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Why Establish A New Capital?

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Chapter Summary

Over the years, scholars have advanced historical, geographical, economic, political and religious reasons for Kanmu?s decision to relocate the capital from Nara in Yamato province to Nagaoka in Yamashiro province. This chapter discusses the validity of the most commonly cited theories and provides further evidence in support of the importance of the Tenmu-Tenji shift. The founding of a new capital was instead a conscious move by a ruler intent on asserting Kanmu's power. For this, Kanmu was inspired by Chinese concepts such as the Mandate of Heaven and the ?revolutionary years?, as well as by the prophetic and weft texts, as testified to by the two ceremonies in honour of the Lord on High, and by the importance he attached to the winter solstice. Now that the decision had been made to relocate the capital, it was necessary to select a suitable site.

Keywords: Kanmu; Nagaoka; Nara; new capital; Tenmu-Tenji shift



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