The Bunkyū Restoration: The Restoration of Imperial Tombs and Re-Design of Imperial Ancestor Worship

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Abstract

This paper aims to analyse a possible connection between the renovation of imperial tombs in the Bunkyū era (1861-1864) and the restoration of imperial power in 1868. While there is no direct continuity between these two events, a connection certainly exists. In a time when Japan faced foreign threats and domestic turmoil, certain groups and persons felt it was time to elevate the institution of the emperor to the-supposed-former glory. One way of doing this was the restoration of the imperial tombs that had fallen into disrepair and the renewal of imperial ancestor worship. The Bunkyū Restoration can be seen as one of the many puzzle pieces that together formed the process that led to the Meiji Restoration.

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