Japanese Dynasties

Yamato Clan and Heian Period

This picture is showing the sun goddess, Amaterasu, that the people in the Yamato dynasty believed in. They believed that the first emperor was the grandson of the sun goddess.

Yamato (300-710)


Under the category, Early Developments, this link describes more in depth the origin of the Yamato. It tells how the sun goddess sent her grandson, Ninigi, to be in charge of ruling. It also describes the cultures that influenced the Yamato clan.

The Yamato clan lived on the Yamato plain that had rich farming land that was on the island of Honshu. They controlled most of the land on the Honshu island, because of this they began to call themselves the emperors of Japan. The Yamato clan also say that they are divine and Japan's emperor still states that they are a descendant from the Yamato clan because it is such an honor.

Heian (794-1185)

This is a piece of literature that was very important in the Heian period.

Literature, specifically poetry, was extraordinarily important to the Heian period. Everyone was supposed to learn how to write poetry, even women. Women were not supposed to learn Chinese, but they strongly encouraged for them to learn Japanese and to write literature. The most popular writer was Lady Murasaki Shikibu and the most famous work for hers was The Tale of Genji. The link below is a website that allows you to look at the actual text, translated in English. There are also features that let you watch a video about the text and also explore things that were occurring during the time that it was written.

This video does an excellent job of describing the government and military during the Heian period. It tells about the emperors that were influential to the Heian period and what differences each of them made. Stop the video at 3:05.