Sakoku was the isolationist foreign policy of the Japanese Tokugawa shogunate under which relations and trade between Japan and other countries were limited, nearly all foreign nationals were barred from entering Japan and common Japanese people were kept from leaving the country for a period of over 220 years. The policy was enacted by the Tokugawa shogunate under Tokugawa Iemitsu through a number of edicts and policies from 1633 to 1639, ended after 1853 when the American Black Ships commanded by Matthew Perry forced the opening of Japan to American trade through a series of unequal treaties, it was preceded by a period of unrestricted trade and widespread piracy when Japanese mariners travelled Asia and official embassies and envoys visited both Asian states, New Spain, Europe. This period was noted for the large number of foreign traders and pirates who were resident in Japan and active in Japanese waters; the term Sakoku originates from the manuscript work Sakoku-ron written by Japanese astronomer and translator Shizuki Tadao in 1801.
Shizuki invented the word while translating the works of the 17th-century German traveller Engelbert Kaempfer concerning Japan. Japan was not isolated under the sakoku policy, it was a system in which strict regulations were applied to commerce and foreign relations by the shogunate and by certain feudal domains. There was extensive trade with China through the port of Nagasaki, in the far west of Japan, with a residential area for the Chinese; the policy stated that the only European influence permitted was the Dutch factory at Dejima in Nagasaki. Western scientific and medical innovations did flow into Japan through Rangaku. Trade with Korea was limited to the Tsushima Domain. Trade with the Ainu people was limited to the Matsumae Domain in Hokkaidō, trade with the Ryūkyū Kingdom took place in Satsuma Domain. Apart from these direct commercial contacts in peripheral provinces, trading countries sent regular missions to the shōgun in Edo and Osaka Castle. Japan traded at this time with five entities, through four "gateways".
The largest was the private Chinese trade at Nagasaki, where the Dutch East India Company was permitted to operate. The Matsumae clan domain in Hokkaidō traded with the Ainu people. Through the Sō clan daimyō of Tsushima, there were relations with Joseon-dynasty Korea. Ryūkyū, a semi-independent kingdom for nearly all of the Edo period, was controlled by the Shimazu clan daimyō of Satsuma Domain. Tashiro Kazui has shown that trade between Japan and these entities was divided into two kinds: Group A in which he places China and the Dutch, "whose relations fell under the direct jurisdiction of the Bakufu at Nagasaki" and Group B, represented by the Korean Kingdom and the Ryūkyū Kingdom, "who dealt with Tsushima and Satsuma domains respectively". Many items traded from Japan to Korea and the Ryūkyū Kingdom were shipped on to China. In the Ryūkyū Islands and Korea, the clans in charge of trade built trading towns outside Japanese territory where commerce took place. Due to the necessity for Japanese subjects to travel to and from these trading posts, this resembled something of an outgoing trade, with Japanese subjects making regular contact with foreign traders in extraterritorial land.
Commerce with Chinese and Dutch traders in Nagasaki took place on an island called Dejima, separated from the city by a narrow strait. Trade in fact prospered during this period, though relations and trade were restricted to certain ports, the country was far from closed. In fact as the shogunate expelled the Portuguese, they engaged in discussions with Dutch and Korean representatives to ensure that the overall volume of trade did not suffer. Thus, it has become common in scholarship in recent decades to refer to the foreign relations policy of the period not as sakoku, implying a secluded, "closed" country, but by the term kaikin used in documents at the time, derived from the similar Chinese concept haijin, it is conventionally regarded that the shogunate imposed and enforced the sakoku policy in order to remove the colonial and religious influence of Spain and Portugal, which were perceived as posing a threat to the stability of the shogunate and to peace in the archipelago. The increasing number of Catholic converts in southern Japan was a significant element of that, seen as a threat.
Based on work conducted by Japanese historians in the 1970s, some scholars have challenged this view, believing it to be only a partial explanation of political reality. The motivations for the gradual strengthening of the maritime prohibitions during the early 17th century should be considered within the context of the Tokugawa bakufu's domestic agenda. One element of this agenda was to acquire sufficient control over Japan's foreign policy so as not only to guarantee social peace, but to maintain Tokugawa supremacy over the other powerful lords in the country the tozama daimyōs; these daimyōs had used East Asian trading linkages to profitable effect during the Sengoku period, which allowed them to build up their military strength as well. By restricting the daimyōs' ability to trade with foreign ships coming to Japan or pursue trade opportunities overseas, the Tokugawa bakufu could ensure none would become powerful enough to
The Russo-Japanese War was fought during 1904-1905 between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan over rival imperial ambitions in Manchuria and Korea. The major theatres of operations were the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden in Southern Manchuria and the seas around Korea and the Yellow Sea. Russia sought a warm-water port on the Pacific Ocean for maritime trade. Vladivostok was operational only during the summer, whereas Port Arthur, a naval base in Liaodong Province leased to Russia by China, was operational all year. Since the end of the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, Japan feared Russian encroachment on its plans to create a sphere of influence in Korea and Manchuria. Russia had demonstrated an expansionist policy in the Siberian Far East from the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century. Seeing Russia as a rival, Japan offered to recognize Russian dominance in Manchuria in exchange for recognition of Korea as being within the Japanese sphere of influence. Russia refused and demanded Korea north of the 39th parallel to be a neutral buffer zone between Russia and Japan.
The Japanese government perceived a Russian threat to its plans for expansion into Asia and chose to go to war. After negotiations broke down in 1904, the Japanese Navy opened hostilities by attacking the Russian Eastern Fleet at Port Arthur, China, in a surprise attack. Russia suffered multiple defeats by Japan, but Tsar Nicholas II was convinced that Russia would win and chose to remain engaged in the war. Russia ignored Japan's willingness early on to agree to an armistice and rejected the idea to bring the dispute to the Arbitration Court at The Hague; the war concluded with the Treaty of Portsmouth, mediated by US President Theodore Roosevelt. The complete victory of the Japanese military surprised world observers; the consequences transformed the balance of power in East Asia, resulting in a reassessment of Japan's recent entry onto the world stage. It was the first major military victory in the modern era of an Asian power over a European one. Scholars continue to debate the historical significance of the war.
After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the Meiji government endeavored to assimilate Western ideas, technological advances and ways of warfare. By the late 19th century, Japan had transformed itself into a modernized industrial state; the Japanese wanted to be recognized as equal with the Western powers. The Meiji Restoration had been intended to make Japan a modernized state, not a Westernized one, Japan was an imperialist power, looking towards overseas expansionism. In the years 1869–73, the Seikanron had bitterly divided the Japanese elite between one faction that wanted to conquer Korea vs. another that wanted to wait until Japan was more modernized before embarking on a war to conquer Korea. Worse, the Western Powers were conquering small pieces of China and China had dominated Korea with its military for centuries; the Japanese were doing what they could to emulate the West in every way possible, including conqering and occupying its neighbors. In much the same way that Europeans used the "backwardness" of African and Asian nations as a reason for why they had to conquer them, for the Japanese elite the "backwardness" of China and Korea was proof of the inferiority of those nations, thus giving the Japanese the "right" to conquer them.
Inouye Kaoru, the Foreign Minister, gave a speech in 1887 saying "What we must do is to transform our empire and our people, make the empire like the countries of Europe and our people like the peoples of Europe", going to say that the Chinese and Koreans had forfeited their right to be independent by not modernizing. Much of the pressure for an aggressive foreign policy in Japan came from below, with the advocates of "people's rights" movement calling for an elected parliament favoring an ultra-nationalist line that took it for granted the Japanese had the "right" to annex Korea, as the "people's right" movement was led by those who favored invading Korea in the years 1869–73; as part of the modernization process in Japan, Social Darwinian ideas about the "survival of the fittest" were common in Japan from the 1880s onward and many ordinary Japanese resented the heavy taxes imposed by the government to modernize Japan, demanding something tangible like an overseas colony as a reward for their sacrifices.
Furthermore, the educational system of Meiji Japan was meant to train the schoolboys to be soldiers when they grew up, as such, Japanese schools indoctrinated their students into Bushidō, the fierce code of the samurai. Having indoctrinated the younger generations into Bushidō, the Meiji elite found themselves faced with a people who clamored for war, regarded diplomacy as a weakness; the British Japanologist Richard Storry wrote the biggest misconception about Japan in the West was that the Japanese people were the "docile" instruments of the elite, when in fact much of the pressure for Japan's wars from 1894 to 1941 came from below, as ordinary people demanded a "tough" foreign policy, tended to engage in riots and assassination when foreign policy was perceived to be pusillanimous. Though the Meiji oligarchy refused to allow democracy, they did seek to appropriate some of the demands of the "people's rights" movement by allowing an elected Diet in 1890 (with limited powers and an equally
History of Japanese foreign relations
History of Japanese foreign relations deals with the international relations in terms of diplomacy and political affairs from about 1850 to 2000. The kingdom was isolated before the 1850s, with limited contacts through Dutch traders; the Meiji Restoration was a political revolution that installed a new leadership, eager to borrow Western technology and organization. The government in Tokyo monitored and controlled outside interactions. Japanese delegations to Europe brought back European standards which were imposed across the government and the economy. Trade flourished, as Japan industrialized. European-style imperialism and colonialism were borrowed, as in the late 19th century Japan defeated China, acquired numerous colonies, including Formosa and Okinawa; the rapid advanced in Japanese military prowess stunned the world in 1904-1905 when it decisively defeated Russia and gained recognition as a world power. Imperialism continued as it took control of Korea, began moving into Manchuria, its only military alliance was with Great Britain.
1902-1923. In the First World War, it joined the Allies, seized many German possessions in the Pacific and in China. Japan put heavy pressure on China. Although the political system was formally democratic, the Army seized control in Japan. Indeed in the 1930s, separatist Army elements in Manchuria shaped foreign-policy; the League of Nations criticized Japan's takeover of Manchuria in 1931, so it withdrew. It joined the Axis alliance with Germany, But there was little close cooperation between the two nations until 1943. Japan opened a full-scale war in China, in 1937, taking control of the major cities and economic centers with a long record of atrocities. Two puppet regimes were nominally in charge in Manchuria. Military confrontations with the Soviet Union were disappointing to Japan, it turned its attention to the south. American economic and financial pressures, joined by Britain and the Netherlands, climaxed in the cut off of vitally needed oil supplies in 1941. Japan declared war, in three months scored spectacular successes against the United States and the Netherlands, as well as continuing the war with China.
The Japanese economy could not support the large-scale war effort with the rapid buildup of the American navy. By 1944, Japan was on the defensive, as its Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere collapsed, its navy was sunk, American bombing started to devastate major Japanese cities; the final blow came in August 1945 with the Russian invasion. Japan surrendered, was occupied by the Allies, or more by the United States, its political and economic system was rebuilt on the basis of greater democracy, no military capability, a weakening of traditional monopolistic corporations. Japan was a minor player in international affairs in the late 1940s, but its economy revived in part as a supply base for the Korean War. Non-involvement became the central focus of Japanese foreign policy, together with rapid growth of its industrial exports. By the 1990s, with the second largest economy in the world behind the United States, reached a peak, leveled off economically, it retained close relations with the United States, which provided it with military protection.
South Korea and other countries in the Western Pacific traded on a large scale with Japan, but still resented the wartime atrocities. See Military history of Japan Beginning with the Meiji Restoration of 1868, which established a new, centralized regime, Japan set out to "gather wisdom from all over the world" and embarked on an ambitious program of military, social and economic reforms that transformed it within a generation into a modern nation-state and major world power; the Meiji oligarchy was aware of Western progress, "learning missions" were sent abroad to absorb as much of it as possible. The Iwakura Mission, the most important one, was led by Iwakura Tomomi, Kido Takayoshi and Ōkubo Toshimichi, contained forty-eight members in total and spent two years touring the United States and Europe, studying every aspect of modern nations, such as government institutions, prison systems, the import-export business, shipyards, glass plants and other enterprises. Upon returning, mission members called for domestic reforms that would help Japan catch up with the West.
European powers imposed a series of "unequal treaties" in the 1850s and 1860s that gave privileged roles to their nationals in specially designated treaty ports. Representative was the 1858 Treaty with the United States, called the "Harris Treaty." It opened the ports of Kanagawa and four other Japanese cities to trade, And provided for the exchange of diplomats. It granted extraterritoriality to foreigners, So that they govern themselves and were not under the control of Japanese courts or authorities. There were numerous trading stipulations favorable to the Americans; the Dutch and Russians followed suit with their own treaties, backed up by their own powerful naval forces. The unequal treaties were part of the series imposed on non-Western countries, such as Persia 1857, Turkey 1861, Siam 1855, China 1858; the inequality was not quite as severe as suffered by these other countries, but it rankled so much that ending the inequality became a priority, achieved in the 1890s. The humiliation was not as bad as China suffered.
On the other hand, the new treaties, provided for tariffs on imports from Europe.
The Kofun period is an era in the history of Japan from about 300 to 538 AD, following the Yayoi period. The Kofun and the subsequent Asuka periods are sometimes collectively called the Yamato period; this period is the earliest era of recorded history in Japan, but studies depend on archaeology since the chronology of historical sources tends to be distorted. It was a period of cultural import. Continuing from the Yayoi period, the Kofun period is characterized by a strong influence from the Korean Peninsula; the word kofun is Japanese for the type of burial mound dating from this era, archaeology indicates that the mound tombs and material culture of the elite were similar throughout the region. From China and the Chinese writing system were introduced near the end of the period; the Kofun period recorded Japan's earliest political centralization, when the Yamato clan rose to power in southwestern Japan, established the Imperial House, helped control trade routes across the region. Kofun are burial mounds built for members of the ruling class from the 3rd to the 7th centuries in Japan, the Kofun period takes its name from the distinctive earthen mounds.
The mounds contained large stone burial chambers, some are surrounded by moats. Kofun come with round and square the most common. A distinct style is keyhole-shaped, with a square front and round back. Kofun range in size from several meters to over 400 meters long, unglazed pottery figures were buried under a kofun's circumference; the oldest Japanese kofun is Hokenoyama Kofun in Sakurai, which dates to the late 3rd century. In the Makimuku district of Sakurai keyhole kofuns were built during the early 4th century; the keyhole kofun spread from Yamato to Kawachi—with giant kofun, such as Daisenryō Kofun—and throughout the country during the 5th century. Keyhole kofun disappeared in the 6th century because of the drastic reformation of the Yamato court; the last two great kofun are the 190-metre-long Imashirozuka kofun in Osaka and the 135-metre long Iwatoyama kofun in Fukuoka, recorded in Fudoki of Chikugo as the tomb of Iwai. Kofun burial mounds on the island of Tanegashima and two old Shinto shrines on the island of Yakushima suggest that these islands were the southern boundary of the Yamato state.
Yamato rule is believed to have begun about 250 AD, it is agreed that Yamato rulers had keyhole-kofun culture and hegemony in Yamato until the 4th century. Autonomy of local powers remained throughout the period in Kibi, Koshi, Chikushi, Hi. During the 6th century, the Yamato clans began to dominate the southern half of Japan. According to the Book of Song, Yamato relationships with China began in the late 4th century; the Yamato polity, which emerged by the late 5th century, was distinguished by powerful clans. Each clan was headed by a patriarch, who performed sacred rituals to the clan's kami to ensure its long-term welfare. Clan members were the aristocracy, the royal line which controlled the Yamato court was at its zenith. Clan leaders were awarded kabane, inherited titles denoting rank and political standing which replaced family names; the Kofun period is called the Yamato period by some Western scholars, since this local chieftainship became the imperial dynasty at the end of the period.
However, the Yamato clan ruled just one polity among others during the Kofun era. Japanese archaeologists emphasise that other regional chieftainships were in close contention for dominance in the first half of the Kofun period; the Yamato court exercised power over clans in Kyūshū and Honshū, bestowing titles on clan chieftains. The Yamato name became synonymous with Japan as Yamato rulers suppressed other clans and acquired agricultural land. Based on Chinese models, they began to develop a central administration and an imperial court attended by subordinate clan chieftains with no permanent capital. Powerful clans were the Soga, Katsuragi and Koze clans in the Yamato and Bizen Provinces and the Kibi clans in the Izumo Province; the Ōtomo and Mononobe clans were military leaders, the Nakatomi and Inbe clans handled rituals. The Soga clan provided the government's chief minister, the Ōtomo and Mononobe clans provided secondary ministers, provincial leaders were called kuni no miyatsuko. Craftsmen were organized into guilds.
In addition to archaeological findings indicating a local monarchy in Kibi Province as an important rival, the legend of the 4th-century Prince Yamato Takeru alludes to the borders of the Yamato and battlegrounds in the region. Another frontier, in Kyūshū, was north of present-day Kumamoto Prefecture. According to the legend, there was an eastern land in Honshū "whose people disobeyed the imperial court" and against whom Yam
First Sino-Japanese War
The First Sino-Japanese War was fought between China and Japan over influence in Korea. After more than six months of unbroken successes by Japanese land and naval forces and the loss of the port of Weihaiwei, the Qing government sued for peace in February 1895; the war demonstrated the failure of the Qing dynasty's attempts to modernize its military and fend off threats to its sovereignty when compared with Japan's successful Meiji Restoration. For the first time, regional dominance in East Asia shifted from China to Japan; the humiliating loss of Korea as a tributary state sparked an unprecedented public outcry. Within China, the defeat was a catalyst for a series of political upheavals led by Sun Yat-sen and Kang Youwei, culminating in the 1911 Xinhai Revolution; the war is known in China as the War of Jiawu, referring to the year as named under the traditional sexagenary system of years. In Japan, it is called the Japan–Qing War. In Korea, where much of the war took place, it is called the Qing–Japan War.
After two centuries, the Japanese policy of seclusion under the shōguns of the Edo period came to an end when the country was opened to trade by the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854. In the years following the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and the fall of the shogunate, the newly formed Meiji government embarked on reforms to centralize and modernize Japan; the Japanese had sent delegations and students around the world to learn and assimilate Western arts and sciences, with the intention of making Japan an equal to the Western powers. These reforms transformed Japan from a feudal society into a modern industrial state; the Qing Dynasty had started to undergo reform in both military and political doctrine, but was far from successful. In January 1864, Cheoljong of Joseon died without a male heir, through Korean succession protocols Gojong of Korea ascended the throne at the age of 12. However, as King Gojong was too young to rule, the new king's father, Yi Ha-ŭng, became the Heungseon Daewongun, or lord of the great court, ruled Korea in his son's name as regent.
The term Daewongun referred to any person, not the king but whose son took the throne. With his ascendancy to power the Daewongun initiated a set of reforms designed to strengthen the monarchy at the expense of the Yangban class, he pursued an isolationist policy and was determined to purge the kingdom of any foreign ideas that had infiltrated into the nation. In Korean history, the king's in-laws enjoyed great power the Daewongun acknowledged that any future daughters-in-law might threaten his authority. Therefore, he attempted to prevent any possible threat to his rule by selecting as a new queen for his son an orphaned girl from among the Yŏhŭng Min clan, which lacked powerful political connections. With Empress Myeongseong as his daughter-in-law and the royal consort, the Daewongun felt secure in his power. However, after she had become queen, Min recruited all her relatives and had them appointed to influential positions in the name of the king; the Queen allied herself with political enemies of the Daewongun, so that by late 1873 she had mobilized enough influence to oust him from power.
In October 1873, when the Confucian scholar Choe Ik-hyeon submitted a memorial to King Gojong urging him to rule in his own right, Queen Min seized the opportunity to force her father-in-law's retirement as regent. The departure of the Daewongun led to Korea's abandonment of its isolationist policy. On February 26, 1876, after confrontations between the Japanese and Koreans, the Ganghwa Treaty was signed, opening Korea to Japanese trade. In 1880, the King sent a mission to Japan, headed by Kim Hong-jip, an enthusiastic observer of the reforms taking place there. While in Japan, the Chinese diplomat Huang Zunxian presented him with a study called "Chaoxian Celue", it warned of the threat to Korea posed by the Russians and recommended that Korea maintain friendly relations with Japan, at the time too economically weak to be an immediate threat, to work with China, seek an alliance with the United States as a counterweight to Russia. After returning to Korea, Kim presented the document to King Gojong, so impressed with the document that he had copies made and distributed to his officials.
In 1880, following Chinese advice and breaking with tradition, King Gojong decided to establish diplomatic ties with the United States. After negotiations through Chinese mediation in Tianjin, the Treaty of Peace, Amity and Navigation was formally signed between the United States and Korea in Incheon on May 22, 1882. However, there were two significant issues raised by the treaty, the first concerned Korea's status as an independent nation. During the talks with the Americans, the Chinese insisted that the treaty contain an article declaring that Korea was a dependency of China and argued that the country had long been a tributary state of China, but the Americans opposed such an article, arguing that a treaty with Korea should be based on the Treaty of Ganghwa, which stipulated that Korea was an independent state. A compromise was reached, with Shufeldt and Li agreeing that the King of Korea would notify the U. S president in a letter that Korea had special status as a tributary state of China.
The treaty between the Korean government and the United States became the model for all treaties between it and other Western countries. Korea signed similar trade and commerce treaties with Great Britain and Germany in 1883, with Italy and
The Asuka period was a period in the history of Japan lasting from 538 to 710, although its beginning could be said to overlap with the preceding Kofun period. The Yamato polity evolved during the Asuka period, named after the Asuka region, about 25 km south of the modern city of Nara; the Asuka period is characterized by its significant artistic and political transformations, having their origins in the late Kofun period but affected by the arrival of Buddhism from China. The introduction of Buddhism marked a change in Japanese society; the Asuka period is distinguished by the change in the name of the country from Wa to Nihon. The term "Asuka period" was first used to describe a period in the history of Japanese fine-arts and architecture, it was proposed by fine-arts scholars Sekino Tadasu and Okakura Kakuzō around 1900. Sekino dated the Asuka period as ending with the Taika Reform of 646. Okakura, saw it as ending with the transfer of the capital to the Heijō Palace of Nara. Although historians use Okakura's dating, many historians of art and architecture prefer Sekino's dating and use the term "Hakuhō period" to refer to the successive period.
The Yamato polity was distinguished by powerful great clans or extended families, including their dependents. Each clan was headed by a patriarch who performed sacred rites for the clan's kami to ensure the long-term welfare of the clan. Clan members were the High Nobility, the Imperial line that controlled the Yamato polity was at its pinnacle; the Asuka period, as a sub-division of the Yamato period, is the first time in Japanese history when the Emperor of Japan ruled uncontested from modern-day Nara Prefecture known as Yamato Province. The Yamato polity was concentrated in the Asuka region and exercised power over clans in Kyūshū and Honshū, bestowing titles, some hereditary, on clan chieftains; the Yamato name became synonymous with all of Japan as the Yamato rulers suppressed other clans and acquired agricultural lands. Based on Chinese models, they developed a central administration and an imperial court attended by subordinate clan chieftains but with no permanent capital. By the mid-seventh century, the agricultural lands had grown to a substantial public domain, subject to central policy.
The basic administrative unit of the Gokishichidō system was the county, society was organized into occupation groups. Most people were farmers; the Soga clan intermarried with the imperial family, by 587 Soga no Umako, the Soga chieftain, was powerful enough to install his nephew as emperor and to assassinate him and replace him with the Empress Suiko. Suiko, the first of eight sovereign empresses, is sometimes considered a mere figurehead for Umako and Prince Regent Shōtoku Taishi; however she wielded power in her own right, the role of Shōtoku Taishi is exaggerated to the point of legend. Shōtoku, recognized as a great intellectual of this period of reform, was a devout Buddhist and was well-read in Chinese literature, he was influenced by Confucian principles, including the Mandate of Heaven, which suggested that the sovereign ruled at the will of a supreme force. Under Shōtoku's direction, Confucian models of rank and etiquette were adopted, his Seventeen-article constitution prescribed ways to bring harmony to a chaotic society in Confucian terms.
In addition, Shōtoku adopted the Chinese calendar, developed a system of trade roads, built numerous Buddhist temples, had court chronicles compiled, sent students to China to study Buddhism and Confucianism, sent Ono no Imoko to China as an emissary. Six official missions of envoys and students were sent to China in the seventh century; some remained twenty years or more. The sending of such scholars to learn Chinese political systems showed significant change from envoys in the Kofun period, in which the five kings of Wa sent envoys for the approval of their domains. In a move resented by the Chinese, Shōtoku sought equality with the Chinese emperor by sending official correspondence, addressed, "From the Son of Heaven in the Land of the Rising Sun to the Son of Heaven of the Land of the Setting Sun." Some would argue that Shōtoku's bold step set a precedent: Japan never again accepted a "subordinate" status in its relations with China, except for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, who accepted such a relationship with China in the 15th century.
As a result, Japan in this period received no title from Chinese dynasties, while they did send tribute. From the Chinese point of view, the class or position of Japan was demoted from previous centuries in which the kings received titles. On the other hand, Japan loosened its political relationships with China and established extraordinary cultural and intellectual relationships. About twenty years after the deaths of Shōtoku Taishi, Soga no Umako, Empress Suiko, court intrigues over succession led to a palace coup in 645 against the Soga clan's monopolized control of the government; the revolt was led by Prince Naka no Ōe and Nakatomi no Kamatari, who seized control of the court from the Soga family and introduced the Taika Reform. The Japanese era corresponding to the years 645–649 was thus named Taika, referring to the Reform, meaning "great change"; the revolt leading to the Taika Reform is called the Isshi Incident, referring to the Chinese zodiac year in which the coup took place