Japanese History Snapshots: Mongol Invasions and Opening to the West

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What’s it all about?

Japan is a top tourist destination, attracting increasing numbers of visitors. It’s a mix of the new and old: bullet trains, geisha, centuries old tea-houses, cutting-edge technology…

But what about nation-shaping events down the millennia? These caused modern-day Japan to be the dichotomy it now is!

Japan’s militarism and 20th Century defeat and occupation, are generally well-known. But did you know that after centuries of seclusion the country was forcibly opened to the West in the 1850s by the American Commodore Perry? Or that in the 13th Century Mother Nature foiled not one, but two attempted Mongol invasions?

What will we cover?

Japanese history is as complex and multi-faceted as any other aspect of the country. It is totally different from the much more familiar history of Europe. However, it’s still littered with violence, cultural enhancement and personal achievement.

In this introductory class, we’re going to look at some of the events that have led to modern-day Japan. First, the failed Mongol invasion attempts, which forced Japanese clans to unite for the first time ever. Then, the forced opening of Japan, causing the country to become fully modernised and a major world power.

Join us and open an historical window on this unique nation to our north.

Who will be teaching?

Stephen Peterson has spent nine years of his life in Japan. He married there, raised a family, set up two small businesses, made many friends, travelled around, and had a thoroughly enjoyable time there. Stephen has given his popular presentation ‘Japan: what you won’t hear from your travel agent’ on numerous occasions at Laneway Learning, now he’s going to delve back into the country’s history with photos and commentary.