A family of the Yamato region (now Nara Prefecture) whose leading members in the 6th and 7th centuries came to exercise political influence rivaling that of the imperial house. Accounts in the chronicles Nihon shoki (720) and Kogo shūi (807) link the Soga to financial administration, foreign relations, and the promotion of Buddhism and other aspects of continental culture. Soga no Iname (d 570), the first of four generations of Soga who consecutively held the post of Ōomi (chief minister) at the Yamato Court, showed interest in Korean affairs and was one of the first converts to Buddhism, recently introduced from Paekche. Several of his descendents either married emperors or became emperors. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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