Powerful warriors and influential clergy : interaction and conflict between the Kamakura bakufu and religious institutions

Ron, Roy
Varley, H Paul
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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The dramatic years of the Genpei War (1180-1185) ended with a fundamental restructuring of Japanese polity. Replacing the established system of a single ruling elite with a dual structure of court and bakufu had far-reaching effects on Japanese society, economy, and religion. Eastern Japan, which once was considered the land of barbarians, became the home of a new warrior elite, and the headquarters of their military government in Kamakura. This geographical separation from the court contributed to the political independence of the bakufu, in turn allowing warriors to distinguish themselves as a unique social elite. As such, warriors turned to develop not only a new social identity, but also a vibrant local economy, comparable only to that of Kyoto. While Japanese society was transforming itself in unprecedented scope, Buddhism and Buddhist institutions were experiencing a revival in popularity among their elite patrons. Concern over the age of mappo which the Genpei War brought to the fore, had both courtiers and warriors seeking religious guidance. The result was not only re-popularization of already established doctrines, but also a new emphasis on Amidism, and the promotion of new doctrines by reformer monks. This time, however, clergy and religious institutions benefitted not only from the traditional patrons at court. Kamakura warriors, who were genuinely concerned with their present and future existences, who realized the practical benefits of religious patronage, or who imitate court practices, proved to be generous patrons. This dissertation seeks to examine the role of religion, religious institutions, and clergy in the development of Kamakura's warrior society. The basic assumption is that when profound changes were occurring in Japanese society and religion, they inevitably were interrelated in some ways. Indeed, between the initial stages of the Genpei War until his death, Minamoto Yoritomo promoted the construction of large religious institutions to support both his political and religious needs, an approach that became an integral part of bakufu policy. Then, when warriors in general realized the many ways they could benefit from religious patronage, they engaged in construction of their own clan temples, while supporting those under bakufu patronage.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2003.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 313-342).
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
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xi, 342 leaves, bound ill., maps 29 cm
Religion and state -- Japan -- History, Buddhism -- Japan -- History, Japan
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). History; no. 4313
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