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  • Print publication year: 1993
  • Online publication date: March 2008

4 - The Nara state

This chapter reviews the remarkable century that began with the civil war of 672 and ended with the removal of the capital from Nara in 784. It considers what Emperor Temmu and his successors did to increase the strength and unity of Japan's imperial state, and looks at contemporary political conditions. Temmu's plans for defense were broader and deeper than those of his predecessor Tenji, as he envisaged a unified military force. The spiritual authority of the Japanese ruler was strengthened not only by kami worship at the most important shrines and by Buddha worship at the leading temples but also by the construction of Chinese-style capitals. The death of Emperor Mommu in 707 at the age of twenty-five came at the beginning of the Nara period's second phase, when a grand Chinese-style capital and a statewide system of Buddhist temples were built.
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The Cambridge History of Japan
  • Online ISBN: 9781139055062
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