This chapter discusses the history, construction, utilization, and excavation of the temple Asukadera. Asukadera is not only the first full-scale temple built in Japan, it is really the first proper Buddhist temple in any meaningful sense. The chapter demonstrates that all of the key figures of the period either were directly associated with the process or were believed by some to have had such an association; consequently, it is shown that the history of Asukadera is a microcosm illuminating the larger picture. The people involved include Empress Regnant Suiko (r. 593–628), Prince Stable Door (Umayado no ōji, also known as Crown Prince Saintly Virtue, Shōtoku Taishi, 574–622), and Soga no Umako (?–626), the leader of the Soga family.
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