Sui Yangdi was the second emperor of the Sui Dynasty, and reigned from 604-618 CE. His major accomplishment as emperor was completing the Grand Canal. "Sui Yangdi"s investment in the Grand Canal paid dividends for more than a thousand years. It integrated the economies of northern and southern China (Traditions and Encounters, 377). Because Sui Yangdi"s construction projects demanded high taxes and forced labor on the Sui people, they were discontent with his rule. When Korean troops started to push back the Sui army, the discontent people revolted angainst Sui Yangdi. In 618 a "disgruntled" official assassinated the emperor and the Sui dynasty fell. Sui Yangdi was important because he was the last emperor of the Sui dynasty and completed construction on the Grand Canal.

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The Grand Canal was a man-made waterway that was completed by emperor Sui Yangdi (604-618 CE) to facilitate trade between the northern and southern regions of China. It was a massive waterway that started in Hangzhou in the south and went to Chang"an in the west and Beijing in the north. The Grand Canal was the only practical way to transport large quantities of food, since it was the only north-south waterway in China. The Grand Canal allowed the abundant supply of food near the Yangzi River to be available to the northern region (Traditions and Encounters, 377). The Grand Canal was important because it unified the Sui dynasty and provided an economical way to transport goods between the north and south of China.
Tang Taizong was the second emperor of the Tang dynasty and reigned from 627-649 CE. After Taizong"s "shady" ascension to the throne at Chang"an, he worked to create a stable government. Taizong was a Confucian ruler who led the Tang dynasty into a period of prosperity. While on the throne, Taizong ended banditry and kept the price of rice and taxes low. Taizong also maintained an extensive communications network based on roads and runners. Moreover, Taizong supported the equal field system and a bureaucracy of merit, electing officials based on how they scored in the examination system. Under Tang Taizong, the Tang dynasty also expanded militarily (Traditions and Encounters, 378-9). Tang Taizong was important because under his rule the Tang dynasty entered a period of stability and prosperity.
Chang"an was a city in central China that served both as the western endpoint of the Grand Canal and the capital of the Tang empire. Chang"an was established as the Tang capital when a rebel leader captured it after Sui Yangdi"s death. The Tang court was located at Chang"an, and it served as the major power of the entire Tang dynasty (Traditions and Encounters, 378). Chang"an was important because it was the administrative center of the Tang dynasty and the western endpoint of the Grand Canal.
The equal field system was a program under the Tang dynasty that governed the distribution of land to people. The equal field system was controlled by the government, and was to make sure people received an equal distribution of land, to avoid the land concentration problems that ultimately destroyed the Han dynasty. The system gave land to families based on the fertility of the land and the size of the family. One fifth of the land actually belonged to the family, but the rest was available for redistribution when the recipients circumstances changed (Traditions and Encounters, 379). The equal field system was important because it prevented the concentration of land in wealthy families and promoted stability in the Tang dynasty.
The examination system was a system during the Tang dynasty that promoted governmental stability. During the Tang dynasty, rulers recruited government officials who had studied the Confucian educational system and passed a series of examinations. This prevented government officials from being corrupted, and though families of wealth could sometimes use their influence to gain positions of power, most bureaucrats were given positions of power based on intellectual ability (Traditions and Encounters, 379). The examination system was important because it made most of the Tang officials intellectuals who were loyal to the state.
An Lushan was one of the top military leaders of the Tang Dynasty. An Lushan led a revolt against the Tang Dynasty in 755 capturing both the capital Chang"an and the secondary capital Luoyang. He was killed in 757 by an assassin, but the rebellion still continued on until 763 when the Tang armies recovered the capitals. Although An Lushan"s rebellion ultimately failed, it severely weakened the Tang dynasty and would be one of the major factors for the downfall of Tang China.
Song Taizu was the first emperor of the Song Dynasty reigning from 960 to 976. After his rise to power, Song Taizu forced his generals to retire and replaced them with scholars in order to have a strong control over the military. During his reign, Song Taizu also provided many more government jobs through the civil service exam creating a very large bureaucracy. By rewarding those who showed a strong loyalty for him and the imperial government with large salaries and lavish gifts, Song Taizu made his bureaucracy extremely centralized as well.
Foot binding is the act of binding the feet of Chinese girls. Foot binding caused small deformed feet and would prevent the woman from being able to walk. Foot binding was popularized by a strengthening patriachal authority in the upper classes of Tang China. By crippling their daughter, the father showed how wealthy his family was as the girl did not have to work.
Flying money is the name given to the letters of credit used during Tang and Song China. These letters of credit allowed merchants to deposit a certain amount of cash or goods one place and then withdraw the equivalent in cash or merchandise somewhere in China. The letters of credit were one of the many methods tried by the Chinese government to replace the copper coins, which were beginning becoming difficult to produce. This method ultimately failed because the merchants would be unable to pay the amount on the letters.
Neo-Confucianism is the result of Chinese scholars combining Confucian values with Buddhist thought. Song rulers tried to bring traditional Chinese values to the lower class because of the high support of Buddhism. One of the foremost representative of Neo-Cofucianism was Zhu Xi. Zhu Xi was deeply commited to Confucian values while interested in the speculative and abstract features of Buddhist thought. Neo-Confucianism is a great development in China which demonstrated the influence of Buddhism on China. Neo-Confucianism shaped modern Chinese philosophical and political thought until the early 20th century.
One of the many achievements of the Tang Dynasty is the Tang Tribute System. The Tang tribute system, like the Examination System, is based upon the Han Dynasty. Conquered countries and peoples would be made to accept the Tang Emperor as their overlord and send regular gifts. In return, the leaders of the tributary states could keep authority over their states as well as gifts from China (T&E, 380). The Tang Tribute System allowed for important relations between China and the nearby nations allowing for trade and diplomacy.
The Khitan was nomadic group from from Manchuria whose empire spread from Korea to Mongolia. They required large tributes of silk and silver from the Song dynasty. In the early 1100s they were conquered by the Jurchen (T+E p382).
When the Jurchen established the Jin empire in northern China, they captured the Song capital, Kaifeng. The Song then moved to Hangzhou, the capital of the Southern Song dynasty. Later in 1276, Khubilai Khan and his Mongol forces destroyed the city (T+E p471).In the late 1200s, this port city had a population of over 1 million people. It held a wide variety of shops and had interesting customs. Because of its lucrative position on the southern end of the Grand Canal, it served as a middle-man between China and foreign sea-trade.
Political Structure:Although Japanese emperors held supreme political authority, they only served as ceremonial figureheads. The real power lay in the hands of the Fujiwara family - an aristocratic clan that controlled all political dealings through the emperor.Because the publicly recognized figurehead has always been separate from the actual rulers, the imperial family has lasted a long time in Heian Japan.This topic may relate to What characteristics make Heian Japan unique?Culture:The culture is a mix of traditional Japanese ways and the Chinese influence. Literature was written in Chinese and resembled Chinese works as well. Formal education was in Chinese and the officials conducted all their dealings and records in Chinese <1>. Many Chinese characters merged with the Japanese syllabic writing into symbols called Kanji
After the decline of Heian Japan in the late 1000s the Taira and Minamoto clans emerged. They fought and in 1185 the Minamoto won. The Minamoto didn"t get rid of imperial authority in Japan and instead assigned a clan leader called shogun. This military governor resided in Kamakura and the imperial court stayed in Kyoto (T+E p400).
Samurai were warriors that employed a mix of force and art into their fighting style. Like feudal Europe, the samurai were vassals to provincial lords of Japan. The lords paid the samurai with food from their agricultural surplus (T+E p400).

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Heian aristocratic women contributed few, but noteworthy works to Japanese literature. Murasaki Shikibu wrote "The Tale of Genji" in Japanese syllabic script and tells of a witty prince named Genji.As the characters age, they realized that they can"t enjoy things that already happened. The theme of this book is very reflective and melancholy in contrast to most writings of the Heian court.
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