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Glossary

Yamato Court
There are many large-scale tumuli (kofun) in the Kinai (Kyoto-Osaka-Nara) region centering on Yamato Province.
The first state in Japan, Yamato, is thought to have emerged in this province as a result of confederation of powerful clans.
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Kofun Culture
The period from around the end of the 3rd century, when construction of tumuli (kofun) started, until the early 7th century is called the Kofun Period. It is divided into three phases:
  • Early
  • Middle
  • Late
Most tumuli are of the keyhole shape or zempo koen fun (front-square and rear-round tomb mound) or zempo koho fun (front-square and rear-square tomb mound).
The surface of the mound:Covered with stone slabs and ringed with clay objects called haniwa
The interior of the mound:Wooden coffins were placed in stone or clay chambers together with various grave goods such as bronze mirrors, beads/jewelry, swords and agricultural implements.


Soga no Umako
In the late 6th century, as the Korean states became strong and Japan's power as a state weakened, its domestic ruling system had to be restructured.
At that time, the Soga Family utilized the knowledge and knowhow of Korean immigrants to rule the country. Among the members of the family, Soga no Umako, who promoted the acceptance of Buddhism, destroyed Mononobe no Moriya and his family, which led to Soga dominance.
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Prince Shotoku
Under the reign of Empress Suiko, Prince Shotoku (Umayado no oji), as regent to her, worked on political reforms together with Soga no Umako by issuing the Seventeen-Article Constitution and establishing the new system of court ranks, kan'i junikai.
He also ordered Ono no Imoko to lead an embassy to Sui China.


Asuka Culture
The Asuka Culture flourished as Japan's first Buddhist culture during the first half of the 7th century.
Large-scale temples in the Asuka style include Asukadera, of which construction was initiated by Soga no Umako, and Shitennoji and Horyu-ji, which were both constructed by the order of Prince Shotoku.
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The Taika Reform
Prince Naka no Oe and Nakatomi no Kamatari destroyed the powerful Soga Family led by Soga no Emishi and his son Soga no Iruka, and initiated political reform. This paved the way to Japan becoming a centralized state based on the imperial hierarchical system.


Jinshin Disturbance
After Emperor Tenji's death, a struggle for the succession to the Imperial Throne occurred between Prince Otomo and Tenji's younger brother Prince Oama.
Prince Oama defeated Prince Otomo and ascended the throne as Emperor Temmu at the imperial palace Asuka Kiyomihara no Miya.
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Yakusa no Kabane (system of eight honorary cognomens)
A status system with the imperial family as its apex, established by Emperor Temmu.


Taiho Code
Japan's first systematic legal code compiled by Prince Osakabe, Fujiwara no Fuhito and others.
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Hakuho Culture
The Hakuho period extended from the Taika Reform until the transfer of the capital to Fujiwarakyo. The Hakuho culture is closely associated with Buddhism.
Typical examples of the Hakuho culture are some temple buildings at Horyu-ji and Yakushi-ji, and the Takamatsuzuka Mound's wall paintings.


Heijokyo
Empress Gemmei constructed Heijokyo as a capital city modeled on the layout of Chang'an, the Chinese Tang dynasty's capital and moved the court there in 710.
The city extended approximately 4.2 km east to west and approximately 4.7 km north to south. The city flourished as the seat of government for seven successive rulers, or 74 years.
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Embassies to Tang China
Diplomatic embassies sent to the Chinese Tang dynasty. The first embassy to Tang China was led by Inugami no Mitasuki. More than a dozen missions were sent until the cancellation around the end of the 9th century.


Todai-ji Temple
This temple was founded by Emperor Shomu.
It is very famous for its Great Buddha image with a height of 16 m.
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Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters)
Kojiki is Japan's first history compiled by O no Yasumaro from the historical records memorized by Hieda no Are by the order of Emperor Temmu.
It is based on the genealogical record of the imperial family Teiki and a collection of myths, legends and songs connected with the imperial family Kyuji.


Nihon shoki (Chronicle of Japan)
Nihon shoki is the oldest official history of Japan compiled under the leadership of Prince Toneri following the form of Chinese official histories.
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Kaifuso
Kaifuso is Japan's oldest anthology of poems written in Chinese by Japanese poets (kanshi). It contains poems by Kibi no Makibi, Omi no Mifune and Isonokami no Yakatsugu.


Manyoshu
The oldest collection of Japanese poetry containing about 4,500 waka poems.
Among many well-known poems in this collection are those by Otomo no Tabito, Yamabe no Akahito, Yamanoue no Okura and Otomo no Yakamochi.
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Heiankyo
Heiankyo was constructed in the pattern after the capital of Tang China, Chang'an, extending approximately 4.5 km east to west and approximately 5.3 km north to south. The broad avenue with a width of approximately 85 m, Suzaku Oji, ran through the center of the city (Kyoto).
The city remained the seat of government until the relocation of the capital to Tokyo in the Meiji Period.


Sekkan seiji (regency politics)
Sessho denotes the post of imperial regent for an underage emperor and Kanpaku that for an adult emperor. These posts were continuously held by members of the Fujiwara Family during the 10th to 11th centuries in the Heian Period.
The most powerful Fujiwara regents were Fujiwara no Michinaga and his son Fujiwara no Yorimichi.
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