Tom's East Asia Project
China, Mongols, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia
China (Sui, Tang, Song)
The Sui Dynasty was a Bureaucracy created by the Emperor Yang Jian. He was also known as Wendi. The reason for the creation of the Sui Dynasty was due to the Disunion Period. During the Sui Dynasty, there was the completion of the Grand Canal.
The Tang Dynasty was also a Bureaucracy and there were two capitals. They were located in Chang’an and Luoyang. The Tang citizens were Buddhists. Their emperors included Tai Zong and the only female Chinese ruler, Wu Zhao.
The Song Dynasty consisted of major achievements for the Chinese. Some of these achievements included gunpowder, woodblock printing, and movable type. Movable type is where you can rearrange letters or characters in a printer to make printing easier. The capital of the Song Dyansty was in Kaifeng. The government was a Bureaucracy and their religion was Confucianism.
The Mongols were ravenous people who took over most of Asia. Their most famous leader was Temujin, a.k.a. Genghis Khan. The Mongolian people were nomadic while living in the harsh environment of the Steppes of Asia. There was little to no water available and the land was to flat for any kind of irrigation.
One of the grandsons of Genghis Khan ruled the area of China and created the Yuan Dynasty. This Emperor was Kublai Khan. He gave his dynasty a Chinese name to create loyalty to the Chinese subjects. The Dynasty was a Mongolian government with the capital located in Beijing. Kublai Khan adopted many Chinese practices by having a wall build outside the capital and did courts ceremonies in a Chinese style. Their achievements in this time included adding more roads and extending the Grand Canal to increase the ease of trade.
The Japanese Empire was created from the Yamato Clan. This group established their capital on the island of Honshu. Their leader was a supposed grandson of the sun goddess. The chiefs began to call themselves the Emperors of Japan without controlling most of Japan. Overtime Japan's emperors claimed to be divine, while being figureheads of other clans. The main religion in Japan was Shinto which means "way of the Kami". Shinto doesn't have a sacred text but believes that everything in nature has a kami.
In the Heian Period, Japanese culture flourished. This period lasted from 794 to 1185. It was mostly ruled by the Fujiwara family. The family would marry their daughters to those who were heirs to the throne. Later on they rich land owners challenged the Fujiwara family. Heian influences came from the Chinese. This includes religion such as Buddhism and Taoism and Chinese writing styles. Women wore silk gowns made from 12 colored layers. Nobles took care with the way they spoke and wrote. They wrote and spoke as if it were poetry.
The Koryo Dynasty was created from the rebels against the Silla Kingdom. The word Koryo is the basis of the name Korea. The rulers took ideas from earlier Chinese Dynasties and improved them. One of these ideas included the movable type. Whereas the Chinese used wooden blocks, the Koreans used metal blocks. Another Chinese influence was the celadon. Celadon was a piece of pottery the was a blue-green color. The Korean rulers were the ones to adopt the Chinese culture. The leaders at the is time inherited their spot in the government from their parents. From this the government was divided between the government and the rest of the people.
The Pagan Kingdom was established around the AD 840's with the first ruler being Anawrahta who ruled from 1044 to 1077. His conquests over land around him created much of what is now Myanmar. These conquests provided access to trading posts which made the kingdom prosper. Anawrahta and his successors supported the religion of Buddhism by building thousands of buddhist temples. Over time Pagan became a center of Buddhist learning. In the late 1200's Mongols eventually demanded a tribute from the kingdom but they refused and attacked. Unfortunately the Pagan empire was crushed by the Mongols and the king fled south. The son however killed his father and paid the tribute to the Mongolians. This event left the Pagan empire powerless but still left an influence from their culture and society.
The Khmer Period reached its height between 850 and 1220. Khmer is located southeast to Pagan and is now Cambodia. It grew from conquests from the surrounding kingdoms and became an great empire. Khmer controlled much of the southeast Asian mainland when it was at its peak. The emperors of Khmer adopted both Hindu and Buddhist beliefs and ruled as though they were gods. The capital of Khmer was located Angkor. The city symbolized space of the Hindu universe and a temple located in the center. Other temples were built in the city. The most famous is the Angkor Wat with the ruins still standing today. The funding of the amount of temples built was because of the empire of Khmer grew of rice farming.
The Trading Kingdoms were located south of the mainland on multiple islands. On the island Java, Sailendra was at its peak from 750 to 850. They relied on agriculture and trade. Mahayana Buddhism was the religion in the kingdom and the kingdom was known for its buddhist art and architecture.
On the island of Sumatra, the Srivijaya Empire thrived from riches from the 600s to 1200s. At its peak, the empire grew to Malay Peninsula and Borneo. The riches came from the control of overseas trade between the Malacca and Sunda straights. The kingdom adopted Hinduism and Buddhism in which they blended with local beliefs. The capital was located at palembang on Sumatra. This capital became a center of learning Buddhism. In 1025, an Indian kingdom attacked and weakened the power of the Srivijaya Empire. This caused the kingdom to lose their grip on the control of trade.
Vietnam was taken over by the Han dynasty in 111BC. The Chinese called this region Annam and was in control off and on for 1,000 years. The Vietnamese adopted many Chinese aspects such as religion and language. Vietnam even had the same kind of government. With these Chinese influences, the people of Vietnam kept their own customs like the worship of nature spirits. Whenever the Chinese rule was weak, the people rebelled against them in hopes of restoring independence. One of the most famous rebellions was lead by the sisters Trung Trac and Trung Nhi who were raised an army in 39 AD. They briefly drove the Chinese back, but the Chinese regained their control over Vietnam again. With the fall of China's Tang dynasty, Vietnam took the chance again for independence. This time they succeeded in 939, and sent a tribute to China after another attempt to regain control over Vietnam. In the later 1200's the Mongols attacked, but were defeated and Vietnam kept its independence.