Emperor Shomu of Japan

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Emperor Shōmu (聖武天皇) (701-756) was the 45th imperial ruler of Japan. He was the son of Mommu and Fujiwara no Miyako, a daughter of Fujiwara no Fuhito. Shōmu's aunt, the previous empress, Gensho, gave him the throne when she abdicated in 724. In, 749, Shōmu himself abdicated in favor of his daughter, Koken, but continued to control the government.

Shōmu is mainly remembered for commissioning the sixteen-meter high statue of the Vairocana Buddha in the Todaiji temple of Nara. At the time, this was such a massive undertaking that later chroniclers accuse him of having completely exhausted the country's reserves of bronze and precious metals. The former emperor personally painted in the statue's irises at the opening ceremony in 752 and declared himself a servant of the Buddha, the Buddhist teaching and the Buddhist monastic establishment, making this the closest anyone ever came to declaring Japan a Buddhist nation. He likewise established the system of provincial temples.

Shōmu is also known as the first emperor whose empress was not born into the Imperial Household. His wife, Kōmyō, was a Fujiwara woman. The two had a son who died in his childhood.

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Preceded by:
Genshō
Emperor of Japan
724-749
Succeeded by:
Kōken

Template:End boxde:Shōmu fr:Shomu Tenno it:Shomu imperatore del Giappone nl:Shomu ja:聖武天皇 zh:圣武天皇

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