Episode 505 – The More Things Change…

Apologies for the delayed publication! This week on the podcast: the Nara Period! Japan has a new capital, and surely that means politics are about to change and become more stable, right…?

Show notes here.


Naoki, Kojiro “The Nara State”, and Koyu Sonoda “Early Buddha Worship”, in The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol 1: Ancient Japan.

Bender, Ross. “Emperor, Aristocracy, and the Ritsuryo State: Court Politics in Nara” in Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850, ed. Karl Friday.


This is the modern state of Fujiwara-kyo; as you can see, the primarily wooden construction did not leave much behind.
The Suzakumon, a replica of the gate that once stood at the south end of Nara’s Heijo Palace.
A record of the landholdings of Todaiji. Powerful temples like Todaiji relied on substantial economic privileges to operate, which also made them politically extremely powerful.
The main hall of Todaiji, containing its great Buddha.
A model of Heijokyo/Nara as it appeared in its heyday as the capital.