The history of Chinese literature extends thousands of years, from the earliest recorded dynastic court archives to the mature vernacular fiction novels that arose during the Ming dynasty to entertain the masses of literate Chinese. The introduction of widespread woodblock printing during the Tang dynasty and the invention of movable type printing by Bi Sheng during the Song dynasty spread written knowledge throughout China. In more modern times, the author Lu Xun is considered the founder of baihua literature in China. Formation of the earliest layer of Chinese literature was influenced by oral traditions of different social and professional provenance: cult and lay musical practices, astronomy, exorcism. An attempt at tracing the genealogy of Chinese literature to religious spells and incantations was made by Liu Shipei. There is a wealth of early Chinese literature dating from the Hundred Schools of Thought that occurred during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty; the most important of these include the Classics of Confucianism, of Daoism, of Mohism, of Legalism, as well as works of military science and Chinese history.
Note that, except for the books of poems and songs, most of this literature is philosophical and didactic. However, these texts maintained their significance through both their prose style; the Confucian works in particular have been of key importance to Chinese culture and history, as a set of works known as the Four Books and Five Classics were, in the 12th century AD, chosen as the basis for the Imperial examination for any government post. These nine books therefore became the center of the educational system, they have been grouped into two categories: the Five Classics commented and edited by Confucius, the Four Books. The Five Classics are: Classic of Changes, a divination manual; the Four Books are: the Analects of Confucius, a book of pithy sayings attributed to Confucius and recorded by his disciples. Other important philosophical works include the Mohist Mozi, which taught "inclusive love" as both an ethical and social principle, Hanfeizi, one of the central Legalist texts. Important Daoist classics include the Dao De Jing, the Zhuangzi, the Liezi.
Authors combined Daoism with Confucianism and Legalism, such as Liu An, whose Huainanzi added to the fields of geography and topography. Among the classics of military science, The Art of War by Sun Tzu was the first to outline guidelines for effective international diplomacy, it was the first in a tradition of Chinese military treatises, such as the Jingling Zongyao and the Huolongjing. The Chinese kept consistent and accurate court records after the year 841 BC, with the beginning of the Gonghe Regency of the Western Zhou Dynasty; the earliest known narrative history of China was the Zuo Zhuan, compiled no than 389 BC, attributed to the blind 5th-century BC historian Zuo Qiuming. The Book of Documents is thought to have been compiled as far back as the 6th century BC, was compiled by the 4th century BC, the latest date for the writing of the Guodian Chu Slips unearthed in a Hubei tomb in 1993; the Book of Documents included early information on geography in the Yu Gong chapter. The Bamboo Annals found in 281 AD in the tomb of the King of Wei, interred in 296 BC, provide another example.
Another early text was the political strategy book of the Zhan Guo Ce, compiled between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC, with partial amounts of the text found amongst the 2nd century BC tomb site at Mawangdui. The oldest extant dictionary in China is the Erya, dated to the 3rd century BC, anonymously written but with commentary by the historian Guo Pu. Other early dictionaries include the Fangyan by the Shuowen Jiezi by Xu Shen. One of the largest was the Kangxi Dictionary compiled by 1716 under the auspices of the Kangxi Emperor. Although court records and other independent records existed beforehand, the definitive work in early Chinese historical writing was the Shiji, or Records of the Grand Historian written by Han Dynasty court historian Sima Qian; this groundbreaking text laid the foundation for Chinese historiography and the many official Chinese historical texts compiled for each dynasty thereafter. Sima Qian is compared to the Greek Herodotus in scope and method, because he covered Chinese history from the mythical Xia Dynasty until the contemporary reign of Emperor Wu of Han while retaining an objective and non-biased standpoint.
This was difficult for the official dynastic historians, who used historical works to justify the reign of the current dynasty. He influenced the written works
Emperor Yao was a legendary Chinese ruler, according to various sources, one of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. Yao's ancestral name is Yi Qi or Qi, clan name is Taotang, given name is Fangxun, as the second son to Emperor Ku and Qingdu, he is known as Tang Yao. Yao's mother has been worshipped as the goddess Yao-mu. Extolled as the morally perfect and intelligent sage-king, Yao's benevolence and diligence served as a model to future Chinese monarchs and emperors. Early Chinese speak of Yao, Shun and Yu the Great as historical figures, contemporary historians believed they may represent leader-chiefs of allied tribes who established a unified and hierarchical system of government in a transition period to the patriarchal feudal society. In the Classic of History, one of the Five Classics, the initial chapters deal with Yao, Shun and Yu. According to the legend, Yao became the ruler at 20 and died at 119 when he passed his throne to Shun the Great, to whom he had given his two daughters in marriage.
According to the Bamboo Annals, Yao abdicated his throne to Shun in his 73rd year of reign, continued to live during Shun's reign for another 28 years. Of his many contributions, Yao is said to have invented the game of Weiqi to favorably influence his vicious playboy son Danzhu. After the customary three-year mourning period after Yao's death, Shun named Danzhu as the ruler but the people only recognized Shun as the rightful heir; the Bamboo Annals represent Yao as having banished prince Danzhu to Danshui in his 58th year of reign. They add that following Yao's abdication in favor of Shun, Danzhu kept away from Shun, that following the death of Yao, "Shun tried to yield the throne to him, but in vain." However, an alternative account found elsewhere in the Annals offers a different story. It holds that Shun dethroned and imprisoned Yao raised Danzhu to the throne for a short time before seizing it himself. Yao was claimed to be the ancestor of the Han Dynasty Emperor Liu Bang. Other important noble families have claimed descent through Yellow Emperor.
According to some Chinese classic documents such as Yao Dian in Shang Shu, Wudibenji in the Shiji, the King Yao assigned astronomic officers to observe celestial phenomena such as the sunrise and the rising of the evening stars. This was done in order to make a solar and lunar calendar with 366 days for a year providing for the leap month; some recent archaeological work at Taosi, an ancient site in Shanxi, dating to 2300 BC–1900 BC, may have provided some evidence for this. A sort of an ancient observatory – the oldest in East Asia – was found at Taosi that seems to coincide with the ancient records; some Chinese archaeologists believe that Taosi was the site of a state Youtang conquered by Emperor Yao and made to be his capital. The structure consists of an outer semi-ring-shaped path, a semi-round rammed-earth platform with a diameter of about 60 m. Great Flood Imperial examination in Chinese mythology C. K. Yang. Religion in Chinese Society: A Study of Contemporary Social Functions of Religion and Some of Their Historical Factors.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Https://web.archive.org/web/20120415045747/http://threekingdoms.com/history.htm#2_3_1 https://web.archive.org/web/20070929011102/http://csgo.org/about/history.php
History of writing in Vietnam
Until the beginning of the 20th century, Vietnamese literature, governmental and religious documents and temple signs were written in classical Chinese, using Chinese characters or chu han. This had been done since at least 111 BC. Since as early as the 8th century novels and poetry in Vietnamese were written in the chữ nôm script, which used Chinese characters for Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary and an adapted set of characters for the native vocabulary with Vietnamese approximations of Middle Chinese pronunciations; the two scripts coexisted until the era of French Indochina when the Latin alphabet quốc ngữ script became the written medium of both government and popular literature. In Vietnamese, Chinese characters go by a variety names: chữ Hán: "words from Han Chinese", Hán tự: "Han characters/words". Hán văn: "Han literature" denotes Chinese language literature; the Vietnamese word chữ is derived from a Middle Chinese pronunciation of 字, meaning'character'. Sino-Vietnamese refer to cognates or terms borrowed from Chinese into the Vietnamese language preserving the phonology of the original Chinese.
As for syntax and vocabulary this Sino-Vietnamese language was no more different from the Chinese of Beijing than medieval English Latin was different from the Latin of Rome. The term Chữ Nôm refers to the former transcription system for vernacular Vietnamese-language texts, written using a mixture of original Chinese characters and locally coined nôm characters not found in Chinese to phonetically represent Vietnamese sounds." However the character set for chữ nôm is extensive, containing up to 20,000 logograms, many are both arbitrary in composition and inconsistent in pronunciation. Hán Nôm may mean both Hán and Nôm taken together as in the research remit of Hanoi's Hán-Nôm Institute, or refer to texts which are written in a mixture of Hán and Nôm, or some Hán texts with parallel Nôm translations. There is a significant orthographic overlap between Hán and Nôm and many characters are used in both Hán and Nôm with the same reading, it may be simplest to think of Nom as the Vietnamese extension of Han characters.
The term chữ. During Chinese domination period from 111 BC to 938 AD, Vietnam was under Chinese rule and so Chinese characters or Chu Han were used for writing. In most cases, formal writings were done in the language of Classical Chinese. Chinese was used extensively used in government and administration for entry via the Confucian examination system in Vietnam, conducted in van ngon. Chinese was the language of medicine, religion and high literature such as poetry. According to Dao Duy Anh, Vietnam started to have Chinese studies when Shi Xie taught Vietnamese people to write. In this period of over a thousand years, most of the inscriptions written on steles are in Chinese characters. During this period, Vietnamese existed as an oral language, before the creation of the Chu Nom script to preserve and circulate less serious poetry and narrative literature; these writings were at first indistinguishable from contemporaneous classical Chinese works produced in China, Korea, or Japan. These include the first poems in chữ nho by the monk Khuông Việt, the Nam Quốc Sơn Hà, many Confucian and Buddhist scriptures.
It has been suggested that Chinese characters were present in Vietnam before 111 BC, based on the interpretation of the inscription considered as a word on a dagger. However, more research needs to be done. Moreover on the Dong Son bronze drums used between 700 BC-100 AD, supposed inscriptions have yet to be deciphered. Between 939-1919, Chu Han continued to be used as the major means of writing among scholars and in government. In Vietnam, classical Chinese texts were read with the vocalization of Chinese text as such, equivalent to the Chinese on-yomi in Japanese kambun or the assimilated vocalizations in Korean hanmun; this occurred alongside the diffusion of Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary into the vernacular Vietnamese language, created a Sinoxenic dialect. The Sinologist Edwin G. Pulleyblank was the one of the first linguists to employ "Sino-Vietnamese" to recover the earlier history of Chinese. From the 13th Century the dominance of Chu Han began to be challenged by Chu Nom, a system of modified and invented characters modeled loosely on Chinese characters.
Unlike the system of chữ nho, allowed for the expression of purely Vietnamese words, was created in Vietnam at least as early as the 13th century. However, the earliest known use of chu Nom is documented to be from the 8th century. While designed for native Vietnamese speakers, chữ nôm required the user to have a fair knowledge of chữ Hán, thus chữ nôm was used for literary writings by cultural elites, while all other official writings and documents continued to be written in classical Chinese until the 20th century. Though technically different from chu Han, it is simplest to think of it as a descendant of chu Han--with modifications thereof as well as new Vietnamese-coined logograms. Together, they are called Han Nom. Quoc Ngu is the currently-used script of
Chinese characters are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write a number of other Asian languages, they remain a key component of the Japanese writing system and are used in the writing of Korean. They were used in Vietnamese and Zhuang. Collectively, they are known as CJK characters. Vietnamese is sometimes included, making the abbreviation CJKV. Chinese characters constitute. By virtue of their widespread current use in East Asia, historic use throughout the Sinosphere, Chinese characters are among the most adopted writing systems in the world by number of users. Chinese characters number in the tens of thousands, though most of them are minor graphic variants encountered only in historical texts. Studies in China have shown that functional literacy in written Chinese requires a knowledge of between three and four thousand characters. In Japan, 2,136 are taught through secondary school. Due to post-WWII simplifications of Kanji in Japan as well as the post-WWII simplifications of characters in China, the Chinese characters used in Japan today are distinct from those used in China in several respects.
There are various national standard lists of characters and pronunciations. Simplified forms of certain characters are used in mainland China and Malaysia. In Japan, common characters are written in post-WWII Japan-specific simplified forms, while uncommon characters are written in Japanese traditional forms, which are identical to Chinese traditional forms. In South Korea, when Chinese characters are used, they are in traditional form identical to those used in Taiwan and Hong Kong where the official writing system is traditional Chinese. Teaching of Chinese characters in South Korea starts in the 7th grade and continues until the 12th grade. In Old Chinese including Classical Chinese, most words were monosyllabic and there was a close correspondence between characters and words. In modern Chinese, the majority of Chinese words today consist of two or more characters. Rather, a character always corresponds to a single syllable, a morpheme. However, there are a few exceptions to this general correspondence, including bisyllabic morphemes, bimorphemic syllables and cases where a single character represents a polysyllabic word or phrase.
Modern Chinese has many homophones. A single character may have a range of meanings, or sometimes quite distinct meanings. Cognates in the several varieties of Chinese are written with the same character, they have similar meanings, but quite different pronunciations. In other languages, most today in Japanese and sometimes in Korean, characters are used to represent Chinese loanwords, to represent native words independently of the Chinese pronunciation, as purely phonetic elements based on their pronunciation in the historical variety of Chinese from which they were acquired; these foreign adaptations of Chinese pronunciation are known as Sino-Xenic pronunciations and have been useful in the reconstruction of Middle Chinese. When the script was first used in the late 2nd millennium BC, words of Old Chinese were monosyllabic, each character denoted a single word. Increasing numbers of polysyllabic words have entered the language from the Western Zhou period to the present day, it is estimated that about 25–30% of the vocabulary of classic texts from the Warring States period was polysyllabic, though these words were used far less than monosyllables, which accounted for 80–90% of occurrences in these texts.
The process has accelerated over the centuries as phonetic change has increased the number of homophones. It has been estimated that over two thirds of the 3,000 most common words in modern Standard Chinese are polysyllables, the vast majority of those being disyllables; the most common process has been to form compounds of existing words, written with the characters of the constituent words. Words have been created by adding affixes and borrowing from other languages. Polysyllabic words are written with one character per syllable. In most cases the character denotes. Many characters have multiple readings, with instances denoting different morphemes, sometimes with different pronunciations. In modern Standard Chinese, one fifth of the 2,400 most common characters have multiple pronunciations. For the 500 most common characters, the proportion rises to 30%; these readings are similar in sound and related in meaning. In the Old Chinese period, affixes could be added to a word to form a new word, written with the same character.
In many cases the pronunciations diverged due to subsequent sound change. For example, many additional readings have the Middle Chinese departing tone, the major sour
Japanese writing system
The modern Japanese writing system uses a combination of logographic kanji, which are adopted Chinese characters, syllabic kana. Kana itself consists of a pair of syllabaries: hiragana, used for native or naturalised Japanese words and grammatical elements, katakana, used for foreign words and names, onomatopoeia, scientific names, sometimes for emphasis. All written Japanese sentences contain a mixture of kanji and kana; because of this mixture of scripts, in addition to a large inventory of kanji characters, the Japanese writing system is considered to be one of the most complicated in use anywhere in the world. Several thousand kanji characters are in regular use; each has an intrinsic meaning, most have more than one pronunciation, the choice of which depends on context. Japanese primary and secondary school students are required to learn 2,136 jōyō kanji as of 2010; the total number of kanji is well over 50,000, though few if any native speakers know anywhere near this number. In modern Japanese, the hiragana and katakana syllabaries each contain 46 basic characters, or 71 including diacritics.
With one or two minor exceptions, each different sound in the Japanese language corresponds to one character in each syllabary. Unlike kanji, these characters intrinsically represent sounds only. Hiragana and katakana characters originally derive from Chinese characters, but they have been simplified and modified to such an extent that their origins are no longer visually obvious. Texts without kanji are rare. To a lesser extent, modern written Japanese uses acronyms from the Latin alphabet, for example in terms such as "BC/AD", "a.m./p.m.", "FBI", "CD". Romanized Japanese is most used by foreign students of Japanese who have not yet mastered kana, by native speakers for computer input. Kanji are used to write most content words of native Japanese or Chinese origin, which include the following: most nouns, such as 川 and 学校 the stems of most verbs and adjectives, such as 見 in 見る and 白 in 白い the stems of many adverbs, such as 速 in 速く and 上手 as in 上手に most Japanese personal names and place names, such as 田中 and 東京.
Some Japanese words are written with different kanji depending on the specific usage of the word—for instance, the word naosu is written 治す when it refers to curing a person, 直す when it refers to fixing an object. Most kanji have more than one possible pronunciation, some common kanji have many. Unusual or nonstandard readings may be glossed using furigana. Kanji compounds are sometimes given arbitrary readings for stylistic purposes. For example, in Natsume Sōseki's short story The Fifth Night, the author uses 接続って for tsunagatte, the gerundive -te form of the verb tsunagaru, which would be written as 繋がって or つながって; the word 接続, meaning "connection", is pronounced setsuzoku. There are kanji terms that have pronunciations that correspond with neither the on'yomi or the kun'yomi of the individual kanji within the term, such as 明日 and 大人. Hiragana are used to write the following: okurigana —inflectional endings for adjectives and verbs—such as る in 見る and い in 白い, た and かった in their past tense inflections 見た and 白かった.
Various function words, including most grammatical particles, or postpositions —small common words that, for example, mark sentence topics and objects or have a purpose similar to English prepositions such as "in", "to", "from", "by" and "for". Miscellaneous other words of various grammatical types that lack a kanji rendition, or whose kanji is obscure, difficult to typeset, or considered too difficult to understand. Furigana —phonetic renderings of kanji placed above or beside the kanji character. Furigana may aid children or non-native speakers or clarify nonstandard, rare, or ambiguous readings for words that use kanji not part of the jōyō kanji list. There is some flexibility for words with more common "kanji" renditions to be instead written in hiragana, depending on the individual author's preference; some words are colloquially written in hiragana and writing them in kanji might give them a more formal tone, while hiragana may impart a softer or more emotional feeling. For example, the Japanese word "kawaii", the Japanese equivalent of "cute", can be written in hiragana as in かわいい, or as the kanji term 可愛い.
Some lexical items that are written using kanji have become grammaticalized in certain contexts, where they are instead written in hiragana. For example, the root of the verb 見る is written with the kanji 見. However, when used as a suffix meaning "try out", the whole verb is written in hiragana as みる, as in 食べてみる. Katakana are used to write the following: transliteration of foreign words and names, such as コンピュータ and ロンドン (Rondon, "Lon
Middle Chinese or the Qieyun system is the historical variety of Chinese recorded in the Qieyun, a rime dictionary first published in 601 and followed by several revised and expanded editions. The Swedish linguist Bernard Karlgren believed that the dictionary recorded a speech standard of the capital Chang'an of the Sui and Tang dynasties. However, based on the more recovered preface of the Qieyun, most scholars now believe that it records a compromise between northern and southern reading and poetic traditions from the late Northern and Southern dynasties period; this composite system contains important information for the reconstruction of the preceding system of Old Chinese phonology. The fanqie method used to indicate pronunciation in these dictionaries, though an improvement on earlier methods, proved awkward in practice; the mid-12th-century Yunjing and other rime tables incorporate a more sophisticated and convenient analysis of the Qieyun phonology. The rime tables attest to a number of sound changes that had occurred over the centuries following the publication of the Qieyun.
Linguists sometimes refer to the system of the Qieyun as Early Middle Chinese and the variant revealed by the rime tables as Late Middle Chinese. The dictionaries and tables describe pronunciations in relative terms, but do not give their actual sounds. Karlgren was the first to attempt a reconstruction of the sounds of Middle Chinese, comparing its categories with modern varieties of Chinese and the Sino-Xenic pronunciations used in the reading traditions of neighbouring countries. Several other scholars have produced their own reconstructions using similar methods; the Qieyun system is used as a framework for the study and description of various modern varieties of Chinese. Branches of the Chinese family such as Mandarin, Yue and Wu can be treated as divergent developments from it; the study of Middle Chinese provides for a better understanding and analysis of Classical Chinese poetry, such as the study of Tang poetry. The reconstruction of Middle Chinese phonology is dependent upon detailed descriptions in a few original sources.
The most important of these is its revisions. The Qieyun is used together with interpretations in Song dynasty rime tables such as the Yunjing and the Qieyun zhizhangtu and Sisheng dengzi; the documentary sources are supplemented by comparison with modern Chinese varieties, pronunciation of Chinese words borrowed by other languages, transcription into Chinese characters of foreign names, transcription of Chinese names in alphabetic scripts, evidence regarding rhyme and tone patterns from classical Chinese poetry. Chinese scholars of the Northern and Southern dynasties period were concerned with the correct recitation of the classics. Various schools produced dictionaries to codify reading pronunciations and the associated rhyme conventions of regulated verse; the Qieyun was an attempt to merge the distinctions in six earlier dictionaries, which were eclipsed by its success and are no longer extant. It was accepted as the standard reading pronunciation during the Tang dynasty, went through several revisions and expansions over the following centuries.
The Qieyun is thus the oldest surviving rime dictionary and the main source for the pronunciation of characters in Early Middle Chinese. At the time of Bernhard Karlgren's seminal work on Middle Chinese in the early 20th century, only fragments of the Qieyun were known, scholars relied on the Guangyun, a much expanded edition from the Song dynasty. However, significant sections of a version of the Qieyun itself were subsequently discovered in the caves of Dunhuang, a complete copy of Wang Renxu's 706 edition from the Palace Library was found in 1947; the rime dictionaries organize Chinese characters by their pronunciation, according to a hierarchy of tone and homophony. Characters with identical pronunciations are grouped into homophone classes, whose pronunciation is described using two fanqie characters, the first of which has the initial sound of the characters in the homophone class and second of which has the same sound as the rest of the syllable; the use of fanqie was an important innovation of the Qieyun and allowed the pronunciation of all characters to be described exactly.
The fanqie system uses multiple equivalent characters to represent each particular initial, for finals. The categories of initials and finals represented were first identified by the Cantonese scholar Chen Li in a careful analysis published in his Qièyùn kǎo. Chen's method was to equate two fanqie initials whenever one was used in the fanqie spelling of the pronunciation of the other, to follow chains of such equivalences to identify groups of spellers for each initial or final. For example, the pronunciation of the character 東 was given using the fanqie spelling 德紅, the pronunciation of 德 was given as 多特, the pronunciation of 多 was given as 德河, from which we can conclude that the words 東, 德 and 多 all had the same initial sound; the Qieyun classified homonyms under 193 rhyme classes, each of, placed within one of the four tones. A single rhyme class may contain multiple finals differing only in the medial or in so-called chongniu doublets; the Yunjing is the oldest of the so-called rime tables, which p
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