroes of the great Mahâbhârata epic. An
independent India in 1947 decided to officially become Bhârat
(the short final "a" not being pronounced in Hindi).
When a unified state has occurred in Indian history, it has had
varying religious, political, and even linguistic bases: e.g.
Hindu, Buddhist, Islâmic, and foreign. The rule of the Sult.âns
of Delhi and the Moghul Emperors was at once Islâmic and
foreign, since most of them were Turkish or Afghani, and the
Moghul dynasty was founded directly by incursion from
Afghanistan. The surpremely foreign unification of India, of
course, was from the British, under whom India achieved its
greatest unity, although lost upon independence to the religious
division between India and Pakistan. The Moghuls and British,
of course, called India by its name in their own languages (i.e.
"Hindustân" and "India").
In addition to these complications, Indian history is also less
well known and dated than that of China or Japan. Classical
Indian literature displays little interest in history proper, which
must be reconstructed from coins, monumental inscriptions, and
foreign references. The dating of both the Mauryas and the
Guptas, the best known pre-Islâmic periods, displays small
uncertainties. The rulers and dates for them here are from
Stanley Wolpert's A New History of India, Oxford University
Press, 1989, and Bruce R. Gordon's Regnal Chronologies -Gordon had the only full lists I'd ever seen for the Mauryas,
Kushans, and Guptas; but the Mauryas and Guptas can now be
found in the Facts On File Encyclopedia of World History
(George Philip Ltd., 2000, p.520).
The "Saka Era," as the Indian historical era, significantly starts
rather late (79 AD) in relation to the antiquity of Indian
civilization. Indeed, like Greece (c.1200-800 BC) and Britain
(c.400-800 AD), India experienced a "Dark Ages" period,
c.1500-800 BC, in which literacy was lost and the civilization
vanished from history altogether. Such twilight periods may
enhance the vividness of quasi-historical mythology like the
Iliad, the Arthurian legends, and the Mahâbhârata. The earliest
history of India is covered separately at "The Earliest
Civilizations," "The Spread of Indo-European and Turkish
Peoples off the Steppe," and "Strange Claims about the Greeks,
and about India" (which examines recent arguments about the
Indus Valley Civilization and is relationship to Classical Indian
civilization). The affinities of Indian languages are also covered
at "Greek, Sanskrit, and Closely Related Languages."
THE MAURYAS, c.322-184 BC
Chandragupta
(Gk. Sandrokotos)
c.322-301
Bindusara
301-269
Ashoka
269-232
Kunala
232-225
Dasaratha
232-225
Samprati
225-215
Salisuka
215-202
Devadharma/
Devavarman
The Mauryas are the
beginning of historical
India. This inception is
particularly dramatic when
we realize that
Chandragupta seems to
have actually met
Alexander the Great in
person. Perhaps realizing
that there were no
historians writing down his
deeds, the greatest king of
the
202-195
Satamdhanu/
Satadhanvan
195-187
Dynasty, Ashoka,
commemorated himself
with monumental
inscriptions, especially on a series of pillars erected around
India. The most famous of these is at Sarnath, where the
Buddha began preaching. The lion capital of the pillar at
Sarnath is now used as the official crest of modern India, with
the Wheel of the Law (Dharmachakra) on it (as at right) on the
flag of India. Indeed, Ashoka is the most famous for converting
to Buddhism and sending missionaries abroad. Ashoka can be
rather well dated because he sent letters to the contemporary
Hellenistic monarchs, Antigonus II Gonatas (Antikini) of
Macedonia , Antiochus II Theos (Anityoka) of the Seleucid
Kingdom, Ptolemy II Philadelphus (Turamaya) of Egypt,
Alexander II (Alikasudara) of Eprius, and Magas (Maga) of
Cyrene, urging them to convert to Buddhism themselves. Greek
history contains no record of these requests.
Brihadratha
187-185
The decline of the Mauryas coincided with the rise of a
neighboring Greek Kingdom in Bactria (256-c.55 BC). This
was also important for the history of Buddhism, as the Kings
became converts. A classic of Buddhist literature, the
"Questions of Milinda," (Milindapañha) records the convertion
of one King in particular, Menander Soter Dikaios (Milinda,
155-130).
The Sakas (or Shakas) were an
THE SAKAS/PARTHIANS,
Iranian steppe people who
c.130 BC
descended into India, much as
the Arya had earlier.
Maues
Simultaneously, Parthians
(Pahlavas) appear from the
Vonones
c.30 BC
west, and some of them
Azes I
become established in India
independent (or not) of the
Azes II
Parthian King. The sources are
sometimes confused about
Gudnaphar
c.19-45 AD which Indian rulers are Sakas
(Gondophernes)
and which are Parthians, since
they are never attested as which. Here no attempt is made to
distinguish them, though Gudnaphar, who traditionally is
supposed to have welcomed the Apostle Thomas to India,
seems to have been Parthian. There are no historical documents
or preserved naratives from this period, and the rulers are
mostly known from coins, which may have dates, but in eras or
reckonings that often
THE SAKA ERA,
cannot be identified. The
THE INDIAN
79 AD
origin of the Saka Era
HISTORICAL ERA
(78 AD = year 0) is
itself unknown. After the 2000 AD - 78 = 1922 Annô Sakidae
arrival of the Kushans,
the Sakas were simply driven further into India, into Rajasthan,
where they became assimilated as Hindu Kshatriyas. Since
Rajasthan later became famous for its warriors, this may
indicate the cultural preservation of Saka nomadic fierceness.
THE KUSHANS, c.50 AD
The Kushans,
c.20 BC-c.30-64 AD who also began
as an
Indo-European
steppe people,
c.80-c.103
known to the
Chinese as the
c.103-c.127 AD
Yuechi
(Yüehchih), over
c.127-c.131
a period
(c.100-300 AD)
c.130-c.162
dominated the
c.162-c.200
area from the
Tarim Basin
c.200-c.220
through
Transoxania and
c.220-c.230
into India.
Although the
c.230-c.240
dates are still
very uncertain,
Vasudeva II
c.240-c.260
information is
Vasu
late 3rd century
rather better than
for the preceding
Chhu
late 3rd century
period. Of special
importance is
Shaka
3-4th century
King Kanishka,
under whom the
Kipanada
4th century
Fourth Great
Buddhist Council is supposed to have been held, as the Third
was under Ashoka. Kanishka is said to have been converted to
Buddhism by the playwright Ashvaghosha. The earliest actual
images of Buddhas and Boddhisattvas date from his reign. Also
of interest are the Kushan royal titles, Maharaja Rajatiraja
Devaputra Kushâna. Rajatiraja, "King of Kings," is very
familiar from Middle Eastern history, since monarchs from the
Assyrians to the Parthians had used it. Maharaja, "Great King,"
is very familiar from later India but at this early date betrays its
Middle Eastern inspiration, since it was originally used by the
Persian Kings. Devaputra, "Son of God," sounds like the
Kushans claiming some sort of Christ-like status, which is
always possible, but it may actually just be an Sanskrit version
of a title of the Chinese Emperor, "Son of Heaven."
Kujula Kadphises
Wima/Welma Taktu c.30-c.80
Welma Kadphises
Kanishka I
Vasishka I
Huvishka I
Vasudeva I
Kanishka II
Vasishka II
Kanishka III
THE GUPTAS, c.320-550 AD
Samudra Gupta
This was one of the classic
275-300 ages of Indian history, for
whose culture we have a
300-320 rather full description by the
Chinese Buddhist pilgrim
320-335 Fa-Hsien, who was in India
between 399 and 414, in the
335-370 time of Chandra Gupta II.
Rama Gupta
370-375
Gupta
Ghatotkacha
Chandra Gupta I
Chandra Gupta II
375-415
Kumara Gupta I
415-455
Skanda Gupta
455-467
Kumara Gupta II
467-477
Budha Gupta
477-496
Chandra Gupta III ?
496-500
Vainya Gupta
500-515
Narasimha Gupta
510-530
Kumara Gupta III
530-540
Vishnu Gupta
540-550
This was the last time that India, or at least the North, would be
united by a culturally indigenous power. The Guptas patronized
the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain religions equally. Towards the
end of the period, the Guptas began to experience inroads from
the Huns (Huna), the next steppe people, whose appearance in
Europe, of course, pressured German tribes to move into the
Roman Empire. By 500, Huns controlled the Punjab and in
short order extended their rule down the Ganges.
While the name of Chandragupta, the founder of the Mauryas,
is usally given as one word, the "Gupta" ("guarded, protected")
element in names of the Gupta dynasty is usually, but not
always, written as a separate word.
Thanesar
In the political fragmentation of
Harsha Vardhana 606-647 the following period, Harsha
Vardhana was one ruler who for
a time united most of the North of India again, and, as luck
would have it, we have the account of Hsüan-tsang (Xuánzang,
600-664), another Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, who went to India
between 629 and 645, during that reign. Indian Buddhism
already seemed to be in decline to Hsüan-tsang, and, indeed,
the contemporary development of Tantrism was obscuring the
differences between Hinduism and Buddhism. It was also
during this period that we begin to get identifiable individual
Indian philosophers, like Shankara (c.780-820), from whom
we have a classic formulation of the doctrine of the Vedanta
School.
SULT.ÂNS OF DELHI (DILHÎ)
Islâm came to
India in great
Malik in Lahore measure in the
person of
for Ghûrids,
Mah.mûd of
1206-1210
Ghazna, who
began raiding the
country at the turn
Sult.ân in Delhi, of the Millennium.
1211-1236
This progressed to
permanent
1236
occupation under
his successors, the
Sult.âna,
Ghurids, whose
1236-1240
slave viceroys
became
1240-1242
independent at the
1242-1246
beginning of the
13th century,
Mah.mud Shâh I
1246-1266
founding the
Sult.ânate of
viceroy
Delhi. This began
since 1246
Balban Ulugh Khân
an Islâmic
domination of
1266-1287
India that lasted
Kay Qubâdh
1287-1290
until the advent of
the British.
Kayûmarth
1290
The consequences
Khaljîs
of his can hardly
be underestimated.
Fîrûz Shâh II Khaljî
1290-1296
Up to a quarter of
all Indians ended
Ibrâhîm Shâh I
1296
up converting to
Qadïr Khân
Islâm. Buddhism
Muh.ammad Shâh I
disappeared. Some
1296-1316
'Alî Garshâsp
of the greatest
monuments of
'Umar Shâh
1316
Indian architecture,
like the Taj Mahal,
Mubârak Shâh
1316-1320
really reflect
Persian and
Khusraw Khân Barwârî 1320
Central Asian
civilization, rather
Tughluqids
then Indian. Indian
Tughluq Shâh I
1320-1325
Moslems became
accustomed, as
Muh.ammad Shâh II
1325-1351
was their right
under Islâmic
Fîrûz Shâh III
1351-1388
Law, to be ruled
by a Moslem
Tughluq Shâh II
1388-1389
power. In practical
Abû Bakr Shâh
1389-1391
terms, that meant
that they did not
Muh.ammad Shâh III
1389-1394
want to be ruled
by Hindus, when
Sikandar Shâh I
1394
and if India should
become
1394-1395,
Mah.mûd Shâh II
independent.
1401-1412
Today, the
separation of
Nus.rat Shâh
1395-1399
Pakistan and
Dawlat Khân Lôdî
1412-1414
Bangladesh from
the Republic of
Sayyids
India, with
ongoing strife
Khid.r Khân
1414-1421
between them, and
the occasional riot
Mubârak Shâh II
1421-1434
between Hindus
Muh.ammad Shâh IV
1434-1443
and Moslems in
India itself, are all
'Âlam Shâh
1443-1451
the result of this.
Mu'izzî or Shamsî Slave Kings
Aybak Qut.b adDîn
Ârâm Shâh
1210-1211
Iltutmish Shams adDîn
Fîrûz Shâh I
Rad.iyya Begum
Bahrâm Shâh
Mas'ûd Shâh
Lôdîs
Bahlûl
1451-1489
Sikandar II
Niz.âm Khân
1489-1517
Ibrâhîm II
1517-1526
Moghul Rule, 1526-1540
Sûrîs
Shîr Shâh Sûr
1540-1545
Islâm Shâh Sûr
1545-1554
Muh.ammad V
Mubâriz Khân
1554
Ibrâhîm III Khân
1554-1555
Ah.mad Khân
Sikandar Shâh III
1555
Sikhism, from Pâli
sikkha (Sanskrit
shis.ya),
"follower," was a
new religion that
attempted to
reconcile and
replace Hinduism
and Islâm.
Although there are
some 18 million
Sikhs today, this
never made much
of a dent in the
numbers of Hindus
or Moslems, and
long earned the
Sikhs little but
hositility from
both. After the
Fifth Gurû
("Teacher") was
executed by the Moghuls, the
Sikh Gurûs
Sixth rejected Moghul authority
and was forced to flee to the
1 Nânak
1469-1539
mountains. When the Ninth
Gurû was later again executed by 2 An. gad
1539-1552
the Moghuls, the Tenth, Gobind
Râi, took things a step further by 3 Amar Dâs 1552-1574
transforming the community into
Râm Dâs
an army, the Khâlsâ, "Pure."
4
1574-1581
Sod.hi
Every Sikh became a Singh,
"Lion." The succession of Gurûs
5 Arjun Mal 1581-1606
was then ended.
6 Hargobind 1606-1644
At first this transformation did
not seem to improve things
7 Har Râi
1644-1661
much. Gobind Singh and his
temporal successor, Bandâ Singh 8 Hari
1661-1664
Krishen
Bahâdur, both died violent
deaths, and the community
fragmented. But with the decline 9 Tegh
1664-1675
Bahâdur
of Moghul power, opportunity
knocked. The Khâlsâ was soon
Gobind
again unified and installed in
10
1675-1708
Râi Singh
Lahore, under Ranjît Singh, who
became Mahârâjâ of the Punjab.
Khâlsâ, 1699
Henceforth the Sikhs, although
never more than a minority,
Bandâ Singh
1708-1716
were the greatest military power Bahâdur
in northern India. The death of
Ranjît, however, led to a chaotic Khâlsâ Râj, Punjab, 1761
succession and conflict among
Ranjît Singh
1780-1839
his heirs. Two sharp wars with
the British led to the annexation
First Sikh War,
of the Punjab, after which Sikh
1845-1846;
warlike ambitions could be
Second Sikh War,
directed through membership in
1848-1849;
the British Indian Army, where
annexed by British, 1849
the Sikhs stood out with their
characteristic turbans and beards.
In modern India a movement began for Sikh independence from
India, with the Indian Punjab becoming Khâlistân. Led by Sant
Jarnail Singh Bhindrânwale, this led to a catastrophic
showdown in 1984 when the Golden Temple in Armitsar, the
fortified center of the Sikh Faith, was stormed by the Indian
Army, and Bhindrânwale killed. When Prime Minister Indria
Gandhi was assassinated later the same year by Sikh
bodyguards, few doubted that this was an act of revenge. Sikh
nationalism continues to trouble India.
MOGHUL EMPERORS
Great Moghuls
Bâbur
Moghul is Persian
(Mughûl in Arabic)
for "Mongol" -although the
Moghuls were rather
1530-1540, more Turkish than
1555-1556 Mongol. An
alternative
pronunciation in
Persian is Moghol,
which, with a
1627-1628 different final
vowel, would give a
1628-1657, Hindi-Urdu
d. 1666
pronunciation of
Mughal, which now
1658-1707 tends to be used by
historians.
1707-1712
1526-1530
Humâyûn
Akbar I
1556-1605
Jahângîr
1605-1627
Dâwar Bakhsh
Shâh Jahân I Khusraw
Awrangzîb 'Âlamgîr I
Shâh 'Âlam I Bahâdur
1712-1713 Pretentions to
universal rule, which
1713-1719 figure in Indian
mythology, in
Persian imperial
1719
tradition, and in the
titles of earlier
Indian rulers, figure
1719
in many of the
actual names of
1719
Moghul emperors.
"Akbar" in Arabic is
1719-1748 "Greatest."
"Jahângir" in Persian
Looting of Delhi by Nâdir Shâh, 1739 means to "seize"
(gir) the "world"
1748-1754 (jahân). "Shâh
Jahân" is also
1754-1759 Persian for "World
King." "'Âlamgir"
Shâh Jahân III
1759
and "Shah 'Âlam"
1759-1788, both simply
Shâh 'Âlam II
1788-1806 substitute the Arabic
word for "world,"
Bîdâr-bakht
1788
'âlam, for the
Persian word. As the
Mu'în adDîn Akbar II
1806-1837 Moghul state decays
in the 18th century,
English replaces Persian, 1828;
of course, these
Moghul authority replaced by
names and
Britain, 1827; Suttee illegal, 1829;
pretentions become
suppression of Thugee launched, 1836
increasingly farcical.
Sirâj adDîn
1837-1858 Almost from the
Bahâdur Shâh II
first, Moghul policy
was to tolerate and
Great Sepoy Mutiny, 1857-1858;
win the cooperation
British Rule, 1858-1947
of Hindus, especially
the warriors of Rajasthan. With Akbar this approached a policy
of positive toleration and religious syncretism, which earned
Akbar the disfavor of Moslem clerics but, like Ashoka, the
esteem of modern liberal opinion. Even the most basic elements
of this policy, however, were reversed by Awrangzîb (or
Aurangzeb), who briefly brought the Empire to its greatest
extent but whose measures against Hindus and Sikhs (the
execution of the ninth Sikh Gurû) fatally weakened the state.
Non-Moslems no longer had any reason to support the
Moghuls, and in short order the Empire was only a shell of its
former strength and vigor, with the Persians sacking Delhi itself
(1739), under the Emperor, Muh.ammad Shâh, who had done
somewhat well at maintaining things.
Jahândâr Mu'izz adDîn
Farrukh-siyar
Shams adDîn
Râfi' adDarajât
Shâh Jahân II
Râfi' adDawla
Nîkû-siyar Muh.ammad
Muh.ammad Shâh
Nâs.ir adDîn
Ah.mad Bahâdur Shâh I
'Azîz adDîn 'Âlamgîr II
Henceforth, the shell of Moghul authority would stand just until
a new conquering power would appear. That turned out to be
the British, who, however, only gradually conceived the notion
of actually replacing nominal Moghul authority with an explicit
British Dominion in India. Although the last Moghul was
deposed in 1858, the full process was not complete until Queen
Victoria was proclaimed Empress of Indian in 1876. The British
Râj would then last exactly 71 more years -- testimony to the
rapidity of modern events after the 332 years of the Moghuls.
How durable the British heritage will be is a good question. The
form of government in India, which has in general remained
democratic, is far more British than that of other former British
possessions. And English, with its own distinctive Indian
accent, remains the only official language of the country that
does not provoke communal conflict. What the British hertiage
thus tends to stand for is something unifying, fair, and
evenhanded -- a plus for India and a tribute to the British.
Oudh was a Moghul
province that drifted into
independence. The
growth of British
1722-1739 influence after 1764 led
to a treaty in 1801 that
required "sound
1739-1754 government." British
judgment that there
1754-1775 wasn't such government
became the pretext for
deposing the king and
1775-1797 imposing direct British
1797-1798, rule in 1856. This and
other resentments over
d. 1817
British rule in India
1798-1814 helped spark the Great
Mutiny of British Sepoy
H.aydar I Ghâzî
1814-1827; troups in 1857-1858.
adDîn
King, 1819 Oudh was a center of the
rebellion. The British
H.aydar II Sulaymân
1827-1837 were beseiged in
Jâh
Cawnpore and
Lucknow. The seige of
Muh.ammad 'Alî
1837-1842 Cawnpore ended in a
Mu'în adDîn
massacre of the whole
British garrison, women
Amjad 'Alî Thurayyâ
1842-1847 and children included -Jâh
to which the British
1847-1856; retaliated with their own
Wâjid 'Alî
massacre later. The seige
d. 1887
of Lucknow ended
Deposed by British,
better. One relief force
Oudh annexed to British India, simply joined the
1856;
beseiged, then another
Great Sepoy Mutiny, 1857-1858 rescued the garrison but
abandoned the city.
1857,
Finally the city was
Barjîs Qadïr
during
retaken in 1858. This all
the Mutiny led to a transformation of
British rule in India, with
British Rule, 1858-1947
the East India Company
being disbanded and the Royal Government taking
responsibility for the country.
Nawwâbs & Kings of Oudh
(Awadh), 1722-1856
Sa'âdat Khân Burhân
alMulk
Abû Mans.ûr Khân
S.afdâr Jang
H.aydar Shujâ'
adDawla
Âs.af adDawla
Wazîr 'Alî
Sa'âdat 'Alî Khân
Hyderabad, originally
Niz.âms of Hyderabad,
most of the Deccan
(Haydarâbâd) 1720-1948
plateau, was another
Moghul province (under Chin Qïlïch Khân
1720-1748
a s.ûbadâr) that drifted
Niz.âm alMulk
into independence.
Despite the collapse of
Nâs.ir Jang
1748-1751
Moghul power,
1751-1752
becoming surrounded by Muz.affar Jang
the British, and
S.alâbat Jang
1752-1762
becoming allies of the
British, the Niz.âms still Niz.âm 'Alî Khân
1762-1803
listed the Moghul
Emperors on their coins Farkhanda 'Alî Khân
1829-1857
all the way until the end Nâs.ir adDawla
of the line in 1858.
British sovereignty was Mîr Mah.bûb 'Ali I
1857-1869
not acknowledged until Afd.al adDawla
1926. Although
1869-1911
Hyderabad was relatively Mîr Mah.bûb 'Ali II
improverished compared
Mîr 'Uthmân 'Alî
to the surrounding
Khân
1911-1948
British territories, the last
Bahâdur Fath. Jang
Niz.âm eventually
accumulated enough
Annexation by
wealth to be considered
Dominion of India, 1948
the richest man in the
world. He did not outlive British rule by long. When India was
partitioned, the Moslem Niz.âm chose to go with Pakistan, from
whose other parts he was separated by hundreds of miles. Since
Hyderabad was overwhelmingly Hindu, the new Dominion of
India, ironically with King George VI of England still as
official Head of State, already fighting with Pakistan over
Kashmir, soon invaded and attached Hyderabad to India by
force.
Nawwâbs of Bengal, 1704-1765
Originally the
Moghul
1704-1725 governors
(dîwân) of
1725-1739 Bengal, the
decline of
1739-1740 Moghul power
resulted in
1740-1756 effective
independence for
the Nawwâbs.
1756-1757 The clash with
British power,
Defeated & dethroned by Robert Clive, however, spelled
the end of
Battle of Plassey, 1757
independence and
1757-1760 the beginning of
1763-1765 British India.
Clive became the
1760-1763 effective founder
of the British
British East India Company Rule,
Empire in India,
1765-1858, Presidency of Calcutta
and the Battle of
Governor, Plassey one of
Robert Clive
1755-1760, the supreme
1764-1767 moments of
British Imperial
Henry Verelst
1767-1770 history. The
titular line of
Cartier
1770-1772 Nawwâbs
actually
continued, however, even until the present day. The title also
passed into English, as "nabob," which became a name for
successful British merchants in India, especially those who in
the early days had somewhat assimilated to Indian culture and
practices. Bengal became one of the three "Presidencies"
through which direct British rule in India was effected (with
different arrangements for the Princely States, which remained
nominally under local rule). The others were Bombay and
Madras. However, Bengal was also the seat of general British
authority; and when the Governor of Bengal became the actual
Governor-General of India, his seat continued to be in Calcutta.
The capital of India was not moved to Delhi until rather late in
British rule, in 1912. New Delhi became the capital in 1931.
The very odd
British Governors-General of India
thing about this
Governor-General period is the
Warren Hastings
ambiguity about
1772-1785
just who owned
British
John MacPherson
1785-1786
possessions in
1786-1793
India and who
Lord Cornwallis
& 1805
the real sovereign
authority was.
Sir John Shore
1793-1798
Originally British
Indian coins
Lord Mornington
1798-1805
simply said "East
India Company,"
Sir G. Barlow
1805-1807
the chartered
Lord Minto
1807-1813
British company
that was the ruler
Lord Moira
of British India.
1813-1823
(Lord Hastings)
Since Bengal had
been a possession
Gurkha War, 1814-1816
of the Moghul
Emperors, this
Lord Amherst
1823-1828
fiction was
maintained at
First Burmese War, 1824-1826;
least until 1827.
Moghul authority replaced
The Moghul
by Britain, 1827
court language,
Lord Bentinick
1828-1835
Persian, was
replaced by
English replaces Persian, 1828;
English in 1828.
Suttee illegal, 1829;
In 1835, the face
name of Moghul Emperor
of the King of
removed from coinage, 1835
England (William
IV) began
Lord Metcalfe
1835-1836
appearing on East
India Company
Lord Auckland
1836-1842
coins, but this
suppression of Thugee launched, 1836; implication of
First Afghan War, 1839-1842
sovereignty does
not seem to have
Earl of Ellenborough 1842-1844
been
accompanied by
Lord Hardinge
1844-1848
a formal claim of
sovereignty. This
First Sikh War, 1845-1846
was not settled
until 1858, when
Earl of Dalhousie
1848-1856
the last Moghul
Second Sikh War, 1848-1849;
was deposed, the
Punjab annexed, 1849;
East India
Second Burmese War, 1852;
Company was
Oudh annexed, 1856
abolished, and
the
1856-1858
Murshid Qulî Khân 'Alâ'
adDawla
Shujâ' Khân Shujâ' adDawla
Sarfarâz Khân 'Alâ' adDawla
'Alîwirdî Khân Hâshim
adDawla
Mîrzâ Mah.mûd Sirâj
adDawla
Mîr Ja'far Muh.ammad Khân
Hâshim adDawla
Mîr Qâsim 'Alî
Lord Canning
Viceroy,
1858-1862
Great Sepoy Mutiny, 1857-1858;
British Rule, 1858-1947
Governor-General became the Viceroy, the sovereign agent for
Queen Victoria. Nevertheless, another ambiguity continued,
which is what kind of entity India was, simply a "Crown
Colony" or something else? This was cleared up in 1876, when
Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India, meaning that India
itself was an Empire, as it was presumed to be under the
Moghuls.
Two remarkable undertakings in this period where the
suppression of Suttee and of Thugee. Suttee was the burning of
widows on the pyres of their husbands. This was supposed to be
voluntary, as an act of devotion, as Sita did for her husband
Rama (though a correspondent has denied this), but it mainly
became an act of murder, by which the husband's family could
rid themselves of an unwanted daughter-in-law. The Thugs
were devotees of the goddess Kali, who murdered and then
robbed in her name (the practice of Thugee). Since the Thugs
were a secret society, exposing and arresting them was a more
difficult and protracted process. That these practices were
worthy of suppression provides an interesting subject for
arguments about cultural relativism. At the time they did raise
fears that the British intended to replace native religion with
Christianity, which helped provoke the Great Mutiny.
The list of British Viceroys is compiled from The British
Conquest and Dominion of India, Sir Penderel Moon
[Duckworth, Indiana University Press, 1989]. Most or all of
them have biographies at the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Lord
Reading was actually Jewish, probably the highest ranking Jew
in the history of the British Empire, where the Viceroy of India,
always raised to the Peerage for his office, held the highest
Office of State next to the Throne itself.
BRITISH EMPERORS
OF INDIA
Viceroys & GovernorsGeneral of India
Lord Elgin
Lord Lawrence
Queen,
1858-1901 Lord May
Victoria
1862-1863
1863-1869
1869-1872
Lord Northbrook
1872-1876
Lord Lytton
1876-1880
Second Afghan War,
1878-1881
Lord Rippon
Empress,
1876-1901 Lord Dufferin
1880-1884
1884-1888
Lord Landsdowne 1888-1894
Third Burmese War, 1885
Lord Elgin
1894-1899
Lord Curzon
Edward (VII) 1901-1910
1899-1905
Lord Minto
1905-1910
Lord Hardinge
1910-1916
Lord Chelmsford
1916-1921
Third Afghan War, 1919
George (V)
1910-1936 Lord Reading
1921-1926
Lord Irwin
(Lord Halifax)
1926-1931
Lord Willingdon
1931-1936
In explicitly assuming the sovereignty of India, Queen Victoria
assured her new Subjects that their religions would be
respected. The British had been shaken, however, and units of
the Indian Army, for instance, were never again trusted with
artillery.
When India became independent in 1947, it legally became a
British Dominion, which means that the King of England was
still the formal Head of State. Lord Mountbatten, the last
Viceroy, was asked by Jawaharlal Nehru, the new Prime
Minister, to stay on as Governor-General of the Dominion.
There was then only one Indian Governor-General before the
country was declared a Republic in 1950. The first
Governor-General of Pakistan, which similarly became a
Dominion, was the Moslem nationalist leader, Mohammad Ali
Jinnah. Jinnah died of cancer in 1948, and there were several
Pakistani Governors-General before the country became a
Republic in 1956.
British Coinage of India, 1835-1947
Edward
(VIII)
Lord
Linlithgow
1936
1936-1943
Lord Wavell
Emperor,
1936-1947
1943-1947
1947
GovernorGovernorLord
Mohammad General
General
Mountbatten
Ali
of
of India,
Jinnah
Pakistan,
1947-1948
King;
1947-1948
India
1947-1950,
GovernorGovernorPakistan
Chakravarti,
General
General
1947-1952 Rajagopalachari of India,
Khwaja
1948-1950 Nazimuddin of
Pakistan,
India becomes
1948-1951
a Republic, 1950
George
(VI)
Queen,
Elizabeth
Pakistan,
(II)
1952-1956
Ghulam
Mohammad
GovernorGeneral
of
Pakistan,
1951-1955
Iskander
Mirza
GovernorGeneral
of
Pakistan,
1955-1956
Pakistan becomes
a Republic, 1956
Prime Ministers of India
Prime Ministers of Pakistan
The Sun Never Set on the British Empire
The Kings of England, Scotland, & Ireland
Dreadnought
British Coins before the Florin, Compared to French Coins of
the Ancien Régime
The Bank of England
Bibliography and Suggested Reading
Index at Top of Page
Philosophy of History
Home Page
Copyright (c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All
Rights Reserved
Emperors of China
The list of Chinese Emperors is
basically that of Mathews'
Chinese-English Dictionary [Harvard
University Press, 1972, pp. 1165-1175],
O.L. Harvey's pamphlet The Chinese
Calendar and the Julian Day Number
[1977], and the Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors by Ann
Paludan [Thames & Hudson, London, 1998]. Other details of
Chinese history are from The Horizon History of China by C.P.
Fitzgerald [American Heritage Publishing, 1969], A Short
History of the Chinese People by L. Carrington Goodrich
[Harper Torchbooks, 1943, 1963], The Glory and Fall of the
Ming Dynasty by Albert Chan [U. of Oklahoma Press, 1982],
The Southern Ming, 1644-1662 by Lynn A. Struve [1984], and
the odd rumor.
Wade-Giles writings are usually used, consistent with the older
sources. But Pinyin versions are occasionally given, especially
for the dynasties. Superscript numbers are given for the tones in
Pinyin, when HTML codes are not available for them (i.e. the
lst & 3rd tones). While newer sources use Pinyin exclusively, I
think this is improper, like teaching Chinese with only the
"simplified" characters. Note that Wade-Giles "ho" and "he"
can both be found for Pinyin "he."
The traditional Chinese dates for the Emperors are usually for
the first full year of the reign. This can be a little confusing,
and sources on Chinese history are not always consistent. The
convention is even applied to the Chinese Republic, which is
often said to have begun in 1912, even though the Ch'ing
Dynasty was overthrown in 1911. The convention also makes it
possible that Emperors who do not survive beyond their initial
calendar year may not even be counted, which is the case with
a couple of the Mongols.
THE CHINESE HISTORICAL ERA, short
count
2637 BC
1998 AD + 2637 = 4635 Annô Sinarum
THE CHINESE HISTORICAL ERA, long
count
2852 BC
1998 AD + 2852 = 4850 Annô Sinarum
The Legendary Period, Age of the Five
Rulers
647 years
Hsia [Xià] Dynasty
1962-1523
(2205-1766)
The "short count" Chinese historical era is given in the
Astronomical Almanac [U.S. Government Printing Office,
various annual editions]. The "long count" is from the list of
Dynasties in Mathews'. Like the era of the City of Rome
(A.U.C.), the Chinese historical era really has not been used for
dating. Citing the era as the Chinese "year" seems to be a very
recent phenomenon.
The maps are based on L. Carrington Goodrich, A Short History
of the Chinese People [Harper Torchbooks, The University
Library, 1963], The Anchor Atlas of World History, Volume I
[Hermann Kinder, Werner Hilgemann, Ernest A. Menze, and
Harald and Ruth Bukor, 1974], Michael Prawdin, The Mongol
Empire, its Rise and Legacy [Free Press, 1961], The [London]
Times Concise Atlas of World History, edited by Geoffrey
Barraclough [Times Books Ltd, Hammond Inc., 1988], and a
few other sources I've lost track of. Paludan's Chronicle of the
Chinese Emperors, although an excellent book in every other
way, is suspiciously deficient in maps, with a glaring mistake
on one that is given -- the absence of the trans-Amur Maritime
Province, later lost to Russia, on the map of the Ch'ing Empire
[p.11]. There seem to be considerable uncertainties, or at least
disagreements, about the boundaries in many periods, even well
documented ones, like the T'ang and Ming.
The Thought Police are hereby informed that the color yellow is
used for the tables and maps for China, not
because China is the "Yellow Peril," but
because the color yellow is associated with
the element earth in Chinese philosophy,
which implies the direction "center" -- with
China itself, the "Middle Kingdom"
(Chung1 -kuo 2 ) at the center. Also, at least from the Ming
Dynasty, yellow tiles were reserved for use on the roofs of
Imperial palaces, and so the color came to mean the Emperor
himself.
Shang [Shang 1 ] The
Dynasty
1523-1028
(1766-1122)
Ch'êng-t'ang
T'ai-chia
Wu-ling
T'ai-kêng
Hsiao-chia
Shang, a splendid Bronze Age civilization,
is the true beginning of Chinese history,
emerging just as India was falling into its
own Dark Ages period (1500-800 BC). The
system of writing we see developing in the
Shang already displays most of the
characteristics of Chinese characters and
was destined to be the only ancient system
of ideographic writing to survive into
modern usage, both in China and Japan.
However, Shang writing is known mainly
from oracle bones. There is no surviving
literature, documents, or monumental
inscriptions from the period. Data like the
list of Shang kings or the excavation of
Shang royal tombs thus leaves us pretty
much in the dark about historical events,
though this is not much different from what
is often the case with contemporary Egypt
or Mesopotamia. The sophistication of
Shang culture, on the other hand, may be
inspected directly in the magnificient
bronzes that are featured in many of the
world's museums.
Yung-chi
T'ai-wu
Chung-ting
Wai-jên
Tsien-chia
Tsu-yi
Tsu-hsin
Ch'iang-chia
Tsu-ting
Nan-kêng
Hu-chia
P'an-kêng
Hsiao-hsin
Hsiao-yi
The beginning of Chinese civilization in the
North, in the Hwang Ho (or Huang He)
valley, means that, among many things, the
Chinese diet was not at first what we would
expect. Rice only grows further South,
where there is much greater rain. The Huang
He valley is semi-arid. Even today it is
wheat that is grown there. Of course, wheat
was used for another characteristic Chinese
food: Noodles -- which Marco Polo is
supposed to have brought back to Italy.
Wu-ting
Tsu-kêng
Tsu-chia
Lin-hsin
K'ang-tin
Wu-yi
Wên-wu-ting
Chinese characters in the Shang were still
pictographic in form. At right are some
examples of common modern characters
with their Shang antecedents. The
pronunciation, of course, is modern. There
is little evidence
about the
pronunciation of
Chinese at this
early period.
Chinese at this
point may not
even have had
tones. There are
no tones in
related
languages, like
Tibetan, but
there are tones
in unrelated
regional
languages, like
Vietnamese.
Chinese may
have picked up tones as part of a Southeast Asian Sprachbund,
where, as in the Balkans, unrelated or distantly related
languages borrow features from each other.
Ti-yi
Ti-hsin
Chou [Zhou1 ]
Dynasty
I Wang
1027-256 Over the long history of
(1122-255) the Chou Dynasty
(commonly pronounced
1027-722
"Joe" in English), China
1027-771 went from a period even
more obscure than the
Shang to a flourishing,
fully documented
historical civilization. The
changes were so drastic
that the dynasty is
typically divided into three
parts, though there are
different versions of
exactly how to do this.
The Early Chou presents
us with the least
satisfactory material, since
things seem to have rather
declined after the fall of
the Shang.
Li Wang
878
Western Chou
Early Chou
Wu Wang
Chêng Wang
K'ang Wang
Chao Wang
Mu Wang
Kung Wang
I Wang
Hsiao Wang
841, first solid date
in Chinese chronology
Hsüan Wang
827
Yu Wang
781
Middle Chou
771-473
P'ing Wang
770
Spring and Autumn
Period
722-481
Huan Wang
719
Chuang Wang
696
Hsi Wang
681
Hui Wang
676
Hsiang Wang
651
Ch'ing Wang
618
K'uang Wang
612
Ting Wang
606
Chien Wang
585
Ling Wang
571
Ching Wang
544
Ching Wang
519
Warring States
Period
481-221
Late Chou
473-256
Yüan Wang
475
Chêng-ting Wang
468
K'ao Wang
440
Wei-lieh Wang
425
An Wang
401
Lieh Wang
375
Hsien Wang
368
Shên-ching Wang
320
Nan Wang
314-256
Of much greater
interest is what
happens when the
central authority of the
state actually collapses,
which moves us into
the Middle Chou or the
Spring and Autumn
Period. The country
breaks up into small
domains, which
separately become
vigorous and
expansive, and the
Chou kings are reduced to ruling a small county on the Huang
He River. We finally get into a period with secure historical
dating. The name of the Spring and Autumn Period itself is
derived from the Spring and Autumn Annals, one of the Chinese
classics, which was a chronicle of the state of Lu, the birthplace
of Confucius.
Suddenly we have the beginning of Chinese literature, history,
and philosophy, curiously at about the same time as the
beginnings of Greek and Indian philosophy also. The following
links deal with matters in Chinese philosophy.
The "Six Schools" of China
The Chinese Elements and Associations
Confucius [K'ung-fu-tzu or Kongfuzi]
The Six Relationships and the Mandate of Heaven
The Confucian Chinese Classics
Yin & Yáng and the I Ching
Comments on the Tao Te Ching
Although Confucius
hoped to end the
warfare between the
small states of his time,
things actually got
worse after he died.
The following time
thus is often called the
"Warring States"
period.
As time went on, however, one of the Warring States began to
win, and to conquer the others. This was the state of Ch'in
(Qin), which lay in Shensi (Shaanxi) Province, in the great bend
of the Huang He river. In 256, the ruler of Ch'in, Chao-Hsiang,
dethroned the last Chou king. Although the Warring States
period was not over,
the Chou Dynasty was.
The ruler who
accomplished the
unification of China
may not even have
been of the Ch'in royal
house. While Wang
Chêng was the son of
the wife of
Chuang-Hsiang, she
may have already been
pregnant, previously
Ch'in [Qín] Dynasty 255-207 BC having been the
concubine of another
(302)
Chao-hsiang Wang
man, like the Empress
255
Eudocia Ingerina at the
beginning of the
Hsiao-wên Wang
250
Macedonian Dynasty of
Romania.
Chuang-hsing Wang 249
Wang Chêng
Whatever his origins,
247
Wang Chêng conquered
(changes his name to)
most of the other
Shih-huang-ti/
221
Warring States and by
Shihuangdi
221 brought the country
End of Warring States Period, 221 together for the first
time since the Early
Chou. And a much
Erh-shih-huang-ti
209
larger and more
sophisticated country it now was, too. Although one might say
that he was a combination, for Chinese history, of Alexander
the Great and Julius Caesar, nevertheless he was not a great
general himself, just the ruler. One of the first things he decided
to do was come up
with a more
appropriate title.
Previously, Chinese
rulers had been styled
, or "king" (ô in
Japanese, wang in
Korean). This was not
going to be good
enough. So Wang
Chêng made up a new
title,
, the
"August God," or, as we would say, the Emperor. Later, either
one of these characters could be used individually to mean
"emperor," as the latter became a suffix for the names of many
Han Emperors. The whole expression would become kôtei in
Japanese (hwangje in Korean), but much more commonly in
Japanese only the first character was used (kô or ô), suffixed to
"heaven,"
, as Tennô in Japanese, "heavenly" or
"divine" Emperor. This distinction is even preserved in
Vietnamese, where hoàng-ðê´ is "emperor" but thiên-hoàng is
"Emperor of Japan." The Emperor could also simply be the
, tenshi in Japanese, thiên-tù. in
"Son of Heaven,"
Vietnamese.
The new "Emperor" of China then decided that he would
simply be known as the "First Emperor," and that all rulers
after him would continue the sequence, "Second Emperor," etc.
(Shih 3 -huang 2 -ti 4 ), which he is
This made him
still usually called. After the "Second Emperor," however,
nobody bothered with the numbering. Wàng came to be used
for foreign rulers and Imperial Princes. Thus, the "Prince of Fu"
who resisted the Manchus as the first Emperor of the Southern
Ming, was really Fu Wang, "King of Fu." The rulers of Japan
didn't like being called this, but it stuck for Siam/Thailand.
Until the Ming, Chinese Emperors are usually known by their
postumous "temple" names, which frequently describe
something characteristic of the Emperor or his reign. Until the
T'ang, these names most frequently end in ti (dì), "Emperor."
Starting with the T'ang, the final character is most commonly
tsu (zu 3 ), "Founder," or tsung (zong 1 ), "Ancestor." Personal
names, which are not used after ascending the Throne, are
given for many of the following Emperors. They are
identifiable because they begin with the family name of the
Dynasty, e.g. Liu for the Han (both of them), Yang for the Sui,
Li for the T'ang, and Chu for the Ming. The Mongols and
Manchus did not use Chinese family names. With the Ming,
Emperors starting being known by the name they chose
themselves for their Era. Earlier there usually were several Eras
per reign, so this was not a convenient device, but the Ming
Emperors stuck to one, a practice maintained by the Ch'ing and
adopted by the Japanese in 1868. The Founder of the Ming, Chu
Yüan-chang, thus was given the temple name T'ai Tsu ("Great
Founder"), but instead is usually known as the "Hung-wu [Vast
Military Power] Emperor."
Shih-huang-ti had a ferocious and ruthless disposition that
found the advice of the Legalist philosopher Li Szu [Li Si]
agreeable. In 213, on Li Szu's urging, Shih-huang-ti outlawed
all other schools of thought and began to burn their books. This
may be why more is not know about the "Hundred Schools"
reputed to have existed under the Chou Dynasty. Scholars who
resisted the order were executed: 346 (or more) are supposed to
have actually been buried alive. The fall of the Ch'in Dynasty
soon thereafter was later seen as proof of the working of the
Mandate of Heaven. Mao Tse-tung is reported as saying in
1958:
What's so unusual about Emperor Shih Huang of
the Chin Dynasty? He had buried alive 460
scholars only, but we have buried alive 46,000
scholars....We are 100 times ahead of Emperor Shih
of the Chin Dynasty in repression of
counter-revolutionary scholars.
Mao is often compared, not surprisingly, to Shih-huang-ti.
Elsewhere, the Emperor's ruthlessness was evident in his
construction of the Great Wall of China, which is supposed to
have cost many lives per mile. A wall in the North, however,
was reasonable when nothing but desert and nomads lay
beyond. In the South, he sent an army, which for the first time
extended the county down to the South China Sea. It would
take some years before the enclosed coastal mountains were
settled and pacified by the Chinese. If these things were more
good than bad for China, Shih-huang-ti also set in motion some
real reforms, like a simplification of the writing system and the
end of feudal tenure in farmland.
Much of the enduring interest in Shih-huang-ti is because of his
tomb. This is not far from the modern city of Sian (Xian),
which was the capital of China, Ch'ang-An, in several periods.
The mound of the tomb has never been excavated. It was
robbed after the Dynasty fell, but it was described by historians,
with a sarcophagus surrounded by a pool of mercury and other
marvels. But a surprise came in the 1970's, when a farmer
digging a well near the mound found the first figure in what
became an entire army of terracotta soldiers, buried in orderly
rows to defend the tomb. These amazing figures appear to be
individual portraits, and they show the grooming and
appearance of Chinese military men of the 3rd century BC. In
the Shang Dynasty, such men had themselves been buried with
the kings. Now, even the ruthless Frist Emperor made do with
copies.
Shih-huang-ti is a good example the Taoist ruler who is
successful from fear. When he died, however, his success could
not endure. A plot at the court faked a message to the Crown
Prince, ordering him to kill himself, which he did. A weak
younger brother become the "Second Emperor," but he was the
tool of manipulators who did not know how to actually govern
the country, which began to slip into rebellion. It was a former
peasant, Liu Pang, who soon took the capital and founded a
new dynasty.
Former
(Western)
Han [Hàn]
Dynasty
Kao Tsu
Liu Pang
206
The importance of the Han Dynasty
BCshould be evident in the circumstance
25
that this is what the Chinese have called
AD
themselves ever since, the "Han
People." And Chinese characters are
called the Hanzi (Kanji in Japanese,
Hanja in Korean), the "Han letters."
206
Hui Ti
Liu Ying
194
Lu Hou (f)
Lu Chih
regent
187
Wên Ti
Liu Heng
179
Ching Ti
Liu Ch'i
156
Wu Ti
Liu Ch'e
140
Chao Ti
Liu Fu-ling
86
Hsüan Ti
Liu Ping-i
73
Yüan Ti
Liu Shih
48
Ch'eng Ti
Liu Ao
32
Ai Ti
Liu Hsin
6 BC
P'ing Ti
Liu Chi-tzu
1 AD
Ju-tzu
Liu Ying
6
Wang Mang
(Hsin [Xin] 9
Dynasty)
Huai-yang
Wang
23
The greatest Emperor of the Former Han Dynasty was probably
Wu Ti. This name means "Martial Emperor," because of the
success of Chinese arms in the occupation of the Tarim Basin;
but the cultural heritage of his long reign was far more durable.
The present definition of the Chinese New Year, as the second
New Moon after the Winter Solstice, dates from the inception
of the T'ai-ch'u Era in 103 BC. The establishment of
Confucianism as the official moral and political ideology of the
state was due to the advice of Wu Ti's minister Hung Kung-sun
(d.121). In 136 official experts in each of the Five Classics
were appointed at court, and in 124 they took on fifty students.
By 50 BC this palace school had 3000 students, and by 1 AD
graduates staffed the bureaucracy. Also at Wu Ti's court was
the historian Szu-ma Ch'ien [Si1 ma3 Qian 1 ] (145-86 BC).
Szu-ma angered the Emperor in some way and was ordered
castrated. Ordinarily, this humiliation would have led to suicide,
but the historian lived with his shame in order to finish the first
great Chinese history, the Shih Chi [Shi3 jì], "Historical
Records," which covers the Ch'in and early Han Dyansties. This
established the standard for subsequent official Chinese
dynastic histories. By a curious coincidence, the Chinese
Emperor whose brief reign begins with the year 1 AD is called
P'ing Ti, the "Peaceful Emperor."
Later
(Eastern)
Han
[Hàn]
Dynasty
The Later Han is often called the
25"Eastern" Han because the capital was
220
moved down the Huang He valley, back
AD
to where the capital of the Chou had
been. This location was actually more
easily supplied than the area of
Ch'ang-An. Since the previous dynasty is
often called the "Former" Han, it seems
like the new one should be the "Latter"
58 rather than the "Later" Han, but the usage
is established and, after all, it is "later"
76 that is a translation from Chinese, since
the "Former Han" is traditionally simply
called the "Han."
89
Kuang-wu Ti
25
Liu Hsiu
Ming Ti
Liu Yang
Chang Ti
Liu Ta
Ho Ti
Liu Chao
Shang Ti
Liu Lung
106
An Ti
Liu Yü
107
Shun Ti
Liu Pao
126
Ch'ung Ti
Liu Ping
145
Chih Ti
Liu Tsuan
146
Huan Ti
Liu Chih
147
Ling Ti
Liu Hung
168
Hsien Ti
Liu Hsieh
190
The change of dynasty was mainly because of rebellion against
the "dictator" Wang Mang at the end of the Former Han. The
Throne was successfully seized by a distant Han cousin, who
retained the Dynastic name. Eventually, the Later Han
Emperors returned to the Tarim Basin, conquered Hainan,
Tonkin, and Annam, and even moved north of the Great Wall
into Mongolia.
The Three Kingdoms,
220-265
Minor Han [Shu Hàn]
Dynasty, 221-263
Chao-lieh Ti
221
Hou Chu
223
Wei [Wèi] Dynasty,
220-264
Wen Ti
Ts'ao P'i
220
Ming Ti
227
Shao Ti
240
Kao Kuei Hsiang Kung 254
Yüan Ti
260
Wu [Wú] Dynasty,
222-280
Wu Ti
222
Fei Ti
252
Ching Ti
258
Mo Ti
264
The Northern and
Southern Empires
For a while, Imperial
265-589 China looked like it
would suffer the same
fate as the Roman
Empire. After the Fall of
the Han and the brief
interlude of the Three
Kingdoms, the country
265
split into North and
South, with the North
290
overrun by Barbarians.
However, the major
307
difference was that no
geographical barriers
313
would inhibit a reunited
South from regaining the
North, and no massive
external invasion, like the
317
advent of Islâm, would
inhibit the process.
323
The Six Dynasties
1. Western Tsin
[Jìn] Dynasty, 265-316
Wu Ti
Hui Ti
Huai Ti
Min Ti
2. Eastern Tsin
[Jìn] Dynasty, 317-419
Yüan Ti
Ming Ti
Ch'êng Ti
326
K'ang Ti
343
Mu Ti
345
Ai Ti
362
Fei Ti, Hai-hsi Ti
366
Chien-wên Ti
371
Hsiao-wu Ti
373
An Ti
397
Kung Ti
419
3. Anterior Sung [Liu
Sòng] Dynasty, 420-479
Wu Ti
Liu Yü
420
Fei Ti, Ying-yang Wang
423
Liu I-fu
Wen Ti
Liu I-lung
424
Hsiao-wu Ti
Liu Chün
454
Ming Ti
Liu Yü
465
Fei Ti, Ts'ang-wu Wang
Liu Yeh
473
Shun Ti
Liu Chün
477
4. Southern Ch'i
[Qí] Dynasty, 479-501
Kao Ti
Hsiao Tao-ch'eng
479
Wu Ti
Hsiao Tse
483
Ming Ti
Hsiao Luan
494
Tung Hun Ho
Hsiao Pao
499
Ho Ti
501
5. Southern Liang
[Liáng] Dynasty, 502-556
Wu Ti
Hsiao Yan
502
Chien-wên Ti
Hsiao Kan
550
One thing that weakened
government made
possible was basic
cultural innovation.
Buddhism took a while to
catch on in China.
Confucians would really
never accept a teaching
that advised people to
abandon their families
and become dependants
on society, as Buddhist
monks and nuns did.
Buddhism had arrived
during the Later Han, not
always attracting negative
official notice, but basic
Confucian hostility was
only overcome by
weaking of central
authority with the now
fragmented nature of the
country, especially under
Barbarian Dynasties
Northern Wei [Wèi]
Dynasty,
386-534
Western Wei [Wèi]
Dynasty,
535-556
Eastern Wei [Wèi]
Dynasty,
534-550
Northern Ch'i [Qí]
Dynasty,
550-577
Northern Chou
[Zhou] Dynasty,
557-581
the barbarian "Northern"
dynasties, where
undiscriminating
"barbarian" tastes perhaps
didn't know any better.
There was also a change
in Buddhism itself:
Mahâyâna Buddhism had
become less hostile to the
world than earlier forms,
and this was altogether
more agreeable to the
Chinese.
The popularity of
Buddhism ushered in the
great era of missionaries
and pilgrims. Buddhist
missionaries arrived to
Yü-chang Wang
551
spread the dharma. One
of these was Kumârajîva
Yüan Ti
(344-413), the great
552
Hsiao I
translator of the Lotus
Sutra, who arrived in
Ching Ti
555
China in 401. Another
Hsiao Fang-chih
was the semi-mythical
Bodhidharma (died circa
6. Southern Ch'ên
528), who founded the
[Chén] Dynasty, 557-589
Ch'an (Zen) School of
Wu Ti
Buddhism, which
557
Ch'en Pa-hsien
combined Buddhism with
Chinese ideas from
Wên Ti
Taoism. This missionary
560
Ch'en Ch'ien
effort was reciprocated by
Chinese pilgrims who
Fei Ti, Lin-hai Wang
567
travelled to India, like
Ch'en Po-tsung
Fa-Hsien, whose route,
overland going (on the
Hsuan Ti
569
Silk Road), by sea
Ch'en Hsü
returning, is shown
below. The purpose of the
Hou Chu
583
pilgrams was usually not
Ch'en Shu-pao
just to visit holy sites but
to learn Sanskrit and fetch back texts to translate into Chinese.
Sui [Suí] Dynasty, 590-618
Yang Chien was rather like the
Chinese Justinian, with some
Wên Ti
590
important exceptions: (1) He
Yang Chien
began in the Barbarian North (as
a general of the Northern Chou)
Yang Ti
605
and conquered the Chinese
Yang Kuang
South; and (2) he completely
Kung Ti
restored the Empire. Justinian's
617
Yang Yü
work began from the remaining
Empire and was incomplete. If
Charlemagne had reunited the entire Roman Empire, the effect
would have similar to what we see in China. Besides reuniting
the country, the Sui is particularly famous for the building of
the Grand Canal. This took essentially the entire duration of the
Dynasty, and aroused great resentment from the severity of the
forced labor. More than 3,000,000 workers were impressed, and
those evading service were executed. The project was pursued
by the Emperor Yang Kuang, who also provoked opposition
with disastrous attempts to conquer Korea. Then, when
rebellions broke out, he did little to suppress them and was
eventually killed by the captain of his own guard. Meanwhile,
the T'ang had become established at Ch'ang-an.
The T'ang may very well
have been the greatest
Chinese dynasty. None
618 other, for a time, so
dominated its surroundings
or so influenced its
627
neighbors. Japanese
civilization, for instance,
Legendary life of
basically came into
Ti Jen-chieh (Di Renjie)
existence under T'ang
Judge Dee, 630-700;
influence. The Founder of
Nestorian missionaries arrive the dynasty was more or
in Ch'ang-an, 635;
less a figurehead for his
Conquest of Tarim Basin, 645 great son, Li Shih-min, the
real creator of the T'ang
T'ang [Táng] Dynasty, 618-906
Kao Tsu
Li Yüan
T'ai Tsung
Li Shih-min
Kao Tsung
Li Chih
650 state, and the mastermind
of rebellion against the Sui
while only 16 years old.
While as the Emperor, T'ai
Tsung, with the realm well
established, Li Shih-min
created the system of civil
684 service examinations in the
Classics that would choose
China's bureaucrats for
684
nearly the next 1300 years.
Transoxania occupied,
659-665;
Korea occupied, 668-676
Chung Tsung
Li Che
Jui Tsung
Li Tan
Wu Hou, "Empress Wu,"
(Chou [Zhou1 ] Dynasty)
Buddhism, which became
entrenched during the
period of the Northern and
705 Southern Empires, was
finally accepted (probably
710 with ill grace by Confucian
officials) as a properly
712 Chinese religion (the third
of the "Three Ways")
during the Sui and T'ang.
Chinese pilgrims, like
Hsüan-tsang, continued to
brave the Silk Road and the
Pamirs to travel to India to
learn Sanskrit and bring
back Buddhist texts.
756
690
Chung Tsung (restored)
Jui Tsung (restored)
Hsüan Tsung
Li Lungchi
Battle of Talas, 751;
Arabs defeat Chinese,
under Kao Hsien-chih,
but advance no further
into Central Asia
Su Tsung
Li Yü
Loss of Tarim Basin to
Tibetans, Ch'ang-An
occupied by Tibetans, 763
Tai Tsung
Li Yü
763
Tê Tsung
Li Shih
780
Battle of T'ing-chou,
Kansu lost to Tibetans, 791
Shun Tsung
Li Sung
805
Hsien Tsung
Li Ch'un
806
Mu Tsung
Li Heng
821
Ching Tsung
Li Chan
825
Wen Tsung
Li Ang
827
Wu Tsung
Li Yen
841
Hsüan Tsung
Li Ch'en
847
Yi Tsung
Li Wen
860
Hsi Tsung
Li Yen
874
Chinese ports
closed to foreigners, 878;
rebel Huang Ch'ao
seizes Ch'ang-an, 881
Chao Tsung
Li Chieh
889
Chao-hsüan Ti, Ai Ti
Li Chu
904
One of T'ai Tsung's own concubines seduced his weak son on
his succession and, as the Empress Wu, dominated the next 45
years of Chinese history. Consort of Kao Tsung, mother of
Chung Tsung and Jui Tsung, effectively the sole ruler from 684
to 705, and ruler in her own name from 690, she was the only
woman to thus rule China in all of Chinese history. Her career
was very similar to that of the Empress Irene, who was the first
Roman Empress to rule in her own name, and the only one to
seriously exercise power on her own initiative. Thus, like Irene,
the Empress Wu had a relatively weak willed husband; and,
when he died, she acted first as regent for one son, dethroned
him, then for another, and then assumed the throne in her own
right. While Irene had her son blinded, an injury from which he
died, and ruled only briefly in her own right, Wu did not harm
her sons and then ruled for fifteen years (when each followed
her). Both Wu and Irene ruled rather well, but were then
deposed, without being killed. At that point Wu herself may
have just been too old to resist. Subsequently, misogynistic
Confucians portrayed Wu as consumed with bloody and
immoral appetites. Irene's reign gave Pope Leo III justification
for crowning Charlemagne Roman Emperor, since neither
believed that a woman could be a legitimate Roman ruler.
The Empress Wu's grandson Hsüan Tsung was the last great
figure of the dynasty, also known as "Ming Huang," or the
"Bright [or brilliant] Emperor." Unfortunately, Hsüan Tsung's
long reign ended troubled by rebellion, which substantially
impaired the strength of the state for the rest of the history of
the dynasty. Nevertheless, important innovations continued to
occur. Books began to be printed in the 9th century, porcelain
became common, and tea began to be made regularly, not just
used as a medicine. The wine drinking of Judge Dee's day gave
way to the more sober potable.
Judge Ti (Di, Dee; 630-700) became the hero of later Chinese
detective fiction. Such stories always featured a District
Magistrate as the protagonist; and since the Magistrate was also
the Police Chief, Prosecutor, and Judge in his District, this
allowed for dimensions of crime fiction that now in Western
fiction would usually belong to separate genres. Judge Ti was
brought into modern fiction by the Dutch diplomat and linguist
Robert van Gulik (1910-1967). Van Gulik first translated a
Chinese story, the Di Gongàn ("Ti Cases"), as the Celebrated
Cases of Judge Dee in 1949. He hoped this would spark a
revival of such stories in Chinese and Japanese; but when it
didn't, he began writing a series of such stories himself. This is
examined in more detail elsewhere. The culture of van Gulik's
Dee stories, and the costumes he illustrated in his own
drawings, were more of Ming times than of T'ang, however,
since van Gulik was more familiar with that.
In the decline of the T'ang, Tibet becomes a major factor. It was
the Tibetans who drove the T'ang out of the Tarim Basin (763)
and then even took Kansu (791). This collapse even included
an brief occupation of Ch'ang-An itself by the Tibetans (763).
Tibetans remained in Kansu, later founding the durable Tangut
or Hsi-Hsia state, which survived until the Mongol conquest.
The irony of these Tibetan successes is now considerable, in
light of recent events. Some might think of present Chinese
claims and policies in Tibet as little more than a long delayed
revenge for the Tibetan humiliation of the T'ang.
The Five Dynasties, 907-960
In this
1. Posterior Liang [Liáng] Dynasty, 907-923 transition
period some
basic Chinese
T'ai Tau, T'ai Tsu
907
customs of
Chu Wen
later history
Mo Ti
915
are supposed
to have
2. Posterior T'ang [Táng] Dynasty, 923-935 originated.
Previously
Chuang Tsung
923
people sat on
floor mats, as
Ming Tsung
926
the Japanese
Min Ti, Fei Ti
934
continued to
do, but now
3. Posterior Tsin [Jìn] Dynasty, 936-947
chairs came
into common
Kao Tsu
936
use. Also, the
bizarre and
Ch'u Ti
943
disturbing
4. Posterior Han [Hàn] Dynasty, 947-951 custom of
binding the
Kao Tsu
947
feet of women
began, an
Yin Ti
948
affectation, as
with the long
5. Posterior Chou [Zhou1 ] Dynasty, 951-960 fingernails of
the Mandarin
T'ai Tsu
951
bureaucrats,
to display
Shih Tsung
944
one's freedom
from physical labor. Unfortunately, a long fingernail seems
merely ridiculous, and can easily be cut off in need, but ruined
feet cannot be remade without extensive modern reconstructive
surgery. Interestingly, when the Manchurians came to power,
footbinding was prohibited among their own people; but the
tyranny of fashion, or the desire to assimilate to the Chinese,
meant that the prohibition eroded in practice.
The Five Dynasties were all in the North. In the South were the
"Ten Kingdoms," whose rulers do not seem to be given in the
common lists of Emperors. One of the rulers of the Kingdom of
Shu, in Szechwan, was Wang Chien (907-918). As at the end of
the Northern and Southern Empires, a coup against the last
Northern Dynasty ushered in the unification of the country,
under the Sung.
The Sung restored the unity of
China, but it would never have
the power or empire of the
T'ang. "Tartar" states, the Hsi
Hsia and Liao, hemmed it in
from the north, forshadowing the
era of barbarian domination that
would overwhelm the Huang He
valley under the Jurchen and
then all of China under the
Mongols. Nevertheless, the Sung
would be remembered along
with the T'ang as the classic
period of Chinese civilization, so
that Chu Yüan-chang, founder of
the Ming, would promise the
restoration of "the T'ang and the
Sung."
(Northern) Sung [Sòng]
Dynasty, 960-1126
T'ai Tsu
Chao K'uang-yin
960
T'ai Tsung
Chao Kuan-i
976
Chên Tsung
Chao Te-ch'ang
998
Jên Tsung
Chao Chen
1023
Observation of Crab
Nebula Supernova, 1054
Ying Tsung
Chao Shu
1064
Shên Tsung
Chao Hsü
1068
1086
Hui Tsung
Chao Chi
1101
Ch'in Tsung
Chao Huan
1126
Of great interest during the Sung
was the observation of a
supernova in the constellation
Taurus. Unlike Western
astronomers at the time, the
Chinese did not believe that the
heavens were unchanging, and
they were always on the lookout
for what they called "guest"
stars, i.e. novas (nova stella in
Latin, "new star") and
supernovas. It would not be
understood until modern
astronomy that these were
exploding stars. The guest star of
Chê Tsung
Chao Hsü
displaced by
the Kin/Chin, 1126
1054 was an
extraordinarily bright
and enduring
supernova. A
supernova can shine
for a while with light
equivalent to the
whole rest of the
galaxy. The remnant
of the explosion today
is the Crab Nebula,
with an active Pulsar,
or Neutron Star, at its
center.
"Tartar" is a European
rendering of Persian
Tâtâr. The extra "r" seems
to have crept in from
Greek/Latin Tartarus, the
deepest region of Hades,
i.e. Hell. This reflects the
judgment that the Tartars
were like demons from
Hell, which is more or less
what the Chinese and
ultimately other objects of
Mongol conquest would
have thought themselves.
The earlier "Tartar"
dynasties at right were not
in the same league as the
Mongols, and were
ultimately Mongol
victims, but were regarded
as no less alien by the
Chinese.
Southern Sung [Sòng]
Dynasty, 1127-1279
Kao Tsung
Chao Kou
1127
Hsiao Tsung
Chao Po-tsung
1163
Kuang Tsung
Chao Tun
1190
Ning Tsung
Chao K'uo
1195
Li Tsung
Chao Yü-chü
1225
Tu Tsung
Chao Meng-ch'i
1265
Tartar Dynasties
Liao [Liáo]
(Khitan) Dynasty
Yeliuy Tian-zo
907-1125
1101-1124
displaced by the Kin/Chin
Western Liao
[Liáo] Dynasty
(Qara-Khitaï)
1125-(1141)
-1218
John Yeliuy Dashi
1124-1144
Elias Yeliuy I-lich
1144-1151
T'a-Pu-Yen (f)
1151-1177
Shao-Hsing
1151-1163
Ch'eng-T'en-Hou
1163-1178
George Yeliuy
Zhuikhu
1177-1211,
1213
David Kuchlug
1211-1218,
d.1229
conquered by Mongols,
1217-1218
The Hsi-Hsia
(Tangut) State
990-(1032)
-1227
conquered by Mongols,
1226-1227
Kin/Chin
[Jin1 ] Dynasty
(Jurchen/Nü-chên)
1115-1234
conquered by Mongols,
1230-1234
The Southern Sung is inevitably
1275 remembered mainly as the victim of
Mongol conquest. It is noteworthy,
however, that the Sung gave the
Mongols the hardest time of any of
their ultimate conquests. The final
Ping Ti
1279 campaign by Qubilai Khân took
Chao Ping
twelve long years, when most people
were lucky if they could resist the
conquered by
Mongols for twelve weeks. One
Mongols,
explanation of this is that the
1267-1279
Mongols were definitely out of their
preferred element. The saying in China is that "in the north, you
go by horse; in the south, you go by boat." The Mongols
undoubtedly were more comfortable with horses than with
boats. The southern terrain posed a challenge that the Mongols
could not meet with their accustomed cavalry tactics. The Sung
state was also more formidably organized than many opponents
of the Mongols. The Sung had resources unavailable to the
Russians or the Khawarizm Shâhs. But the wages of resistance
to the Mongols was, of course, death. On one account, Qubilai
Khân, in the course of his conquest and rule over China, killed
"more than 18,470,000 Chinese" (R.J. Rummel, Death by
Government, Transaction Publishers, 1995, p. 51). This would
put him in the same league, at least, as Adolph Hitler
Kung Tsung
Chao Hsien
Tuan Tsung
Chao Shi
1276
Readily available histories of China never seem to give any of
the actual "Tartar" dynasty rulers, despite their importance in
this era. Now I have discovered the Qara-Khitaï rulers at Bruce
R. Gordon's Regnal Chronologies. The names are fascinating
for their combination of Christian, Chinese, and Turkic
elements. The Christian elements are due to the effect of the
Nestorian missionaries who converted many in
Central Asia in this period.
Because of this, the Syriac
alphabet ended up being
adopted for many Central Asian languages,
including Mongolian and Manchu, although
written vertically, like Chinese, rather than right
to left. The first name given by Gordon, however,
antedates the beginning of the Qara-Khitaï state. Since the
Western Liao was simply the relocation of the Liao, I have
assumed that Yeliuy Tian-zo was actually the last ruler of the
Liao. Indeed, the dates for John Yeliuy Dashi also begin before
the Western Liao, so I take it that he was the ruler who literally
moved from Northern China to Sinkiang.
Yüan [Yuán] (Mongol) Dynasty,
1280-1368
While Mongol
occupation and rule is
an important chapter in
1206-1227 the history of China,
the Mongol domain,
which extended all the
way to Hungary and
Egypt, is a much larger
topic, covered
separately under the
1229-1241 "The Mongol Khâns."
Temüjin
Chingiz Khân
Western Liao conquered,
1217-1218;
The Hsi-Hsia State conquered,
1226-1227
Ögedei Khân
Kin/Chin Dynasty conquered,
1230-1234
Index
The Conquests
of Chingiz Khân,
1227
The Great Khâns
and the Yüan
Dynasty of
China
The Grandsons
of Chingiz Khân,
1280
The Chaghatayid
Khâns
The Il Khâns
The
Jalâyirids,
1340-1432
The Qara
Qoyunlu,
1351-1469
The
Timurids,
1370-1500
The Aq
Qoyunlu,
1396-1508
The Khâns of the
Golden Horde
The Khâns
of the Blue
Horde
The Khâns
of the
White
Horde
The Khâns
of Kazan
The Khâns
of
Astrakhan
The Khâns
of the
Crimea
Töregene Khâtûn, regent 1241-1246
Güyük Khân
1246-1248
Oghul Ghaymish, regent
1248-1251
Möngke Khân
1251-1259
Yünnan conquered, 1253/54;
Annam invaded, 1257-1258;
Southern Sung invaded,
1257-1259
1260-1294
Qubilai Khân
Shih Tsu
1280
Southern Sung conquered,
1267-1279;
Japan invaded, 1274, 1281
1294-1307
Temür Öljeytü Khân
Ch'eng Tsung
1295
Qayshan Gülük
Hai-Shan
Wu Tsung
1308
Ayurparibhadra
Ayurbarwada
Jên Tsung
1307-1311
1312
1311-1320
Suddhipala Gege'en
Shidebala
Ying Tsung
1320-1323
Yesün-Temür
Tai-ting Ti
1323-1328
1321
1324
Arigaba
Aragibag
1328
1328-1329
1329-1332 There may be some
question about just
1330
how bad Mongol rule
was in China. Apart
1329
from R.J. Rummel's
figures, like that above,
1329
we have accounts like
this:
1332-1333
For a time it
1333-1370 appeared as if
the conquest
1333
would destroy
Chinese culture
and even the
nation itself...
Togus-Temür
1370-1388 Cities were
annihilated, and
Altan Khan
1507-1582 tens of thousands
of homeless
line continues in Mongolia until refugees fled to
Manchurian Conquest, 1696
the mountains,
where they
starved or survived as vast hordes of wandering
mendicants. Great areas of land went out of
cultivation... [C.P. Fitzgerald, The Horizon History
of China, American Heritage Publishing, 1969,
p.244]
Jijaghatu Toq-Temür
Wen Tsung
Qoshila Qutuqtu
Ming Tsung
Rinchenpal
Irinchibal
Toghan-Temür
Shun Ti
Mongols expelled from
China, 1368
The great scholar families... Many of them had
probably been almost wiped out in the conquest...
Famous double surnames of great antiquity, such as
Ssu-ma and Ssu-tu, Shang-kuan and Ou-yang, were
borne by many great men of the Sung dyansty. But
after the Mongol period no more is heard of these
ancient families except for some branches surviving
in the far south, in Kuangtung, which in T'ang
times had been a place of exile for disgraced
officials, and in Sung times the last stronghold of
Southern Sung power. [ibid., p.249]
On the other hand, other accounts, e.g. L. Carrington Goodrich,
A Short History of the Chinese People [Harper Torchbooks,
1943, 1963] or Ann Paludan, Chronicle of the Chinese
Emperors [Thames & Hudson, London, 1998],
don't describe anything in the way of population
loss. Each account, however, gives some hint of
the Mongol ferocity familiar from their other
campaigns. Paludan mentions the loss of over
100,000 Chinese in the very last, three week long
battle of the Mongol conquest of the Southern
Sung, off Kwantung in 1279 [p.147], and the
proposal by Bayan, chancellor of Toghan-Temür, to exterminate
"all Chinese with the five most popular names, some 90 per
cent of the population!" [p.157]. There was always a faction
among the Mongols that wanted a steppe culture imposed on
China, with the extermination of agriculture, and population,
that that would entail. Paludan mentions [p.161] that the amount
of land under cultivation tripled just between 1371 and 1379, in
the early years of the Ming. This would imply some neglect or
abandonment under the Yüan. Goodrich mentions how Qubilai
Khân, emulating Shih-huang-ti, tried to suppress Taoism,
ordering (1258 & 1281) that all of its books (with some
exceptions) be burned [op.cit., pp.183-184].
I had some problems with reconciling the Mongolian dates and
names [The Mongols, David Morgan, Basil Blackwell, 1986,
and The New Islamic Dynasties, Clifford Edmund Bosworth,
Edinburgh University Press, 1996, which do not give Chinese
names] with the Chinese list of Yüan emperors [Mathews'
Chinese-English Dictionary, Harvard University Press, 1972, p.
1175, which does not give the Mongolian names]. This is now
cleared up by Ann Paludan's Chronicle of the Chinese
Emperors. Two Emperors did not reign long enough to be
acknowledged by Chinese historians. Also, Chinese sources list
Ming Tsung before Wen Tsung (or Wen Ti, in Mathews')
because the second reign of the latter is counted.
The Míng was the first Chinese dynasty not to be named after a local ancient kingdom (Ch'in, Han, T'ang, etc.). This was because the Founder, Chu Yüan-chang, was of humble origin, not nobility that would have identified with such a locality. Like the Mongol Yüan ("Beginning"), the name is instead chosen to be auspicious, "Bright." The Founder of the Han had originally been of low station also, a peasant, but he had already styled himself "King of Han" (Han Wang) before definitively claiming the Ch'in Emperorship. Also perhaps because of his origins, the Ming Founder was suspicious of the Scholars and sought to balance their influence in the Court with a competing Military institution of comparable depth and prestige. This wise provision, a kind of system of checks and balances, ultimately failed, as Emperors fell under the influence of the Scholars, and then even of the Palace Eunuchs, and neglected the Military. When the Manchus then seized power, some Chinese generals actually went over to them, expecting better status and attention. It was a Chinese general who overthrew the last of the Southern Ming Emperors.
For the first time in Chinese history, the Míng
Emperors employed only one Era name for
their reigns. It thus becomes convenient to
refer to the Emperors by the Era, e.g. the
"Yung-Lo Emperor." This practice continued
in the following Dynasty, but was not adopted
in Japan until the Meiji Restoration. The necessity or
convenience of this
Ming [Míng],
device may not be
"Bright" Dynasty,
Era
obvious, but it
1368-1644
should be noted that
the personal names
T'ai Tsu
1368 Hung-wu
(e.g. Chu
Chu Yüan-chang
Yüan-chang) of the
Emperors were
Hui Ti
1399 Chien-wên properly no longer
Chu Yün-wen
used once they came
Ch'eng Tsu
to the Throne, and
1403 Yung-Lo
Chu Ti
that the names they
are otherwise known
moves capital from Nanking
by (e.g. T'ai Tsu) are
(Nan-ching/Nanjing) to Peking
postumous. If a
(Pei-ching/Beijing)
reigning Emperor is
not simply to be
Jen Tsung
1425 Hung-hsi
called the "Current
Chu Kao-chih
Emperor" (which is
proper), he can at
Hsüan Tsung
1426 Hsüan-tê
least be
Chu Chan-chi
unambiguously
Ying Tsung
1436 Chêng-T'ung identified by the Era.
Chu Ch'i-chen
Early Míng
captured by Mongols, 1449
Emperors, mainly
the Yung-Lo
T'ai Tsung, or
Emperor, sent
Ching Ti
1450 Ching-t'ai
Admiral Chêng Ho
Chu Ch'i-yü
(Zheng He), a
Moslem eunuch who
Ying Tsung
1457 T'ien-shun
started out as a
(restored)
prisoner of war
slave, on seven great
Hsien Tsung
1465 Ch'eng-hua naval expeditions
Chu Chien-shen
into the Indian
Hsiao Tsung
Ocean between 1405
1488 Hung-chih
Chu Yü-t'ang
and 1433. Chinese
historians report that
Wu Tsung
the largest ships, the
1506 Chêng-tê
Chu Hou-chao
baochuan or
"treasure ships,"
Shih Tsung
1522 Chia-tsing
were 440 feet long.
Chu Hou-ts'ung
However, most of
the records of the
Mu Tsung
1567 Lung-ch'ing expeditions were
Chu Tsai-hou
destroyed, and the
reported dimensions
Shên Tsung
1573 Wan-Li
are unrealistic (e.g. a
Chu I-chün
beam of 180 feet,
Kuang Tsung
1620 T'ai-ch'ang which sounds more
Chu Ch'ang-le
like a bathtub than a
sailing ship). Bruce
Hsi Tsung
Swanson [Eighth
1621 T'ien-ch'i
Chu Yü-chiao
Voyage of the
Dragon, Naval
Szu Tsung
1628 Ch'ung-chên Institute Press, 1982,
Chu Yü-chien
p. 33] reports that a
modern surviving
Pei-ching occupied by rebels;
Chinese junk of five
Emperor commits suicide;
masts, the Jiangsu
rebels thrown out by Manchuria;
trader, was 170 feet
Manchurian occupation, 1644
long. He does not
Southern Ming [Míng]
think the Ming ships
Era
Dynasty, 1644-1662
were any larger; but
since baochuan were
Fu Wang,
reported to have up
Prince of Fu
1644 Hung-kuang to nine masts, if this
Chu Yu-sung
is accurate and the
number of masts was
T'ang Wang
1645 Lung-wu
proportional to the
Chu Yü-chien
length, we might
extrapolate ships of
Yung-ming Wang
1646 Yung-li
306 feet in length.
Chu Yü-lang
Emperor captured in Burma, 1661,
executed by Manchus, 1662
1 1405-1407
317
ships
2 1407-1409
249
ships
3 1409-1411
48
ships
4 1413-1415
63
ships
5 ?
?
6 1421-1422
41
ships
7 1431-1433
100
ships
This is comparable to the
length of some 19th century
clipper ships: The Great
Republic of 1853, the
largest ship of its time, was
325 feet long. Although this
is larger, by half again, than
Swanson wants to allow,
there now have been some
archaeological discoveries of ship fittings that seem consistent
with the larger sizes, as with the rudder below.
Admiral He paid particular
attention to India, even putting
troops ashore and interfering in
local politics (as Europeans
would do later), but some
detachments from his forces
went into the Persian Gulf and
the Red Sea, and even down the
coast of Africa, perhaps as far as
Zanzibar.
The triumph of the xenophobic faction of the Scholars at Court,
however, meant that the expeditions were terminated. That is
when the records were destroyed, and it became a capital
offense to build a ship with more than two masts. Chinese were
even prohibited from trading abroad. Thus, China withdrew into
itself at the very time when the sea-lanes of the world were
about to open to cosmopolitan traffic. Vasco da Gama arrived
in Indian in 1498, just 65 years after Admiral He had left. The
Portuguese found little to resist them at sea, when the Chinese
probably had had superior technology and much larger forces.
Having simply abdicated the contest, China would shortly fall
behind and never catch up. The triumph of the Scholars thus not
only opened China to foreign conquest but stiffled the
innovative spirit of the Chinese to explore and create. This then
exposed China again, although under the Qing, to new foreign
encroachment, as European creativity and power waxed in the
18th and 19th centuries. The cultural readiness of the Chinese
people to compete on modern terms was later demonstrated
time and again as overseas Chinese communities often came to
dominate the economy of places where they started with
nothing and were often disliked -- the Philippines, Malaya,
Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. In China itself, the first
chance for the Chinese to really prosper in a free economy was,
ironically, in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong.
The Manchurian
Manchu Ch'ing [Qing 1 ],
"Clear" Dynasty,
(1636)-1644-(1662)-1912
Nurhachi
Era
1629
Aberhai
conquest of China
was a deeply
humiliating
experience for the
Yung-chêng Chinese. The
Manchus, indeed,
Ch'ien-Lung made things
harder for
Chia-ch'ing themselves, as
foreign rulers,
Hsüan Tsung
1821
Tao-kuang with their decree
Wen Tsung
1851
Hsien-fêng that Chinese men
would have to
adopt Manchu
Tz'u Hsi [Cixi]
costume
the Empress
1862-1908
(including the
Dowager
infamous
Mu Tsung
1862
T'ung-chih "queue"). This
provoked violent
Tê Tsung
1875
Kuang-hsu Chinese popular
Mo Ti (Pu Yi) 1909
Hsuan-t'ung resistance and
helped the
"Southern Ming" princes rally forces against the Manchus for
almost two decades. Some Chinese histories do not begin the
list of Ch'ing rulers until the fall of the Southern Ming in 1662
-- hence two successive Emperors are named "Tsu," "Founder,"
when usually this means the sole first Emperor of the Dynasty.
Like the Mongols, the Manchus practiced the
Vajrayâna form of Buddhism, and their Nestorian
derived alphabet continued to be used for some
purposes right down to the end of the Empire.
The desire of the Manchus to be accepted as
proper Chinese rulers, however, was otherwise
intense. Even before incursion into China proper,
they chose (1636) a name for
the dynasty following the Ming precedent:
Ch'ing (Qing 1 ) means "Clear."
Shih Tsu
1644
Shun-Chih
Shêng Tsu
1662
K'ang-Hsi
Shih Tsung
1723
Kao Tsung
1736
Jên Tsung
1796
Despite the foreign origin of the Ch'ing, it is
noteworthy that subsequent Chinese
governments, both Nationalist and
Communist, regarded all Manchurian
conquests as "intrinsic" parts of China.
Thus Tibet, which had been conquered by both
Mongols and Manchus, and was independent after
the fall of the Ch'ing in 1911, is claimed as an
"intrinsic" part of China even though it had never
actually been ruled by Chinese until the Communist invasion of
1950. The Tibetan language is related to Chinese, but culturally
Tibet is a sub-Indian rather than a sub-Chinese civilization.
Although the Tibetans were promised internal autonomy by the
Chinese, they soon were subjected to the inevitable oppression,
vandalism, and massacres of Communist government. Since
there never were very many Tibetans in their poor, Alpine
country, this kind of treatment plus Chinese colonization began
to produce a genocidal effect. The International Community,
once energized about "de-colonization," and formerly alert to
every police beating in South Africa, has shown little stomach
for consistently confronting the Chinese over Tibet. On the
other hand, the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in 1959, has
proven to be an appealing, eloquent, and respected spokesman
for his country, attacting attention by many, including the Nobel
Peace Prize committee and Hollywood devotees who now have
produced sympathetic movies about Tibet and its plight (e.g.
Seven Years in Tibet and Kundun). We can only hope that
international pressure will increase and rescue a unique nation
preserving an ancient heritage.
Although Western, usually American, defenders of Tibet are
sometimes belabored with charges of hypocrisy, because of the
treatment of the Indian tribes in American history, so that
Americans are in no moral position to belabor the Chinese over
the treatment of Tibet, it remains true that nowhere in the world
have traditional tribal peoples, who were at neolithic or even
paleolithic levels of development at their time of contact with
the advanced civilizations (Eastern or Western), not been
incorporated into larger modern states. There are often
complaints about the status and treatment of tribal peoples in
many places, from the United States to Brazil to the Sudan, but
there is no special level of criticism about such peoples, of
which there are many, in China. Tibet, however, was, for all its
poverty and isolation, an organized state far beyond the tribal
level. Like Ethiopia or Afghanistan, Tibet was the sort of state
that, in the era of "decolonization," would be expected to
become independent, regardless of its backward features. But
the Chinese Empire and Chinese colonization survive, with no
more justification than the precedent of the Manchurian
Empire.
International Campaign for Tibet
Government of Tibet in Exile
Presidents of the
Republic of China
The
beginning
of
Republican
China was
a very
flawed
business. While Sun
Yat-sen had some control
in the South, the General in
Peking, Yüan Shih-k'ai,
refused to depose the
Emperor unless he was
made President. Sun
Yat-sen agreed and
resigned as Provisional
President so that the
country could be unified. It
then was not long before
Yüan Shih-k'ai entertained
plans of establishing
himself as Emperor. This
Chiang Kai-shek
1948-1975 was not popular, but he
soon died anyway. Some
Taiwan, 1949
semblance of a
Chiang Ching-kuo 1975-1988 Constitutional order was
maintained, but the Central
Lee Teng-hui
1988-2000 Government quickly lost
authority over most of the
Chen Shui-bian
2000-present rest of the country; and
Peking itself became a
pawn of the Warlords who now came to dominate China.
Foreign governments, however, continued to recognize the
titular government in Peking, and the foreign run customs
service remitted its revenues there. Nevertheless, even
assembling a list of the nominal Presidents is a challenge, and I
do not have complete information.
Sun Yat-sen
1911-1912
Peking
Yüan Shih-k'ai
1912-1916
Li Yüan-hung
1916-1917
Feng Kuo-chang
1917-1918
Hsü Shih-ch'ang
1918-1922
Li Yüan-hung
1922-1923
Tsao Kun
1923
Tuan Chi-jui
1924
Kuomintang, Nanking
Sun Yat-sen
1923-1925
Meanwhile, Sun Yat-sen set up a counter-government in the
South. He died in 1925 and his disciple, Chiang
Kai-shek, took over the Kuomintang Party.
Chiang marched North, and eventually, in 1928,
took Peking and received foreign recognition as
the Government of China. Nevertheless, it is not
clear to me who the nominal Head of State was
under Chiang's regime. He was certainly in
control, and during World War II was commonly known as
"Generalissimo," a title he shared with Josef Stalin, but I don't
know that he actually called himself President until 1948. By
then, his days on the Mainland were numbered. The
Communists, with whom Chiang had originally cooperated but
whom he then purged and later drove out of the South, defeated
him utterly in 1949. The Nationalist Government fled to
Taiwan, taking most of the records of the Empire and the
Republic, and the contents of the National Museum, with it. In
1950, as Mao attacked in Korea and occupied Tibet, the United
States undertook to defend Taiwan from Communist invasion.
Still styling itself the Republic of China (ROC), the
Government on Taiwan has grown into a democracy, with an
economy counted as one of the "Four Tigers" of East Asia
(South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore being the others),
and notions about repudiating its claims to the Mainland and
going its own way. Recently electing a pro-independence
President, Taiwan has been harshly threatened by the
Communists. The agreement that the United States made to
recognize the People's Republic, however, precludes resolution
of this issue by force, and Communist military demonstrations
have been met with American counter-demonstrations. When
democracy comes to the People's Republic, reunification may
happen easily. But there are no signs that the Communists are
anywhere near giving up power.
Communist China
Prime Minister
Communist Party
President
1949-1959
Zhou
Enlai,
Chou
En-lai
1976-1980
Zhao
Ziyang
1949-1976
Mao
Zedong, Chairman,
Mao
1935-1976
Tse-tung
Hua Guofeng
1980-1987
Li Peng
1987-1998
Zhu
Rongji
1998-present
Hu
Yaobang
Zhao
Ziyang
Liu
Shaoqi
1959-1968
Dong
Biwu
1968-1975
Zhu De
1975-1976
Song
Qingling
1976-1978
Ye
Jianying
1978-1983
General
Secretary,
1982-1987
Li
Xiannian
1983-1988
1987-1989
Yang
1988-1993
Shangkun
1976-1981
1981-1982
1993-2002
Hu
Jintao
Jiang
2002-present Zemin
Mao Tse-tung (Zedong) didn't want China to end up like
Stalinist Russia. This did not mean he disapproved of
dictatorship, mass murder, or torture. He simply didn't want the
country ruled by a bunch of bureaucrats. So his ultimate
inspiration was the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution," in
which mass political action would produce the sort of stateless
utopia predicted by Marx. What it actually produced was chaos,
not to mention widespread vandalism, torture, murders, etc.
Like Stalin's purges in 1938, the Communist Party itself came
in for attack. The disgraced and humiliated Deng Xiaoping
(d.1997) never forgot it. With the death of Mao and the defeat
of the "Gang of Four" political radicals, Deng, although never
holding any of the highest posts in the state (above), became the
guiding force behind market reforms. But he was never
prepared to allow political liberalization and is generally
credited with the decision to crush the demonstrations in
Tiananmen Square in 1989. This left China still where it is
today, with the Communist Party firmly in place and in charge,
but with an economy growing rapidly from de facto capitalist
innovations, whose frank acknowledgement as such would void
1989-present
the whole purpose of the existence of the Communist Party. Yet
the process continues. Farmland is in the hands of private
leaseholders, although the de jure possession of Maoist
communes. State industries, whose output is so worthless that
some of it is simply warehoused and forgotten, are being
steadily retired -- probably more quickly than in Russia, where
the workers protest losing their (largely worthless) state
incomes. Just the paradox of our time, where real laissez-faire
capitalism flourishes under Communist government, in Hong
Kong, while the voters in the democracies keep voting for
bigger government handouts and ever more intrusive
regulations and paternalism. Perhaps Deng was right about
democracy. It is certainly not worth having when it means the
violation of property rights and voluntary association that is
now commonplace under laws, e.g. the United State
Constitution, that were supposed to protect all that.
Late in 2002 Jiang Zemin turned the Chairmanship of the
Communist Party over to Hu Jintao. He is due to turn over the
Presidency also in March 2003. Zhu Rongji is also expected to
resign as Prime Minister at the same time. Chairman Hu was
designated for his job by the late Deng Xiaoping and fits in
rather awkwardly among Jiang's personal supporters in the
Politburo. All are faced with the continuing mental gymnastics
of simultaneously defending Commmunism and promoting
Capitalism.
Index at Top of Page
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Copyright (c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All
Rights Reserved
The Ming Dynasty, Note
Except for the three central
ones, the masts and sails
depicted in the drawing of
the baochuan are relatively
small. Western sailing ships
settled down to three large,
composite masts in the 18th
century. When ships grew
larger in the 19th century,
because of cross bracing for the ribs and then iron hulls, larger
sets of the masts began to be seen. The largest full-rigged ship,
the Preussen, of five masts, transported nitrates from Chile to
Germany, until it was rammed in the English channel by a
steamship that, typically, underestimated the sailing ship's
speed. Although such ships were, to say the least, energy
efficient, and dependable on routes with steady winds, their day
passed permanently with World War I.
American coastal schooners expanded beyond five masts. The
Thomas W. Lawson,
built in 1902, had
seven masts, which
evidently were simply
numbered from the
Mizzen back to the
Spanker. With the
customary names for schooner masts, plus the Middlemast used
in full-rigged ships and barks, we can get a set of names up to
eight masts. Nine masts, however, as shown, would require at
least one numbered mast, as in the Lawson. Considering the
subordinate look of the three front masts on the baochuan,
however, a different system of naming would probably be more
appropriate. The three sets of three masts suggest first, middle,
and rear members of fore, main, and mizzen groups. The names
that the Chinese actually used would be lost with the tradition
that was extinguished when the multi-masted ships were
prohibited.
Return to text
Emperors, Shoguns, &
Regents of Japan
The list of Japanese Emperors, etc., is
based on Andrew N. Nelson, The
Modern Reader's Japanese-English
Character Dictionary [Charles E.
Tuttle Company, 1987, pp. 1018-1022],
The Princeton Companion to Classical
Japanese Literature [Earl Miner, Hiroko Odagiri, and Robert E.
Morrell, Princeton University Press, 1988, pp. 119-127 &
463-475], E. Papinot, Historical and Geographical Dictionary
of Japan [Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1910, 1988], and other
sources I've lost track of. The genealogies are entirely from
Papinot.
In modern
times the
Japanese
historical
era, unlike the Chinese, has frequently been used for ordinary
dating. Thus the famous naval fighter aircraft of World War II,
the Mitsubishi A6M, was known as the "Zero" for the year in
which it became operational, 2600 of the Jimmu Era (=1940
AD), the last two digits of which are zeros. The Era is now less
frequently used, in part because of unpleasant associations with
Japanese totalitarianism.
THE JAPANESE HISTORICAL ERA 660 BC
1998 AD + 660 = 2658 Annô Japoniae
In pre-war
Japan, publicly
(660 BC) First Century AD questioning the
historicity of
Jimmu or the
antiquity of the
Japanese Throne
could land one
in jail, or worse.
We are not out
of legendary
material with
Second Century
some certainty
until Kimmei.
The Legendary Period, 660 BC-538 AD
l Jimmu
2 Suizei
3 Annei
4 Itoku
5 Kôshô
6 Kôan
7 Kôrei
8 Kôgen
9 Kaika
Third Century
10 Sujin
219-249
11 Suinin
249-280
12 Keikô
280-316
13 Seimu
316-342
14 Chûai
343-346
Jingû Kôgô (f) regent
15 Oojin
346-395
16 Nintoku
395-427
17 Richû
427-432
18 Hanzei
433-438
19 Ingyô
438-453
20 Ankô
453-456
21 Yûryaku
456-479
22 Seinei
480-484
23 Kenzô
485-487
24 Ninken
488-498
25 Buretsu
498-506
26 Keitai
507-531
27 Ankan
531-535
28 Senka
535-539
The Historical
Period, 539-645
29
Kimmei
539-571
30
Bidatsu
572-585
31
Yômei
585-587
32
Sushun
587-592
33 Suiko
(f)
592-628
34 Jomei 629-641
35
Kôgyoku 642-645
(f)
The Yamato
Period, 645-711
36
Kôtoku
The Nara Period, 712-793
44 Genshô (f)
715-724
45 Shômu
724-749
46 Kôken (f)
749-758
47 Junnin
758-764
48 Shôtoku (f)
764-770
49 Kônin
770-781
645-654
37
Saimei
(f)
655-661
38 Tenji
662-671
39
Kôbun
671-672
40
Kemmu
673-686
41 Jitô
(f)
690-697
42
Mommu
697-707
43
Gemmei
(f)
707-715
The foundation of the city of
Nara, the first permanent capital
of Japan (death pollution had
impelled abandonment of
previous seats of government),
defines the Nara period. It was at
this time that the title of the
Emperor is borrowed from China,
a version as
, the
"Heavenly" (or divine) Emperor.
The title Mikado [
],
"Honorable/Imperial Gate," had been used and would survive,
even into Gilbert and Sullivan. This is rather like the
government of Ottoman Turkey being called the "Sublime
Porte," or the King of Egypt being called "Pharaoh,"
,
i.e. "Great House." Indeed, there were a couple of streets of
Kyôto that were called "mikado," e.g. Nakamikado, "Middle
Imperial Gate," which led to a central gate of the Imperial
Palace. Nevertheless, in characters, nothing more than the other
Chinese character for emperor might be written for the word,
i.e.
. The later miltary ruler, who exercised authority
for the Emperors, was called the Shôgun, short for an
expression usually translated "Barbarian Subduing
Generalissimo." The Shôgun was also called the Taikun, "Great
Ruler," which became the word "tycoon" in English.
The Heian Period
begins with the
founding of the city of
Kyôto in 794. The city
was called Heian-kyô,
"Peaceful Capital."
52 Saga
809-823-842
Kyôto is the more
prosaic designation,
53 Junna
823-833-840
"Capital District." The
city was laid out as a
54 Nimmyô
833-850
regular Chinese square
and grid between the
55 Montoku
850-858
Katsura River on the
56 Seiwa
858-876-880
west side and the
Kamo River on the
57 Yôzei
877-884-949
east. The two rivers
flowed together just
58 Kôkô
884-887
south of town, to be
joined slightly
59 Uda
887-897-937
downstream by the Uji
coming in from the
60 Daigo
897-930
east. Forces
61 Suzaku
930-946-952
approaching Kyôto
from the south needed
62 Murakami
946-967
to cross the Uji, often
at the Uji-bashi, the
63 Reizei
967-969-1011
Uji Bridge, in the
small town of Uji
64 Enyû
969-984-991
itself. Over time, the
65 Kazan
984-986-1008
southern and western
parts of the original
66 Ichijô
986-1011
city were abandoned,
and settlement moved
67 Sanjô
1011-1016-1017
north and east, so that
now old parts of the
68 Go-Ichijô
1016-1036
city lie on both sides of
the Kamo, pressing
69 Go-Suzaku
1036-1045
right up to the eastern
70 Go-Reizei
1045-1068
hills, including Mt.
Hiei. Now, of course,
71 Go-Sanjô
1067-1072-1073 the modern city has
72 Shirakawa
1072-1086-1129 grown back over all
the lost ground, and
more. East-west streets
73 Horikawa
1086-1107
were numbered,
1107-1123starting with Ichijô,
74 Toba
1129-1156
"First Street," in the
north down to Kujô,
75 Sutoku
1123-1141-1156 "Ninth Steet," in the
south -- now joined by
76 Konoye
1141-1155
a modern Jujô-dori,
1156-1158-1179- "Tenth Street." Later,
77 Go-Shirakawa
Emperors and noble
1180-1192
families of the
Fujiwara were named
78 Nijô
1159-1165
after many of these
79 Rokujô
1166-1168-1176 streets, where they had
residences. Many of
80 Takakura
1169-1180-1181 the steets survive
81 Antoku
1181-1183-1185 today, in longer or
shorter stretches. Thus,
one of the oldest
Battle of Dan-no-ura,
surviving wood
Taira Clan overthrown
structures in Japan, the
by Minamotos, 1185
Sanjusangendo
temple of the goddess and bodhisattva Kannon, is off
Shichijô-dori, "Seventh Street," just east of the Kamo River
(where there is now a MacDonald's right on the east bank).
Some aspects of the geomancy of Kyôto are discussed
elsewhere.
The Heian Period, 794-1186
50 Kammu
781-806
51 Heizei
806-809-824
In the list of Emperors, where three dates are given, the second
date represents the retirement of the Emperor (or, later, the
Shôgun or Regent). This came to be a device by which Fujiwara
ministers, starting with the Regent (Sesshô) Fujiwara
Yoshifusa (858-872), could excerise control over minor
Emperors. The Fujiwaras would excerise control as Regents for
minor Emperors, and then as Chancellors (Kampaku) when the
Emperors formally came of age.
As Fujiwara power declined, retired Emperors, who had
become monks, began to exercise influence from their
monasteries. This became the institution of the "Cloistered
Emperors." Such Emperors were known by the title "In,"
hence, Shirakawa In -- who himself was the first to assume
authority in this way, in 1086.
The names of Cloistered Emperors are given in boldface, as are
the dates of their assumption of Cloistered power. Usually this
is identical to the dates of their retirement, but sometimes there
is a delay between retirement and the assumption of Cloistered
power (e.g. Toba). There may also be a second retirement date.
Go-Toba was the last effective Cloistered Emperor. His second
retirement was forced after his abortive attack on the Hôjô
Regent Yoshitoki, the Jôkyû War, in 1221. He was exiled for
the rest of his life to the remote Oki Islands, where, among
other things, he worked on forging a sword. This was to replace
the sword of the Imperial Regalia that had been lost at sea, with
the child Emperor Antoku, in the battle of Dan-no-ura. He also
intended to use it to kill the Hôjôs. That never happened. Later
in Japanese history, it became common for many figures,
Regents and Shôguns as well as Emperors, to retire from office
but sometimes to continue exercising much of their previous
power.
The Heian Period ends with the naval battle of Dan-no-ura in
1185. The Taira (or Heike) Clan had dominated the Court under Kiyomori (1118-1181), but the Minamoto (or Genji) Clan overwhelmed them after his death. The leader of the Minamotos was Yoritomo (1147-1199), who became the first Shôgun, founding his own military capital at Kamakura, after which the era is named; but it was his brother, Yoshitsune (1159-1189), who commanded the Minamoto forces and who destroyed the Tairas at Dan-no-ura.
The battle ended with one of the most dramatic and poignant moments in world history. Kiyomori's widow, Nii-no-ama, with her grandson, the seven-year-old Emperor Antoku, decided to leap into the sea, carrying the Imperial Regalia with them, rather than be taken by their enemies. The scene is recounted in the epic Heike-Monogatari and hauntingly portrayed in Masaki Kobayashi's movie Kwaidan (1964). Later the spirits of Taira warriors were thought to haunt the straits at Shimonoseki, and the local "Heike" crabs have shells that look like human faces as seen in Japanese theater masks -- Carl Sagan commented on this as the outcome of fishermen throwing back crabs that even faintly resembled human faces.
Yoritomo and Yoshitsune soon fell out and Yoshitsune was killed. Ironically, when Yoritomo died, his wife, Hôjô Masako, steered her own family, descendants of the Tairas, into power. Starting with her father, Tokimasa, Hôjô Regents governed in the name of puppet Shôguns until overthrown by Go-Daigo over a hundred years later.
Fujiwara Chancellors and Imperial Regents, 858-1867
The following diagram gives the genealogy of the Taira and
Minamonto clans, whose great conflict, the Gempei War,
culminated in the Battle of Dan-no-ura. Also given are the
sources of the junior Minamoto lines that led to the Ashikaga
and Tokugawa Shôguns and the Takeda Daimyo, whose most
famous member was Shingen (or Harunobu, d.1573), the
subject of Akira Kurosawa's great movie Kagemusha (1980).
The Gempei War has been compared to the somewhat later War
of the Roses in England. The color used by the Taira was red
(like Lancaster), and that of the Minamoto was white (like
York). The winner of the War of the Roses was neither
Lancaster or York, but Tudor. Similarly, although the
Minamoto apparently won the Gempei War, it was the Hôjô
who ended up with the power.
Kamakura Shôguns
Minamotos
1 Yoritomo
1192-1199
2 Yoriie
1201-1203-1204
3 Sanetomo
1203-1219
Fujiwaras
Above is an image (click on
it for a larger version) of
exiled Emperor Go-Toba
forging a sword with which
to kill the Hôjô Regent
Yoshitoki. The retired
Go-Toba had revolted in
1221, attempting to
overthrow the Hôjôs. He
failed, and was exiled to the
distant islands of Oki.
Go-Toba took up the craft of
sword-making, not only to
have a weapon with which to
inflict vengeance on the
Hôjôs, but because he had
been the first Emperor not to
possess the Sword that was
The Kamakura Period,
1186-1336
4 Yoritsune
5 Yoritsugu
1226-1244-1256
1244-1252-1256
Imperial Princes
6 Munetake
7 Koreyasu
1252-1266-1274
1266-1289-1326
8 Hisa-akira
1289-1308-1428
9 Morkuni
1308-1333
After Hôjôs
10 Morinaga 1333-1334-1335
11 Narinaga
1334-1338
part of the Imperial Regalia,
since it was lost at the battle
of Dan-no-Ura in 1185.
1184-11981221-1239
82 Go-Toba
83
1199-1210-1231
Tsuchimikado
84 Juntoku
1211-1221-1242
85 Chûkyô
1221-1221-1234
86
Go-Horikawa
1222-1232-1234
87 Shijô
1233-1242
88 Go-Saga
1243-1246-1272
89
Go-Fukakusa
1247-1259-1304
90
Kameyama
1260-1274-1305
91 Go-Uda
1275-1287-1324
92 Fushimi
1288-1298-1217
93
Go-Fushimi
1299-1301-1336
94 Go-Nijô
1302-1308
95 Hanazono
1309-1318-1348
96 Go-Daigo
1319-1338
The biggest
problem that the
Hôjôs had to
face was the
Mongol
invasions. The
invasions were
defeated, with
the help of
apparently
divine
intervention (the
kami kaze,
"divine winds,"
of strategically
occurring, even
out of season,
typhoons). The
struggle,
however,
gravely
weakened the
Hôjô
government,
with
consequences
that would be
felt shortly.
Hôjô Regents (Shikken)
1 Tokimasa
1203-1205-1215
2 Yoshitoki
1205-1224
3 Yasutoki
1224-1242
4 Tsunetoki
1242-1246
5 Tokiyori
1246-1256-1263
6 Nagatoki
1256-1264
7 Masamura 1264-1268-1273
8 Tokimune
1268-1284
Mongol Invasions,
1274 & 1281
9 Sadatoki
1284-1301-1311
10 Morotoki 1301-1311
11 Takatoki
1311-1333
The "Northern Emperors"
were Emperors who later, for
different reasons, came to be
regarded as illegitimate. They
1331-1333-1364 were not so illegitimate,
however, that they do not
always get listed with the
"legitimate" ones, and in fact
subsequent Emperors are all
descended from them. The
1336-1348-1380 first of the Northern
Emperors, Kôgon, was
1349-1352-1398 intended as the replacement
when Emperor Go-Daigo was
4 Go-Kôgon 1353-1371-1374 retired in 1331. The problem
was that Go-Daigo didn't
1372-1381-1393 want to retire, resisted, was
arrested and exiled, but
1383-1392
escaped from exile and raised
(1392-1412a rebellion against the Hôjô's
1433)
instead. This rebellion, or
"restoration" of the Emperor, actually succeeded; and when the
Hôjô's were overthrown in 1333, the Emperor Kôgon himself
went into retirement. Soon enough, however, there was a falling
out between Go-Daigo and his samurai supporters, the
Ashikagas. In 1336, Go-Daigo fled the capital and a rival
Emperor, Kômyô, was installed. Go-Daigo established himself
at Yoshino and a kind of Great Schism was created in Japanese
history, the period of the "Northern and Southern Kingdoms,"
or the Nambokuchô Period.
Northern Emperors
Hôjô Pretender
1 Kôgon
The Nambokuchô Period,
1336-1392
Ashikaga Pretenders
2 Kômyô
3 Sukô
5 Go-En-yû
6 GoKomatsu
The Nambokuchô Period, 1336-1392
Southern Emperors
97 Go-Murakami
1339-1368
98 Chôkei
1369-1372
99 Go-Kameyama
1373-1392-1424
The Muromachi Period, 1392-1573
100 Go-Komatsu
1392-1412-1433
101 Shôkô
1413-1428
102 Go-Hanazono
1429-1464-1471
103
Go-Tsuchimikado
1465-1500
104 Go-Kashiwabara 1501-1526
105 Go-Nara
1527-1557
106 Oogimachi
1558-1586-1593
The Southern Emperors gradually lost
ground against the Ashikagas, and
eventually a settlement was reached. The
Ashikagas agreed that the Southern
Emperors had been the legitimate ones,
but the current one, Go-Kameyama,
would retire in a favor of the last of the
Northern Emperors, Go-Komatsu, who
thus entered into a legitimate reign. Subsequently, the Northern
and Southern lines were supposed to alternate on the Throne,
much as the descendants of Go-Saga had up to Go-Daigo. The
Ashikagas, however, broke this part of the agreement, and no
descendant of Go-Daigo ever became Emperor of Japan again.
The Ashikagas got
themselves made the new
Shôguns but established
1338-1358
themselves in Kyôto itself,
1358-1367-1368 in the Muromachi District
after which the era is
3 Yoshimitsu 1367-1395-1408 named, rather than in some
remote place like Kamakura,
4 Yoshimochi 1395-1423-1428 perhaps the better to keep
an eye on an Emperor who
5 Yoshikazu
1423-1425
might not always be a
willing figurehead. This
6 Yoshinori
1428-1441
may or may not have been a
7 Yoshikatsu 1441-1443
good idea, but it certainly
did not turn out well. The
8 Yoshimasa 1449-1474-1490 Shôguns began to lose hold
of the country, which lapsed
9 Yoshihisa
1474-1489
into anarchy. At times they
even lost control of Kyôto,
10 Yoshitane 1490-1493
which itself suffered civil
11 Yoshizumi 1493-1508-1511 strike in the Ônin War
(1467-1477).
10 Yoshitane 1508-1521-1522 The city was then in the
hands of members of the
12 Yoshiharu 1521-1545-1550 Nichiren sect (the Hoke-ikki
or "Lotus Uprising") from
13 Yoshiteru 1545-1565
1532 to 1536. Parts of the
Heian city became deserted
14 Yoshihide 1568
during this period. The
15 Yoshiaki
1568-1573-1597 principal Gate of the city,
the southern Rashômon,
was famously
abandoned and fell
into ruin -- it is even
said that it was no
longer repaired after
the reign of Enyû
(969-984). Nothing
today marks its site
but a small
monument in a
playground. Now it
is mainly
remembered for
Akira Kurosawa's
movie Rashomon
(1950), whence the
name has entered
international
discourse to mean
the difficulty or
impossibility of
reconstructing the
truth of events from
conflicting
testimony.
Ashikaga Shôguns
1 Takauji
2 Yoshiakira
It turned out to be
uncommonly
difficult to find the
meaning of the name
Rashômon. Ra is a
character whose
principal meaning
seems to be "gauze"
and is often used to
transliterate foreign
words. It can also
mean "net" and, by
extension, "enclose."
The second character
is now usually
replaced by another
character (meaning
"live"), but the older
one (still on the
marker on site) was
jô and meant
"castle" or, in
Chinese, "city." It
took some digging
by my wife, outside
the ordinary
dictionaries, to
discover that in Chinese luóchéng
could mean the "outer/enclosure wall
of a city." Luóchéngmén was thus the
main gate of the outer wall of a city,
and it had been used that way in Nara
as well as in Kyôto -- though now,
evidently, the original meaning is not
often remembered.
Of the protective temples that flanked
the Rashômon, the Saiji ("Western Temple") and Tôji ("Eastern
Temple"), only the Tôji remains. Hitherto remote areas of
Kyôto, however, received enduring monuments from Ashikaga
Shôguns, the Kinkaku-ji or "Golden Pavilion (Temple)" built
in 1397 by Yoshimutsu just to the west of town, and the
Ginkaku-ji or "Silver Pavilion (Temple)" built in 1473 by
Yoshimasa in the hills to the east of the city. The former seems
to represent the height of Ashikaga power, while the latter is a
somber last gasp in its decline -- because money ran out, it was
never covered in silver the way the Kinkaku-ji actually was
with gold.
As the
Ashikaga
lost control
of Japan,
local
warlords, or
just gangs,
took over.
This has
proven a
rich era for
Japanese samurai movies since it was, in its way, the golden
age of the samurai -- with almost constant warfare. Especially
memorable is Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954), about a
group of unemployed samurai (ronin) hired to protect a village
from robbers, and Kurosawa'a Yojimbo (1961), about a lone,
nameless ronin who gets the two gangs in one village to
annihilate each other (this was remade by Sergio Leone as the
Western, A Fistful of Dollars in 1967, which began the movie
career of Clint Eastwood; but the story seems to be based on
Dashiell Hammett's much earlier book Red Harvest, where
Hammett's nameless "Continental Op" detective causes similar
slaughter in a Montana mining town). This also became the
golden age of castle building, though most of the surviving
castles, like Himeji above, were built later to secure the
pacification of the country effected in the following period.
The Azuchi-Momoyama
Period, 1573-1603
107
1587-1611-1617
Go-Yôzei
Oda
Nobunaga, Lord of Owari, won the scramble of local lords for
possession of Kyôto and control of the Shôgun and the
Emperor. Nobunaga entered Kyôto and installed his own
candidate, Yoshiaki, as Shôgun in
Dictator
1568. Meanwhile, Japanese history
had been shaken by the arrival of
Oda
1568-1582 Europeans, at first specifically the
Nobunaga
Portuguese. In 1549 the Jesuit (St.)
enters Kyôto, 1568; Francis Xavier arrived, and for some
burning of Mt. Hiei, years a body of Japanese Christians
became an element in Japanese
1571; Shôgun
politics. The Portuguese also
deposed, 1573
introduced firearms, which helped
Nobunaga in his triumph. Nobunaga became famous for his
ferocity. Especially remembered was his burning of the temples
on Mt. Hiei in 1571, which broke the secular power of the
Buddhist establishment, and its monastic armies. Nobunaga
then deposed the last Ashikaga Shôgun, his own creature, in
1573. He seemed on his way to personal rule of a unified Japan
but didn't quite make it -- meeting assassination in 1582. For all
his power, Nobunaga had never assumed one of the traditional
titles or offices of rule. It is usually said that this was because
he was not of the qualfying Fujiwara or Minamoto descent.
However, such descent could easily have been manufactured
("discovered"), so it may be that Nobunaga actually envisioned
creating a new office.
Nobunaga was succeeded by
Toyotomi Chancellors
one of his generals and
(Kampaku)
retainers, Hideyoshi, whose
1 Hideyoshi 1585-1591-1598 family name was originally
Nakamura. A person of no
apparent significance,
2 Hidetsugu 1591-1595
Hideyoshi had enlisted in
Nobunaga's service and risen to prominence. After Nobunaga's
assassination, Hideyoshi avenged him and then suppressed the
Oda heirs in establishing his supremacy. The only setback in
this progress was defeat by Tokugawa Ieyasa, Lord of
Mikawa. Thus we meet the third central figure of the era. Later
there was a story that illustrated the different styles of
Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu, about what each would say if
a bird did not sing for him: Nobunaga would say, "Sing, or I
will kill you"; Hideyoshi would say, "Sing, or I will make you
sing"; and Ieyasu would say, "Sing, or I will wait for you to
sing." Wait Ieyasu did, making an accomodation with
Hideyoshi and henceforth supporting his rule. Hideyoshi then
completed the reunification and pacification of Japan. He
assumed the office of Imperial Chancellor in 1585, for which
only Fujiwaras were hitherto qualified, and even assumed a
new family name, Toyotomi, to go along with it, in 1586. In
1592 he then invaded Korea. This didn't go well, but he tried
again in 1597-1598. After he died in the latter year, Ieyasu
wisely withdrew Japanese forces. Hideyoshi had also turned
against the Christians in 1597, inaugurating executions and
persecutions that later (under Iemitsu) would drive the small
remnant of Japanese Christians into the secret practice of their
religion for centuries.
The Edo Period, 1603-1868
108 Go-Mi-no-o
1612-1629-1680
109 Meishô (f)
[Myôshô]
1630-1643-1696
110 Go-Kômyô
1644-1654
111 Go-Saiin
1655-1662-1685
112 Reigen
1663-1686-1732
113
Higashi-yama
1687-1709
114
Nakamikado
1710-1735-1737
115
Sakuramachi
1736-1746-1750
116 Momozono
1746-1762
117
Go-Sakuramachi 1763-1770-1813
(f)
118
Go-Momozono
1771-1779
119 Kôkaku
1780-1816-1840
120 Ninkô
1817-1846
121 Kômei
1847-1866
At first, Ieyasu
appeared to
loyally support
Hideyoshi's heir
and successor,
Hideyori (a
previously
adopted heir,
Hidetsugu, had
been executed),
even after he
defeated the
Toyotomi forces
at the great battle
of Sekigahara in
1600. But Ieyasu
then went on to
get himself
appointed Shôgun
in 1603. Hideyori
later died, with
the last of his
cause, when
Ieyasu broke into
and burned Ôsaka
Castle in 1615.
Ieyasu, who had
by then already
"retired," thus
firmly established
the rule of his
family, which
henceforth ruled
from Edo, not far
from where the
Hôjôs had ruled
at Kamakura.
Tokugawa Shôguns
1 Ieyasu
Buried
1603-1605-1616 Nikko
2 Hidetada
1605-1623-1632 Shiba
3 Iemitsu
1623-1651
4 Ietsuna
1651-1680
Nikko
Ueno
5 Tsunayoshi
1680-1709
Ueno
6 Ienobu
1709-1712
Shiba
1712-1716
Shiba
7 Ietsugu
8 Yoshimune
1716-1745-1751 Ueno
9 Ieshige
1745-1760-1761 Shiba
10 Ieharu
1760-1786
Ueno
11 Ienari
1786-1837-1841 Ueno
12 Ieyoshi
1837-1853
Shiba
13 Iesada
1853-1858
Ueno
14 Iemochi
1858-1866
Shiba
15 Yoshinobu,
Taitoku,
1866-1868-1903
Keiki
Tôkyô
Of considerable interest was the English retainer that Ieyasu
came to acquire. Will Adams had landed in Japan with a Dutch
ship in 1600, the first ship to reach Japan from across the
Pacific (which is what Christopher Columbus had originally
intended to do). Adams built ships for Ieyasu, advised him on
European politics, and dealt with foreign merchants, even
marrying a Japanese wife. When Adams died in 1620, he was
buried above Yokosuka, which later became a Japanese and
then, after World War II, American naval base. British
occupation forces erected a small monument to Adams at Ito in
Izu. Until 1923 a section of Tokyo, the Anjin-chô, the "pilot
district," had been named after Adams, since he had had a
house there (and was a pilot). After the great Kanto earthquake
of that year, the rebuilding of Tokyo resulted in the elimination
of the district. This bothered the locals, who took up a
collection and built a small shrine to Adams, which still exists,
in the old neighborhood -- not far from the famous Nihonbashi
("Japan Bridge") in the downtown district of the same name.
The story of Adams' advent in Japan was fictionalized by James
Clavell in the very popular historical novel Shogun (1976).
Edo Castle, Tôkyô Imperial Palace -- originally built as the seat
of the Tokugawas.
Ieyasu and then especially his grandson Iemitsu created a
system of rule approaching totalitarian dimensions. Every
person in the country and everything they did was subject to
oversight and review. Every family had to register with a local
Buddhist temple, and even their diversions and travel were the
business of the government. The country became closed to
foreigners -- even as Japanese were prohibited from going
abroad -- except for one Dutch ship annually, which put in to
Nagasaki. Christians were exterminated, and measures taken for
years to hunt out any practicing secretly (not all were in fact
found). "Samurai" changed from being a job description to
being a caste. Commoners were forbidden to carry more than a
single short sword for defense, while samurai were required to
carry two swords and might summarily execute a commoner for
insufficient deference. Firearms were forbidden and
confiscated. Sumptuary laws limited the displays of wealth that
commoners, like merchants, might engage in. All this was
intended to freeze Japan in time, lock it away, and keep
everything under the tight control of the government. It did
produce peace, and one result was the familiar aesthetic of the
samurai, who no longer needed to wear armor and fight battles,
where the bow had always been the principal military weapon.
Now they would usually do no more than fight duels, in which
the sword rather than the bow could be celebrated as the "soul
of the samurai." The problems of the samuari and their ethos in
this era is explored in many movies. The plight of unemployed
samurai from the demobilized feudal armies is seen in Masaki
Kobayashi's Harakiri (1963). The story of Miyamoto Musashi,
who went from digging trenches in the mud at Sekigahara to
becoming the greatest of the dueling ronin (and whose own The
Book of Five Rings has been kept in print as a key to Japanese
business practices), is given in heavily fictionalized form in The
Samurai Trilogy (1955), by Hiroshi Inagaki. Finally, the most
celebrated samurai story of the Edo Period was the incident in
1701 of Lord Asano of Ako, and the revenge of 47 of his
retainers. At the time, his story became a kabuki play, and since
the introduction of cinema there have been countless movie
versions. One of the best is Inagaki's 1963 Chushingura (the
"Treasury of the Loyal [chû] Retainers [shin]"). Other versions
of the story are often just called "The 47 Ronin" (the retainers
were ronin after Asano's death). Modern visitors to Tokyo can
still see the graves of Asano and the retainers at the Sengakuji
temple (not far from the Shinagawa train station on the
convenient Yamanote Line). The expected character of the
Japanese as obedient and communal was fixed through the
Tokugawa institutions, even if occasional troubles reminded
people that there used to be older traditions of insurrection and
disloyalty.
The Modern Period,
1868-present
Era
18661912
Meiji
1868
122 Mutsuhito
123 Yoshihito
19121926
Taishô
124 Hirohito
19261989
Shôwa
125 Akihito
1989Heisei
present
Naruhito
heir
Modern Japan began with much of
the paradox and irony familiar in
world history. When Commodore
Perry arrived in Japan in 1853, it
was with the determination to force
the country open to trade and international contact. Why this
was thought to be necessary, or the business of the United
States, is a good question. Ninety years later, many Americans
might have wondered if it had been a good idea. When the
Shôgun agreed in 1854 to open trade and allow foreigners into
the country, this set off a reaction against the Shogunate that
had not been seen in its history. The cry became to "Restore the
Emperor; expel the foreigners!" In 1868 the Emperor was
restored. The Shôgun resigned, and the young Mutsuhito moved
the Imperial Court from Kyôto to Edo, which now became
Tôkyô, the "Eastern Capital." But the foreigners did not get
expelled. Instead, the new government set out to completely
overturn the traditional society and create a modern state. Die
hard samurai were easily defeated with some modern weapons,
and the samurai class was simply abolished. A telling incident
came in 1863, when the British bombarded Kagoshima, the
capital of the Satsuma Clan, in revenge for the murder of an
Englishman, Mr. Richardson. To the British the action was a
disaster, because a number of the new breech-loading guns
exploded. The Japanese, however, did not know that. All they
saw was the fortress getting blown to bits. The result was that
the Satsuma Clan became patrons of the new Imperial Japanese
Navy. This contrasts with the kind of thing that went on in
China, where the first railroad, built with British money, was
bought by the Chinese government simply to be torn up. Such
things were apparently thought unnecessary. So it turned out
that, the way Nixon could go to China, Emperor Mutsuhito
could put on pants and sit in a chair -- and build a modern
nation.
With the "Meiji Restoration," the Japanese adopted the Chinese
practice of the Ming and Ch'ing that only one Era Name is used
per reign. Mutsuhito thus chose Meiji, "Enlightened Rule," for
himself. As in the recent Chinese practice, with the death each
Emperor, he then became known by the Era Name, i.e. "The
Meiji Emperor," rather than a new postumous name, which in
Japanese practice tended to reflect his residence (e.g. Nijô, the
"Second Street" Emperor).
Almost from the very beginning of modern Japan, its foreign
policy was aggressive and expansionist. Not
only the Japanese themselves, but the
International Community, considered that
Japan had come of age and become a Power
with the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and
the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). While
none of this, not even the annexation of Korea
in 1910, was regarded as particularly predatory behavior at the
time, things began to change when Japan tried to impose
demands on China during World War I. This was disagreeable
to Britain, of whom Japan was a proud ally, and infuriating to
the United States, which, with a soft spot for all the Chinese
who were expected to convert to Christianity any day, suddenly
became an international powerbroker by delivering victory to
the Allies. Japan backed off and for a while was on relatively
good behavior, the period of "Taishô Democracy." But darker
impulses were always stirring, and the Depression did much the
same work in Japan that it did in Germany. The greedy
capitalists and the disloyal communists should both be defeated
so that the National Essence could prosper and bring the
Emperor's Benevolence to all of East Asia.
The takeover of Manchuria in 1931 was
the first major act of fascist aggression in
the 1930's, though the Japanese had long
stationed troops there, as the Russians had
before them. The League of Nations,
whose principal members already had
their own colonial empires, now became
queasy over the naked continuation of the
old style imperialism. The United States, probably the most
outraged, was no longer involved enough in international affairs
to make much difference. The saddest thing about the business
was that none of it was really a considered policy of the
Japanese Government. Military zealots, usually on the spot,
initiated actions that the Government was literally afraid to
repudiate -- Prime Ministers were assassinated just for the
impression of not being sufficiently hard-line (though some
revisionist historians now argue that the whole business was
masterminded by Emperor Hirohito himself). The only real
military question was whether action should be aimed at the
Soviet Union or at China. This was decided, in effect, by the
failure of a coup in Tokyo on February 26, 1936, the "2/26
Incident." China would be the target, and pretexts were duly
arranged that were used to invade China in 1937. This began a
war that lasted until 1945. Everything else, like the Pacific War
with the United States and Britain, was just a detail coincident
to the attack on China. For, as it happened, China was rather
too large to be overrun by the Japanese, and Chiang Kai-shek
was too stubborn, or stupid, to come to any accommodation
with them. His expectation was that the Americans would
eventually be drawn in, and then they would win the war for
him. In that he turned out to be quite right.
Japanese strategy can be observed on the map of their East
Asian Empire at its height. China is in practical terms surrounded. The last route of overland supply, through Burma (the arduous "Burma Road"), was the last one cut off. The Allies were reduced to flying supplies in over "The Hump," i.e. the Himalayas. This turned out to be less desperate than it might seem, since Chiang didn't want the supplies to fight the Japanese anyway. He figured that Japan would be defeated elsewhere, which it was, and that he needed to prepare for the post-War struggle with the Communists. Meanwhile, the Japanese secured a strategic oil supply in Indonesia and protected it by conquering adjacent territories, like the Philippines. The military, however, had paid insufficient attention to boring practical questions like running the oil fields and then getting the fuel back to Japan. A convoy system, which the Allies had to use against German submarines in World War I and World War II in the Atlantic, was never used by Japan, even when American submarines were decimating and even annihilating ships carrying desperately needed strategic supplies. One gets the impression that the whole affair had not been thought out very well, and it hadn't. The Japanese military wanted to die in battle, not to babysit civilian tankers and cargo ships. For much the same reason, Japanese submarines never returned the favor of general warfare against Allied shipping -- they went after warships, winning some prizes (the Yorktown, Wasp, and Indianopolis), but more often getting sunk by screening ships.
The ironically named Shôwa, "Radiant Peace," Era brought down the world, and the Bomb, on Japan and its ambitions. China was left to the grave miscalculations of its own leader, and the Japanese were left to pick up the pieces of flattened, blasted cities. Astonishingly, all the impractical foolishness and haughty distain for mere mundane details were soon traded in for an economic and commercial practicality rivaled by few. Japan had rolled with the punches and remade itself before, and it did again. Whether the moral lesson had really been learned was a question often asked by the Asian neighbors who had experienced the old Japanese "benevolence" first hand. But one thing remains clear: nothing but lack of determination has ever stopped "Third World" countries from entering the modern era and competing with European states as equals, in war and peace. Japan emerged from Tibetan isolation and xenophobia and, with no "natural resources" to speak of, save the human capital of its own people, became a Great Power in less than 40 years. Today the Japanese economy is in a Tokugawan torpor, but no one is deceived that the frenzy of Japanese life cannot most unexpectedly erupt in new achievements and ambitions (even alarming ones).
Prime Ministers, 1885-present
The Battleship Kongô
Japanese Battleships
Advanced Japanese Destroyers of World War II
A Guadalcanal Chronology, 7 August 1942 - 6 March 1943
Zen and the Art of Divebombing, or The Dark Side of the Tao
Index at Top of Page
Philosophy of History
Home Page
Copyright (c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights
Reserved
Fujiwara Chancellors and Imperial
Regents, 858-1867;
Prime Ministers, 1885-present
Regent, Sesshô
Chancellor, Kampaku
Fujiwara Yoshifusa
Dates
858-872
Fujiwara Mototsune
872-880
Fujiwara Mototsune
Fujiwara Tadahira
880-890
930-941
Fujiwara Tadahira
Fujiwara Saneyori
Fujiwara Saneyori
941-949
967-970
969-970
Fujiwara Koretada
970-972
Fujiwara Kanemichi
972-977
Fujiwara Yoritada
977-986
Fujiwara Kaneie
986-990
Fujiwara Kaneie
990
Fujiwara Michitaka
990
Fujiwara Michitaka
990-993
Fujiwara Michitaka
993-995
Fujiwara Michikane
995
Fujiwara Yorimichi
1019-1067
Fujiwara Michinaga
1016-1017
Fujiwara Yorimichi
1017-1019
Fujiwara Norimichi
Fujiwara Morozane
Fujiwara Morozane
1068-1075
1075-1086
1086-1090
Fujiwara Morozane
1090-1094
Fujiwara Moromichi
1094-1099
Fujiwara Tadazane
1105-1107
Fujiwara Tadazane
1107-1113
Fujiwara Tadazane
1113-1121
Fujiwara Tadamichi
1121-1123
Fujiwara Tadamichi
1123-1129
Fujiwara Tadamichi
Fujiwara Tadamichi
1129-1141
1141-1150
Fujiwara Tadamichi
Konoe Motozane
Konoe Motozane
1150-1158
1158-1165
1165-1166
Fujiwara Motofusa
1166-1172
Fujiwara Motofusa
1172-1179
Konoe Motomichi
1179-1180
Konoe Motomichi
1180-1183
Fujiwara Moroie
1183-1184
Konoe Motomichi
1184-1186
Kujô Kanezane
1186-1191
Kujô Kanezane
1191-1196
Konoe Motomichi
1196-1198
Konie Iezane
1223-1228
Konoe Iezane
1223-1228
Konoe Motomichi
1198-1202
Kujô Yoshitsune
1202-1206
Kujô Michiie
1221
Konoe Iezane
1221-1223
Kujô Michiie
Kujô Norizane
Kujô Norizane
1228-1231
1231-1232
1232-1235
Kujô Michiie
1235-1237
Konoe Kanetsune
1237-1242
Konoe Kanetsune
Nijô Yoshizane
Ichijô Sanetsune
Ichijô Sanetsune
1242
1242-1246
1246
1246-1247
Kanoe Kanetsune
1247-1252
Takatsukasa Kanehira
1252-1254
Takatsukasa Kanehira
Nijô Yoshizane
1254-1261
1261-1265
Ichijô Sanetsune
1265-1267
Konoe Motohira
1267-1268
Takatsukasa Mototada
Kujô Tadaie
Kujô Tadaie
1268-1273
1273-1274
1274
Ichijô Ietsune
1274-1275
Takatsukasa Kanehira
1275-1278
Takasukasa Kanehira
Nijô Morotada
1278-1287
1287-1289
Konoe Iemoto
1289-1291
Kujô Tadamori
1291-1293
Konoe Iemoto
1293-1296
Takatsukasa Kanetada
1296-1298
Nijô Kanemoto
1300-1305
Takatsukasa
Kanetada
1298
Nijô Kanemoto
1298-1300
Kujô Moronori
Kujô Moronori
1305-1308
1308
Takatsukasa Fuyuhira
1308-1311
Takatsukasa Fuyuhira
1311-1313
Konoe Iehira
1313-1315
Takatsukasa Fuyuhira
1315-1316
Nijô Michihira
1316-1318
Ichijô Uchitsune
1318-1323
Kujô Fusazane
1323-1324
Takatsukasa Fuyuhira
1324-1327
Nijô Michihira
1327-1330
Takatsukasa Tsunatada
1330
Takatsukasa Fuyunori
1330-1333
Konoe Tsunetada
1336-1337
Konoe Mototsugu
1337-1338
Ichijô Tsunemichi
1338-1342
Kujô Michinori
1342
Takatsukasa Morohira
1342-1346
Nijô Yoshimoto
1346-1358
Kujô Tsunenori
1358-1361
Konoe Michitsugu
1361-1363
Nijô Yoshimoto
1363-1367
Takatsukasa Fuyumichi
1367-1369
Nijô Moroyoshi
1369-1375
Kujô Tadamoto
Nijô Morotsugu
Nijô Yoshimoto
1375-1379
1379-1382
1382-1387
Konoe Kanetsugu
1387-1388
Nijô Yoshimoto
1388
Nijô Morotsugu
Ichijô Tsunetsugu
1388-1394
1394-1398
Nijô Morotsugu
1398-1399
Ichijô Tsunetsugu
1399-1408
Konoe Tadatsugu
1408-1409
Nijô Mitsumoto
1409-1410
Ichijô Tsunetsugu
1410-1418
Kujô Mistunori
Nijô Mochimoto
Nijô Mochimoto
1418-1424
1424-1428
1428-1432
Ichijô Kaneyoshi
1432
Nijô Mochimoto
1432-1433
Nijô Mochimoto
Konoe Fusatsugu
1433-1445
1445-1447
Ichijô Kaneyoshi
1447-1453
Nijô Mochimichi
1453-1454
Takatsukasa Fusahira
1454-1455
Nijô Mochimichi
1455-1458
Ichijô Norifusa
1458-1463
Nijô Mochimichi
1463-1467
Ichijô Kaneyoshi
1467-1470
Nijô Masatsugu
1470-1476
Kujô Masamoto
1476-1479
Konoe Masaie
1479-1483
Takatsukasa Masahira
1483-1487
Kujô Masatada
1487-1488
Ichijô Fuyuyoshi
1488-1493
Konoe Naomichi
1493-1496
Ichijô Naomoto
1497
Konoe Naomichi
1513-1514
Takatsukasa Kanesuke
1514-1518
Nijô Tadafusa
1518-1525
Konoe Taneie
1525-1533
Kujô Tanemichi
1533-1534
Nijô Tadafusa
1534-1536
Konoe Taneie
1536-1542
Takatsukasa Tadafuyu
1542-1545
Ichijô Fusamichi
1545-1548
Nijô Haruyoshi
1548-1553
Ichijô Kanefuyu
1553-1554
Konoe Harutsugu
1554-1568
Nijô Haruyoshi
1568-1578
Kujô Kanetaka
1578-1581
Ichiô Uchimoto
1581-1584
Nijô Akizane
1585
Toyotomi Hideyoshi
1585-1591
Toyotomi Hidetsugu
1591-1595
Kujô Kanetaka
1600-1604
Konoe Nobutada
1605-1606
Takatsukasa Nobufusa
1606-1608
Kujô Tadasaka
1608-1612
Takatsukasa Nobunao
1612-1615
Nijô Akizane
1615-1619
Kujô Tadasaka
1619-1623
Konoe Nobuhiro
1623-1629
Ichijô Kanetô
Ichijô Kanetô
1629
1629-1634
Nijô Yasumichi
1635-1647
Kujô Michifusa
1647
Ichijô Akiyoshi
1647
Ichijô Akiyoshi
Konoe Naotsugu
Nijô Mitsuhira
Nijô Mitsuhira
1647-1651
1651-1653
1653-1663
1663-1664
Takatsukasa Fusasuke
1664-1668
Takatsukasa Fusasuke
1668-1682
Ichijô Fuyutsune
1682-1687
Ichijô Fuyutsune
1687-1689
Ichijô Fuyutsune
1689-1690
Konoe Motohiro
1690-1703
Takatsukasa Kanehiro
Konoe Iehiro
Konoe Iehiro
1703-1707
1707-1709
1709-1712
Kujô Sukezane
1712-1716
Kujô Sukezane
1716-1722
Nijô Tsunahira
1722-1726
Konoe Iehisa
1726-1736
Nijô Yoshitada
1736-1737
Ichijô Kaneka
1737-1746
Ichijô Michika
1746-1747
Ichijô Michika
1755-1757
Ichijô Michika
1747-1755
Konoe Uchizaki
1757-1762
Konoe Uchizaki
1772-1778
Konoe Uchizaki
1762-1772
Kujô Naozane
1778-1779
Kujô Naozane
1785-1787
Kujô Naozane
1779-1785
Takatsukasa Sukehira
1787-1791
Ichijô Teruyoshi
1791-1795
Takatsukasa Masahiro
1795-1814
Ichijô Tadayoshi
1814-1823
Takatsukasa Masamichi 1823-1856
Kujô Naotada
Konoe Tadahiro
1856-1862
1862-1863
Takatsukasa
1863
Nijô Naritoshi
1863-1867
Nijô Naritoshi
1867
This wonderful list is entirely from The Princeton Companion
to Classical Japanese Literature, by Earl Miner, Hiroko
Odagiri, and Robert E. Morrell [Princeton University Press,
1985, 1988], p. 463-467.
Stretching from the time of Charles the Bald to Andrew
Johnson, this list, as few things can, provides a vivid testament
to the continuity of custom and tradition in Japan. The offices,
originally symbolic of the passing of real power from the
Emperors to the Fujiwaras, later become largely symbolic
themselves, as power passes to Cloistered Emperors, Shôguns,
and even Regents of Shôguns.
Starting in 1158 individuals from branch lines of the Fujiwara
appear in the offices. These are the "five regent families" (the
gosekke -- Konoe, Kujô, Nijô, Takasukasa, & Ichijô), and they
alone would soon be considered for these offices, with the sole
exceptions of the two Toyotomis. Also, until very recently,
wives for the Emperors were supposed to come from these
families.
PRIME MINISTERS
Itô Hirobumi
Kuroda Kiyotaka
December 1885-April 1888
April 1888-December 1889
Yamagata Aritomo
December 1889-May 1891
Matsukata Masayoshi
May 1891-August 1892
Itô Hirobumi
August 1892-September 1896
Matsukata Masayoshi
September 1896-January 1898
Itô Hirobumi
January 1898-June 1898
Ôkuma Shigenobu
June 1898-November 1898
Yamagata Aritomo
November 1898-October 1900
Itô Hirobumi
October 1900-June 1901
Katsura Tarô
June 1901-January 1906
Saionji Kimmochi
January 1906-July 1908
Katsura Tarô
July 1908-August 1911
Saionji Kimmochi
August 1911-December 1912
Katsura Tarô
December 1912-February 1913
Adm. Yamamoto
Gonnohyôe
February 1913-April 1914
Ôkuma Shigenobu
April 1914-October 1916
Gen. Terauchi Masatake October 1916-September 1918
Hara Takashi
September 1918-November 1921,
assassinated
Takahashi Korekiyo
November 1921-June 1922
Adm. Katô Tomosaburô June 1922-September 1923
Adm. Yamamoto
Gonnohyoe
September 1923-January 1924
Kiyoura Keigo
January 1924-June 1924
Katô Takaaki
June 1924-January 1926
Wakatsuki Reijirô
January 1926-April 1927
Gen. Tanaka Giichi
April 1927-July 1929
Hamaguchi Osachi
July 1929-April 1931,
assassinated
Wakatsuki Reijiro
April 1931-December 1931
Inukai Tsuyoshi
December 1931-May 1932,
assassinated
Adm. Saitô Makoto
May 1932-July 1934
Adm. Okada Keisuke
July 1934-March 1936
Hirota Kôki
March 1936-February 1937
Gen. Hayashi Senjûrô
February 1937-June 1937
Konoe Fumimaro
June 1937-January 1939
Hiranuma Kiichirô
January 1939-August 1939
Gen. Abe Nobuyuki
August 1939-January 1940
Adm. Yonai Mitsumasa
January 1940-July 1940
Konoe Fumimaro
July 1940-October 1941
Gen. Tôjô Hideki
October 1941-July 1944
Gen. Koiso Kuniaki
July 1944-April 1945
Adm. Suzuki Kantarô
April 1945-August 1945
Higashikuni Naruhiko
August 1945-October 1945
Shidehara Kijûrô
October 1945-May 1946
Yoshida Shigeru
May 1946-May 1947
Katayama Tetsu
May 1947-March 1948
Ashida Hitoshi
March 1948-October 1948
Yoshida Shigeru
October 1948-December 1954
Hatoyama Ichirô
December 1954-December 1956
Ishibashi Tanzan
December 1956-February 1957
Kishi Nobusuke
February 1957-July 1960
Ikeda Hayato
July 1960-November 1964
Satô Eisaku
November 1964-July 1972
Tanaka Kakuei
July 1972-December 1974
Miki Takeo
December 1974-December 1976
Fukuda Takeo
December 1976-December 1978
Ôhira Masayoshi
December 1978-July 1980
Suzuki Zenko
July 1980-November 1982
Nakasone Yasuhiro
November 1982-November 1987
Takeshita Noboru
November 1987-June 1989
Uno Sosuke
June 1989-August 1989
Kaifu Toshiki
August 1989-November 1991
Miyazawa Kiichi
November 1991-August 1993
Hosokawa Morihiro
August 1993-April 1994
Hata Tsutomu
April 1994-June 1994
Murayama Tomiichi
June 1994-January 1996
Hashimoto Ryûtarô
January 1996-July 1998
Obuchi Keizô
July 1998-April 2000
Mori Yoshirô
April 2000-April 2001
Koizumi Junichiro
April 2001-present
Theoretically, there might be a continuous
succession from the Edo Chancellors to
modern Prime Ministers; but it took a little
while to get the forms of a modern
Government organized, so there is not formally
a "President of Ministers" until 1885. Since
Japan adopts a Constitution patterned after that
of Prussia, the Prime Minister is not necessarily accountable to
the Diet, but to the Emperor. What ended up happening is that,
rather than choosing the other ministers, the Prime Ministers
themselves were often those acceptable to the Army and the
Navy, who scorned civilian authority and exercised vetoes on
the rest of the Government. This ultimately had disastrous
consequences, promoting militarism, military rule, and then
wars of aggression.
Pre-World War II Prime Ministers who were assassinated are in
boldface. Also highlighted are Prince Konoe, a familiar
Fujiwara name, who committed suicide after the War rather
than be tried as a war criminal, and General Tôjô, who
attempted suicide for the same reason but failed, was convicted,
and was hung.
Tôjô, it might be noted, resigned in 1944 after the loss of the
Battle of the Philippine Sea, after which the Japanese realized
that nothing could hold off the Allied advance on Japan.
Unlike Germany, where the Nazi government simply ceased to
exist and the Allies divided and directly ruled Germany, a
formal Japanese Government never ceased to exist during the
Allied Occupation. A new Constitution was
written, and Prime Minister Katayama was the
first to govern under it. Now the Emperor had
no theoretical power at all, not even as much as
the Queen of England. He was no longer the
Sovereign, and Japan was no longer an Empire.
The Prime Minister was responsible to the
Diet.
Most Post-War Prime Ministers (since 1955) have been from
the Liberal-Democratic Party, which people like to say is
neither liberal nor democratic. Instead, Diet seats have tended
to become hereditary, and Japanese government often seems to
be little more than a system of influence-peddling.
Consequently, corruption and bribery scandals are
commonplace. Such a scandal led to the downfall of the
familiar 1980's Prime Minister Nakasone, who got to preside
over Japan's greatest period of world economic domination.
The 1990's were less good for Japan, whose prosperity turned
out to be a little too much of a speculative bubble, with a great
deal of capital based on inflated real estate values and
fraudulent loans. Since almost nobody really believes in
laissez-faire anymore, it always takes a long time for the
economy to shake stuff like that off.
This list is based on the list of Japanese Prime Ministers at the
Mizuho Financial Group site and on the list in The Making of
Modern Japan by Marius B. Jansen [Belknap Press, Harvard
University Press, 2000].
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