I think I’m going to post pictures and information about how the kimono evolved in Japan. Here’s the general timeline for Japanese history. The dates are somewhat subjective the further back one goes, as new archaeological discoveries continue to be made.
Here’s a rough guide to the different historical periods of Japan:
Jomon Period: Began roughly about 10000 BC and continued to about 300 BC. The Jomon people were noted for their elaborate pottery with designs found nowhere else on Earth. Once thought to be primarily a hunter gatherer society, it’s becoming evident that the Jomon people practiced rudimentary forms of agriculture and were semi-sedentary due to the richness of their environment.
The Yayoi Period: Began about 300 BC, although recent evidence suggests that it began 500 years earlier than previously thought. The Yayoi brought to Japan advanced forms of agriculture, especially wet rice. It is not known precisely where the Yayoi originated from; if they were a single people or if they were migrants from many locations, although it’s obvious from their material culture they came from the Asian mainland.
The Kofun Period: 300 AD-645 AD. This is the time when Japan began to unify under a single political entity. The Japanese begin to adopt written Chinese and establish trade relations with Korea and China. Rulers were buried in large burial mounds.
The Asuka-Nara Period: 645-794 AD. Buddhism is introduced to Japan by way of Korea. There are major reforms aimed to strengthen the imperial family’s power. Powerful noble clans also emerge during this period, including the Soga, Inbe, and Nakatomi. The Japanese are initially resistant to the influence of Buddhism, although the emperors patronize it to help ensure a peaceful state. The first capital is established at Nara and modeled after Chang-An in China.
Heian Period: 794-1185 AD: The imperial court moves to Kyoto to escape the Buddhist dominated Nara. Buddhism continues to flourish with the native Shinto. Japan stops trade with China in 838. This is considered the golden age of Classical Japan when the kana is invented and women begin to write literature.
The Kamakura Period 1185-1333 AD: The rise of the military class reduces the emperor’s power. The capital is moved to Kamakura by Minamoto no Yoritomo, although the emperor continues to reside in Kyoto.
Muromachi Period 1333-1568 AD: The Muromachi district of Kyoto becomes the base for Shogun Ashikaga Takauji’s new military government. This begins a long period of war for the Japanese.
The Azuchi-Momoyama Period 1568-1600 AD: Oda Nobunaga attempts to reunify Japan. This period is often considered a second golden age due to the flourishing of Zen and tea ceremonies.
Edo Period 1600-1868 AD: Japan enters into an age of peace and isolation. The capital is moved to present day Tokyo. A rigid social hierarchy is enforced during this time. A growing merchant class enjoy new forms of entertainment such as kabuki and bunraku theater. By the 19th century Japan opens its borders after the United States enters an agreement with them to use Japanese ports as supply bases.
Meiji Period: 1868-1912 AD: Japan restores the emperor’s power and the feudal system is done away with. Japan also begins to grow as a world power as it wins several wars around the turn of the century.
Taisho Period: 1912-1926 AD: Japan continues to grow economically.
Showa Period: 1926-1989 AD: Japan experiences WWII as an Axis power. After WWII, Japan rapidly industrializes and their economy booms.
Heisei Period: 1989-Present