Writing and Literature of the Nara Period

739 Words3 Pages
2013/02/01 Literature at Nara period The Nara period in Japan is marked by the capital of Japan being located in Nara, and when Buddhism was introduced and developed into several new sects, or denominations. The capital city of Nara was modeled after the Chinese capital Ch‘ang-an and became Japan‘s first permanent capital, in 710ce. During this time period, there was a gradual decline in Chinese influence. Many imported ideas were gradually “Japanized“, and made a part of the Japanese culture. The development of Kana, or syllable based written language, was developed and made the creation of actual Japanese literature possible. Prior to Kana, all literature was in Chinese. Writing was also the lifeblood of the church. Japanese priests made repeated trips to China in search of sacred texts, bringing back works that were copied, studied and commented upon in the great monasteries of Nara. Several state-sponsored sutra-copying projects were undertaken to gain merit for the sponsoring royals and nobles and to protect the land from external dangers and misfortunes. The result was the production of more than a hundred thousand volumes of Buddhist works during the eighth century. Many still survive, as do documents in the Shousouin that present a vivid picture of the lives of the hardworking scribes who labored to produce them. But Buddhists texts were not the only texts produced in the Nara Period. It also produced the earliest extant historical and literary collections composed in Japan, such as the sanctioned work Fudoki, which details the history and geography of each province, but best known are the two earliest histories of Japan; the Kojiki, or „The Record of Ancient Matters“, Japan‘s oldest extant literary work written in 712, and the Nihon Shoki, or „Chronicles of Japan“, a document that chronicles Japan‘s history from it‘s birth to 697 a.c.e. Both are

More about Writing and Literature of the Nara Period

Open Document