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The history of Japan covers Japan and its relation to the world. It is characterized by isolationistic, semi-open and expansionistic periods.
The very first human habitation in the Japanese archipelago has been traced to prehistoric times around 30,000 BC.The J?mon period, named after its cord-marked pottery, was followed by the Yayoi in the first millennium BC when new technologies were introduced from continental Asia. During this period, the first known written reference to Japan was recorded in the Chinese Book of Han in the first century AD.
Between the fourth century and the ninth century, Japan's many kingdoms and tribes gradually came to be unified under a centralized government, nominally controlled by the Emperor. This imperial dynasty continues to reign over Japan. In 794, a new imperial capital was established at Heian-ky? (modern Kyoto), marking the beginning of the Heian period, which lasted until 1185. The Heian period is considered a golden age of classical Japanese culture. Japanese religious life from this time and onwards was a mix of native Shinto practices and Buddhism.