“Tsukushi” was located in north Kyushu close to the main land and it was a place of exchanging cultures with the main land since the Jomon era. Names of places in northern Kyushu such as Ito koku and Na koku, appear in a Chinese historical books called “Gishiwajinden” and “Gokanjotouiden”. And also a golden stamp from the Han Dynasty in China was found in Shikanoshima Island in Fukuoka city.
During emperor Tenji’s rule, fortresses were built in Tsukushi to prevent an attack from the Tang and Silla Dynasty after suffering a huge defeat at the Battle of Hakusukinoe (the west coast of South Korea). Mizuki, Ono-jo and Kii-jo are the fortresses.
However by the time of the next generation during Emperor Tenmu and Empress Jitou’s time, the tension had lessened, so a city was built inside those fortresses.
This city was built for diplomacy and trade with foreign countries.
This is how “The Western Capital” started.
During that time, Changan a capital of the Tang Dynasty in China was the most advanced city in East Asia.
One Japanese envoy named Awata Mahito visited the Tang Dynasty and brought back its cultures and the products of civilization from Changan. And then Heijokyo in Nara which was in the center of Japan was built and modeled on Changan. Dazaifu was also improved because of that.
As a result, an outstanding international city “The Western Capital Dazaifu” was born with the ability to welcome foreign delegates.