The Dazaifu (大宰府 or 太宰府) is a Japanese term for the regional government in Kyushu from the 8th to the 12th centuries. The name may also refer to the seat of government which grew into the modern city of Dazaifu in Fukuoka Prefecture.
During the 8th and 9th centuries, records refer to Dazaifu as "the distant capital".
The flexible term refers to the regional government for all of Kyūshū and nearby islands.
From the 7th through the 13th century, the governor and vice-governor of Dazaifu had civil and military functions. The titles of the vice governors were Dazai dani and Dazai shoni. Among the Dazai shoni was Fujiwara no Hirotsugu in 740 who started a rebellion in the same year.
Sometimes there was an official Absentee Governor (Dazai-no-sotsu). This title was only given to Imperial princes. Among those holding this office was Takaharu-shinnō who would later become Emperor Go-Daigo.
Dazaifu is the name of the place where regional government was centered in the late Nara period through the Muromachi period. It is the town which grew up around the government center in the 7th through the 12th centuries. It is also the name of the small city which continued to grow even after the regional government center was moved.
Dazaifu refers to the region which includes all the provinces on the island of Kyūshū and other nearby islands.
The Dazaifu is the name of the civil government on the island of Kyūshū. As it grew and developed, a large complex of government offices (都府楼跡, Tofuro-ato) was built for the use of the hierarchy of bureaucrats. The many buildings were arranged along a symmetrical grid, not far from the Buddhist temple complex at Kanzeon-ji (観世音寺).
Dazaifu is a metonym of the official position at the head of the regional government. It is also a metonym for the person who fills this leadership role.
- Adolphson, Mikael S. et al. (2007). Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries, pp. 5-6., p. 5, at Google Books; excerpt, "... the Dazaifu -- the governmental headquarters in northern Kyushu -- was a center in its own right ... earned the epithet 'the capital of the western periphery' (saikyoku no daijō)"
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