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Uji

city, Kyoto fu (urban prefecture), west-central Honshu, Japan. It lies along the Uji River in the southeastern corner of the Kyoto Basin. It developed in about the 7th century as a river crossing. During the Tokugawa era (1603-1867) it was the main post town on the road between Nara and Otsu.

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uji

any of the hereditary lineage groups that, until their official abolition in AD 604, formed the basic, decentralized ruling structure of early Japan. They are often referred to as the great clans because of their traditions of common descent, and they were ruled by an uji chief who was considered a direct descendant of the deity (ujigami) worshiped by the group's members. The uji members, who had the privilege of having personal surnames and being called by titles of respect, were supported by the labour of common workers, who were organized into subunits of the uji known as be (q.v.).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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