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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.105) 5 Liturgies
Imperial Politics and Symbolics in Ancient Japan

Herman Ooms

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the liturgical ceremonies of the new state assembled by Tenmu and Jitō. The Law Codes stipulated a yearly round of ritual events, most of them to secure the ripening of crops and a bountiful harvest. The format for the principal celebrations required that four times a year, hundreds of representatives from designated local shrines assemble at the capital, a number that grew to two and three thousand early in the eighth century. These shrine officiants returned home with oblations for their local kami (spirits or gods). Ultimately, these regular celebratory reunions implemented the reality of a dynamic centralized rulership and spread consciousness of it throughout the land by word of mouth.

Keywords:   liturgical ceremonies, Law Codes, shrine officiants, kami, centralized rulership

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