History of Early Kingship in Late Yayoi

History of Early Kingship in Late Yayoi

The Han Court received delegates from small kingdoms like Kyushu in 57 and 107 C.E. Later, 239, Hamito the queen who headed the kingdom of Yamatai sent tribute mission to the kingdom of Wei where she dominated an alliance of thirty chieftains, lived in a palace certified with watchtowers; guardhouses and rarely appeared in public. For that reason, it’s her brother who conveyed her message and prophesies to the people who often were outside the gates. When she finally died, she went to her grave with more than on e hundred servants who were buried in a large tomb. In regards to the family, children stayed with their mothers up to such an age when they were old enough to move with their fathers. Succession dispute was however inevitable since husbands and wives maintained a separate and independent custodian of their achievements. After the death of the queen, the chieftains who had supported her fought among themselves until they reached an agreement on a young girl to become queen an as to this, the struggle for supremacy seemed more military than political

The Korean Connection

Conflicts between states brought about by the military expansion of the Chinese military expansion pushed refugees into Korean land.  This further sent migrants across the Tsushima Strait in three waves. This happened for 3 centuries, ending on the seventh century. The immigrants who first settled along the western coast brought an Atlaic language form northeast Asia , an ancestor of the modern Japan. As a result of the immigration, they brought in rice, bronze bells, swords, and halberds for rituals, as well as wheelthrown, kiln-fired pottery and stoves. The immigrants also brought techniques of rule that contributed to the process of state building in the Japanese islands. There were similarities in the court systems as the Chieftains acquired surnames that they could then use to denote aristocratic status. Korea got connected to Japan further as their burial mounds and murals provided the model for  Japan’s giant toms built from the fifth to seventh centuries. Buddhism taught in Backje had  a great and  lasting impact on the Japanese society and politics.

The Chinese Connection and Rise of the Japanese Monarch

Both male and female Yamato kings transformed themselves from chieftains of confederacies into Chinese-style monarchs between 592 and 756. Kings saw the need to defeat the violence brought up by succession disputes that weakened ties between centre and periphery ; which lead to regicide and assassination of chief ministers . Suiko and Prince Shotoku opened realtions with the Sui Dynasty in China promoting Buddhism as much for its magical efficacy as for its religious teachings . In 604, prince Shotoku announced a new ideology of rule based on Confucian and Buddhist thought after the promulgation of the Seventeenth Injuctions.  The prince put a new distance between the ruling Yamato line and all the other lineages , a relationship which  was to be expressed in ritual and governed by propriety. Ministers were expected to put public duties, their duty to the throne, above the private interests and only one ruler was to levy and collect taxes. The reform of 645 incorporated continental culture in the midst of conflict and was viewed as the start of monarchial rule. In as much as the reform brought a bloody coup in which Nakatomi no Kamatari destroyed the Soga , the reform : Instituted a population census , a centralized tax system , a legal code  and a civil service examination. Besides, it tried to curtail the ability of local magnates to harass the people and protected the right of women to remarry, provided a municipal government for the capital and inaugated the use of Chinese-style names.  At this point in time, monarchy was fully embraced and monarchs had to rely on powerful lineages in implementing these reforms.

Influence of Introduction of Buddhism to Japan

Introduction of Buddhism to Japan can be dated back to AD. 552 when the Korean emperor Kimmeri presented Buddhist  sutras and a Buhhist image to the ruler of Japan as a gift. Its also understood that the early Buddhism in Japan was transmitted from both Korea and the Chinese mainland. There were societal influences, Artistic  influences and educational influences. When Buddhism got its way into Japan, Buddhist schools which were thirteen and fifty six branches, all of which taught traditional Buddhism.  The official schools included three from the Nara period, two from the Heian period , four from the Pure lands schools , two feom Zen schools and Nichiren. Budhhism also brought with it a societal influence as Buddhist institutions were used by the shogunate to control the country. Buddhist artistical arts was equally evident as it became extremely varied in its expression.

The Elite Culture

This was the Chinese culture that was accessed by the Yamato court and included a written language, Daoism, Confucianism, the literary arts, sculpture , painting and music. The writing system arrived in Japan in the late forth century by the Korean peninsula. Besides Pice Shotoku’s Seventeen Injuctions, he sponsored the writing of a history of Japan based on Chinese models. Official documents including directives to and reports by local officials, summonses, transit passes and labels attached to tax goods were inscribed in over 150, 000 wooden tablets. The Kojiki (records of ancient matters) wich details the age of gods was an attempt by the Yamato Court to justify its preeminence over other lineages. On the other hand, Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan) narrates the history of Yamato rulers in a straight line of descent from the sun goddess. Poetry, in the eyes of ancient Japanese, both summoned and soothed the gods and the words had spirits of their own. The poems of the earliest extant poetry attested to the process of state building expressing emotions of courtiers and frontier guards who forsook family and homeland to serve their monarch.  Provincial chieftains were transformed into court aristocrats by etiquette , ceremony, dance and music. In court ceremonies, the Court Music Bereau established in 702  and staffed chiefly by immigrants took charge of performing a repertoire of Chinese and Korean music and dance called elegant music. This court thus appropriated elements of popular culture into an elite culture where viewing and participating in music and dance and learning the correct codes for conduct in ceremonies were set ever higher standards for civilized behavior.


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