Nara Period
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Men's clothing during Nara Period
Woman's clothing during Nara Period
Nara Period Armor
(would have been black)
   The Nara period in Japan is marked by the capital of Japan being located in Nara, and when Buddhism was introduced and developed into several new sects, or denominations.  The capital city of Nara was modeled after the Chinese capital Ch'ang-an and became Japan's first permanent capital, in 710ce.  During this time period, there was a gradual decline in Chinese influence.  Many imported ideas were gradually "Japanized" and made a part of the Japanese culture.  The development of Kana, or a syllable based written language, was developed and made the creation of actual Japanese literature possible.  Prior to Kana, all literature was in Chinese.

   The Nara Period was also an agricultural and village-based society.  Most Japanese lived in pit houses and worshiped Kami, or nature spirits. 
The earliest written records of Japan were the Kojiki, or The record of Ancient Matters, written in 712a.c.e. in Chinese characters and the Nihon Shoki, or Japanese Chronicles, a document that chronicles Japan's history from its birth to 697a.c.e.  Both are believed to be based on oral traditions and preserved by court officials.  The Kojiki is the oldest written book and the Nihon Shoki has been a required reading for all school children, in Japan, after World War II.