I am researching and writing a thesis on the orgins of Japanese people for a college class. While I am not going to base anything I write off things i read here, I am still very interested in what people think. as far as my research goes, this is what i concluded.
It is known that Kyushu was where the Wa, or proto-modern Japanese, culture originated. Sometime between 0-200 AD the Wa states emerged and consolidated power in Kyushu and the southern parts of Honshu. Korean texts mention Wa peoples coming to raid the coasts as early as around 4th century AD. The Gwanggaeto Stele, a historical texrt issued by Korean king Jangsu states,
In the ninth year, kihae, of Yongnak [ A.D. 399], Paekchan [Paekche], in violation of its sworn oath, concluded a peace with the Wa. The king responded by making a tour down to P'yonyang, where an envoy sent from Silla reported to him, saying "The Wa people have filled our territory and are overwhelming and smashing our walls and moats. Since, as slave-guests, we have become your subject people, we take refuge in Your Majesty and ask for your command." The great king in his benevolence praised the sincerity of their loyalty and sent the envoy home to impart [a secret plan] to the Silla king."
This was the early stage of Korean-Chinese-Japanese relations. Several hundred years passed and Wa had consolidated into the Yamato State by the 400's. Legendary Japanese hero Yamato Takeru was an early price of the Yamato state. He was responsible for assasinating the leader of one Yamatos enemies, the barbarian state of Kumaso on souther Kyushu. After conquering the Kumaso, the Yamato expanded their empire east and to the north conquering the other Wa cultures like the Izumo and Ezo.
By early 600's Chinese culture had reached Yamato from Wei. Buddhism was introduced and fought Shinto for the dominance of Japan. Prince Shotoku helped Buddhism beocme the dominant religion and the Taika reform.
The said text in addition to others state that the Yamato had established a fort or territory in a small resource rich region of Souther Korea. Sandwhiched between the Korean kingdoms of Silla and Paekje was the Japanese colony of Mimana (Gaya in Korean) which has existed since early 100-200;s. Yamato gained mainland technology and influences through this fort colony. The neighboring kingdom of Paekje was at war with Goryeo to the north and Silla to the east so they allied themselves with Yamato. For two hundred years from 400 -660 the Japanese gained and enjoyed Chinese court culture, technology and Buddhism. However in 660 Silla, Goryeo, and Tang China decided to gang up on Paekje and split Korea between themselves. THeir armies marched into Baekje and defeated the korean kingdom. The Baekje royalty escaped to their Yamato allies and requested aid.
The Japanese realized that Korea was their link to the more sophisticated mainland and were very invested in their colony of Gaya and their korean allies Baekje. Yamato sent 30,000 men in a navy to Korea to take back the captured territories. Japan at this point was still a developing state only a few centuries out of the stone ages....their armies lacked any cohesion or unit tactics and probably weilded a random assortment of weapons made of bronze or iron. The chinese and koreans had already developed steel and more sophisticated militaries and cultures and utterly crushed the mob of Japanese armies.
Ater this Yamato retreated back to its islands and went wide form reform called the Taikia Reform. Military and government changed to mimic the Tang system. This is when true modern Japanese culture is born. Bushi or samurai first emerge as merely servants or attendants of pwoerful japanese clans/families. They were often low rank. they were the orgins of the samurai, armed retainers. The japanese expanded uppward toward Honshu and fought the local Emishi tribes in the 5th -9th centuries. After the conquest of the Japanese islands was complete (minus Hokkaido) the Japanese flourished culturally and developed their own unique culture, an offshoot of Tang Chinese culture. This was the Heian period, classical Japan, comparable to medieval Europe with court culture and samurai/knights.
After this im pretty sure most ppl know what happened, seeing as we are all in a Japanese group! what do you think happened? This is just what I concluded from researching for weeks
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