The Nara period of the history of Japan covers the years from AD 710 to 794. Empress Genmei established the capital of Heijō-kyō. Except for a five-year period, when the capital was moved again, it remained the capital of Japanese civilization until Emperor Kanmu established a new capital, Nagaoka-kyō, in 784, before moving to Heian-kyō, modern Kyoto, a decade in 794. Most of Japanese society during this period was centered on villages. Most of the villagers followed a religion based on the worship of natural and ancestral spirits called kami; the capital at Nara was modeled after Chang the capital city of Tang dynasty. In many other ways, the Japanese upper classes patterned themselves after the Chinese, including adopting Chinese written system and the religion of Buddhism. Concentrated efforts by the imperial court to record and document its history produced the first works of Japanese literature during the Nara period. Works such as the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki were political in nature, used to record and therefore justify and establish the supremacy of the rule of the emperors within Japan.
With the spread of written language, the writing of Japanese poetry, known in Japanese as waka, began. The largest and longest-surviving collection of Japanese poetry, the Man'yōshū, was compiled from poems composed between 600 and 759 CE. This, other Nara texts, used Chinese characters to express the sounds of Japanese, known as man'yōgana. Before the Taihō Code was established, the capital was customarily moved after the death of an emperor because of the ancient belief that a place of death was polluted. Reforms and bureaucratization of government led to the establishment of a permanent imperial capital at Heijō-kyō, or Nara, in AD 710, it is to be noted that the capital was moved shortly to Kuni-kyō in 740–744, to Naniwa-kyō in 744–745, to Shigarakinomiya in 745, moved back to Nara in 745. Nara was Japan's first urban center, it soon had some 10,000 people worked in government jobs. Economic and administrative activity increased during the Nara period. Roads linked Nara to provincial capitals, taxes were collected more efficiently and routinely.
Coins were minted, if not used. Outside the Nara area, there was little commercial activity, in the provinces the old Shōtoku land reform systems declined. By the mid-eighth century, shōen, one of the most important economic institutions in prehistoric Japan, began to rise as a result of the search for a more manageable form of landholding. Local administration became more self-sufficient, while the breakdown of the old land distribution system and the rise of taxes led to the loss or abandonment of land by many people who became the "wave people"; some of these "public people" were employed by large landholders, "public lands" reverted to the shōen. Factional fighting at the imperial court continued throughout the Nara period. Imperial family members, leading court families, such as the Fujiwara, Buddhist priests all contended for influence. Earlier this period, Prince Nagaya seized power at the court after the death of Fujiwara no Fuhito. Fuhito was succeeded by four sons, Umakai and Maro, they put the prince by Fuhito's daughter, on the throne.
In 729, they regained control. However, as a major outbreak of smallpox spread from Kyūshū in 735, all four brothers died two years resulting in temporary shrinking of Fujiwara's dominance. In 740, a member of the Fujiwara clan, Hirotsugu launched a rebellion from his base in Fukuoka, Kyushu. Although defeated, it is without doubt that the Emperor was shocked about these events, he moved the palace three times in only five years from 740, until he returned to Nara. In the late Nara period, financial burdens on the state increased, the court began dismissing nonessential officials. In 792 universal conscription was abandoned, district heads were allowed to establish private militia forces for local police work. Decentralization of authority became the rule despite the reforms of the Nara period. To return control to imperial hands, the capital was moved in 784 to Nagaoka-kyō and in 794 to Heian-kyō, about twenty-six kilometers north of Nara. By the late eleventh century, the city was popularly called Kyoto, the name it has had since.
Some of Japan's literary monuments were written during the Nara period, including the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, the first national histories, compiled in 712 and 720 respectively. Another major cultural development of the era was the permanent establishment of Buddhism. Buddhism was introduced by Baekje in the sixth century but had a mixed reception until the Nara period, when it was heartily embraced by Emperor Shōmu. Shōmu and his Fujiwara consort were fervent Buddhists and promoted the spread of Buddhism, making it the "guardian of the state" and a way of strengthening Japanese institutions. During Shōmu's reign, the Tōdai-ji was built. Within it was placed the Great Buddha Daibutsu: a 16-metre-high, gilt-bronze statue; this Buddha was identified with the Sun Goddess, a gradual syncretism of Buddhism and Shinto ensued. Shōmu declared himself the "Servant of the Three Treasures" of Buddhism: the Buddha, the law or teachings of B
The Meiji period, or Meiji era, is an era of Japanese history which extended from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. This era represents the first half of the Empire of Japan, during which period the Japanese people moved from being an isolated feudal society at risk of colonisation by European powers to the new paradigm of a modern, industrialised nationstate and emergent great power, influenced by Western scientific, philosophical, political and aesthetic ideas; as a result of such wholesale adoption of radically-different ideas, the changes to Japan were profound, affected its social structure, internal politics, economy and foreign relations. The period corresponded to the reign of Emperor Meiji and was succeeded upon the accession of Emperor Taishō by the Taishō period. On February 3, 1867, the 14-year-old Prince Mutsuhito succeeded his father, Emperor Kōmei, to the Chrysanthemum Throne as the 122nd emperor. On November 9, 1867, then-shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu tendered his resignation to the Emperor, formally stepped down ten days later.
Imperial restoration occurred the next year on January 3, 1868, with the formation of the new government. The fall of Edo in the summer of 1868 marked the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, a new era, was proclaimed; the first reform was the promulgation of the Five Charter Oath in 1868, a general statement of the aims of the Meiji leaders to boost morale and win financial support for the new government. Its five provisions consisted of: Establishment of deliberative assemblies. Implicit in the Charter Oath was an end to exclusive political rule by the bakufu, a move toward more democratic participation in government. To implement the Charter Oath, a rather short-lived constitution with eleven articles was drawn up in June 1868. Besides providing for a new Council of State, legislative bodies, systems of ranks for nobles and officials, it limited office tenure to four years, allowed public balloting, provided for a new taxation system, ordered new local administrative rules; the Meiji government assured the foreign powers that it would follow the old treaties negotiated by the bakufu and announced that it would act in accordance with international law.
Mutsuhito, to reign until 1912, selected a new reign title—Meiji, or Enlightened Rule—to mark the beginning of a new era in Japanese history. To further dramatize the new order, the capital was relocated from Kyoto, where it had been situated since 794, to Tokyo, the new name for Edo. In a move critical for the consolidation of the new regime, most daimyōs voluntarily surrendered their land and census records to the Emperor in the abolition of the Han system, symbolizing that the land and people were under the Emperor's jurisdiction. Confirmed in their hereditary positions, the daimyo became governors, the central government assumed their administrative expenses and paid samurai stipends; the han were replaced with prefectures in 1871, authority continued to flow to the national government. Officials from the favored former han, such as Satsuma, Chōshū, Hizen staffed the new ministries. Old court nobles, lower-ranking but more radical samurai, replaced bakufu appointees and daimyo as a new ruling class appeared.
In as much as the Meiji Restoration had sought to return the Emperor to a preeminent position, efforts were made to establish a Shinto-oriented state much like it was 1,000 years earlier. Since Shinto and Buddhism had molded into a syncretic belief in the prior one-thousand years and Buddhism had been connected with the shogunate, this involved the separation of Shinto and Buddhism and the associated destruction of various Buddhist temples and related violence. Furthermore, a new State Shinto had to be constructed for the purpose. In 1871, the Office of Shinto Worship was established, ranking above the Council of State in importance; the kokutai ideas of the Mito school were embraced, the divine ancestry of the Imperial House was emphasized. The government supported a small but important move. Although the Office of Shinto Worship was demoted in 1872, by 1877 the Home Ministry controlled all Shinto shrines and certain Shinto sects were given state recognition. Shinto was released from Buddhist administration and its properties restored.
Although Buddhism suffered from state sponsorship of Shinto, it had its own resurgence. Christianity was legalized, Confucianism remained an important ethical doctrine. However, Japanese thinkers identified with Western ideology and methods. A major proponent of representative government was Itagaki Taisuke, a powerful Tosa leader who had resigned from the Council of State over the Korean affair in 1873. Itagaki sought peaceful, rather than rebellious, he started a school and a movement aimed at establishing a constitutional monarchy and a legislative assembly. Such movements were called People's Rights Movement. Itagaki and others wrote the Tosa Memorial in 1874, criticizing the unbridled power of the oligarchy and calling for the immediate establishment of representative government. Between 1871 and 1873, a series of land and tax laws were enacted as the basis for modern fiscal policy. Private ownership was legalized, deeds were issued, lands were assessed at fair market value with taxes paid in cash rather than in k
The Kamakura shogunate was a Japanese feudal military government of imperial-aristocratic rule that ruled from 1185 to 1333. The heads of the government were the shōguns; the first three were members of the Minamoto clan. The next two were members of the Fujiwara clan; the last six were minor Imperial princes. These years are known as the Kamakura period; the period takes its name from the city. After 1203, the Hōjō clan held the office of shikken. In effect, the shikken governed in the name of the shōguns. Before the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate, civil power in Japan was held by the ruling emperors and their regents appointed from the ranks of the imperial court and the aristocratic clans that vied there. Military affairs were handled under the auspices of the civil government. However, after defeating the Taira clan in the Genpei War, Minamoto no Yoritomo seized powers from the aristocracy. In 1192, Yoritomo and the Minamoto clan established a military government in Kamakura. After Yoritomo's death, Hōjō Tokimasa, the clan chief of Yoritomo's widow, Hōjō Masako, former guardian of Yoritomo, claimed the title of regent to Yoritomo's son Minamoto no Yoriie making that claim hereditary to the Hōjō clan.
Tokimasa deposed Yoriie, backed up his younger brother, Minamoto no Sanetomo, as a new shōgun, assumed the post of shikken. The Minamoto clan remained the titular shōguns, with the Hōjō holding the real power. In 1219, Sanetomo was assassinated by his nephew Kugyō. Since Sanetomo died childless, the line of shōguns from the Minamoto clan ended with him. With the Regency, what was an unusual situation became more anomalous when the Hōjō usurped power from those who had usurped it from the Emperor, descending from Emperor Kōkō, who usurped it from the children of Emperor Seiwa; the new regime nonetheless proved to be stable enough to last a total of 135 years, 9 shōguns and 16 regents. With Sanetomo's death in 1219, his mother Hōjō Masako became the shogunate's real center of power; as long as she lived, regents and shōguns would go, while she stayed at the helm. Since the Hōjō family did not have the rank to nominate a shōgun from among its members, Masako had to find a convenient puppet; the problem was solved choosing Kujo Yoritsune, a distant relation of the Minamoto, who would be the fourth shōgun and figurehead, while Hōjō Yoshitoki would take care of day-to-day business.
However powerless, future shōguns would always be chosen from either Fujiwara or imperial lineage to keep the bloodline pure and give legitimacy to the rule. This succession proceeded for more than a century. In 1221 Emperor Go-Toba tried to regain power in what would be called the Jōkyū War, but the attempt failed; the power of the Hōjō remained unchallenged until 1324, when Emperor Go-Daigo orchestrated a plot to overthrow them, but the plot was discovered immediately and foiled. The Mongols under Kublai Khan attempted sea-borne invasions in 1274 and 1281. Fifty years before, the shogunate had agreed to Korean demands that the Wokou be dealt with to stop their raids, this bit of good diplomacy had created a cooperative relationship between the two states, such that the Koreans, helpless with a Mongol occupation army garrisoning their country, had sent much intelligence information to Japan, so that along with messages from Japanese spies in the Korean peninsula, the shogunate had a good picture of the situation of the pending Mongol invasion.
The shogunate had rejected Kublai's demands to submit with contempt. The Mongol landings of 1274 met with some success, but the Japanese had given the Mongols more casualties in an eight-hour engagement than they had had in fighting in China or Korea, there was no rout of the Japanese defenders, who in any case outnumbered the 40,000 combined invasion force of Mongols and Korean conscripts. Noting an impending storm, the Korean admirals advised the Mongols to re-embark so that the fleet could be protected away from shore. After the surviving forces returned to Mongol territory, Kublai was not dissuaded from his intentions on bringing Japan under Mongol control, once again sent a message demanding submission, which infuriated the Hōjō leadership, who had the messengers executed, they responded with decisive action for defense—a wall was built to protect the hinterland of Hakata Bay, defensive posts were established, garrison lists were drawn up, regular manning of the home provinces was redirected to the western defenses, ships were constructed to harass the invaders' fleet when they appeared.
The Mongols returned in 1281 with a force of some 50,000 Mongol-Korean-Chinese along with some 100,000 conscripts from the defeated Song empire in south China. This force embarked and fought the Japanese for some seven weeks at several locations in Kyushu, but the defenders held, the Mongols made no strategic headway. Again, a typhoon approached, the Koreans and Chinese re-embarked the combined Mongol invasion forces in an attempt to deal with the storm in the open sea. At least one-third of the Mongol force was destroyed, half of the conscripted Song forces to the south over a two-day period of August 15–16. Thousands of invading troops were slaughtered by the samurai; such losses in men and the exhaustion of the Korean state in provisioning the two invasions put an end to the Mongol's attempts to conquer Japan. The "divine wind," or kamikaze, was credited for saving Japan from foreign invasion. For two further decades the Kamakura shogunate maintained a watch in case the Mongols attempted another invasion.
However, the s
Nobility is a social class ranked under royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy. Nobility possesses more acknowledged privileges and higher social status than most other classes in society; the privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be honorary, vary by country and era. As referred to in the Medieval chivalric motto "noblesse oblige", nobles can carry a lifelong duty to uphold various social responsibilities, such as honorable behavior, customary service, or leadership positions. Membership in the nobility, including rights and responsibilities, is hereditary. Membership in the nobility has been granted by a monarch or government, unlike other social classes where membership is determined by wealth, lifestyle, or affiliation. Nonetheless, acquisition of sufficient power, military prowess, or royal favour has enabled commoners to ascend into the nobility. There are a variety of ranks within the noble class.
Legal recognition of nobility has been more common in monarchies, but nobility existed in such regimes as the Dutch Republic, the Republic of Genoa, the Republic of Venice, the Old Swiss Confederacy, remains part of the legal social structure of some non-hereditary regimes, e.g. Channel Islands, San Marino, the Vatican City in Europe. Hereditary titles and styles added to names, as well as honorifics distinguish nobles from non-nobles in conversation and written speech. In many nations most of the nobility have been un-titled, some hereditary titles do not indicate nobility; some countries have had non-hereditary nobility, such as the Empire of Brazil or life peers in the United Kingdom. The term derives from the abstract noun of the adjective nobilis. In ancient Roman society, nobiles originated as an informal designation for the political governing class who had allied interests, including both patricians and plebeian families with an ancestor who had risen to the consulship through his own merit.
In modern usage, "nobility" is applied to the highest social class in pre-modern societies, excepting the ruling dynasty. In the feudal system, the nobility were those who held a fief land or office, under vassalage, i.e. in exchange for allegiance and various military, services to a suzerain, who might be a higher-ranking nobleman or a monarch. It came to be seen as a hereditary caste, sometimes associated with a right to bear a hereditary title and, for example in pre-revolutionary France, enjoying fiscal and other privileges. While noble status conferred significant privileges in most jurisdictions, by the 21st century it had become a honorary dignity in most societies, although a few, residual privileges may still be preserved and some Asian and African cultures continue to attach considerable significance to formal hereditary rank or titles. Nobility is a historical and legal notion, differing from high socio-economic status in that the latter is based on income, possessions or lifestyle.
Being wealthy or influential cannot ipso facto make one noble, nor are all nobles wealthy or influential. Various republics, including former Iron Curtain countries, Greece and Austria have expressly abolished the conferral and use of titles of nobility for their citizens; this is distinct from countries which have not abolished the right to inherit titles, but which do not grant legal recognition or protection to them, such as Germany and Italy, although Germany recognizes their use as part of the legal surname. Still other countries and authorities allow their use, but forbid attachment of any privilege thereto, e.g. Finland and the European Union, while French law protects lawful titles against usurpation. Although many societies have a privileged upper class with substantial wealth and power, the status is not hereditary and does not entail a distinct legal status, nor differentiated forms of address. Not all of the benefits of nobility derived from noble status per se. Privileges were granted or recognised by the monarch in association with possession of a specific title, office or estate.
Most nobles' wealth derived from one or more estates, large or small, that might include fields, orchards, hunting grounds, etc. It included infrastructure such as castle and mill to which local peasants were allowed some access, although at a price. Nobles were expected to live "nobly", that is, from the proceeds of these possessions. Work involving manual labour or subordination to those of lower rank was either forbidden or frowned upon socially. On the other hand, membership in the nobility was a prerequisite for holding offices of trust in the realm and for career promotion in the military, at court and the higher functions in the government and church. Prior to the French Revolution, European nobles commanded tribute in the form of entitlement to cash rents or usage taxes, labour or a portion of the annual crop yield from commoners or no
Mon monshō, kamon, are Japanese emblems used to decorate and identify an individual, a family, or an institution or business entity. While mon is an encompassing term that may refer to any such device and mondokoro refer to emblems used to identify a family. An authoritative mon reference compiles Japan's 241 general categories of mon based on structural resemblance, with 5116 distinct individual mon; the devices are similar to the badges and coats of arms in European heraldic tradition, which are used to identify individuals and families. Mon are referred to as crests in Western literature, another European heraldic device similar to the mon in function. Mon may have originated as fabric patterns to be used on clothes in order to distinguish individuals or signify membership of a specific clan or organization. By the twelfth century, sources give a clear indication that heraldry had been implemented as a distinguishing feature for use in battle, it is seen on flags and equipment. Like European heraldry, mon were held only by aristocratic families, were adapted by commoners.
On the battlefield, mon served as army standards though this usage was not universal and uniquely designed army standards were just as common as mon-based standards. Mon were adapted by various organizations, such as merchant and artisan guilds and shrines, theater troupes and criminal gangs. In an illiterate society, they served as useful symbols for recognition. Japanese traditional formal attire displays the mon of the wearer. Commoners without mon used those of their patron or the organization they belonged to. In cases when none of those were available, they sometimes used one of the few mon which were seen as "vulgar", or invented or adapted whatever mon they wished, passing it on to their descendants, it was not uncommon for shops, therefore shop-owners, to develop mon to identify themselves. Rules regulating the choice and use of mon were somewhat limited, though the selection of mon was determined by social customs, it was considered improper to use a mon, known to be held by someone else, offensive to use a mon, held by someone of a high rank.
When mon came into conflict, the lower-ranked person sometimes changed their mon to avoid offending their superior. The mon held by the ruling clans of Japan, such as Tokugawa's hollyhock mon and the Emperor's chrysanthemum mon, were protected from unauthorized usage. Patron clans granted the use of their mon to their retainers as a reward. Similar to the granting of the patron's surnames, this was considered a high honor. Alternatively, the patron clan may have added elements of its mon to that of its retainer, or chosen an different mon for them. There are no set rules in the design of a mon. Most consist of a roundel encircling a figure of plant, man-made, natural or celestial objects, all abstracted to various degrees. Religious symbols, geometric shapes and kanji were used as well. Similar to the blazon in European heraldry, mon are named by the content of the design though there is no set rule for such names. Unlike in European heraldry, this "blazon" is not prescriptive—the depiction of a mon does not follow the name—instead the names only serve to describe the mon.
The pictorial depictions of the mon are not formalized and small variations of what is supposed to be the same mon can sometimes be seen, but the designs are for the most part standardized through time and tradition. The degree of variation tolerated differ from mon to mon as well. For example, the paulownia crest with 5-7-5 leaves is reserved for the prime minister, whereas paulownia with fewer leaves could be used by anyone; the imperial chrysanthemum specifies 16 petals, whereas chrysanthemum with fewer petals are used by other lesser imperial family members. Japanese heraldry does not have a cadency or quartering system, but it is not uncommon for cadet branches of a family to choose a different mon from the senior branch; each princely family, for example, uses a modified chrysanthemum crest as their mon. Mon holders may combine their mon with that of their patron, benefactor or spouse, sometimes creating complicated designs. Mon are monochrome. All modern Japanese families have a mon, but unlike before the Meiji Restoration when rigid social divisions existed, mon play a more specialized role in everyday life.
On occasions when the use of a mon is required, one can try to look up their families in the temple registries of their ancestral hometown or consult one of the many genealogical publications available. Many websites offer mon lookup services. Professional wedding planners and other "ritual masters" may offer guidance on finding the proper mon. Mon are seen on stores and shops engaged in traditional crafts and specialties, they are favored by sushi restaurants, which incorporate a mon into their logos. Mon designs can be seen on the ceramic roof tiles of older houses. Mon designs decorate senbei, sake and other packaging for food products to lend them an air of elegance and tradition; the paulownia mon appears on the obverse side of the 500 yen coin. Items symbolizing family crafts, arts or professions were chosen as a mon. A fan design might be chosen by a geisha. A woman may still wear her maiden mon
The Heian period is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. The period is named after modern Kyōto, it is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism and other Chinese influences were at their height. The Heian period is considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art poetry and literature. Although the Imperial House of Japan had power on the surface, the real power was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan, a powerful aristocratic family who had intermarried with the imperial family. Many emperors had mothers from the Fujiwara family. Heian means "peace" in Japanese; the Heian period was preceded by the Nara period and began in 794 CE after the movement of the capital of Japan to Heian-kyō, by the 50th emperor, Emperor Kanmu Kanmu first tried to move the capital to Nagaoka-kyō, but a series of disasters befell the city, prompting the emperor to relocate the capital a second time, to Heian. A rebellion occurred in China in the last years of the 9th century, making the political situation unstable.
The Japanese missions to Tang China was suspended and the influx of Chinese exports halted, a fact which facilitated the independent growth of Japanese culture called kokufu bunka. Therefore, the Heian Period is considered a high point in Japanese culture that generations have always admired; the period is noted for the rise of the samurai class, which would take power and start the feudal period of Japan. Nominally, sovereignty lay in the emperor but in fact, power was wielded by the Fujiwara nobility. However, to protect their interests in the provinces, the Fujiwara, other noble families required guards and soldiers; the warrior class made steady political gains throughout the Heian period. As early as 939 CE, Taira no Masakado threatened the authority of the central government, leading an uprising in the eastern province of Hitachi, simultaneously, Fujiwara no Sumitomo rebelled in the west. Still, a true military takeover of the Japanese government was centuries away, when much of the strength of the government would lie within the private armies of the shogunate.
The entry of the warrior class into court influence was a result of the Hōgen Rebellion. At this time Taira no Kiyomori revived the Fujiwara practices by placing his grandson on the throne to rule Japan by regency, their clan, the Taira, would not be overthrown until after the Genpei War, which marked the start of the Kamakura shogunate. The Kamakura period began in 1185 when Minamoto no Yoritomo seized power from the emperors and established the shogunate in Kamakura; when Emperor Kanmu moved the capital to Heian-kyō, which remained the imperial capital for the next 1,000 years, he did so not only to strengthen imperial authority but to improve his seat of government geopolitically. Nara was abandoned after only 70 years in part due to the ascendancy of Dōkyō and the encroaching secular power of the Buddhist institutions there. Kyōto had good river access to the sea and could be reached by land routes from the eastern provinces; the early Heian period continued Nara culture. Kanmu endeavored to improve the Tang-style administrative system, in use.
Known as the ritsuryō, this system attempted to recreate the Tang imperium in Japan, despite the "tremendous differences in the levels of development between the two countries". Despite the decline of the Taika–Taihō reforms, imperial government was vigorous during the early Heian period. Kanmu's avoidance of drastic reform decreased the intensity of political struggles, he became recognized as one of Japan's most forceful emperors. Although Kanmu had abandoned universal conscription in 792, he still waged major military offensives to subjugate the Emishi, possible descendants of the displaced Jōmon, living in northern and eastern Japan. After making temporary gains in 794, in 797, Kanmu appointed a new commander, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, under the title Sei-i Taishōgun. By 801, the shōgun had defeated the Emishi and had extended the imperial domains to the eastern end of Honshū. Imperial control over the provinces was tenuous at best, however. In the ninth and tenth centuries, much authority was lost to the great families, who disregarded the Chinese-style land and tax systems imposed by the government in Kyoto.
Stability came to Japan, but though succession was ensured for the imperial family through heredity, power again concentrated in the hands of one noble family, the Fujiwara which helped Japan develop more. Following Kanmu's death in 806 and a succession struggle among his sons, two new offices were established in an effort to adjust the Taika–Taihō administrative structure. Through the new Emperor's Private Office, the emperor could issue administrative edicts more directly and with more self-assurance than before; the new Metropolitan Police Board replaced the ceremonial imperial guard units. While these two offices strengthened the emperor's position temporarily, soon they and other Chinese-style structures were bypassed in the developing state. In 838 the end of the imperial-sanctioned missions to Tang China, which had begun in 630, marked the effective end of Chinese influence. Tang China was in a state of decline, Chinese Buddhists were persecuted, undermining Japanese respect for Chinese institutions.
Japan began to turn inward. As the Soga clan had taken control of the throne in the sixth century, the Fujiwara by the ninth century had intermarried with the imperial family, one of their members was the first head of the Emperor's Private O