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Heian Polity Notes

by: Caleb Booker

Heian Polity Notes hist2011

Caleb Booker
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Chp. 3 Shirokawa
history of japan
kwan man bun
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Caleb Booker on Monday February 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to hist2011 at University of Cincinnati taught by kwan man bun in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see history of japan in History at University of Cincinnati.


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Date Created: 02/01/16
Heian Polity Schirokauer Pt. 2 Chp .3 The Heian Period lasted for 400 years and gave way to not only new forms of political and economic power, but it also gave way to the major developments in religion and aesthetic expression. This period began with the assertion of imperial state power and ended with the rise of warriors. I. Early Heian and the Rise of the Fujiwara A. Emperor Kanmu avoided influence of the old Buddhist orders by keeping the temples on the outskirts of newly founded Kyoto. 1. He established new agencies to advise and enforce the throne’s authority. B. The Fujiwara house was in power for over a century in Japan. 1. Founded by the end of the period, the Fujiwara house was divided into 4 branches:  Hokke  Nanke  Shikike  Kyoke C. Intermarriage was a key part of the Fujiwara’s power. 1. Fujiwara Yoshifusa placed his 8 y/o grandson on the throne and took on the title of sessho (regent for the minor) 2. His nephew, Motosune, succeded him as the sessho, but renamed it kanpaku because the emperor was no longer a minor at the time. D. The Fujiwara house’s rule did not go without opposition. 1. After Motosune died in 891, there was a period without a Fujiwara as regent until Tadahira resumed the tradition. 2. Sugawara no Michizane was regent for a while until he couldn’t withstand the Fujiwara political machinations or avoid being posted to Kyushu. II. Middle Heian- Fujiwara Dominance A. Tadahira acted on behalf of the emperor as Fujiwara family head as well as first minister and paramount authority in the Council of the State while he was regent. 1. Governors were originally the government administrators in each province until they became what are basically tax farmers. 2. Many governors became wealthy this way, which formed a new “class” of people. B. Michinaga brought a high point to the Fujiwara. 1. He was very skilled at marriage politics, having married 4 daughters to his 4 grandsons, who were emperors 2. He felt so secure in his position as sessho he never took on the title of kanpaku. III. The Estates A. The estates were private landholdings outside of government control. 1. Certain lands were exempt:  Those held by imperial family and certain aristocratic families.  Those granted to great temples and shrines.  Newly developed fields. 2. This period was associated with an increase in the amount of land declared private. B. Those who held small lands put their fields under protection of those powerful enough to be tax exempt. 1. He would continue to cultivate the fields in exchange for small rent, a lot less than he would pay to the government. C. There were 4 levels of people associated with the “hierarchy of tenures” 1. Cultivators (shomin) 2. Local lords (ryoshu)/ Influential families (shoke)/ state officials (shokan) 3. Central proprietors (ryoke) 4. Patrons (honke) IV. Late Heian: Rule by Retired Emperors A. In the second half of the 11 century, the Fujiwara’s reign was challenged by the shortage of daughters, which complicated their marriage politics. 1. Emperor Go-Sanjo rose to power because his brother’s empress was childless. 2. His son Shirakawa became emperor in 1072 and Go-Sanjo retired in 1086 B. The role of a retired emperor was similar to that of the regent. C. Things became complicated when there were multiple retired emperors present. D. In 1156, the military was directly involved in politics for the first time. 1. By the 20 century there was a fifth branch of the Fujiwara house, the Konue.


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