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Japan was founded in 600 B.C. by the Emperor Jimmu, which is a direct descendant of the sun goddess and ancestor the present ruling imperial family. About 405 A.D. the Japanese culture officially adopted the Chinese writing system.
Shinto ("the way of the gods") is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people and as old as Japan herself. It remains Japan's major religion besides Buddhism.
Jomon is the earliest culture researchers know in Japan. It is named for the lovely twisted rope decorations on clay pots made by people who lived 4000 years ago. Produced beginning about 10,000 B.C., it marked the beginning of a rich ceramic-making tradition that has continued to the present day. During the Kofun period, sculptors fashioned terra cotta figurines called haniwa that depicted a variety of people, animals, buildings, and boats. When Buddhism arrived in Japan, its architecture and art profoundly influenced native styles. During the Nara period, many new temples were erected in and around the city.  Possibly inspired by the temples of Buddhism, a distinct style of Shinto architecture began to develop. Drawing on native traditions such as raised floors and thatched roofs with deep eaves, Shinto produced artistically fine structures such as the Ise Shrine and the Izumo Shrine.

 

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