The Yamato Clan
Legend says that Japan's first emperor was the grandson of the sun goddess. This emperor belonged to the powerful Yamato clan. The Yamato clan was located in the Yamato plain. In AD 500 the clan controlled much of Japan. Over time other clans eventually gained power over the Yamato emperor. Often times the emperor had no real authority. The political system continued in Japan until the 1900s.
The Heian Period
In 794 Japan's emperor moved the capital to Heian which is now called Kyoto. In Heian they developed a stylish court society. At the Heian court the Japanese culture greatly advanced. This era from 794-1185 is known as the Heian period. The nobles lived a very lovely life, they lived in beautiful homes, and they spent most of their time in beautiful gardens or admiring art and poetry. Rules of etiquette governed all aspects of court behavior and dress. The nobles took great care in how they spoke and wrote and everyone was expected to write poetry. Most of the poetry was focused on nature. The women mostly enjoyed writing and reading, and they were strongly discouraged from learning Chinese. Most of them read and wrote in Japanese, and the Women produced some of the best works of early Japanese literature.