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East Asian History at a Glance

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© Keio University
Books are part of the flow of history. But it is not only about Japanese history. Many books travel over the seas from time to time for several reasons, and a lot of knowledge and information come and go with books.
In this course, you wi’ll see books published in Japan as well as ones that came from China and Korea. Let’s take a quick look at the history of East Asia. You do not have to remember all the names of the historical periods mentioned, but please refer to this page as you progress through the course.
Timeline [Take a closer look]
The PDF version of the timelines on this page is available in the DOWNLOADS section below, which also includes some helpful maps. Please check it out!

Japanese History Overview

This is a list of the main periods of Japanese history. This may be a useful reference as we proceed in the course.
PeriodName of EraName of Era
– mid-3rd c. CEYayoi弥生
mid-3rd c. CE – 7th c. CEKofun (Tomb period)古墳
592 – 710Asuka飛鳥
710-794Nara奈良
794 – 1185Heian平安
1185 – 1333Kamakura鎌倉
1333 – 1392Nanboku-chō (Southern and Northern Courts period)南北朝
1392 – 1573Muromachi室町
1573 – 1603Azuchi-Momoyama安土桃山
1603 – 1868Edo江戸
1868 – 1912Meiji明治

Era names (Nengō) in Edo Period

There were several era names (nengo, or gengo) in the Edo period (1603 ~ 1868) and your educators will sometime use them in the description of old books and materials, especially in Weeks 2 and 4. Here is the complete list of Edo-period era names for your convenience:
StartEra nameEnglish StartEra nameEnglish
1596慶長Keichō 1744延享Enkyō
1615元和Genna 1748寛延Kan’en
1624寛永Kan’ei 1751宝暦Hōreki
1644正保Shōhō 1764明和Meiwa
1648慶安Keian 1772安永An’ei
1652承応Jōō 1781天明Tenmei
1655明暦Meireki 1789寛政Kansei
1658万治Manji 1801享和Kyōwa
1661寛文Kanbun 1804文化Bunka
1673延宝Enpō 1818文政Bunsei
1681天和Tenna 1830天保Tenpō
1684貞享Jōkyō 1844弘化Kōka
1688元禄Genroku 1848嘉永Kaei
1704宝永Hōei 1854安政Ansei
1711正徳Shōtoku 1860万延Man’en
1716享保Kyōhō 1861文久Bunkyū
1736元文Genbun 1864元治Genji
1741寛保Kanpō 1865慶応Keiō

Chinese History Overview

This is a list of the main periods in Chinese history. This may also be a useful reference as we proceed in the course as many of the books we will discuss were written in China.
PeriodName of EraName of Era
1046 – 256 BCEZhou
480 – 221 BCEWarring States戦国時代
221 – 206 BCEQin
206 BC – 8 CEFormer Han前漢
8 – 23 CEXin
25 – Early 3rd periodLater Han後漢
Early 3rd period – Late 3rd periodPeriod of Three Kingdoms三国時代
265 – 316Jin, Western Jin晋(西晋)
317 – 420Jin, Eastern Jin晋(東晋)
304 – 439Period of the Sixteen Kingdoms五胡十六国時代
439 – 589Period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties南北朝時代
581 – 618Suí
618 – 907Táng
907 – 960Period of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms五代十国時代
960 – 1127Northern Song北宋
1127 – 1279Southern Song南宋
1271 – 1368Yuan
1368 – 1644Ming
1644 – 1912Qing

Korean History Overview

This is a list of the main periods in Korean history. Many books came to Japan from or through Korea.
PeriodName of EraName of Era
– 108 BCOld Choseon古朝鮮
57 BC – 935Silla新羅
18 BC – 660Baekje百済
37 BC – 668Goguryeo高句麗
918 – 1392Goryeo高麗
1392 – 1910Joseon李氏朝鮮
© Keio University
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