Shomu (reigned 724-749) was a Japanese emperor who ruled at the height of the Nara Era in Japanese History. A great patron of Buddhism, Emperor Shomu had a temple built in every province. The greatest of these was the magnificent Todaiji Temple in Nara - its grand opening celebration was attended by over 10,000 priests and dignitaries from all over Asia, including China, India, Thailand, and Afghanistan. Artifacts from this remarkable event are preserved in the Shosoin Museum. Shomu abdicated in 749 in favor of his daughter, the empress Koken, to pursue a meditative life as a Buddhist monk.
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