What is the Meaning of the Asoka Period?


The Asoka period brought a lot of transformation in the Japanese society. The stage was named Asuka after the political and cultural center of the Japanese people at that time. It was the area on the southern side of the Nara basin, a few kilometers from the now known city of Nara. After the naming of the period, the imperial court took over the ruling, where the three dominant clans, the Soga, Mononobe, and Nakatomi, were tied to the royal family and became submissive to the emperors. Each group was assigned their role, where the Soga became the tax administrators, Mononobe were the warriors, and the Nakatomi was awarded the position of being the religious ritual.

The Chinese had a significant influence to the Japanese in this period. The Chinese culture introduced their religion, where they transformed Japanese to Buddhism. Although the Japanese first learned about Buddhism from the Koreans, the Chinese are the one who primarily influenced it. The Chinese gave the Japanese Buddhism scriptures and scholars who continued to praise the message of Buddhism. A statute was installed in the temple of Asuka era, which was more than two meters tall.[1] It was the first Buddha statue to arrive in Japan, which showed that the Chinese had succeeded in influencing the Japanese to accept Buddhism.

New-State Creed

The Chinese missionaries came to Japan in large numbers from the Theravada and Mahayana schools. Those from Mahayana school promised salvation to the monastic and laity followers. By the time of the Nara period, Buddhism became the state creed, while the missionaries and the artisans gave their arts and techniques to produce Buddhists icons and sutras. The gilt bronze statutes were introduced in large numbers. The Buddhists ceremonies were organized predominantly to make the court ensure there was rain, expel demons that brought diseases, and request for the abundant harvest.  The Japanese judge supported Buddhism because of its desire to use it in the state of power instead of using it as an instrument of salvation. The struggle to ensure that Buddhism was accepted everywhere extended until the Nara period.

The Nara Period

The Nara period began with the remodeling of the Japanese capital after the Chinese capital Chang`an was underscored with the tang culture, painting, and architectures. The Nara period was between 710-784, which marked the efforts of the Japanese to emulate the Chinese culture and political models.[2] The Japanese contact was dropped off when the tang from China defeated the Japanese officials. However, the Japanese court was against the defeat, saying that the Chinese were decentralized and insisted on the renewal of relationships between the Chinese and the Japanese. However, the Chinese were active, and despite the complaints from the Japanese court, they did not listen. Hence, it was concluded that Tang was the winner. During the Taika reforms, the Chinese taxation system was adopted in Japan and was promulgated by the Ritsuryo system. By the end of the century, they were significant attempts to regularize the government expenditure and give power to the Buddhist clergy.

In conclusion, the Chinese significantly influenced the Japanese culture and religion. By engaging in their culture, the Chinese were able to influence Japanese to start practicing Buddhism, which was a significant inspiration. Also, the Japanese court was established to follow the powers of the Buddhist clergy. Despite the Japanese resistance to these changes, they were able to adapt after the missionaries from China to Japan came to educate them on Buddhism religion.


Works Cited

Chan, Robert Kong. “Introduction.” Korea-China Relations in History and Contemporary Implications. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2018. 1-20.

Tanioka, Hidetoshi, et al. “Expression of the P2Y2 Receptor on the Rat Ocular Surface During a 1-year Rearing Period.” Japanese journal of ophthalmology 58.6 (2014): 515-521.

[1] Chan, Robert Kong. “Introduction.” Korea-China Relations in History and Contemporary Implications. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2018. 1-20.

[2] Tanioka, Hidetoshi, et al. “Expression of the P2Y2 Receptor on the Rat Ocular Surface During a 1-year Rearing Period.” Japanese journal of ophthalmology 58.6 (2014): 515-521.

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