Asuka Period - Influence of Taoism

Influence of Taoism

Taoism was also introduced during the Asuka period. In the mid-7th century, Empress Saimei built Danzan Shrine (談山神社, Danzan Jinja?), a Taoist temple, at Mt. Tōnomine (多武峰, Tōnomine?, "Tō Ridge, Tō Peak"). The octagonal shape of monarchs' tombs of this age and the celestial maps drawn in the Kitora and Takamatsuzuka kofun also reflect the Taoist cosmology. Tennō (天皇?, "Emperor"), the new title of the Japanese monarch in this period, could also be argued to derive from the name of the supreme God of Taoism, the God of Polaris (天皇大帝, Tenkō Taitei?).

Taoist belief was eventually amalgamated with Shintō and Buddhism to establish new styles of rituals. Onmyōdō (陰陽道?), a sort of Japanese geomancy and cosmology, is one of the fruits of these religious mixtures. While the Asuka period started with conflicts between clans over religious beliefs, later in the period, the imported religions became syncretized with Japan's native folk beliefs.

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