Japanese names in modern times consist of a family name, followed by a given name. More than one given name is not used. Japanese names are written in kanji, which are characters Chinese in origin but Japanese in pronunciation; the kanji for a name may have a variety of possible Japanese pronunciations, hence parents might use hiragana or katakana when giving a birth name to their newborn child. Names written in hiragana or katakana are phonetic renderings, so lack the visual meaning of names expressed in the logographic kanji. Japanese family names are varied: according to estimates, there are over 100,000 different surnames in use today in Japan; the three most common family names in Japan are Satō, Takahashi. This diversity is in stark contrast to the situation in other nations of the East Asian cultural sphere, which reflects a different history: while Chinese surnames have been in use for millennia and were reflective of an entire clan or adopted from nobles and were thence transferred to Korea and Vietnam via noble names, the vast majority of modern Japanese family names date only to the 19th century, following the Meiji restoration, were chosen at will.
The recent introduction of surnames has two additional effects: Japanese names became widespread when the country had a large population instead of dating to ancient times, since little time has passed, Japanese names have not experienced as significant a surname extinction as has occurred in the much longer history in China. Surnames occur with varying frequency in different regions. Many Japanese family names derive from features of the rural landscape. While family names follow consistent rules, given names are much more diverse in pronunciation and character usage. While many common names can be spelled or pronounced, many parents choose names with unusual characters or pronunciations, such names cannot in general be spelled or pronounced unless both the spelling and pronunciation are given. Unusual pronunciations have become common, with this trend having increased since the 1990s. For example, the popular masculine name 大翔 is traditionally pronounced "Hiroto", but in recent years alternative pronunciations "Haruto", "Yamato", "Taiga", "Sora", "Taito", "Daito", "Masato" have all entered use.
Male names end in -rō -ta or -o, or contain ichi, kazu, ji, or dai. Female names end in -ko or -mi. Other popular endings for female names include -ka and -na; the majority of Japanese people have one surname and one given name with no other names, except for the Japanese imperial family, whose members bear no surname. The family name – myōji, uji or sei – precedes the given name, called the "name" – or "lower name"; the given name may be referred to as the "lower name" because, in vertically written Japanese, the given name appears under the family name. People with mixed Japanese and foreign parentage may have middle names. Myōji, uji and sei had different meanings. Sei was the patrilineal surname, why up until now it has only been granted by the emperor as a title of male rank; the lower form of the name sei being tei, a common name in Japanese men, although there was a male ancestor in ancient Japan from whom the name'Sei' came. There were few sei, most of the medieval noble clans trace their lineage either directly to these sei or to the courtiers of these sei.
Uji was another name used to designate patrilineal descent, but merged with myōji around the same time. Myōji was what a family chooses to call itself, as opposed to the sei granted by the emperor. While it was passed on patrilineally in male ancestors including in male ancestors called haku, one had a certain degree of freedom in changing one's myōji. See Kabane. Multiple Japanese characters have the same pronunciations, so several Japanese names have multiple meanings. A particular kanji itself can have multiple meanings and pronunciations. In some names, Japanese characters phonetically "spell" a name and have no intended meaning behind them. Many Japanese personal names use puns. Few names can serve either as surnames or as given names. Therefore, to those familiar with Japanese names, which name is the surname and, the given name is apparent, no matter which order the names are presented in; this thus makes it unlikely that the two names will be confused, for example, when writing in English while using the family name-given name naming order.
However, due to the variety of pronuncia
Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism; the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; the earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country; this name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises"; the message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Another form of Wa, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word
Chūson-ji is a Buddhist temple in the town of Hiraizumi in southern Iwate Prefecture, Japan. It is the head temple of the Tendai sect in Tōhoku region of northern Honshu; the temple claims it was founded in 850 by the third chief abbot of the sect. George Sansom states Chūson-ji was founded by Fujiwara no Kiyohira in 1095. Chūson-ji is designated as a Special Historic Site and in June 2011 was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a part of the "Historic Monuments and Sites of Hiraizumi". At the beginning of the 12th century, large-scale temple construction was carried out by Fujiwara no Kiyohira, the founder of the Northern Fujiwara clan; the temple was built to placate souls of all who died in the Former Nine Years War and the Latter Three Years' War. Kiyohira, forced into bloody battles and lost his family in the war, resolved to bring peace to the region based on an ideal society following the teachings of Buddha. Per the Azuma Kagami the temple contained more than 40 halls and pagodas, over 300 monks' residences.
Kiyohira's son Fujiwara no Motohira continued this plan, commissioned his own great temple, Mōtsū-ji, nearby. Mōtsū-ji was completed by his son, Fujiwara no Hidehira, who commissioned Muryōkō-in. Hiraizumi flourished for nearly one hundred years, until its destruction by the forces of Minamoto no Yoritomo in 1189. Chūson-ji fell into decline. In 1337 fire destroyed much of the temple. During the Edo period, it was rebuilt by the Date clan of Sendai Domain and became a subsidiary temple of Kan'ei-ji in Edo, it was visited by Matsuo Bashō during his travels while writing the Oku no Hosomichi、which translate into, "The narrow road deep down". The Konjiki-dō is a small building completed in 1124, which still conveys an image of what Chūson-ji looked like in its prime; the building is covered with gold leaf on both the exterior. Inside, the decorations use mother-of-pearl inlays, metalwork and paintings, bringing together many aspects of late Heian period arts and crafts It is one of two buildings that survive from the original Chūson-ji temple complex, the other being a sutra repository.
The building serves as a mausoleum containing the mummified remains of the leaders of the Northern Fujiwara clan. The building is eight meters tall; the interior of the building contains one for each of the first three Fujiwara lords. Each altar had a seated Amida surrounded by standing Kannon Bosatsu and Seishi Bosatsu, six Jizō Bosatsu and two Niten statues. One Niten figure is now missing; the building was rebuilt from 1962 to 1968. The mummies were last examined in 1950, it is assumed. Fujiwara no Motohira's remains were identified, his mummy was found under the northwest altar. Fujiwara no Hidehira's remains were found under the southwest altar next to a casket containing the head of his son Fujiwara no Yasuhira, beheaded in 1189; the Konjiki-dō sat outdoors in the open air. In 1288 it was covered with a wooden structure to protect it from the elements. Today it sits behind thick acrylic glass within a concrete building and is visible only from the front and sides. Shōgyo Ōba, a maki-e lacquer artist, helped to restore the interior lacquer work in 1964.
The building was the first structure designated a Japanese National Treasure. Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto Golden Tea Room List of Special Places of Scenic Beauty, Special Historic Sites and Special Natural Monuments List of National Treasures of Japan List of National Treasures of Japan List of National Treasures of Japan List of National Treasures of Japan For an explanation of terms concerning Japanese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist art, Japanese Buddhist temple architecture, see the Glossary of Japanese Buddhism. Official Chūson-ji website in Japanese Official Chūson-ji website in English
Fujiwara no Hidehira
Fujiwara no Hidehira was the third ruler of Northern Fujiwara in Mutsu Province, the grandson of Fujiwara no Kiyohira. During the Genpei War, he controlled his territory independently of the central government, he offered shelter to the young Minamoto no Yoshitsune. For many years, Hidehira was Yoshitsune's benefactor and protector, it was from Hidehira's territory that Yoshitsune joined his brother at the start of the Genpei War; when Yoshitsune incurred his brother Minamoto no Yoritomo's wrath, he returned to Hiraizumi, lived undisturbed for a time. Yoshitsune was still Hidehira's guest when the latter died in 1187. Hidehira had his son, Fujiwara no Yasuhira, promise to continue to shelter Yoshitune and his retainer Benkei, but Yasuhira gave in to Yoritomo and surrounded the castle with his troops, forcing Yoshitsune to commit seppuku and resulting in the famous standing death of Benkei. Yasuhira had Yoshitsune's head preserved in a jar of sake and sent to Yoritomo; this did nothing to appease him, Yoritomo destroyed the Fujiwara domain and killed Yasuhira, son of Hidehira in 1189.
According to legend Hidehira was raised by wolves
Minamoto no Yoritomo
Minamoto no Yoritomo was the founder and the first shōgun of the Kamakura shogunate of Japan. He ruled from 1192 until 1199, his Buddhist name was Bukōshōgendaizenmon. Yoritomo was the third son of Minamoto no Yoshitomo, heir of the Minamoto clan, his official wife, was a daughter of Fujiwara no Suenori, a member of the illustrious Fujiwara clan. Yoritomo was born in Atsuta in Owari Province. At that time Yoritomo's grandfather Minamoto. Like Benkei, his childhood name was Oniwakamaru. In 1156, factional divisions in the court erupted into open warfare within the capital; the cloistered Emperor Toba and his son Emperor Go-Shirakawa sided with the son of Fujiwara regent Fujiwara no Tadazane, Fujiwara no Tadamichi as well as Taira no Kiyomori, while Cloistered Emperor Sutoku sided with Tadazane's younger son, Fujiwara no Yorinaga. This is known as the Hōgen Rebellion; the Seiwa Genji were split. The head of the clan, sided with Sutoku. In the end, the supporters of Go-Shirakawa won the civil war, thus ensuring victory for Yoshitomo and Kiyomori.
Sutoku was placed under house arrest, Yorinaga was fatally wounded in battle. Tameyoshi was executed after numerous pleas from Yoshitomo. Nonetheless, Go-Shirakawa and Kiyomori were ruthless, Yoshitomo found himself as the head of the Minamoto clan, while Yoritomo became the heir. Yoritomo and the Minamoto clan descended from the imperial family on his father's side. Nonetheless, in Kyoto, the Taira clan, now under the leadership of Kiyomori, the Minamoto clan, under the leadership of Yoshitomo, began to factionalize again. Kiyomori was supported by Fujiwara no Michinori, while Yoshitomo was supported by Fujiwara no Nobuyori; this was known as the Heiji Rebellion. The ex-Emperor's and Shinzei's mansions were burned, while Shinzei was decapitated. Nonetheless, the Minamoto were not well prepared, the Taira took control of Kyoto. Yoshitomo fled the capital but was betrayed and executed by a retainer. In the aftermath, harsh terms were imposed on their allies. Only Yoshitomo's three young boys remained alive, so that Kiyomori and the Taira clan were now the undisputed leaders of Japan.
Yoritomo, the new head of the Minamoto, was exiled. Yoritomo was not executed by Kiyomori because of pleas from Kiyomori's stepmother. Yoritomo's brothers, Minamoto no Noriyori and Minamoto no Yoshitsune were allowed to live. Yoritomo grew up in exile, he married into the Hōjō clan, led by Hōjō Tokimasa, marrying Hōjō Masako. Meanwhile, he was notified of events in Kyoto thanks to helpful friends. Soon enough, Yoritomo's passive exile was to be over. Father: Minamoto no Yoshitomo Mother: Yura Gozen, daughter of Fujiwara no Suenori Siblings: Half-siblings: Ano Zenjo Gien Minamoto no Yoshitsune Minamoto no Noriyori Minamoto no Tomonaga Minamoto no Yoshihira Natural siblings: Bomon-hime married Ichijō Yoshiyasu Minamoto no Mareyoshi Wife: Hōjō Masako Concubines: Daishin no Tsubone Kame no Mae Children: Sentsurumaru, son of Yoritomo with Yaehime, daughter of Itō Sukechika was killed by Sukechika. Minamoto no Yoriie by Masako Minamoto no Sanetomo by Masako O-hime married to Minamoto no Yoshitaka by Masako Otohime by Masako Jogyo by Daishin no Tsubone In 1180, Prince Mochihito, a son of Cloistered Emperor Go-Shirakawa, humiliated by the Taira because of the Taira-backed accession of the throne of his nephew, Emperor Antoku made a national call to arms of the Minamoto clan all over Japan to rebel against the Taira.
Yoritomo took part in this after things escalated between the Taira and Minamoto after the death of Minamoto no Yorimasa and Prince Mochihito himself. Yoritomo set himself up as the rightful heir of the Minamoto clan, he set up a capital in Kamakura to the east. Not all Minamoto thought of Yoritomo as rightful heir, his uncle Minamoto no Yukiie and his cousin Minamoto no Yoshinaka conspired against him. In September 1180, Yoritomo was defeated at the Battle of Ishibashiyama, his first major battle, when Ōba Kagechika led a rapid night attack. After losing a battle with the Heike clan at Mt. Ishibashiyama in 1180, Minamoto no Yoritomo fled into the Hakone mountains, stayed in Yugawara escaped From Manazuru-Iwa to Awa. Yoritomo spent the next six months raising a new army. In 1181, Taira no Kiyomori died, the Taira clan was now led by Taira no Munemori. Munemori took a much more aggressive policy against the Minamoto, attacked Minamoto bases from Kyoto in the Genpei War. Nonetheless, Yoritomo was well protected in Kamakura.
His brothers Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Minamoto no Noriyori defeated the Taira in several key battles, but they could not stop Minamoto no Yoshinaka, Yoritomo's rival, from entering Kyoto in 1183 and chasing the Taira south. The Taira took Emperor Antoku with them. In 1184, Antoku was displaced by the Minamoto with Emperor Go-Toba as the new emperor. From 1181 to 1184, a de facto truce with the Taira dominated court allowed Yoritomo the time to build an administration of his own, centered on his military headquarters in Kamakura. In the end he triumphed over his rival cousins, who sought to steal from him control of the clan, over the Taira, who suffered a terrible defeat at the Battle of Dan-no-ura in 1185. Yoritomo thus established the supremacy of the warrior samurai caste and the first bakufu at Kamakura, beginning the feudal age in Japan which l
Minamoto no Yoshitsune
Minamoto no Yoshitsune was a military commander of the Minamoto clan of Japan in the late Heian and early Kamakura periods. During the Genpei War, he led a series of battles which toppled the Ise-Heishi branch of the Taira clan, helping his half-brother Yoritomo consolidate power, he is considered one of the greatest and the most popular warriors of his era, one of the most famous samurai fighters in the history of Japan. Yoshitsune perished after being betrayed by the son of a trusted ally. Yoshitsune was the ninth son of Minamoto no Yoshitomo, the third and final son and child that Yoshitomo would father with Tokiwa Gozen. Yoshitsune's older half-brother Minamoto. Yoshitsune's name in childhood was Ushiwakamaru, he was born just before the Heiji Rebellion of early 1160 in which his father and two oldest brothers were killed. He survived this incident by fleeing the capital with his mother, while his half-brother Yoritomo was banished to Izu Province. At age 10, Yoshitsune was placed in the care of the monks of Kurama Temple, nestled in the Hiei Mountains near the capital of Kyoto.
Not wanting to become a monk, Yoshitsune left by way of a gold merchant who knew his father, in 1174 relocated to Hiraizumi, Mutsu Province, where he was put under the protection of Fujiwara no Hidehira, head of the powerful regional Northern Fujiwara clan. A skillful swordsman, Yoshitsune defeated. From on, Benkei became Yoshitsune's retainer dying with him at the Siege of Koromogawa. In 1180, Yoshitsune heard that Yoritomo, now head of the Minamoto clan, had raised an army at the request of Prince Mochihito to fight against the Taira clan which had usurped the power of the emperor. In the ensuing war between the rival Minamoto and Taira samurai clans, known as the Genpei War, Yoshitsune joined Yoritomo, along with Minamoto no Noriyori, all brothers who had not met. Yoshitsune, together with his brother Noriyori, defeated the Taira in several key battles, in early 1184, on the orders of Yoritomo and killed his cousin Minamoto no Yoshinaka, a rival for control of the Minamoto clan, at the Battle of Awazu in Ōmi Province.
Yoshitsune, who had by been given the rank of general, went on to defeat the Taira at the Battle of Ichi-no-Tani in present-day Kobe in March 1184, again at the Battle of Yashima in Shikoku in March 1185. He destroyed them one month at the Battle of Dan-no-ura in present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture. Following the Genpei War, Yoshitsune was appointed as Governor of Iyo and awarded other titles by cloistered emperor Go-Shirakawa, his suspicious brother Yoritomo, opposed the presentation of these titles, nullified them. Yoshitsune secured imperial authorization to ally with his uncle Minamoto no Yukiie in opposing Yoritomo. Incurring Yoritomo's wrath, Yoshitsune fled Kyoto in 1185, his faithful mistress, Shizuka Gozen, carrying his unborn child, fled with him at first, but was left behind, soon taken into custody by forces loyal to Yoritomo. Yoshitsune made his way to Hiraizumi, once again to the protection of Fujiwara no Hidehira, lived undisturbed for a time. Hidehira's son Fujiwara no Yasuhira had promised upon Hidehira's death to honor his father's wishes and continue to shelter Yoshitsune, giving in to pressure from Yoritomo, betrayed Yoshitsune, surrounding his Koromogawa-no-tachi residence with his troops, defeating Yoshitsune's retainers, including Benkei, forcing Yoshitsune to commit seppuku.
Yasuhira had Yoshitsune's head preserved in sake, placed in a black-lacquered chest, sent to Yoritomo as proof of his death. Historical sources differ as to the fate of their son. Yoshitsune is enshrined in a Shinto shrine in the city of Fujisawa; the death of Yoshitsune has been elusive. According to Ainu historical accounts, he did not commit seppuku, but instead escaped the siege at Koromogawa, fleeing to Hokkaido and assuming the name Okikurumi/Oinakamui. In Hokkaido, the Yoshitsune Shrine is erected in his honor in the town of Biratori. An alternate and discredited theory states that after evading death, Yoshitsune made his way past Hokkaido and sailed to the mainland of Asia, re-surfacing as Genghis Khan; the "Koshigoe Letter" was written by Yoshitsune on 6 May 1185 as he waited in Koshigoe for approval from Yoritomo to enter Kamakura. This letter was Yoshitsune's "final appeal" to Yoritomo of his loyalty; the letter is a "mixture of bravado and an masochistic indulgence in misfortune." An excerpt: So here I remain, vainly shedding crimson tears....
I have not been permitted to refute the accusations of my slanderers or to set foot in Kamakura, but have been obliged to languish idly these many days with no possibility of declaring the sincerity of my intentions. It is now so long since I have set eyes on His Lordship's compassionate countenance that the bond of our blood brotherhood seems to have vanished. Yoshitsune has long been a popular figure in Japanese literature and culture due to his appearance as the main character in the third section of the Japanese literary classic Heike Monogatari; the Japanese term for "sympathy for a tragic hero", Hōgan-biiki, comes from Yoshitsune's title Kurō Hōgan, which he received from the Imperial Court. Many of the literary pieces that Yoshitsune appears in are legend rather than historical fact. Legends pertaining to Yoshitsune first began to appear in the fourteenth century. In early works at that time, Yoshitsune was described as a sh