New Year’s Day Taika Reform Edict

(646)

Context

Beginning in the fourth century, there was a dramatic increase in contact between Japan and the Asian continent, leading to the introduction of Buddhism, Chinese-style writing, and eventually a Chinese-style government. During this period Japan was a loose confederation of uji, which maintained top government positions and regulated their own lands throughout Japan. One such uji, the Soga, increased its influence in Japan by choosing the succession of the imperial family. Soga support of the newly introduced religion of Buddhism and the clan’s control of the imperial family...