(574-622). Statesman of the Asuka period (593-710); second son of Emperor Yōmei. Prince Shōtoku instituted the Kani jūnikai ("twleve cap ranks") and the Seventeen-Article Constitution to strengthen imperial authority. He compiled histories with Soga no Umako and initiated diplomatic relations with the Sui dynasty (589-618) in China. He gave direct imperial support to the building of the temples Asukadera, Shitennō-ji, and Hōryū-ji and is credited with written commentaries on sutras. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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