Woodblock printing was invented in China under the Tang Dynasty, and eventually migrated to Japan in the late 700s, where it was first used to reproduce foreign literature. In 764 the Empress Kōken commissioned one million small wooden pagodas, each containing a small woodblock scroll printed with a Buddhist text (Hyakumantō Darani). These were distributed to temples around the country as thanks for the suppression of the Emi Rebellion of 764. These are the earliest examples of woodblock printing known, or documented, from Japan.
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