The earliest Japanese were called the Yayoi peopled. They first lived on the Southern Island of Kyoto. Japanese society was initially a tribal society. When Japan was faced with the threat of invasion from China in the early part of the seventh century an attempt was made by the ruler of the Yamato clan to unite Japan. He succeed and Japan was united by the time of Shotoku Taishi death in 622. In the coming years Japanese government was further centralized. From around 794 the power of the central government began to recede. Local aristocrats soon became power centers of their own. A new class of soldiers developed- the samurai. Like the knights of Western Europe these soldiers were supposed to live be a strict code call the Bushido. The samurai was loyal to his lord.
By the end of 12th century choas reigned in Japan. Minamoto Yoritoma a powerful noble set up a shoganate, a powerful central government under a military leader, seperate from the Emperor. The shogunate which was founded in 1185 successfully defended Japan against an invasion by Kubilia Khan in 1281. In 1333 the Kamakura shogunate overthrew the Kamakura shogunate.