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Home » 7. Concepts and Doctrines » Basic Terms
Yamato
An alternate name for the country of Japan. Yamato is also written , , , and . Originally, this was the place name for the vicinity around the present day city of Tenri in Nara Prefecture, but it later became the name for one of the five kingdoms of the Kinai region. (Yamato Province, as it was then called, covered the entire area of present-day Nara Prefecture.) Most likely owing to the fact that this province was an early seat of centralized imperial power, Yamato came to refer to all of Japan. Moreover, when used as a qualifier, yamato indicates that the noun it qualifies is "inherently Japanese" (e.g. yamato damashii, "Japanese spirit"). It is also said that the country of Yamatai mentioned in the Gishi-wajinden section of the late third century Chinese text, History of the Kingdom of Wei, can be read as "Yamato."

— Fukui Yoshihiko
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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