another major act of reform was the promulgation by

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Unformatted text preview: aps we should marvel that the system worked as effectively as it did; yet within a century it had begun to decay. The aristocratic families, along with Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, started to accumulate private estates that were in many ways similar to the territorial holdings of the pre-Taika uji. (We may note that the equal-field system fared little better in T’ang China, the land of its birth. After the failure of this system later during the T’ang, China never again in premodern times attempted to nationalize land and parcel it out by allotment at the local level to individuals or families.) Another major act of reform was the promulgation by the court, in 702, of the Taihò (“Great Treasure”) Code, which specified the central and provincial offices of the new government (some of which were already functioning) and set forth general laws of conduct for the Japanese people. Also modeled on T’ang, the Taihò Code provided Japan with an 28 The Introduction of Buddhism elaborate and symmetrical bureaucratic structure of the sort that had evolved over a millennium or more in China Although it functioned smoothly enough through most of the eighth century, it ultimately proved too weighty and inflexible for Japan in this early stage of its historical development. Beginning in the ninth century, new offices that were opened outside the provisions of the Taihò Code successively became the real centers of national power in Japan. In 710 the court moved to the newly constructed city of Nara, which remained the capital of Japan until 784. Before this move, the site of the court had often been shifted, usually in and around the central provinces. Some claim that the Shinto view of death as a defilement—and the death of a sovereign as the defilement of an entire community—was the main reason for this constant moving about. But another likely reason is that the loose control of the Yamato court over the territorial uji in earlier centuries necessitated its frequ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.

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