Geographical Features

· Japan is made up of a chain of islands that stretches for more than 2000 kilometres.
· The four main islands of Japan are: See Map
· Almost 70% of Japan is mountainous and most of this is covered with forests.
· Only around 14% of the land on the narrow coastal strip is suitable for farming.
· Japan is swept by typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

1. Record the above notes in your book. First leave a blank page for you to later design a title page about Medieval Japan and the era of the Shogun.

2. Watch this video and add the key points it makes to your own notes in your book:

How did the geography of Japan affect its society?

The geography of Japan greatly affected its society through the connections people had to the land and natural resources of the country.
The geography influenced their religion and cultural beliefs as well as their food.

Except for forests, which cover 55 percent of its land, Japan is poor in natural resources.
   - This has forced its people to be resourceful traders and manufacturers.

Their natural resources were limited to wood and stone for energy and building materials.

Because of earthquakes in their area the architecture of their houses was a light wooden design.

As a group of islands, Japan was isolated from the rest of Asia.
    - This isolation has had two main results. For one thing, it has led to fewer invasions of Japan, thus creating less need for a strong central government.

It has also let Japan pick and choose the influences it has taken from other cultures, in particular China, since it is close enough to the continent to absorb foreign influences, but isolated enough to be able to reject the aspects it does not want.
For example, the introduction of Buddhism 552 B.C.E. and the Chinese system of writing from 600 B.C.E.

The restricted amount of available farmland, forced Japanese peasants to intensively cultivate what little land is available.
   - This has led to both a crowded and necessarily cooperative society that values the group, good manner and ritualised ways of behaving, loyalty, and obedience to authority over the rights of the individual.

The introduction of Confucianism after 400 C.E., with its emphasis on strictly defined social roles, further reinforced this trend.

Its mountainous topography influenced their early religious beliefs, where and how Japan's people earned their livings.
    - It also isolated different groups and encouraged the development of feudal warlords.

The religions, specifically Shintoism, were greatly influenced by the elements and natural resources of Japan.

The land is very mountainous and not suitable for farming, so many people relied on fishing from the surrounding oceans as their main food resource.
Such as shellfish, seaweed, and fish.

3. Print off and complete the following activity that explains the main ways the geography of Japan influenced the Japanese society and culture. Chart Activity. The above information will help you.

4. Print off and label the different features on this blank map of Japan. Use the information from the map provided above and your own research. Lightly colour the map and paste it in your book.