Prince Shotoku

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Prince Shotoku (573-621) was the son of Emperor Yomei of Japan and ruled as regent for many years. He introduced Buddhism to his country from China together with the best of Chinese culture - music, administrative practices, calligraphy and art. In 605 he gave Japan its first written constitution which was imbued with Buddhist ethical principles and which was to have a profound influence on later political thinking. Unlike other modern constitutions which seek to organize a form of government, the Seventeen-point Constitution stressed the importance of personal integrity (in the ruler, government servants and citizens) and social harmony.


A History of Japanese Buddhism, S.Hanayama, 1966