The NARA PERIOD (奈良時代, Nara jidai) of the history of Japan
covers the years from AD 710 to 794.
Empress Genmei established the
Heijō-kyō (present-day Nara ). Except for a five-year
period (740–745), when the capital was briefly moved again, it
remained the capital of Japanese civilization until Emperor Kanmu
established a new capital,
Most of Japanese society during this period was agricultural in nature and centered on villages . Most of the villagers followed a religion based on the worship of natural and ancestral spirits called kami .
The capital at Nara was modeled after Chang\'an , the capital city of
* 8 Further reading
* 8.1 English * 8.2 Other
NARA PERIOD LITERATURE
Concentrated efforts by the imperial court to record and document its
history produced the first works of
Japanese literature during the
Nara period. Works such as the
With the spread of written language, the writing of Japanese poetry , known in Japanese as waka , began. Over time, personal collections were referenced to establish the first large collection of Japanese poetry known as Man\'yōshū sometime after 759. Chinese characters were used to express sounds of Japanese until kana were invented. The Chinese characters used to express the sounds of Japanese are known as man\'yōgana .
ECONOMIC, LIVELIHOOD, AND ADMINISTRATIVE DEVELOPMENTS
The primary building, i.e. the Daigoku-den at the Heijō Palace (In the center of the photograph: this is a modern version built for the 1300th anniversary of Nara becoming Japan's capital). Tōdai-ji 's Daibutsuden and Wakakusayama can be seen in the rear (January, 2010).
Taihō Code was established, the capital was customarily
moved after the death of an emperor because of the ancient belief that
a place of death was polluted. Reforms and bureaucratization of
government led to the establishment of a permanent imperial capital at
Heijō-kyō , or Nara , in AD 710. It is to be noted that the capital
was moved shortly (for reasons described later in this section) to
Kuni-kyō (present-day Kizugawa ) in 740–744, to Naniwa-kyō
Economic and administrative activity increased during the Nara period. Roads linked Nara to provincial capitals, and taxes were collected more efficiently and routinely. Coins were minted, if not widely used. Outside the Nara area, however, there was little commercial activity, and in the provinces the old Shōtoku land reform systems declined. By the mid-eighth century, shōen (landed estates), one of the most important economic institutions in medieval Japan, began to rise as a result of the search for a more manageable form of landholding. Local administration gradually became more self-sufficient, while the breakdown of the old land distribution system and the rise of taxes led to the loss or abandonment of land by many people who became the "wave people" (furōsha). Some of these formerly "public people" were privately employed by large landholders, and "public lands" increasingly reverted to the shōen.
Factional fighting at the imperial court continued throughout the
Nara period. Imperial family members, leading court families, such as
the Fujiwara , and Buddhist priests all contended for influence.
Earlier this period, Prince
Nagaya seized power at the court after the
Fujiwara no Fuhito
CULTURAL DEVELOPMENTS AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF BUDDHISM
Some of Japan's literary monuments were written during the Nara
period, including the
Another major cultural development of the era was the permanent
During Shōmu's reign, the
Tōdai-ji (literally Eastern Great Temple)
was built. Within it was placed the Great Buddha
Although these efforts stopped short of making
The empress commissioned the printing of 1 million prayer charms — the Hyakumantō Darani — many examples of which survive. The small scrolls, dating from 770, are among the earliest printed works in the world. Shōtoku had the charms printed to placate the Buddhist clergy. She may even have wanted to make Dōkyō emperor, but she died before she could act. Her actions shocked Nara society and led to the exclusion of women from imperial succession and the removal of Buddhist priests from positions of political authority.
Many of the Japanese artworks and imported treasures from other
countries during the era of Emperors Shōmu and Shōtoku are archived
Tōdai-ji temple. They are called
The first authentically Japanese gardens were built in the city Nara at the end of the eighth century. Shorelines and stone settings were naturalistic, different from the heavier, earlier continental mode of constructing pond edges. Two such gardens have been found at excavations; both were used for poetry-writing festivities.
The Nara court aggressively imported Chinese civilization by sending
diplomatic envoys known as kentōshi to the Tang court every twenty
years. Many Japanese students, both lay and Buddhist priests, studied
in Chang\'an and
Relations with the Korean kingdom of
* ^ Dolan, Ronald E. and Worden, Robert L., ed. (1994) "Nara and Heian Periods, A.D. 710–1185" Japan: A Country Study. Library of Congress , Federal Research Division. * ^ Ellington, Lucien (2009). Japan. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-59884-162-6 . * ^ See Wybe Kuitert, Two Early Japanese Gardens 1991, * ^ Lockard, Craig A. (2009). Societies Networks And Transitions: Volume B From 600 To 1750. Wadsworth. pp. 290–291. ISBN 978-1-4390-8540-0 .
* Brown, Delmer M. (1993). Cambridge History of Japan: Ancient
* Farris, William (1993). Japan's Medieval Population: Famine,
Fertility, and Warfare in a Transformative Age. University of Hawai'i
* Ooms, Herman (2009). Imperial Politics and Symbolics in Ancient
Japan: The Tenmu Dynasty. pp. 650–800.
* Sansom, George Bailey , G. B. (1978). Cambridge History of Japan:
* Kornicki, Peter F. (2012). "The Hyakumantō darani and the origins
of printing in eighth-century Japan". International Journal of Asian
* Bender, Ross (2012). Friday, Karl, ed. "Emperor, Aristocracy, and
the Ritsuryō State: Court Politics in Nara".
* Kojima, Noriyuki (1994). Shin Nihon Koten Bungaku Zenshū: Nihon Shoki (vol. 1). Shōgakukan. ISBN 4-09-658002-3 . * This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/. – Japan
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