Emperor Ninken (仁賢天皇)

Emperor Ninken (449 – September 9, 498) was the twenty-fourth emperor of Japan (who reigned from February 4, 488, to September 9, 498.)
He was also known as Oke no sumeramikoto (the term sumeramikoto refers to emperor), Oshi no mikoto (the term mikoto refers to god or person of great importance), or Oke no miko (which was written as "意祁命" or "意富祁王" in Japanese). His imina (real name) was Oshi or Osu, and his azana (male adult's courtesy name) was Shima no iratsuko.


He was a grandson of Emperor Richu and a son of Ichinohe no oshiha no miko (the term miko refers to imperial prince).

His mother was Haehime (a daughter of KATSURAGI no Ariomi). He was an older brother of Emperor Kenzo.
(According to "Harimanokuni Fudoki" [literally, the Records of the Culture and Geography of the Harima Province], however, his mother was Tashiraka no mikoto.)

Imperial Palace

It was Isonokami no hirotaka no miya Palace in the capital.
(Supposedly, it was located in Isonokami-cho Town, Tenri City, Nara Prefecture, or Kabata in the same city.)


After his father Ichinohe no oshiha no miko was murdered by Emperor Yuryaku, Oke no miko (written as "億計王" in Japanese, who was the future Emperor Ninken) and his younger brother Oke no mikoto (written as "弘計王" in Japanese, who was the future Emperor Kenzo) escaped and hid together. First, they fled to Yosa-gun County in Tanba Province (located in the eastern area of the Tango Peninsula), thereafter moving to Akashi in Harima Province. They used a collective false name, Taniwa no warawa (literally, children of Tanba). They were hired by Shijimi no Miyake no Obito (chieftain of the Imperially-controlled territory called Shijimino miyake) and engaged in farming of horses and cattle. In 481, at a banquet, the younger prince revealed that they were members of the imperial family. Since Emperor Seinei had no children, he welcomed the two brothers into the imperial palace in 482. In April, the older prince Oke no miko ("億計王") became the crown prince.

After the death of Emperor Seinei in 484, both of the two brothers thought the other was more suitable to succeed to the throne, and tried to give the emperorship to the other. During that period, Iitoyo ao no himemiko (the term himemiko refers to imperial princess) administered the affairs of state. The next year the younger prince succeeded to the throne to become Emperor Kenzo, but he passed away only three years later.

Therefore, the older prince Oke no mikoto ("億計王") ascended the throne in February, 488, thus becoming Emperor Ninken. He established the positions of Isonokamibe Toneri (Officer of the Isonokamibe) in March, 490, and Saeki no miyatsuko in 492. In September, 493, he dispatched HITAKA no Kishi to Koma (Goguryeo) and invited manufacturers of handicrafts, for example, master tanners. The Emperor Ninken ruled the country very well, and people said that the world was well governed by the emperor and the citizens were happy in their everyday work.

In January, 494, the Emperor designated his son Ohatsuse no wakasazaki no mikoto as the crown prince. In September, 498, the Emperor died. His age at death was 50 according to "Mizukagami" (literally, the Water Mirror) or 51 according to "Teio hennenki" (literally, Annals of the emperor).

The Emperor Ninken's consort was Kasuga no oiratsume no himemiko, a daughter of the Emperor Yuryaku. The Emperor Ninken chose her as his wife despite the fact that her father Emperor Yuryaku had murdered his father, supposedly in an attempt to enhance legitimacy of his emperorship by marrying an imperial princess who directly descended from the legitimate emperor, where he himself was a collateral descent. This tactics was used again when his daughter Tashiraka no himemiko married Emperor Keitai who was in a collateral line.

Imperial Tomb and Mausoleum

The Emperor Ninken's body was buried in Hanyu no sakamoto no misasagi (mausoleum). The authorized location of the misasagi is Nonaka Bokeyama-kofun Tumulus (a keyhole-shaped mound of 120 meters in the total length) located at 3-chome, Aoyama, Fujiidera City, Osaka Prefecture.

Further, Kenzo Ninken-jinja Shrine where Emperors Ninken and Kenzo are enshrined is located in Kizu, Oshibedani-cho Town, Nishi Ward, Kobe City. The nearest station is Kizu Station of the Shintetsu (Kobe Electric Railway) Ao Line (Hyogo Prefecture). In addition to this shrine, there are many other shrines that are supposed to have ties with the Emperor Ninken in Nishi Ward of Kobe City, Akashi City and Miki City.

[Original Japanese]