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Imperial Politics and Symbolics in Ancient JapanThe Tenmu Dynasty, 650-800$
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Herman Ooms

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832353

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832353.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Bricolage
Imperial Politics and Symbolics in Ancient Japan

Herman Ooms

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the genealogical bricolage—the construction of a line of descent with extraneous elements—of the “Tenmu dynasty.” During the second half of the seventh century, three rulers brought about a regime change in Yamato: the brothers Tenji and Tenmu, and Jitō—Tenji's daughter who was also Tenmu's wife and successor. From among Tenmu and Jitō's offspring, to the female tennō Shōtoku (d.770), a line of rulers developed, traditionally referred to as the Tenmu dynasty. The historical record reveals both the elimination of family members that were in line to succeed to the throne and the posthumous addition of relatives and ancestors to lineal positions of honor with royal titles they never held while alive.

Keywords:   genealogical bricolage, Tenmu dynasty, Tenji, Tenmu, Jitō, Yamato, royal titles

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