Episode 503 – It Takes a Genius to Write It

Part 3 of our Revised Introduction to Japanese History: the emergence of recorded history in Japan brings with it some more clarity on what’s happening, but also new uncertainties.


Brown, Delmer M, “The Yamato Kingdom”, and Inoue Mitsusada, “The Century of Reform”, in The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol 1: Ancient Japan

Fuqua, Douglass. “Centralization and State Formation in Sixth- and Seventh-century Japan” in  Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850. ed. Karl Friday

Kakubayashi, Fumio. “Re-examination of the Political History around Early 6th Century Japan.” Shigaku Zasshi 88 no 11 (1979) (Japanese language)

The JHTI Nihon Shoki translation


A model of Shitennoji as it probably appeared in its early history, from the Osaka Prefectural History Museum.
Shitennoji today. Its current location is not the original site, nor do the original buildings remain.
Korea in approximately 476, during its Three Kingdoms period.
The tomb of Emperor Kinmei in southern Nara. The Kofun is behind the shrine, which is intended to venerate the imperial spirit.
A painting from Horyuji’s collection, said to be of Shotoku and his two sons.
A Kamakura era painting of Shotoku and two attendants.