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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:59 pm    Post subject: Rise and Fall of the Fujiwara Reply with quote
I'm going to try something of the next couple of weeks, if people are interested: I want to explore the rise and fall of the Fujiwara and their power base from the rise of Nakatomi Kamatari to the end of the Heian era. I'll try to go through things chronologically. What do people think, would there be interest in exploring such a topic? I know I, for one, have never really explored too deeply the politics of this period and think it could be a fun exercise.


-Josh
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
If you can wait until after the 16th of this month, I will participate. I have a lot of resources that I can use.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Cool. We'll see if we can come anywhere near to how Obenjo and Tatsunoshi have been going at it... somehow I doubt it, but we can try!

-Josh
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Im interesting , but i aint plan to participate. I'd be interested to know about Fujiwara. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
MexSamurai wrote:
Im interesting


You are very interesting.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
MexSamurai wrote:
Im interesting , but i aint plan to participate. I'd be interested to know about Fujiwara. Smile
I also find you very interesting!

Josh,
bow Okay. I get it! Thank you very much for starting this thread. I also "ain't" planning to participate much, but I am looking forward to this discussion. Especially the posts on my favorite Fujiwara--Fujiwara Norika! Wink Just Kidding
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'd like to see it too, especially if the Tachibana (the normally forgotten of the '4 famous clans) are involved as well. My participation would likely be limited to asking questions.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'm very interested but I don't have a lot of resources on the period - will try and contribute with what I have.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Very very interested. The clan has fascinated me especially in the structures/options it availed of itself to maintain political influence.

I'll try to participate as best i can - but won't be able to contribute a lot until the end of this month - schedule is very busy.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hmmm... lots of sideline interest. I'm going to go through and see what I can dig up on Nakatomi Kamatari to start with. Well, maybe we should start with the Nakatomi.

It is significant here that these are ritualists at their core--that is the family's function at court, anyway. I'm going to look into what exactly that means, though I suspect it has a lot to do with early Shinto belief and worship--I welcome any thoughts on this.

This really shows an interesting side of Japan at the time, though--in the midst of adopting Chinese style government, power is being given to local families and provincial powers that are, essentially hereditary. Does this mean the system was doomed to corruption from the very start?


-Josh
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Since the death of Prince Shôtoku the Soga family had been growing out of control in their efforts to increase their personal wealth and power at the expense of the court. There was no settled administration and no racial homogeneity: the Soga made allies with Chinese, Koreans, Ainu and the tribesmen Kumaso from the south-west. The central government’s power was very tenuous, and was everywhere either challenged or ignored by the clans. In the capital great importance was beginning to be placed on the various ranks and appropriate cap colours, making the nobility even more separate from the rest of the population.

The Soga overthrew the Mononobe and Nakatomi clans in the quarrel over the introduction of Buddhism fifty years earlier. The Nakatomi, as Josh says, were hereditary chief priests of Shintô. Nakatomi no Kamatari (中臣の鎌足) (614-669) (If you want to look him up he’s easier to find under the name the Emperor bestowed on him just before his death, Fujiwara no Kamatari藤原鎌足 - he's also called Nakatomi no Kamako 鎌子) retired to study Chinese sages (“took in his hands the yellow rolls”) while making a careful appraisal of the various imperial princes. He made friends eventually with Prince Naka no Ôye (中の大兄), and together they plotted the downfall of the Soga, having Soga no Iruka assassinated in the presence of the Empress, who was then forced to abdicate in favour of her younger brother, Kôtoku, a devout Buddhist and easy-going in character.

Sansom says the assassination was mean but doesn't give any details.

But could Kamatari consolidate his position or would this be just another overthrow of one clan by another? How did he convert the uneasy confederation of tribes that made up Japan at the time into a centralised bureaucratic state on the Chinese model?

This is mainly from Japan: A Short Cultural History by G.B. Sansom. Reading his account has left me with many questions – but this is all I have time for today.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
It is also interesting to note the connection in your source with a native ritualist apparently encouraging the growth of Buddhism in Japan. I'll have to look at that more closely.

Check out the Nihon Shoki and the Kojiki, too--it is interesting because, as I recall, the Kojiki is written with a pretty pro-Soga slant and the Nihon Shoki is much broader and tends to be less pro-Soga. I still need to get home to my sources to write more...

-Josh
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yes, that was one of my questions. I suppose it is the "Paris is worth a Mass" effect Just Kidding

I looked at the Kojiki on line but didn't succeed in finding anything about this period. Do you have a link/reference to the relevant part?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I may have been misremembering regarding the Kojiki and Nihongi: While the Kojiki was written with a slant, it was towards those currently in power. It comes off as monolithic, giving the 'official' version of things up to Empress Suiko (d. 623). Nihongi, on the other hand, appears to have been inspired by the voices of the lesser houses who wished to have the stories of their ancestors told, and as such is much less monolithic and cohesive in its telling, often presenting multiple stories that may even directly conflict. Furthermore, it takes us up to the year 697, which is perfect for this particular discussion.

The connection between the Nakatomi and the Soga in these two works is not so much what /is/ written, but rather, what isn't. The "Kojiki" is, contrary to my previous writings, more prone to be pro-Nakatomi. The Nihongi, which honors the stories of lesser clans, contains stories indicating a much larger role for the legendary figures associated with the Soga clan. This shows, according to Michiko Aoki (Piggott 2006) that the Soga family, though it had fallen from a great height, was not entirely out of the picture.

Before I go much further, let me present a short bibliography of some of the books I've grabbed for this discussion:

"Capital and Countryside in Japan, 300-1185", edited by Joan R. Piggott, 2006.

"Ancient Japanese Nobility" by Richard J. Miller, 1974.

"Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697" translated by W.G. Aston, 1972.

"The Early Institutional Life of Japan: A Study in the Reform of 645 A.D.", by K. Asakawa, 1903 (1963 reprint).

There may be others, too, but I'll bring them in as relevant.

So, back to what Heron was saying:

Quote:
Since the death of Prince Shôtoku the Soga family had been growing out of control in their efforts to increase their personal wealth and power at the expense of the court. There was no settled administration and no racial homogeneity: the Soga made allies with Chinese, Koreans, Ainu and the tribesmen Kumaso from the south-west. The central government’s power was very tenuous, and was everywhere either challenged or ignored by the clans. In the capital great importance was beginning to be placed on the various ranks and appropriate cap colours, making the nobility even more separate from the rest of the population.


I would assume you mean Emishi and Hayato, rather than Ainu and Kumaso (although there are thought to be links between the two I don't think we can successfully match the two together); however, I'm not sure if Sansom delineated between the two. I'm not surprised about his mention of Chinese and Koreans, since this is still a period when a great deal of immigration from the mainland.

The 'Kumaso' had, according to the Nihongi, been pacified and effectively assimilated in the 5th century. Takahashi Tomio (as interpretted by Karl Friday; Piggott 2006) argues that the Kumaso (if there was such a people) likely became known as the Hayato after the Yamato polity pushed them to the edges of Kyushu.

Those in the north, on the other hand, were known as 'Emishi'--originally using the classical Chinese characters meaning "hairy barbarians", which applied to many people outside of China's direct control. Later, the kanji changed to call them 'quail hunters', but the pronunciation appears to have remained the same.

I mention this because Takahashi and Inoue Tatsuo (Piggott 2006) both note that the Nakatomi, forebears of the Fujiwara, were likely a provincial clan from the area later known as Hitachi whose power base was built on the incorporation of Emishi into the Yamato polity. These authors make arguments which indicate to me that the line between 'Emishi' and 'Yamato' was quite thin, the two groups delineated primarily by their loyalty to the Yamato polity and the Tenno at its center. The forebears of the Nakatomi had likely come from Korea in the 6th century, and built up their power in the provinces until they truly came into their power in the 7th century.

I'd also like to note that being a ritualist was hardly uncommon--I would venture that it was the Yamato polity's model of government, rallying people behind a single religious theme. Urabe, Himatsuribe, etc. were all ritualist or diviner families, and I believe this is of some significance.

I want to go more into this, particularly about the specifics of Shotoku Taishi and the Soga, and then the Taika reform of 645. Let me gather my thoughts, though, and put something together.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Okay, here's some notes from "The Early Institutional Life of Japan" by K. Asakawa. It pretty much substantiates what Heron had posted earlier, with a little more detail:

From the mention of the probably legendary Emperor Suinin we see 5 families at the center of Yamato politics:

Abe no Omi
Wani no Omi
Nakatomi no Muraji
Mononobe no Muraji
Ootomo no Muraji

Later, we see the rise of a descendant of a son of Emperor Kogen, Takeshiuchi, whose granddaughter was married to Emperor Nintoku. This is the first instance in the histories of a marriage outside of the Imperial family, and it was used by the Fujiwara later to justify their own marriage-politics of the later periods. Takeshiuchi's family branched out and became the Heguri, Katsuragi, Hata, Soga, and others.

The

586: Prince Anahobe attempts a coup. He calls on the Mononobe (Ohomuraji Mononobe no Moriya) and Soga (Ohoomi Soga no Umako [Mmako]). Soga remonstrates with the Prince, but Mononobe carries out his wishes (to kill the Sakashi).

587: Emperor desires to accept Buddhism. Ootomo and Soga team up with the Emperor against Nakatomi and Mononobe. Nakatomi (no given name mentioned) was killed.

Emperor then dies. Mononobe remain at their 'house' attempting to put a new Prince on the throne. Soga, working for the Empress Dowager, has the would-be emperor killed and sends Soga with an army against the Mononobe. The Mononobe were destroyed, with survivors in hiding or changing their names.

592: Soga no Umako orders the assasination of Emperor Sushun and then has the assasin killed, paving the way for a Soga princess to become Empress.

Soga then maintained the top position until 642, when "Soga-no-Iruka sent an Omi and a Muraji to seize a Prince who was his inveterate enemy." By this time the Ootomo had also been humbled, and the Soga were essentially naming their children as princes and princesses.

Soga no Emishi had built a fortified palace on a hill (actually two, according to the histories), and was openly encroaching on Imperial authority and perogatives. Emishi even granted his son, Iruka, the right to wear a purpole cap, essentially handing out rank on his own.

Prince Naka no Oe and Nakatomi no Muraji Kamako (aka Nakatomi no Kamatari) began to plot the downfall of the Soga. According to the Nihongi, their relationship began with Prince Naka no Oe's shoe went flying off in a game of kemari. Nakatomi no Kamako saw this as an oppurtunity, and brought it back to him. In such a way, they could start a relationship, for, according to the Nihongi, anyway, Nakatomi no Kamako was looking for those of the Imperial line who were interested in the downfall of the Soga. He saw them as overstepping their bounds (of course, remember who is writing the histories...).

Their assasination of Soga no Iruka in full view of the rest of the court sealed the fortunes of the Soga family, but it did not necessarily guarantee those of the Nakatomi--or Fujiwara as they came to be known. The Taika Reforms were put in place, with profound effects on the government, but it would take the Fujiwara yet more time to really come into power. I'll be doing some more searching and come back with more information on what happend to Kamatari (and his family) after the Taika Reforms.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yes, Ainu and Kumaso are the terms Sansom uses - he was writing in 1931 and revised in 1952.

I read somewhere else (Jp wiki maybe) about Soga Emishi being called that by posterity, emphasising his relationship with the Emishi, and maybe suggesting he was something of a hairy barbarian himself.

Everyone probably knows this site already but you can read some of the early texts here
http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/index.htm

This is what Britannica says about Kamatari:

"As a reward for his services, Kamatari was given the position of minister of the interior, and in this role he was able to implement a series of far-reaching measures known as the “Reforms of Taika” (Taika no kaishin). Taika, meaning “great change,” was the term adopted for this whole era in accord with the Chinese custom of counting time by arbitrary “year periods” (neng_). His reforms helped strengthen the power of the central government and transform the Japanese political and economic system into a small facsimile of T’ang China (618–907). In 669, as a reward for his services, Kamatari was given the new surname of Fujiwara, and under him the Fujiwara clan became firmly ensconced."
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The new surname is interesting because I ran across a brief mention of 'Fujiwara-be' being a name given out by the tenno previously to groups for services rendered, as it were. BTW, so far my research shows that there was apparently a problem in this period with people claiming names and titles that they didn't have a right to.

Another interesting anecdote on Kamako: according to the Nihongi (or so said Dr. Asakawa--I haven't checked with the Nihongi itself), Nakatomi Kamako was offered the position of Chief Ritualist of the State, and he refused. It doesn't seem to go into why. This is just before Kamako goes feeling out all of the various Princes to see how they feel about the Soga family's dealings.

Some other off-the-cuff, I-don't-have-sources-in-front-of-me comments:

The Soga duo strikes me as the de Spencer's of this conflict. In Froissart's "Chronicles" of the Hundred Years War he puts much of the blame for the actions of Edward II on Hugh de Spencer the Elder and Hugh de Spencer the Younger, an ambitious father and son team that had been able to acquire the ear of the monarch. Soga no Emishi and Soga no Iruka seem to have taken on a similar role in this drama.

It is also interesting that the Kojiki, published well after the fact, cuts off just before this incident, leading me to wonder just how it was viewed at the time. You would think that it would have been a potential boon for the Fujiwara of the time, considering that Kamako appears to be one of the 'heroes' of the story. On the other hand, they may not have wanted other people to get the idea that assasinating those in places of Authority was O.K.

Finally, to end this ramble, I want to take a section from Wikipedia on the Taika edicts (The Great Reform):

"Prior to the accession of Emperor Kōtoku, Japan was divided among many clans and warlords. These reforms were needed to bring all of these recently conquered and united people and lands under the control of the Emperor. In essence, they established the basics of the feudal system, whereby lords could hold power within their lands and could still exercise hereditary rights to land and titles, but all land ultimately belonged to the Emperor, and all loyalties were to the Emperor above all other lords and masters. To set an example to other nobles, the Crown Prince surrendered his own private estates to the public domain (the Emperor's control)."

Is this what the Taika Reforms did, or did it simply put an eductated Chinese and Confucian gloss on the current system (which I'd almost think of as being more feudal in nature than that instituted by the Reform)?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:


I read somewhere else (Jp wiki maybe) about Soga Emishi being called that by posterity, emphasising his relationship with the Emishi, and maybe suggesting he was something of a hairy barbarian himself.


I remember Nagaeyari posting something about this sometime last year. Can't seem to find it though - if he makes an appearance, maybe he'll let us know.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
JLBadgley wrote:
Is this what the Taika Reforms did, or did it simply put an eductated Chinese and Confucian gloss on the current system (which I'd almost think of as being more feudal in nature than that instituted by the Reform)?


From the reading I've done on the subject, it appears that the Taika Reforms weren't quite as sweeping as is generally thought, and certainly didn't have the impact that the Nihongi implies. It seems that modeling the Japanese system on the Chinese system didn't really begin in earnest until the Taiho Code of 701. The Taika Reforms DID have a big influence on Buddhism and its integration into the state. In any, event, though, I agree that whatever was done in the seventh century was done to legitimize the Yamato state as rulers without taking anything away from the powers that be.

A word on the emishi/ezo (same concept, one pre-Nara, one post)-it does look like the only thing that differentiated them from the 'Yamato Japanese' was history and culture rather than race-I don't think the Ainu were involved in any way with the machinations going on during this period. As Nags posted last year, emishi just seemed to be a broad term that incorporated any group that opposed the Yamato power base. I find it instructive that the Yamato always preferred to incorporate them rather than fight them when possible-many of the more powerful families in the northeast were 'converted emishi', like the Abe (including the famous seventh century general Abe No Hirafu, who was one of the earliest people to be named Shogun). I believe the last of the 'converted emishi' families in the northeast was the Mutsu Fujiwara (who were destroyed by Minamoto No Yoritomo way outside the time period we're dealing with).
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'm spinning some of the Taika Reform stuff off to another thread:

http://forums.samurai-archives.com/viewtopic.php?p=39718#39718

I realized I'd been taking a turn, a bit, but want to keep the discussion going on this because I think it is a fascinating point in Japanese history.

I'll have more coming on the Fujiwara, soon...

-Josh
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
So, good old Kamako...

As we saw, his family got hit pretty bad when Buddhism initially swept through. The Soga, meanwhile, milked it for all it was worth. Nonetheless, the Nakatomi may have been down but not out. They still had a fair amount of power out in their neck of the woods, where refugees from the Korean penninsula had settled in the 6th century, along with others looking for land on the frontier.

Kamako was born in 614. That would make him about 28 when Soga no Emishi and his son, Soga no Iruka, reached the heights of their power presumptiveness. He had both of his sons: Soga no Iruka and his younger brother, who was made head of the Mononobe through his grandmother's side. Even the Empress was a Soga relative.

Kamako, who in 644 "was appointed Chief of the religion of the Gods" (Shinto), apparently had a friendly relationship with Empress Kogyoku's brother, Prince Karu. According to the Nihongi, it was his animosity towards the Soga's presumptiveness and his love of Prince Karu that made him take action. There was likely also animosity between his position as chief ritualist and the foreign Buddhist religion supported by the Soga as well.

Kamako is wily, however. He goes in search of a Prince to help him in is endeavor, and finds Prince Naka no Oe as worthy. So as not to arouse suspicion while they plot, they both take to studying Chinese classics with the same teacher, Minabuchi (possibly Sha'an of Minabuchi, a man of Chinese ancestory who had gone to China with a Japanese embassy in 608). Walking to and from their 'lessons' they were able to plot without too much suspicion.

Kamako had one more trick to prepare, however--he had Prince Naka no Oe bring in Soga no Kurayamado no Maru by marrying his daughter. He also appears to have brought others into the plot.

(Note: Some of the specific details are sketchy, as it is hard to know exactly how much embellishment has gone on. Still, the story of what happened, as it was passed down, is still important to the impression and justifications of later generations).

It was in 645 that the plot unfolded. The court was assembled to receive the tribute from Korea. With Soga no Iruka in the palace, Prince Naka no Oe had the guards bar the gates, and then murdered Iruka in front of the Empress and the court--according to the Chronicles, nobody lifted a finger to help the younger Soga. The Prince then marched on the fortified household of the Elder Soga, who was protected by the Atae of Aya. Among the Aya, however, an 'Omi' (a man of a high ranking uji) deserted, and soon the rest of the forces fled as well, leaving Soga no Emishi defenceless, and he, too, was put to death.

Empress Kogyoku likely knew nothing of this, and the chronicles do not mention her approval or disaproval. They only go on to mention that she offers the throne to Prince Naka no Oe, who is her son and crown prince. Nakatomi no Kamako, however, intervenes and reminds the Prince that it would not be appropriate to pass over his elder, Prince Karu (whom, if you remember, Kamako had been friends with even earlier, and whom Kamako had promised to support). So Prince Karu became Emperor Kotoku, and enacted the reforms drawn up by Prince Naka no Oe, Nakatomi Kamako, and others.

The assination of the powerful Soga father and son team appears, at first, to have been lauded by other members of the court. However, the reformist ideals of Kamako and Naka no Oe were not necessarily greeted wtih the same level of aplomb. Nonetheless, they pushed through their agenda of governmental reform based on Chinese principles.

During the next 10 years, Kamako pretty much drops off the map. He is appointed as Naijin, no small position, and is no doubt involved in the reforms, but his next appearance is in 654, when he receives a promotion. Incidentally, 654 also appears to be the year of Emperor Kotoku's death. However, instead of Prince Naka no Oe taking the throne, he once again passes it to an older relative--this time back to his mother, who reigns as Empress Saimei. Kamako's good pal, however, still seems to be running things behind the scenes (and presumably Kamako along with him).

Then, in 662, Prince Naka no Oe finally ascends the throne, later to be known as Tenji Tenno. He rewards his friend and colleague by giving him the surname, Fujiwara, and it is from this point forward that Fujiwara no Kamatari shows prominently in the lists and deeds of nobles of the period.

One interesting piece of the reforms appears to be the emphasis on the individual--hearkening back to the Chinese concept of a meritocracy. With individual (rather than group) rankings established in the early 7th century, it seems a natural progression. Mind you, the handing out of kabane to Uji, rather than rewarding solely an individual, definitely continued. However, I find this of interest in Fujiwara no Kamatari's new name.

It essentially put him apart from his Uji, the Nakatomi. That meant that his accomplishments would not necessarily reflect back on them, directly, as had the accomplishments of the heads of the Soga clan. It was not required as a prerequisite for greatness--the Nakatomi were already one of the great Uji of the realm. Thus I can only see this as a means to further identify the individuality of Kamatari.

If he truly was an idealist, attempting to remove the power that the Uji held over the Imperial court and institute a meritocracy of individuals, it is perhaps ironic that it was more the pattern of the Soga than that of himself, that his descendants would ultimately seem to follow.

He himself would not see it, though. In 669, Nakatomi no Fujiwara no Kamatari passes away--and with him almost goes the Fujiwara line itself! But more when I return...
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
But could Kamatari consolidate his position or would this be just another overthrow of one clan by another? How did he convert the uneasy confederation of tribes that made up Japan at the time into a centralised bureaucratic state on the Chinese model?


Going back a bit to this question... I'm not sure that 'uneasy confederation of tribes' necessarily defines the situation. If anything, the Soga had pretty much unified folks under their position, which looks remarkably like the model the Fujiwara would follow in later years. Kamatari strikes me as a politician and concensus gatherer, who likely worked to get the clans to accept the reforms (at least in name).


-Josh
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
A little more errata: I have had time to go back to the Nihongi. It appears that the Nakatomi no Naidaijin (i.e. Nakatomi Kamako, or Kamatari) was residing in Fujiwara (Fujihara) and was known as Fujihara no Naidaijin. However, the actual appointment of the name comes, according to the Nihongi, on the 15th day of the 10th month of 669, as well as an elevation to the rank of Daijin. Fujiwara no Kamatari dies the next day.

More to come, really...
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


So, where were we? Ah, yes, the death of Kamatari.

After his death, the Fujiwara disappear for a while from the pages of the Nihongi. The only relative we really see is Nakatomi no Kane no Muraji, who, in 671, on the 5th day of the 1st month, makes an announcement to the court on matters of the kami and then is appointed to the position of Prime Minister of the Right (Udaijin). Other appointments made that day were Prince Otomo, son of Emperor Tenchi, who was made Dajodaijin, and Soga no Akae no Omi, who is made Prime Minister of the Left (Sadaijin).

We also have one more brief pseudo-mention:

Quote:

2nd month, 17th day. The province of Hitachi [a Nakatomi stronghold] presented as tribute Nakatomibe no Wakako. He was one foot six inches in height, and was born in the year Hinoye Tatsu (656), so that he was in this year sixteen years of age.


Not much there, really.

In the 11th month, 23rd day, the Great Council goes to a Buddhist temple to take an oath of loyalty to the Emperor, who dies soon there after.

Part of the reason for this may have been that Emperor Tenchi had, before he died, passed over his younger brother, Prince Oama (formerly the heir apparent), in favor of his son, Prince Otomo. Prince Oama went off to become a monk, supposedly to pray for good health, promising to step out of the way.

Things don't go so smoothly, however...

JINSHIN WAR
672, with his brother dead, Prince Oama hears about plots against him from the capital:

Quote:
We are now informed that the Ministers of the Court of Afumi are plotting mischief against Us. Do ye three therefore hasten to the province of Mino and give information to Honji, Oho no Omi, the Governor of the hot baths of the district of Yasuhama. Explain to him the necessities of the position of affairs. Let him first of all levy the soldiers of his own district, and then by means of the Governors of provinces set on foot the troops of all kinds and quickly beset the Fuha road. We are now starting.


After being held back briefly by his ministers (to wait until they can get an armed band together), the Emperor set off East. As they went, they burned down the post stations as they passed (this also seems to be a common practice when they need firewood to warm the troops). Eventually they come to the capital in Afumi (Omi) and succeed in placing Prince Oama--soon to become Emperor Temmu--on the throne.

In the aftermath of the struggle, Nakatomi no Udaijin and other supporters of Prince Otomo are put to death, and the Udaijin's family is banished to the provinces. Not a good time to be a Nakatomi kinsman (or Fujiwara, for that matter)...

Interestingly, very little is said about Kane's actual role in the Jishin War, other than his position. I would assume that this was not the favorite topic of the Fujiwara during the time the Nihongi was written, and wouldn't be surprised if some less than savory moments were excluded.

One of Kamatari's sons would rise out of this and bring greatness back to the Fujiwara household, however. He took refuge during the fall-out of the Jishin War in the household of Tanabe Osumi in Yamashina. He would eventually come to the attention of an Empress. Anyone know of whom I'm speaking?
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heron
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Could it be Fujiwara no Fuhito, who gained the favour of Empress Jito?
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