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A noble Japanese family whose members enjoyed the patronage of the Japanese emperors. In 858 Fujiwara Yoshifusa became the first non-imperial regent for a child emperor. Soon it was customary for every emperor to have a Fujiwara regent. For about three centuries they dominated the court of Kyoto, securing their power by marrying their daughters into the imperial family.

The Fujiwara period (late 9th to late 12th century) saw great artistic and literary development. A court lady, Lady Murasaki, wrote Japan's most famous classic novel The Tale of Genji (c. 1001–15). But the central administration Prince Shotoku had initiated in the 7th century was breaking down into a near feudal society. Tax-free estates proliferated and warrior families came to prominence. The establishment of the Kamakura shogunate marked the end of Fujiwara ascendancy, though they acted as important court officials until the Meiji period in the 19th century.

Subjects: World History.

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