Kiyomori’s Lost Capital
This essay concerns Taira no Kiyomori’s (1118-1181) attempts to establish a new imperial capital at his country estate at Fukuhara in 1180. Though it lasted for less than six months, the move presented the imperial court with serious challenges, but it was in fact part of a larger and very ambitious plan. Located in present-day Kobe and with access to sea routes at the adjoining harbor of Ōwada no tomari, this relocation demonstrates Kiyomori’s commitment to a new kind of polity, with greater emphasis on trade, particularly with China. It also reflects Kiyomori’s desire not only to escape the entrenched political powers in Kyoto, but to establish a new imperial line beginning with his grandson, Emperor Antoku (1178-1185; r. 1180-1183).
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