This research investigates into the literature and politics of the Tenmu Dynasty(A.D. 672～686), established through the coup d'état called the Jinshin Rebellion(A.D. 672). It tries to understand the synchronic and diachronic background of the Tenmu Dynasty and its significance to the history of Japanese culture by specifically examining the cause and the background of the Jinshin Rebellion; how the idea that the Emperor is God and the idea that God came to the world in human flesh formed, ideas representing the spirit of the Tenmu Dynasty; and the literature and the political situation of the Tenmu Dynasty.
The Jinshin Rebellion was caused by Imperial Prince Oama's discontent with the issue of succeeding the throne and his desire to hold the reins of power, and also by the discontent of provincial clans and the Shilla line with the Omi Government's strengthening central governmentalism and preferential treatment for Baekje's exiled intellectuals and influential clans. The reason why the idea that the Emperor is God and the idea that God came to the world in human flesh emerged in the Tenmu Dynasty was since its political form was not conciliatory politics through collaboration with influential clans, but was a political system supported by medium and small clans, and therefore the historical image of deifying the Emperor was naturally formed from below.
The Tenmu Dynasty is politically and historically very significant in Japanese ancient history since a nation with centralized government power, with the Emperor at its top, and its law system were near completion. Moreover, through recording and arranging the lineage of successive Emperors and various old events, later 『Kogiki』 and 『Nihonshoki』 were compiled, and owing to this a systemized and political Japanese mythology was born, unparalleled in the world. Also, that the concept of Takamanohara is rooted in the Tenmu Dynasty makes the meaning of the dynasty fairly significant in the history of Japanese culture.
However, unlike the Omi Dynasty since the Tenmu Dynasty is established through a coup d'état, political reform was urgent and therefore literature did not prosper. Not only the literary tradition of Baekje's exiled intellectuals, who were experts in Chinese literature, was not succeeded or developed, court literature and Chinese literature also became inactive. Even though the Tenmu Dynasty lasted longer than the Omni Dynasty, the Manyoshu's Poem was not produced a lot. Thus, the Tenmu Dynasty was not a prosperous period itself, but was a period preparing for the golden age of Waka (Japanese poem) of Jito Dynasty, in which poets such as Kakinomoto Hitomaro played an active role. Also, the Tenmu Dynasty is significant in that it formed a strong Japanese trend in literature, politics, and in all other aspects.