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Unformatted text preview: /28/10 (Fri) Lecture Twenty-FiveHeian Sensibility in Medieval Japan Focus Last Lecture: 1) The process through which Japan became a Buddhist nation and Buddhism a Japanese religion 2) Growing power of and meddling by Buddhist temples in Nara Todays Focus: 1) Heian court turning inward politically, economically, culturally, and religiouslyJapans period of self- imposed isolation 2) Erosion of centralized imperial authority Heian = Kyoto (medieval term) I) Challenges to Centralized Imperial Authority a) Political Ascendancy of the Fujiwara Clan - Transition period from Nara to Heian- Toward the end of Nara one of the emperors Kammu tried to very briefly assert imperial authority for the one last time (it was already erode; growing power of noble & temple) i) Emperor Kammus assertion of imperial authority - part of the attempt required him to move the capital from Nara to Heian @ 749- when he died, the prevailing trend of aristocrats and temple taking on more and more power and influence. & it continued to gain the power.- What we see during the early Heian is that domination no by the imperial family but by the powerful aristocratic family, Fugiwara ii) Fujiwara domination from 9th to 11th centuries - powerful class named Fujiwara: (1) Borrowed wombs method used to cement Fujiwara power - it used the idea of Borrowed wombs to gain more power. >> simply marrying their daughters to imperial family so they could be mothers of imperial heirs (2) Michinaga (966-1027) - most famous &powerful Fujiwara man- he at one point, brother-in-law to two emperors/ father in law to one emperor/ uncle to another/ grandfather to two more emperors - all of these change of emperors, the True power was behind the scene ( it was in Michinagas hand) This was the way Fujiwara asserted their power into imperial court by marrying their daughters to imperial family one example: his daughter shoshi (3) Shoshis pregnancy and delivery of potential heir - married her off when she was 10 yrs old. (difficult labor that she went through)- The moment when she delivered the baby is significant ppl chanting, crying to warding off the evils shoshis head was completely shaved so evil spirit could be confused with all the other monks around her We see the presence of Buddhism, Shinto, and incredible attention to warding off evil spirits. iii) Why did Michinaga not become emperor himself? - To him, it was more expedient, more advantageous to preserve the divine prestige of Yamato lineage/clan( sungod) because challenges makes more unstable- secondly, if you were a emperor, you become more incapacitated, b/c emperor really did not have opportunity to govern or pursue his interest but performing one rituals and another (why so much ruling was behind the scene=much more advantageous)- thirdly, to rule behind the scene, Michinaga would have easier access to financial gain....
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- Spring '10