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9 The Memory of the Ōmi Capital

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Chapter Summary

For a capital that lasted such a short period of time, the Ōmi court would play a remarkably large role in the eighth-century political and cultural imagination. In the mid-eighth century Sinic poetry anthology Kaifūsō, Tenchi's Ōmi capital is celebrated as the origin of imperial literary culture. Its portrayal in the Man'yōshu, on the other hand, is somewhat more ambivalent: for the Jitō court, the Ōmi capital was a problematic topic given that on the one hand, the present political order was the product of a war that had been waged on the Ōmi capital, and on the other, the Ōmi sovereign, Tenchi, was Jitō's father. This chapter explores the complex position of the Ōmi capital within the narrative of imperial history in the first two volumes of the Man'yōshū. In its context of the imperial history of Volume I, Hitomaro's Ōmi sequence is juxtaposed with the Yoshino poems.

Keywords: Ōmi court; eighth-century cultural imagination; eighth-century political imagination; Hitomaro's Ōmi sequence; imperial literary culture; Kaifūsō; Man'yōshū; Tenchi

10.1163/9789004264540_012
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