The is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185.〔("Heian period" ). ''Encyclopædia Britannica''. Retrieved 2007-04-24.〕 The period is named after the capital city of Heian-kyō, or modern Kyōto. It is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism, Taoism and other Chinese influences were at their height. The Heian period is also considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art, especially poetry and literature. Although the Imperial House of Japan had power on the surface, the real power was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan, a powerful aristocratic family who had intermarried with the imperial family. Many emperors actually had mothers from the Fujiwara family.〔F.W. Seal, (Heian Period Court and Clan )〕 means "peace" in Japanese.
The Heian period was preceded by the Nara period and began in 794 A.D after the movement of the capital of Japan to Heian-kyō (present day Kyōto京都), by the 50th emperor, Emperor Kanmu.〔Shively and McCullough 1999.〕 Kanmu first tried to move the capital to Nagaoka-kyō, but a series of disasters befell the city, prompting the emperor to relocate the capital a second time, to Heian. The Heian Period is considered a high point in Japanese culture that later generations have always admired. The period is also noted for the rise of the samurai class, which would eventually take power and start the feudal period of Japan.
Nominally, sovereignty lay in the emperor but in fact power was wielded by the Fujiwara nobility. However, to protect their interests in the provinces, the Fujiwara and other noble families required guards, police and soldiers. The warrior class made steady political gains throughout the Heian period.〔 As early as 939 A.D, Taira no Masakado threatened the authority of the central government, leading an uprising in the eastern province of Hitachi, and almost simultaneously, Fujiwara no Sumitomo rebelled in the west. Still, a true military takeover of the Japanese government was centuries away, when much of the strength of the government would lie within the private armies of the shogunate.
The entry of the warrior class into court influence was a result of the Hōgen Rebellion. At this time Taira no Kiyomori revived the Fujiwara practices by placing his grandson on the throne to rule Japan by regency. Their clan (Taira clan) would not be overthrown until after the Gempei War, which marked the start of the shogunate. The Kamakura period began in 1185 when Minamoto no Yoritomo seized power from the emperors and established a ''bakufu'', the Kamakura shogunate, in Kamakura.
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』
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