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. [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.
Name of Era
Name of Era
– mid-3rd c. CE
mid-3rd c. CE – 7th c. CE
Kofun (Tomb period)
592 – 710
794 – 1185
1185 – 1333
1333 – 1392
Nanboku-chō (Southern and Northern Courts period)
1392 – 1573
1573 – 1603
1603 – 1868
1868 – 1912
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:
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.
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