The Nara period takes its name from the Japanese imperial city, dominated by the dynasty of Tenmu. Buddhism evolved and was separated in different autonomous sects, playing a key political role. The artistic and cultural accomplishments were unprecedented. For example, Shinto and Buddhist temples like Kasuga Taisha and Todaiji, or poetry collections and ancient chronicles like Manyoshu, Kojiki or Nihon Shoki represent creations protected by the UNESCO patrimony. All of these wonders, the national army, and a huge bureaucratic system exercited a tremendous pressure on the economy. Almost 30% of the population died in a smallpox epidemic. If the previous era was marked by a constant fight between clans that supported the Shinto religion and the clans that promoted Buddhism, Nara has known another struggle of two opposing coalitions. As the political and social reforms from the Asuka were strengthened, centralization was supported by the imperial family and by the descents of Tenmu. They wanted to rule Japan without the implication of non imperial clans. The opposing side was led by the Fujiwara no Fuhito and his clan, the most powerful aristocratic family from the Classical Antiquity of Japan.
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