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Kanmu’s Centralised Power

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Chapter Summary

In addition to capital construction, Kanmu?s reign was also characterised by domestic administrative reforms. These reforms, both at the central and local levels, were an attempt by Kanmu to re-establish ritsuryō rule and imperial power over the realm. The reforms resulted in strengthened power of the sovereign making it easier for Kanmu to enforce a second transfer of capitals in a decade. On several occasions, Kanmu complained about the lack of diligence displayed by the government officials. Several measures were introduced in an attempt to rectify the behaviour of the provincial officials and re-establish control over them. The drastic reduction of Fujiwara during the period when Nagaoka was the capital thus created opportunities for Kanmu?s imperial and nonimperial relatives. Moreover, since the administrative capabilities of the most senior officials can be questioned, Kanmu seems to have been firmly in control of the Council.

Keywords: capital construction; imperial power; Kanmu; Nagaoka

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