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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.132) 6 Deposits
Imperial Politics and Symbolics in Ancient Japan

Herman Ooms

University of Hawai'i Press

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.

Keywords:   Daoism, political ceremony, Buddhism, Nara Japan, Daoist ceremonies, Daoist text

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