I'm translating the Houjouki

And lemme tell you, this diagram of the Heian capital sure is coming in handy. Thank God for planned cities. (Wait, I mean thank Man.)

Popularity factor: 10


That is one seriously organized city.


Well, it was based on Chang'an, wasn't it?

(Another map of Chang'an, with more labels. But in Chinese.)

Also: cool! I love the Houjouki. I look forward to your translation.


Thanks! I'm going for a high-falutin' style which I may not be able to pull off, but it's short so I can't do that much damage.


And when might we be getting a peeksee?


Yes, it was based on Chang'an, as had been Nara before it, and presumably Nagaoka as well. Strange business, that -- uprooting everybody from Nara and insisting they move to Nagaoka, spending ten years and who knows how much money and effort building a new capital, and then when it was almost finished (in 793) saying "Wait, no, let's move the capital to Kyoto instead" -- anybody know what that was all about? Because it seems completely insane.

I'm looking forward to the translation too. When you're done, you might want to check out Basil Bunting's poetic condensation, "Chomei at Toyama" (excerpt here), which was my introduction to the work.


...anybody know what that was all about? Because it seems completely insane.

Religion (bad fengshui?) and politics. 'Nuff said?

Plus ça change...


Well, before Nara, IIRC, they used to change capital with each new Emperor to avoid death-contamination (others - Kristina? - can no doubt provide a better explanation), so it probably didn't seem such a big step to them.

One of the events mentioned in the Houjouki itself, incidentally, is the shortlived move from Heian-kyou to Fukuhara in 1180 (which I could probably provide some details on, if I had my copy of the Heike monogatari to hand, but I don't). They had some trouble with the geomancy, as I recall.


I'm probably just muddying the waters here, but I think that when an Emperor died, they just sort of built a new wing for the new guy across the palace grounds, and it wasn't such a big deal anyway because the buildings were all made of wood and regularly burned down in any case. Moving the capital to a whole new city was only undertaken to make a big political point... well, or because of bad geomancy, but that time didn't last long.


I meant geomantic problems with the new site, not the old one, in case that wasn't clear. There definitely were political considerations in that case, although I don't recall the exact details.

This map is interesting, if all but unreadable at that size. And the first few pages of this.


Now say "Naniwanagaratoyosaki-Palace!" three times quickly. (Almost as much fun as "gas explosion on the bus for Arakawaoki Station"!)

No doubt the ruling parties were a mite peeved when it was discovered that someone had fenged up the shui, eh?

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