Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
Download PDF (45.2 KB)
maps, figures, and tables
Download PDF (43.9 KB)
Download PDF (32.5 KB)
Born as an afterthought following the conclusion of the Association for Asian Studies conference in San Diego in March of 2000, this project began in earnest in September of that year, when a planning group, consisting of Mikael Adolphson, G. Cameron Hurst III, Edward Kamens, Stacie Matsumoto, Joan Piggott, and Mimi Yiengpruksawan, convened to propose a conference on Heian Japan. ...
Terminology and Translations
Download PDF (787.0 KB)
In Japanese studies, scholars within the same field frequently disagree on appropriate usages and translations, perhaps much more so if they belong to different disciplines. In our view, this is not necessarily a weakness since variations may in fact indicate the actual historical usage of a term and point out the differences more clearly between modern and premodern linguistic usages. Thus, ...
1. Between and Beyond Centers and Peripheries
Download PDF (99.3 KB)
This particular part of the Heian period saw some of its most fertile innovations and epochal achievements in literature and the arts, much of the process of the consolidation of aristocratic authority in Kyoto, the emergence of powerful court factions and religious institutions, and important adjustments in the Chinese- style system of rulership as well. At the same time, the era’s leaders faced ...
Part I. Locating Political Centers and Peripheries
2. From Female Sovereign to Mother of the Nation: Women and Government in the Heian Period
Download PDF (632.4 KB)
This context seems to be unique to ancient Japan as one is unlikely to find this many female rulers during such an extended period in other premodern societies. Still, scholars have until now understood female sovereigns primarily as interim rulers, who came to reign when confusion surrounded the succession of a male to the throne or when the heir was still a child. According to this view, female sovereigns wielded little actual power ...
3. Court and Provinces under Regent Fujiwara no Tadahira
Download PDF (229.4 KB)
... of many of the precedents and protocols that came to structure these offices of court leadership, making Tadahira’s a particularly important historical moment. In this volume dedicated to better understanding the relations between center and periphery up to the late eleventh century, it is important to consider how Regent Tadahira presided over provincial administration. Well documented as his activities are in various types of records including entries from his own ...
4. Kugyō and Zuryō: Center and Periphery in the Era of Fujiwara no Michinaga
Download PDF (277.1 KB)
that constituted the conceptualized polity. Indeed, the very existence of a state presupposes control over the human and material resources of the space thought to constitute the geographical area of that conceptualized state. This was never an easy task for Japanese rulers, despite the insular character of Japan that seems to lend itself to simple mapping of a discrete geopolitical entity. Recall, for example, the court’s hard-fought campaigns against the Emishi ...
Part II. Shifting Categories in Literature and the Arts
5. The Way of the Literati: Chinese Learning and Literary Practice in Mid-Heian Japan
Download PDF (193.6 KB)
... have long been reluctant to seriously take into account texts written in Chinese, or Sino-Japanese. While this peripheral position of Chinese texts is shifting, it is necessary to restate the obvious: insofar as the written word is concerned, premodern and early modern Japan was a bilingual country. The marginalization of Chinese some two centuries ago resulted in a fading awareness of a large cultural heritage. ...
6. Terrains of Text in Mid-Heian Court Culture
Download PDF (728.1 KB)
From just such frequently cited passages as these, in a variety of literary texts of the Heian period, scholars have constructed an image of cultural practices configured by conspicuous borders that barred or at least strongly deterred women from encounters with “Chinese” texts, while men remained free to move at will across and among a variety of textual domains. Such passages, juxtaposed ...
7. The Buddhist Transformation of Japan in the Ninth Century: The Case of Eleven-Headed Kannon
Download PDF (2.6 MB)
An assessment of this artistic evidence reveals that Buddhist sculpture in Japan underwent a number of momentous transformations at the start of the Heian period. One was primarily technical; wood replaced bronze, clay, and lacquer as the primary medium of the sculptor’s craft. A second transformation was iconographic; images of deities only occasionally worshiped in the previous ...
Part III. Establishing New Religious Spheres
8. Scholasticism, Exegesis, and Ritual Practice: On Renovation in the History of Buddhist Writing in the Early Heian Period
Download PDF (315.9 KB)
Until the early ninth century, the exegetic texts written by Japanese Buddhist scholars were concerned entirely with doctrinal issues. By contrast, by the mid-tenth century, the great majority of Buddhist commentarial texts had their focus on ritual practices, especially on the rituals of esoteric Buddhism, the ritual practices that became integral within the management of the Heian court and the courtiers’ lives. To appraise ...
9. Institutional Diversity and Religious Integration: The Establishment of Temple Networks in the Heian Age
Download PDF (364.0 KB)
Although not quite as enduring, political and religious institutions as well as ideologies created and developed in the ninth and tenth centuries similarly lasted much beyond the Heian age itself, some even until the late sixteenth century. For example, warriors vied for court titles in the fourteenth century, and legitimacy from the imperial court was still of tremendous ...
10. The Archeology of Anxiety: An Underground History of Heian Religion
Download PDF (3.0 MB)
... Heian period has often been characterized as a golden age of Japanese religious culture, one in which the Buddhist literature, painting, sculpture, and architecture produced at court are considered to have reached unprecedented heights. It is thus all the more surprising that in this time of cultural florescence many Buddhists, monastics and aristocrats ...
Part IV. Negotiating Domestic Peripheries
11. Famine, Climate, and Farming in Japan, 670 – 1100
Download PDF (228.0 KB)
This chapter will address three basic and seminal questions about food shortages in that era. First, how frequent and severe were they? The story of these crises in the early modern or Tokugawa period (1600 – 1868) is well-known, and many believe that they had widespread demographic, social, and political effects.1 Can the same be said for the ancient period? Second, what were the causes of crop failure? Consistent ...
12. Life of Commoners in the Provinces: The Owari no gebumi of 988
Download PDF (569.0 KB)
... overlooked is that the local population in the provinces provided the food, clothing, and various supplies the elites needed to perform their daily duties. And although the commoners rarely appear in the historical sources or the literary works of the age, they were of central importance to the livelihoods of the central elites. This chapter focuses on provincial life and examines Heian ...
13. Lordship Interdicted: Taira no Tadatsune and the Limited Horizons of Warrior Ambition
Download PDF (419.1 KB)
This incident, and the events that followed, rank among the most dramatic episodes in the early history of Japan’s warrior order. Masakado’s insurrection, some seven decades earlier, had climaxed with the protagonist’s claiming for himself the title New Emperor. Tadatsune’s reach did not extend so far, but his grasp held the provinces of the Bōsō peninsula — Kazusa ...
Part V. Placing Heian Japan in the Asian World
14. Cross-border Traffic on the Kyushu Coast, 794 – 1086
Download PDF (489.8 KB)
... crescent-shaped slice of land on the south side of Hakata Bay. The bay itself is a magnificent, sheltered body of water that opens to the northwest into the Genkai Sea, Japan’s gateway to continental Asia. Two natural stepping-stones, the islands of Iki and Tsushima, mark the sea route to Korea. The Korean Peninsula lies approximately two hundred kilometers northwest of Hakata but only fifty kilometers beyond Tsushima, from which it is visible on a ...
15. Jōjin’s Travels from Center to Center (with Some Periphery in between)
Download PDF (848.9 KB)
... diplomatic ties with China as interest in Chinese culture waned and that it consisted of a well-defined center, its urbane and highly literate capital, surrounded by a vast uncouth, benighted periphery. When regarded as isolated, or at least semi-isolated, the Heian period is part of an implicit periodization scheme, often used but never systematically expressed, that divided Japan’s history into ...
Download PDF (219.8 KB)
Download PDF (240.7 KB)
Download PDF (59.4 KB)
Publication Year: 2007