International Symposium on Japanese Studies in Global Contexts

Open Japan Closed Japan: Towards Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Mobility

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The Influence of Baekje Refugees Seen in Buddhist Statues of Ikaruga Region in the Late 7th Century

Satoko Kagamiyama, Osaka University

According to “Nihonshoki”, a large number of refugees from the Baekje Kingdom came to Japan after the defeat of Japan and Baekje in the battle of Hakusukinoe. This event has been thought to be a milestone in the history of Japanese culture, and the studies in art works and archaeological artifacts have revealed Baekje refugees’ activities in Japan.

In this presentation, the first item of focus will be on the statues of Yakushi Nyorai and the statue known as Kokuzo Bosatsu which are owned by Horinji Temple, Kyoto. Up until now, many scholars have suggested that the style of these two statues is similar to the statue of Shaka Nyorai and Kudara Kan’non of Horyuji Temple, Nara. However, through analyzing the differences between the statues of Horyuji and Horinji, such as the clothing style of Yakushi (so-called ‘medicine Buddha’), kaeribanaza (lotus pedestal with down-facing petals), and the proportion of the stature of Kokuzo, the influence of the late Baekje Period’s sculpting style can be observed.

There will also be a discussion regarding roof tiles with stamped letters excavated at the Horinji Temple site, dating to the latter-half of the 7th century. The form of the stamps, a square frame around a Kanji, or Chinese character, closely resembles those of the late Baekje Period. In addition, characters such as ‘木’ and ‘国’ may be linked to family names of the Baekje people.

These two observations suggest that the production of the aforementioned statues and the construction of the monastery had been carried out around the same time, or in the latter-half of the 7th century, and that refugees from Baekje may have actively participated in these endeavors.

Taking into account other artworks that remain in Ikaruga Region, Nara, from the latter half of the 7th century and are also suspected to show signs of Baekje refugees’ involvement, this will assist in examining how Baekje refugees settled in Japan.

Short Biography

Satoko Kagamiyama is a doctoral student at Graduate School of Letters, Osaka University and a research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Her publications include ‘Horinji yakushi nyorai, den kokuzo bosatsu o megutte’ (On Horinji Temple’s Yakushi Nyorai and Kokuzo Bosatsu), Bijutsushi(Journal of the Japan Art History Society)178 (2015, Japanese), and annotations in the catalogue of the Museum of Osaka University’s 19th Planned Exhibition, ‘Kondobutsu Kirakirashi’ (Glittering Bronze Buddhas), (2015).