In the news: Discover of ruins of residence believed to belong to 6th – 7th c. Yamato court minister, Soga no Umako

News photo

 An official checks ruins of what is believed the residence of Soga no Umako.

Sixth-century bigwig’s home uncovered in Nara  

Japan Times, March 12, 2004

KASHIHARA, Nara Pref. (Kyodo) The board of education of Asuka, Nara Prefecture, said Thursday it has uncovered the ruins of a large building believed to be the residence of Soga no Umako, a major political figure in the late sixth to early seventh century.

The ruins are believed to be the main building of the residence of Umako, a powerful minister who served four emperors in the Yamato court during the so-called Asuka Period.

Umako, who sought to establish his family’s dominance through kinship ties with the Imperial family, cooperated with Prince Shotoku, a statesman of the period, to institute the 17-Article Constitution and compile historical chronologies to strengthen Imperial authority.

Collaborating with the prince, Umako initiated diplomatic relations with China’s Sui Dynasty (581-618) by dispatching envoys to China, and also promoted Buddhism.

He built Asukadera Temple, the nation’s first legitimate Buddhist temple. Umako died in 626; his date of birth is unknown.

The ruins were found buried about 200 meters west of the Ishibutai tomb in the village where Umako is believed to have been buried.

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