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Imperial Court in Kyoto

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Premodern Japan
Imperial seal of Japan
Part of a series on the politics and
government of Japan during the
Nara and Heian periods
Minister of the LeftSadaijin
Minister of the RightUdaijin
Minister of the CenterNaidaijin
Major CounselorDainagon
Middle CounselorChūnagon
Minor CounselorShōnagon
Eight Ministries
Civil AdministrationJibu-shō
Popular AffairsMinbu-shō
Imperial HouseholdKunai-shō
Front view of Kyoto Imperial Palace

The Imperial Court in Kyoto was the nominal ruling government of Japan from 794 AD until the Meiji period (1868–1912), after which the court was moved from Kyoto (formerly Heian-kyō) to Tokyo (formerly Edo) and integrated into the Meiji government.[1] Upon the court being moved to Kyoto from Nagaoka by Emperor Kanmu (737–806),[2] the struggles for power regarding the throne that had characterized the Nara period diminished.[1] Kyoto was selected as the location for the court because of its "proper" amount of rivers and mountains which were believed to be the most auspicious surroundings for the new capital.[1] The capital itself was built in imitation of Chang'an, the Chinese capital of the Tang dynasty, closely following the theories of yin-yang.[1] The most prominent group of people within the court was the civil aristocracy (kuge) which was the ruling class of society that exercised power on behalf of the emperor.[3]

Kyoto's identity as a political, economic, and cultural centre started to be challenged in the post-1185 era with the rise of the shogunate system which gradually seized governance from the emperor.[2] Minamoto no Yoritomo was the first to establish the post of the shōgun as hereditary, receiving the title in 1192.[4] After Yoritomo launched the shogunate, true political power was in the hand of the shōguns, who were mistaken several times for the emperors of Japan by representatives of Western countries. The Kamakura shogunate (or Kamakura bakufu) would go on to last for almost 150 years, from 1185 to 1333.[4]

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  1. ^ a b c d Tiedemann, Arthur (2002). Sources of Japanese Tradition (2 ed.). Columbia University Press. pp. 66–123. ISBN 9780231121392.
  2. ^ a b Tseng, Alice Y. (2012). "The Retirement of Kyoto as Imperial Capital". The Court Historian. 17 (2): 209–223. doi:10.1179/cou.2012.17.2.005. ISSN 1462-9712. S2CID 154618669 – via Taylor & Francis Online.
  3. ^ Lau, Wai (2022), Lau, Wai (ed.), "Scenes of Life in the Imperial Court Society in Kyoto", On the Process of Civilisation in Japan: Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations, Palgrave Studies on Norbert Elias, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 185–215, doi:10.1007/978-3-031-11424-3_12, ISBN 978-3-031-11424-3
  4. ^ a b Goble, Andrew Edmund (2018-04-19). "The Kamakura Shogunate and the Beginnings of Warrior Power". Japan Emerging. pp. 189–199. doi:10.4324/9780429499531-20. ISBN 9780429499531.

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