[S2E9] 🧭 Capitals of Fate with Prof Ellen Van Goethem

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Oliver is joined by Ellen Van Goethem, Professor in Japanese Humanities at Kyushu University, to discuss Capitals of Fate. Ellen’s research focusses on the history and archaeology of Japan’s early and frequently changing capitals from the Asuka to the early Heian period. We explore why these capitals were moved, what the criteria was when creating a new capital city and the influence of practices from mainland Asia.

Capitals in chronological order of foundation

  • Fujiwara
  • Nara
  • Kuni
  • Naniwa
  • Nagaoka
  • Heian (Kyoto)
  • Edo (Tokyo)


Fūsui (風水): Site divination or geomancy, derived from the Chinese term feng shui.

Shijinsōō (四神相応): Correspondence of the four deities (vermillion sparrow, azure dragon, white tiger, black turtle-snake)

Image and audio credits

Intro-outro music: jasonszklarek / MotionElements.com

[L] Replica of Nara’s First Audience Hall. Provided by Ellen Van Goethem.

[R] Lantern depicting the Azure Dragon (Heian Shrine). Provided by Ellen Van Goethem.

Copyright © 2021 Oliver Moxham, ℗ 2021 Oliver Moxham. May be freely distributed in a classroom setting.

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