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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.154) 7 Articulations
Imperial Politics and Symbolics in Ancient Japan

Herman Ooms

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on a number of Daoist signs that Tenmu marshaled to articulate a supernatural aura for his rulership. A court ceremony, later known as the Festival for Appeasing the Spirits (Chinkon-sai), has undeniably Daoist origins. Also, the New Year receptions at the court were organized around symbols with “Daoisant” connotations. In early Heian, the emperor's ceremonial coat displayed astral symbolism pivoting around the Pole Star, the heavenly zenith of rulership in Daoist discourse. Nara-era names are also replete with Daoist significations. Meanwhile, revisionist interpretations by Japanese and Western scholars have lately repositioned Shinto, denying it a separate religious arena with an indigenous, specific culture and practice. They have reassigned much of its cultic heritage to Daoism.

Keywords:   Daoist signs, Chinkon-sai, Daoist origins, Daoisant connotations, astral symbolism, Pole Star, Daoist discourse, Shinto, Daoism

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