Heian Period (794-1185)

The genpei war (1180-1185) between the Minamoto and Taira clans.
  • Heian means peace in Japanese.
  • The aristocratic class was born and there were about 30 different social classes, the top 3 being the court nobility.
  • The influence of Buddhism was very high.
  • The capital moved from Nara to Kyoto.
  • The Japanese imperial family and the Fujiwara clan ruled the country.

  • The empire closed its doors to China and developed a more Japanese style of arts, religion and government.
  • Aristocracy, poetry and literature was on its peak. The first novel in the world was written (The tale of Genji).
  • Byodoin Temple, a world heritage site in Kyoto, was built during the Heian period.
  • Emperor Kanmu allowed local landowners to have full time armed fighters. They helped the emperor suppress the rebellions. The head of these clans were called Tai-Shogun.
  • First time in history the systematically organized samurai class was born in the Heian period.
  • For the next 800 years the samurai class ruled Japan, the emperor had just symbolic presence.


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