574 - 622
Ruler of Japan

Shotoku Taishi was crown prince and regent of Japan from 593 until his death.

Shotoku was perhaps the most influential ruler of ancient Japan. He sent envoys to China and imported Chinese artists, craftsmen and clerks into Japan in order to remodel the Japanese state after China.

He wrote the constitution that prepared the way for the Taika reform and he promoted Buddhism and Confucianism in what had previously been an exclusively Shinto culture.

He erected many Buddhist temples, including what has become the oldest wooden structure in the world, the Horyuji Temple in Nara.

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