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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 29, 2019

The Chronicle of MuchimaroThe Lower Part of the History of the Fujiwara HouseBy the Monk Enkei 延慶

Mikaël Philip J. Bauer

Abstract

The Chronicle of Muchimaro (Muchimaro den 武智麻呂伝) is the third and final extant part of the History of the Fujiwara House (Tōshi kaden 藤氏家伝), an eighth century history connected with, and partly attributed to, the courtier Fujiwara no Nakamaro (藤原仲麻呂; 706–764), Muchimaro’s son. [1] Attributed to Enkei, a monk who probably was close to Nakamaro, the text celebrates the virtues and achievements of Muchimaro, a courtier whose life was cut short during the smallpox epidemic of 737. This disaster heavily affected the Fujiwara family and court politics: the four main Fujiwara officials passed away in one year, along with about one-third of the entire population. [2] One of the consequences of the epidemic was the sudden rise of Tachibana no Moroe after 737 and the subsequent competition between him and Muchimaro’s sons, mainly Nakamaro. The compilation of The History of the Fujiwara House can thus be seen as part of an attempt to reestablish the authority of the Fujiwara line by Nakamaro. The text presents Muchimaro as close to the sovereign and celebrates his virtues as an official by referring to and drawing from a variety of continental sources, a characteristic that can also be discerned in the first two parts of the History.


Original Title: Muchimaro den 武智麻呂, by Enkei 延慶 (?–?). The same monk is commonly identified as the author of the Chronicle of Jōe. Bauer 2017: 207. He is also referred to as Nakamaro’s ‘monk in residence,’ NST: 26. (NST refers to Yamagishi 1979).


Bibliography

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Digital sources

Chinese Text Project: Liji. https://ctext.org/liji (14.03.2019)Search in Google Scholar

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Published Online: 2019-06-29
Published in Print: 2019-07-26

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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