A prominent family during the 6th century in Japan.the period when the Yamato clan was consolidating its claim to the imperial throne. At the time of the introduction of Buddhism into Japan via a diplomatic mission from the Korean kingdom of Paekche, the Yamato emperor was undecided as to whether or not to accept the new religion. Two other powerful clans, the Nakatomi and Mononobe, opposed it, insisting that the divine descent of the Yamato family be accepted as legitimizing their claim to the throne, a claim that would be threatened by the importation of a rival religion. The Soga clan, on the other hand, were managers of imperial estates whose job entailed much contact with foreigners, including the Koreans and Chinese. Seeing that Japan had much to gain from cultural imports, they argued for Buddhism's acceptance. The emperor, as a compromise, allowed the Soga to adopt Buddhism, while not insisting that other clans (including the Yamato) take a position. Thus, the Soga were the earliest ‘converts’ and patrons of Buddhism in Japan, and it took root under their auspices. See also Korea; China.