Todai-ji is a Buddhist temple located in Nara Prefecture.
It was built by Emperor Shomu in 728 (8th century)
In the half of the 8th century, a predecessor temple was built at the foot of Wakakusa, east of the Great Buddha Hall.
According to Todaiji’s record “Todaiji Youroku”, Konshuji temple which was built at the foot of Wakakusa ,was origin of Todaiji.
On the other hand, according to an official authorized history “Zoku Nihonki”, in the 5th year of Shinki(728), the 45th Emperor Shomu and Empress Komyo built “Sanbo” at the foot of Wakakusa for praying their prince who has died young.
It is known that nine monks lived there and this is seen as the predecessor of Konshuji temple.
The imperial decree of the construction of Kokubunji temple was issued in Tenpyo 13 (741), and in the next year (742), Konshuji was designated as Kokubunji in Yamato.
The casting of the Great Buddha began in 747 and it seems that the temple name of “Todaiji” began to be used from this time. It is the first time in the year Tenpyo 748 that “Zotodaijishi”, the government office for the construction of Todaiji, appears as a historical material.
At that time, the capital was relocated to Kunikyo (currently Kizugawa city, Kyoto Prefecture), but the Emperor was at Shigarakinomiya (currently Shigarakicho, Koga city, Shiga Prefecture) located in the northeast of Kunikyo so construction of the Great Buddha was also started here.
Emperor Shomu kept transferring the capital in a short period of time, but 2 years later, in 745 ( Tenpyo 17) the capital returned to Heijokyo, the construction of the Great Buddha was re-established at the present Todaiji Temple.
Since it was necessary to support a wide range of people in order to promote this large project, Gyoki, who had been repressed by the Imperial Court, was welcomed as a monk and got cooperation.