Emperor Kinmei (欽明天皇)

Emperor Kinmei (509 - May 24, 571) was the 29th emperor of Japan (the reign: December 30, 539 - April 15, 571 [old calendar]). He was also called Amekunioshiharakihironiha no Sumeramikoto(emperor) or Shikishima no mikoto (emperor) (志帰嶋天皇・斯帰斯麻天皇). Mimana collapsed and Buddhism was introduced to Japan from Kudara (Paekche) during the reign of Emperor Kinmei. Amekunioshiharukihironiwa no mikoto, his younger brother, ruled the country, residing in his palace in the palace of Shikishima. The palace of Shikishima is in Shiki-gun, Nara Prefecture.


This resulted in the creation of the bipolar political system consisted of Mononobe clan and Soga clan. With regards to relations with Soga clan, Emperor Kinmei selected Soga no Kitashihime and Soga no Oane no kimi (the daughters of SOGA no Iname) as his wives. After the death of Emperor Bidatsu, Soga clan flourished as three children born (after Prince Tachibananotoyohi) between Emperor Kinmei and his wives took positions of Okimi (emperor) instead of Oshisaka no Hikohito no Oenomiko (prince) whose mother was officially a member of Imperial family; however, in those times accession to the throne was more common from brother to brother rather than from father to his son.
Although there have been continuing discussions over rehabilitation of Mimana between Emperor Kinmei and Sho Myoo of Paekche (king, also known as Seong-wang in "History of Three Kingdoms") since 541, due to the dire war situation for Paekche, and they abandoned Pyongyang and Seoul Special City in 552 (538 in "History of Three Kingdoms"). Furethremore, after the death of Sho myoo during the battle with Silla in 554, the Silla army gained its momentum and Mimana fell in 562 (or 560). In 562, though the Emperor Kinmei sent punitive forces to Silla, they were trapped and forced to withdraw.
("The Chronicles of Japan" says that Silla set up the army by waving white flags.)
(Also, the Silla History in "History of Three Kingdom" edited in the same year similarly describe that Silla sent the army to Gaya during Gaya rebellion, and astonished its enemies by waving white flags.)

Mimana is not just one country but an alliance composed of ten countries, according to "Chronicles of Japan".

Around this time Yamato Dynasty was losing its clout on Miman, and Silla was giving pressure against Mimana. Due to these reasons as well as weakening of Paekche, it seems to be this period when Yamato Dynasty could not maintain its momentum and gave its influence areas to Silla.

It is said that Emperor Kinmei never lost his dream for restoring Mimana until he met his death. In 554, the Prince Osada no Nunakura no Futotamashiki (Emperor Bidatsu) succeeded to the throne as the first prince of Kinmei, Yatatamakatsu no Oenomiko, already had passed away in 552.
Discussions over enthronement

As mentioned above, "Chronicles of Japan" suggests that Emperor Kinmei succeeded the enthronement after Emperor Senka, his older brother by a concubine, passed away. However, the calendar era of the book shows some contradictions with regard to the year of his enthronement; therefore, many theories relating to the accurate year have been presented.

First, Takurei HIRAKO concluded that Emperor Keitai (Emperor Kinmei's father) died in 527 as written in Kojiki ("the Record of Ancient Matters"), and Emperor Ankan and Senka reigned as the Emperor for two years respectively. Also, Hirako insisted that Emperor Kinmei succeeded the enthronement in 531 which was the year Emperor Keitai passed away as stated in "Chronicles of Japan".

On the other hand, Sadakichi KIDA agreed on the year of his enthronement as 531. Three years later, in 534, though oppositions to the enthronement of Emperor Kinmei supported Ankan as emperor, Ankan passed away within a year. Subsequently supporters of Ankan supported Senke; therefore, the court of Kinmei and the court of Ankan/Senka coexisted side by side at one time; but this juxtaposition was dissolved by the demise of Senka; this was what Kida insisted. While Tatsusaburo HAYASHIYA (scholar of Japanese history) mostly agreed with Kida's theory, Hayashiya also advocated that Emperor Keitai was assassinated.

Also, Yu MIZUNO and Shoichiro SHIRASAKI agreed on Hirako's theory about the year that Emperor Keitai passed away. However, Mizuno considered that Emperor Kinmei succeeded to the throne in 535 after Ankan reigned f or eight years and that Emperor Senka is a fictional figure. Shirasaki considered that Ankan reigned for 4 years and afterwards both of the court of Senka and the court of Kinmei coexisted for four years.

Based on the statement in "Original records of Paekche" in section of "25 years of Emperor Keitai" in "Chronicles of Japan", saying "百濟本記爲文 其文云 大歳辛亥三月 軍進至于安羅 營乞?城 是月 高麗弑其王安 又聞 日本天皇及太子皇子 倶崩薨 由此而言 辛亥之歳 當廿五年矣"(Emperor in Japan and the prince passed away at the same time), Jugo KUROIWA believed that Ankan and Senka did not succeed to the throne and they were actually assassinated or under custody. Also Kuroiwa insisted that OTOMO no Kanamura lost his position not because he ceded four provinces in Mimana for exchange of bribe but because he failed in the fight on deciding the successor by recommending these illegitimate older half-brothers of him.

Among these theories, there are opinions to take objection to the theory of juxtaposition of plural Emperors for the reason that there are not many historical materials which can prove this theory. Apart from the "Chronicles of Japan" and the theory of Mizuno, if any of these theories is correct, Emperor Kinmei would become the third emperor who reigned for the longest time following Emperor Showa and Emperor Meiji between Emperor Keitai and the present Imperial family; some people argue that Emperor Suiko or Emperor Tenmu was the actual first emperor and before these emperors there existed the great King of Yamato; but we will put aside this theory for now. However, all of them have not been proven yet.
Official introduction of Buddhism
In 552, budda statues and sutras; sacred literature telling religious techniques, were introduced to Japan from Paekche while It is argued that Buddhism was introduced in 538 based on descriptions in "Jogu Shotoku Hooteisetsu" (Biography of Shotoku Taishi), "Ganjo-ji temple garan engi", (the history of Ganjoji temple), (both saying 538 is the year when Buddhism came to Japan. During the reign of Emperor Kinmei (540-571), since there was no year of the horse (the Oriental zodiac), 538, the year closest to his period of reign, is often considered when Buddhism was introduced to Japan.

This resulted in the conflict between the Mononobe clan (anti-Buddhist faction) and the Soga clan (pro-Buddhist faction), and the Mononobe clan burned down temples, and threw away Budda statues. This was the start of feud between the Mononobe Clan and the Soga clan, according to the book, "Official Introduction of Buddhism".
The Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace was in Shikishima no Kasanomiya (now known as Sotoyama, Kanaya, Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture).
"Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters) describes it as "Shikishima no Omiya" (the palace of Shikishima)
Misasagi (Imperial mausoleum)
Nothing related to Misasagi is mentioned in "Kojiki". According to the "Enkishiki"(the book of laws and regulation edited in the Heian Period and "Chronicles of Japan", the Emperor Kinmei was buried in Hinokuma no saka Ai no Misasagi in Nara Prefecture. Although his Imperial mausoleum is known as a part of Umeyama Tumulus (large keyhole-shaped tomb mound, 140 meters in diameter) in Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture, some argue that it is in the Mise Maruyama Tumulus (Gojono Maruyama Tumulus) in Kashihara Prefecture. In 612, Soga no Kitashihime (Princess) is also buried later in Hinokuma no saka Ai no Misasagi.

[Original Japanese]