The Modernization of an Ancient Culture: Glossary

Japan: The Modernization of an Ancient Culture
by Lawrence C. Wolken

1. AMATERASU The Sun Goddess
2. ASHIKAGA SHOGUNATE ruler when the Portuguese first made contact with Japan during the sixteenth century.
3. BUDDHISM a religion that emphasizes resisting one’s own selfish desires and places little importance on the material things in life.
4. DIAMYO individual lords who ruled over different parts of Japan under the Tokugawa Shogunate.
5. DIET the legislative branch of Japan’s government.
6. EMPEROR JIMMU according to legend, the first emperor of Japan.
7. FUJIWARA FAMILY this family controlled Japan during the later part of the Heian Period.
8. GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE (GATT) – this agreement was established in 1947 to encourage world trade through a series of reductions in the trade barriers between major industrial nations.
9. HEIAN PERIOD between 794 and 1191 A.D., Japan used China as a model to change itself from a loose association of clans to a close knit monarchy.
10. IMMIGRATION LAW passed in 1924, this law prohibited Japanese living in the United States from owning land.
11. IWAKURA MISSION young Japanese scholars sent in 1871 to study Western countries.
12. KAMI spiritual forces in the Shinto religion.
13. KANBAN an inventory control system where a factory’s inventory never exceeds the parts needed for a very short period of time.
14. LIFETIME EMPLOYMENT major Japanese firms hire employees for their entire working lifetime.
15. MEDIEVAL AGES between 1192 and 1867 A.D., Japan was ruled by a series of warriors known as Shoguns.
16. MEIJI RESTORATION When the Emperor Meiji was restored to power in 1867, he began a new effort to modernize Japan.
17. MINAMOTO YORITOMO he established the first Shogunate government at the beginning of the Medieval Ages.
18. MITI the Ministry of International Trade and Industry is the ministry used by the government to influence the Japanese economy.
19. PRIME MINISTER head of the executive branch of Japan’s government.
20. QUALITY CONTROL CIRCLE a small group of Japanese workers who cooperate with management in an effort to improve quality and reduce production costs.
21. SAMURAI warriors who were indifferent to suffering and pledged their personal loyalty to their feudal lord.
22. SHINKANSEN the bullet train which provides fast rail transportation between major Japanese cities.
23. SHINTOISM a religion which believes natural objects hold spiritual forces.
24. SHOGUNATE GOVERNMENT a warrior, called a shogun, ruled Japan in the name of the Emperor during the Medieval Ages.
25. TAIRA FAMILY they controlled Japan at the end of the Heian Period.
26. TOKUGAWA SHOGUNATE ruled Japan for over 200 years beginning in the late sixteenth century.
27. ZAIBATSU groups of closely knit subsidiary companies which cooperate to expand their economic power.

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