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Prince Yamabe’s Rise To Prominence

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Chapter Summary

When Yamabe was born, there was nothing to suggest that he would one day become the sovereign of the realm because he faced two disadvantages. First, in terms of his paternal ancestry, he belonged to the nonruling branch of the imperial family. Second, although he was probably the eldest legitimate son, he was not automatically treated as principal heir (chakushi). When Kanmu was enthroned, he was a mature man experienced in administration. His mind was set not merely on ruling but also on governing the country. However, his mixed background as a descendant of the Tenji lineage and an immigrant kinship group caused considerable unrest among certain court factions, for it meant a clear break with the Tenmu line. This shift in imperial lineage led to the most far-reaching decision Kanmu made during the first years of his reign: the establishment of a new capital.

Keywords: imperial family; Kanmu; kinship group; paternal ancestry; Tenji lineage; Yamabe



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