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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.187) 8 Plottings
Imperial Politics and Symbolics in Ancient Japan

Herman Ooms

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses the internal political and ritual struggles of the Tenmu dynasty. In power struggles, usually around questions of succession, plotters engaged in black magic, witchcraft, and the manipulation of portents and supernatural signs, or were accused of having done so. Yin-yang specialists were even found involved, albeit marginally, in some of the plots. Under these circumstances, Daoism was viewed as a subversive power. Rifts and rivalries also characterized the field of religion as houses of ritualists fight for position at the court. As such, a tenuous separation of political authority and ritualist spiritual power was instituted in the 690s by splitting the new Fujiwara clan into two branches.

Keywords:   Tenmu dynasty, black magic, witchcraft, Daoism, ritualists, political authority, ritualist spiritual power, Fujiwara clan

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