Ruling Myths and Historical Practices at the Japanese Court (9th-11th Century)

The project investigates the differentiation of courtly historical practices and the associated options for action of the court elite against the background of the shift of power from the ruling clan to the Fujiwara clan from the middle of the 10th century. This process is reflected in the discontinuation of a continuous official historiography, which had lost its validity in favor of a reductive reference to individual events and precedents for political decisions. A good century later, a new type of private and more fictionalized historical narrative emerged in the environment of Japanese writing dominated by court ladies. Parallel to the pragmatic historical references of court officials and the new narrative syntheses of the past, ritual enactments of the past took place, so that three areas can be distinguished in court historical discourse. An analysis of the social, material, semantic, and temporal resources will help to make visible the internal dynamics of the ruling elite. In addition to historical narratives and anecdotal literature, courtly diaries are an important source for this question.

Project Manager

Avatar Schley

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Daniel F. Schley

Japanese and Korean Studies

Nassestr. 2

53113 Bonn


Study Region

10th-12th Century

Study Period

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