||[Feb. 13th, 2006|05:40 pm]
I thought you people might know the answer to a question I've been set:|
"Was the Muromachi period a dark age?"
Any help would be great!!!
The Dark Age(s) refers to the time period of (around) 475AD to 1000AD in Europe.
The Muromachi period refers to the time period of (around) 1330AD to 1570AD in Japan.
Thanks, but I needed more detail. The question is more along the lines of whether it should be regarded as a dark age. This means is the euro-centric terminology applicable to the Japanese situation. The Muromachi period was a time of great turmoil in the archipelago but also produced cultural advances and had an effective economy. Is it comparable to Europe or can the term of 'dark age' be used in an East Asian context as well?
Damn. I was composing my reply while you posted that.
personally, i'd pin the Heian Jidai as the 'dark ages,' mainly because--like you said about the Muromachi period making notable cultural advances--the Heian was more or less a stand still from 700s up through 1185 at Dan-no-Ura and Minamoto no Yoritomo subsequentially became the first Shogun.
wish i could be more help. my forte's Heian and i only know limited ammounts of info about Muromachi.
True, but if we look at it as a dark age rather than The Dark Ages, it gets a bit more complicated. Was it a period of cultural stagnation, with education and political power concentrated in the hands of a few, and rampant military strife preventing unity? There are better definitions of dark ages, but that's what I'd look for.
I'd say it definitely had characteristics, but there was cultural (mainly literary, though I'm not familiar with art) growth, at least.
Precisely. Cultural (yes, literary - renga poems, nou plays etc.)progress is undeniable. I think I might disagree that it SHOULD be regarded a dark age in my essay, but suggest that it's worth considering a European perspective on pre-modern Japan. They share characteristics but do their differences outweigh them?
It's definitely an interesting concept. I would argue that it wasn't an exact parallel to the European Dark Ages. However, looking back at Japanese history, would there be another period that would be more aptly described as "The Japanese Dark Ages?" That's not to necessarily say that there has to be one at all.
From what I know, I don't think that the term dark age, in the European sense, applies. In Europe, the term indicated a collapse of central authority, Roman culture, and science.
I know the Muromachi Period had great conflict with the Nambokucho-Jidai and the Onin no Ran, which devastated Kyoto and was a precursor to the Sengoku-Jidai, but I don't think it had the same dark impact as the dark ages in Europe.
To me, the Muromachi period saw a flowering of arts and culture (I believe under the patronage of the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu), so it can hardly be considered a "dark" age. The Onin no Ran, which started the Sengoku-jidai, didn't come until the end of the Muromachi period, so I would hardly say that the Muromachi period was an era of continuous conflict. Not perfect peace, of course, but not endless, total war, either.