This chapter analyzes Daoist elements in early Japanese historical narratives. Daoism played an undeniable role in the symbolics of political ceremony and ritual, even though its presence in the record is elusive at best. Unlike Buddhism, which was well studied for its obvious contributions to the Nara state, Daoism did not develop an autonomous institutional infrastructure over time. Indeed, the degree of Daoism's presence in pre-Nara and Nara Japan is a matter of intense debate today. Archaeologists have discovered prehistoric evidence such as mirrors and swords that may have been used for Daoist ceremonies. Meanwhile, narrative fragments were deposited in the Kojiki and Nihon shoki, which were compiled at a time when acquaintance with Daoist text was fashionable for the court nobility.
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