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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book Man'yōshū and the Imperial Imagination in Early Japan. The book focuses on the literary configuration of Yamato as an imperial realm. Yamato as Empire in the Sinoscript Sphere, is a study of the broader regional context within which the Yamato state represented itself as an imperial realm in its historical writings. The National Imaginings of Early Japan, describes how the study of the early Japanese state has been shaped throughout the twentieth century by three ideals: those of an imperial nation in the first half of the twentieth century; a resolutely non-imperial cultural nation in the post-war years; and a multicultural society in the late twentieth century. The book examines how the Yamato court actually portrayed itself on its own terms as an imperial realm through its legal, historical, topographical, and poetic texts, as well as in its state rituals and spectacles.

Keywords: early Japanese state; imperial realm; literary configuration; non-imperial cultural nation; sinoscript sphere; Yamato



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