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Title: Kabane  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Emperor Keikō, Muraji, Omi, Kofun period, Fujiwara clan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Kabane () were titles used with clan name (uji na) in pre-modern Japan to denote rank and political standing of each clan (uji). There were more than thirty. Some of the more common kabane were omi, muraji, miyatsuko (), kimi (), atai (), fubito (), agatanushi (県主), and suguri (村主).

The kabane were divided into two general classes: those who claimed they were descendants of the imperial line (kōbetsu (皇別)), and those who claimed they were descendants of the gods (shinbetsu (神別)). There is often no historical evidence for such distinctions beside old records and other transmissions.

At first the kabane were administered by individual clans, but eventually they came to be controlled by the Yamato court. In 684 the kabane were reformed into the eight kabane system (yakusa no kabane (八色の姓)). The powerful omi of the time were given the kabane of ason, which ranked second under the new system, while most of the muraji were given the kabane of sukune, which ranked third. Later, as the clans began to devolve into individual households, the kabane system gradually faded from use.

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