Jan 1, 707
Started building the city of Nara to move the capital cityThe city was designed in the style of Chinese cities
Jan 1, 710
Japanese emperor moved captial city to Nara starting the Nara Period
Period: Jan 1, 710 to Jan 1, 794
Japanese Nara PeriodThe Nara Period Article
Establishment of first permanent capital at Nara; emergence of Japanese patterns of administration and institutions. Beginning of classical period.
Jan 1, 717
Unofficial Buddhist priests power increasesContinued concern about the increasing power and popularity of wandering, unordained, and, therefore, unofficial Buddhist priests and nuns, the government issues another edict admonishing them to adhere to the Sōniryō (Regulations for Priests and Nuns).
Jan 1, 722
3 million acres into rice paddiesBecause of the increasing number of largely autonomous Shōen and the subsequent loss of rice tax for the residents in the city, the central government issues an order calling for three million new acres of land to be reclaimed and converted to rice paddies. In return those who do the work are granted large concessions. The stronger families thus start to accumulate land and power.
Jan 1, 738
Imperial Family TempleTōdaiji is founded and serves as the family temple for the imperial family.
Jan 1, 741
Government builds a templeThe national government provides funds to build one temple (kokubunji) and one nunnery (kokubun-niji) in each province throughout Japan in which protective sutras can be read in times of national emergency. Tōdaiji is the temple of the capital province and, hence, becomes the national temple. Hokkeji becomes the national nunnery.
Jan 1, 752
Nara Buddha statueThe Great Buddha statue at Nara is completed.
Jan 1, 764
Empress Shotoku rulesKōken disposes and exiles Emperor Junnin (and later has him strangled). She resumes rule as Empress Shōtoku, all the while maintaining her status as a nun.
Jan 1, 770
Buddhist monk tries to seize the throne from the emperorShōtoku dies. Dōkyō (monk) makes an attempt to become the emperor, but this is resisted by court leaders and confucianists. He is exciled. Kōnin (grandson of Tenchi, but elderly at this point) is chosen by the Fujiwaras and becomes Emperor.
Period: Jan 1, 770 to Jan 1, 781
Division between peasants and warrior classThe system of forced military labor is not working as planned and is slowly replaced with a system of regular armed forces trained in military matters. Thus starts the division between peasants and a warrior class.
Feb 21, 784
NagaokaThe capital city moved to Nagaoka, about 30 miles from Nara in the province of Yamashiro.
Jan 1, 792
Universal Military conscription abolishedThe system of universal military conscription is officially abolished. Each province is left to recruit their own armies within their province. These new forces are not chosen from the farming households, though, but from the noble land-holding families.
Under the early courts, when military conscription had been centrally controlled, military affairs had been taken out of the hands of the provincial aristocracy. But as the system broke down after 792, local powers became stonger.
Jan 1, 793
Capital moved to HeiankyoDue to a death, several major calamities, and the subsequent superstitious beliefs that these ware caused by the choice of this location for the capital, work is halted in Nagaoka and it is decided to move the capital again. Construction of a new capital is now begun in Heiankyō (Kyōto), about 10 miles away.
Jan 1, 794
Civil Service Exams and Importance of EducationIn order to encourage people to study at the university, emperor Kammu adopts two measures: 1) He eliminates the hereditary privilege allowing sons of high ranking officials into government positions without taking an examination. The new measure stipulates that people taking and passing exams will be granted higher official positions. 2) In addition, he instituted the scholarship fields of Chinese Classics and History which provided sustenance for the students while they studied.
Period: Jan 1, 794 to Jan 1, 1185
Heian Period (794-1185)Heian Period Article
Heian Beauty and FashionGreat flowering of classical Japanese culture in new capital of Heian-kyo (Kyoto). Court aristocracy, especially women, produced great body of literature — poetry, diaries, the novel The Tale of Genji — and made refined aesthetic sensibility their society's hallmark.
Jan 1, 813
Emperor claims learning importantThe emperor pronounces that good government depends on literature and progress depends on learning.
Jan 1, 940
RebellionsAs the power of the land owners and wealthy families in the provinces continues to grow, and the central government continues to lose its power to govern outside of the capital, rebellions arise. As just one example, Taira Masakado established a 'kingdom' in the Kantō area and declared himself the new emperor. After five years of insurrection he was killed in Shimōsa province.
Jan 1, 1019
The Tales of Genji completed.Genji Monogatari (The Tales of Genji) completed.
Jan 1, 1177
Fire!About one-third of the capital city is destroyed by fire. Thousands of people lose their lives.
Jan 1, 1185
Japanese Feudal SystemFeudal System Daimyo - (in feudal Japan) one of the great lords who were vassals of the shogun
Samurai - a member of a powerful military caste in feudal Japan, especially a member of the class of military retainers of the daimyos.
Bushido - the code of honor and morals developed by the Japanese samurai
Ronin (in feudal Japan) a wandering samurai who had no lord or master
Jan 1, 1192
Rise of Shogun military powerWho are the shogun?
The rise of the Shogun in Japan.