Mononobe clan (物部氏 Mononobe uji?) was a Japanese clan of the Kofun period, known for its military opposition to the Soga clan. The Mononobe were opposed to the spread of Buddhism, partly on religious grounds, claiming that the local deities would be offended by the worshiping of foreign deities, but also as the result of feelings of conservatism and a degree of xenophobia. The Nakatomi clan, ancestors of the Fujiwara, were also Shinto ritualists allied with the Mononobe in opposition to Buddhism.
The Mononobe, like many other major families of the time, were something of a corporation or guild in addition to being a proper family by blood-relation. While the only members of the clan to appear in any significant way in the historical record were statesmen, the clan as a whole was known as the Corporation of Arms or Armorers.
In the 6th century, a number of violent clashes erupted between the Mononobe and the Soga clan. According to the Nihon Shoki, one particularly important conflict occurred after the Emperor Yōmei died after a very short reign. Mononobe no Moriya, the head of the clan, supported one prince to succeed Yōmei, while Soga no Umako chose another. The conflict came to a head in a battle at Kisuri (present-day Osaka) in the year 587, where the Mononobe clan were defeated and crushed at the Battle of Shigisan. Following Moriya's death, Buddhism has seen the further spread in Japan.[notes 1]
- Read more in the article on Mononobe no Moriya for recent findings on a possible sponsorship for Buddhism by the Mononobe.
- Sansom, George (1958). A History of Japan to 1334. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.
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