Thomas Donald Conlan

in From Sovereign to Symbol

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199778102
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919079 | DOI:

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The introduction explains the significance of court ritual. It also argues that the court maintained significance because it provided a platform for competing understandings of the role of the ruler and the obligations of the ruled, and shows how court rituals possessed profound and enduring influence. It then provides an overview of courtier archivists of precedent, and how they used analogies to legitimate court actions, before explaining how both Kitabatake Chikafusa and Sanbō’in Kenshun undermined this sense of precedent. It also criticizes the commonly accepted notion of the declining importance of esoteric Buddhist power blocks (kenmon) by revealing how Shingon institutions gained power, and shows how Shingon rituals proved to be the most influential and effective language of politics in fourteenth-century Japan.

Keywords: Kitabatake Chikafusa; precedent; Shingon institutions; kenmon; politics

Chapter.  8398 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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