Date: Fri, 20 Oct 1995 23:19:17 -0400
Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <>
Subject: H-ASIA: Heian Japan

From Heian to Kyoto

A dialog on H-Asia list. October 1995

Date: October 2, 1995
Subj:Query on use of Heian/Kyoto
Sender: "Kessler, Lawrence" <>

In teaching courses on early Asian history, I find myself at a loss to identify when the city of Heian becomes known as Kyoto. It's presumably sometime during the period of warrior rule, but can it be pinpointed? I have asked colleagues in Japanese studies, and they have been unable to answer this query. Anyone out there know, or can steer me to a source to check?

Lawrence Kessler
History Department
University of North Carolina

Date: October 2, 1995
From: (Thomas A. Stanley)

L. Kessler of U North Carolina asked when Kyoto's name changed from Heian to Kyoto.

On checking the Encyclopedia of Japan, I learn that "kyoto" was used to refer to the capital or imperial palace location even during the Nara period, but that "by the late 11th century, Kyoto had for practical purposes become the name of the city."

Subj:RE: H-ASIA: ? on use of Heian/Kyoto
From: (Kevin Doak)

In response to Professor Kessler's fascinating question on when "Heian" became "Kyoto", I will jump in, even though I must confess this is not my area of specialization and others ( I hope) will provide more qualified answers.

Hayashiya Tatsusaburo writes that "the city known as Heian Kyo came to an end together with the Heian period" ("Kyoto in the Muromachi Period," in Hall and Toyoda, _Japan in the Muromachi Period_ p. 15.) Of course, with the Gempei war of 1180-85 and the fighting in the city itself, one could only refer to the capital as "Heian" kyo (Peace and Tranquility Capital) with a great deal of irony. How long it took for "commoners" to change their reference to the city--and what (and how widespread) commoners' consciousness of the capital was, is another difficult issue. Of course, one could simply refer to the place as "Miyako", an alternative reading of the first character (Kyo) all throughout the history. The modern city's origins are usually traced to Hideyoshi's reforms (ca. 1590) that transformed the Capital into one of the three great metropolitan areas (to) of Japan (alongside Edo and Osaka). Further, one could take a narrow view and say that "Kyoto" really only became "Kyoto" as we know it today (cultural capital, but not political capital) after the emperor left Kyoto, and Edo was renamed Tokyo (Eastern capital) in July of 1868. Kyoto then became the "capital" that was not.

These are merely provisional thoughts, and I look forward to corrections, clarification, and further explanations from those with more expertise than I can claim on Kyoto.

Kevin Doak

From: IN%"gq342@cleveland.Freenet.Edu"
Subj:Heian video game

Has anyone heard of a video game or cd-rom designed to run the player through adventures in Heian Japan? I heard something about such a game on National Public Radio, but don't know whether the game is available for purchase or where to get it if it is. I'd like to consider using it for one of our general education courses, where we all spend five weeks studying Heian and reading the Seidensticker translation and abridgement.

Pam McVay
Ursuline College

From:IN%"" "Gail L. Bernstein"
Subj:RE: H-ASIA: ? on use of Heian/Kyoto

John Hall mentions the origin of the name Kyoto in "Kyoto As Historical Background," in his Medieval Japan, co-ed with Jeffrey Mass (Yale, 1974). The chapter touches on the various names of the city .On p.34, he says :"Hideyoshi's death and the shift of the political center of gravity three hundred miles to the east at Edo had two important results. First, the city was largely evacuated by the military aristocracy, except for those who staffed the administrative organs of the Tokugawa shogunate. As a consequence Miyako (now more frequently referred to as Kyoto, while Edo was sometimes called Toto, "eastern capital") again became a city of the kuge, skilled artisans, and temples. Secondly, it lost a considerable population to Edo."

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