What Are the Taika Reforms?

The Taika Reforms was a series of changes to Japan's political system after a coup d’état in 645 A.D. by Prince Nakano and Nakatoni Kamatari against the Soga clan. The reforms changed the Japanese system of government to one modeled after the Tang Dynasty in China as well as the dominion of the whole of Japan by the emperor's family.

The Taika Reforms was propagated by an Imperial decree, which outlined great changes to the social and political structure at the time. The declaration was divided into four articles, the first of which abolished private ownership of land and declared that all land was owned by the public, though in reality this meant the emperor. Other parts of the declaration dealt with the establishment of new military and administrative bodies at the national and local level. The Taika Reforms also led to the introduction of a formal census system as well as tax reforms.

Following the reforms, the nobles of Japan surrendered their estate to the Emperor, and a census was initiated, which documented the population of Japan as well as the effectiveness of land usage. Data from this census would later be used to implement a tax system based on population. The Taika Reforms also led to the first recorded codification of laws in Imperial Japan.