Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Episode 3 – The First Capitol

This week, we’re going to be talking about the Asuka and Nara Periods, and the formation of the first centralized and permanent capitol city.

There’s intrigue, backstabbing, coups, and stories about poop! ¬†Should be all kinds of fun.

Click here for a direct link to the show.

Sources:

Totman, A History of Japan.

Images (courtesy of the Wikimedia foundation):

Todaiji Daibutsu

This is the daibutsu (Great Budda) of Todaiji, one of the major temples of Nara. It dates to around 750 AD, around 200 years after the first arrival of Buddhism.

An image from the story in the Kojiki I talked about during the podcast; this is Amaterasu leaving her cave after being tricked by the other gods.

An image from the story in the Kojiki I talked about during the podcast; this is Amaterasu leaving her cave after being tricked by the other gods.

This is an image of Fujiwara no Kamatari from after the Taika Rebellion. With him are two of his children. After the Taika Rebellion, the Fujiwara supplanted the Soga as the favored servants of the imperial family and remained immensely powerful for the next 500 years.

This is an image of Fujiwara no Kamatari from after the Taika Rebellion. With him are two of his children. After the Taika Rebellion, the Fujiwara supplanted the Soga as the favored servants of the imperial family and remained immensely powerful for the next 500 years.

Fujiwara-kyo map

This is a map of what Fujiwara-kyo would have looked like in its height. Note the grid-like layout, a copy of Chinese cities. The central empty area is the Imperial palace; the others surrounding it are mountains.

This is the modern state of Fujiwara-kyo; as you can see, the primarily wooden construction did not leave much behind.

This is the modern state of Fujiwara-kyo; as you can see, the primarily wooden construction did not leave much behind.

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5 Comments

  1. Great episode, Isaac. I like that you’re incorporating some humor into the episodes and that you’re also talking a bit about weird random things you find interesting.

  2. Jake

    I love that you’re doing this, however i find myself wanting much more. (I’ve only listened to the first 3 thus far). When the episode ends after 12-15 mins, I end up wishing it were longer. (Perhaps the later episodes will be a bit more in-depth.

  3. Ed

    Great podcast. Just a note. First version of Buddhism introduced to Japan was not Tendai. That came later with Shingon.

    • Thanks for the catch! I’m far from an expert on Buddhism (though I wish I were, it’s a fascinating religion).

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