Lesson 5: Life in Ancient Japan

Wrapping Up

Conclusion

Power shifted quite a bit in ancient Japan, as you saw from today's readings. Clans, emperors, powerful nobles, and shoguns all controlled Japan or strongly influenced its government at one time or another. In the next lesson, you'll learn more about the culture of Japan.

Questions to Discuss

  • What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to Japan's geography? (Japan has many natural resources but is vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons, and volcanic eruptions. Islands can be isolated from the rest of the world but can also be protected against invasion.)
  • What was the status of women in ancient Japan? (Women could be clan rulers in the Yayoi and Yamato periods, but they lost some of their status after 550 A.D. and were respected primarily as wives and mothers rather than as potential rulers.)
  • How was rice important to the ancient Japanese economy? (Extra rice could be used in trade or to make goods like rice wine and vinegar that could also be traded. Rice was also used as currency -- it could be used to pay someone's salary, to pay taxes, or in trade.)

Things to Review

  • Review your child's "Geography and Natural Resources of Japan" activity page for accuracy.
  • Review your child's "Power in Ancient Japan" activity (either the pre-printed activity page or your child's own graphic organizer).
  • Review your child's "Trade between Japan, China, and Korea" activity page for accuracy.