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The jinshin rebellion and the politics of historical narrative in early Japan

Abstract

This article examines the historical representation of the Jinshin Rebellion as a foundational event in the Nihort shoki and other eighth-century Japanese texts. Focusing on the differences between two alternative stories of Tenmu's departure from the Omi capital to Yoshino, I argue that the Nihon shoki contains traces of several competing historical narratives that are the expression of a historical process: the political struggles over the historical record and the representation of Tenmu's legitimacy in the early eighth century when the Nihon shoki was being compiled.

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