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Questions tagged [classical-japan]

Classical Japan (ca. 500-1185 CE) - comprising the Asuka (538–710), Nara (710–794) & Heian (794–1185) periods. This period in Japanese history precedes the more well known medieval period of the samurai warriors and stands in contrast to that period in terms of values and political structure.

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How were the Ryōjin Hishō (Treasured Selection of Superb Songs) authenticated?

The Ryōjin Hishō is a collection of songs from the end of the Heian period in Japan, compiled by the emperor Go-Shirakawa in 1179. It was notable for focusing songs which were popular at the time, ...
Laura's user avatar
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How did Japan do private era name and regnal name prior to Taika?

How did Japanese private era names (shinengo, 私年号/私年號) and regnal names (non era name systems) work before the nengo system? I know starting with Taika they had public era names (公年号/公年號) created by ...
rubycon's user avatar
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How did Japan do era names prior to the reign of Meiji?

How did Japanese era names work before the Issei ichigen system? I know starting with Meiji they had Eras defined by the ruler (Meiji, Taisho, Showa, Heisei, Reiwa), but before that it was more ...
DanceroftheStars's user avatar
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Have any cultures had a four-element system different from fire, earth, air (or wind), and water?

Ancient Greek culture (Empedocles, Aristotle) had fire, earth, air, and water. Such a system is also known in Buddhism and alchemy. Sometimes the third of these elements is conceived as wind. Hinduism ...
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How common were fires in pre-Edo Japan?

It is well known that Edo-era Japan had many fires, but I want to focus on something else. I cannot seem to find much information on fires in Japan before Edo. For example, when I google "feudal ...
RakeALeaf's user avatar
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5 votes
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Who did Murasaki Shikibu fall in love with?

A line from Donald Keene's introductory text about The Tale of Genji piqued my curiosity: We know little else about Murasaki’s early years, though her poems suggest that she fell in love at least ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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6 votes
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How old was Murasaki Shikibu when she married her second cousin? And why did she marry him?

From Wikipedia: Aristocratic Heian women lived restricted and secluded lives, allowed to speak to men only when they were close relatives or household members. Murasaki's autobiographical poetry ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
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2 votes
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Did the Japanese use native Camellia species before Camellia sinensis was introduced from China?

According to Wikipedia the first known references to tea occured in the 9th century, when Buddhist monks introduced tea, a drink made from Camellia sinensis to Japan. The Camellia variety sinensis is ...
RakeALeaf's user avatar
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10 votes
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How did himuros operate for storing and transporting ice in Heian Japan?

I'm trying to learn more about himuros (ice houses) and ice transportation in 1000 AD Japan. Does anyone have good articles, or can describe in more detail what they looked like, and how ice was ...
Max's user avatar
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17 votes
4 answers

Why didn't the steppe bow spread further?

So, this question was triggered by my reading Stephen Turnbull's book on the Gempei War, when he says that he thinks that the yumi, or Japanese longbow, had an effective range of 10 meters against ...
Bill's user avatar
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8 votes
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What caused the long lasting of peace in during the Heian Period?

I see the Heian Period of Japan described as being an era of long lasting peace. For example, the Met Museum says: In Kyoto, the court enjoyed a relatively long period of peace and political ...
BlackCoffee's user avatar
35 votes
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Why didn't Japanese infantrymen and samurai use shields?

Shields were considered useful in Europe until the development of full plate armor. Despite the fact that they never had anything comparable to plate armor, shield use was apparently abandoned by the ...
Twilight Sparkle's user avatar