Emperor Ojin (応神天皇)

Emperor Ojin (January 5, 201-March 31, 310) was the fifteenth Emperor, who was in the reign from February 8, 270 to March 31, 310. Different names include Homuda no Sumeramikoto and Homutawake no mikoto.

Various Theories
He is said to be the oldest okimi (Emperor), actuality of whose existence is high, but, because descriptions about him overlap and are confused with a paragraph on Emperor Nintoku, there are theories presented including one that Ojin and Nintoku are the same person. According to the Oriental zodiac of the year of the demise described in Kojiki (The Record of Ancient Matters), his era corresponds to the latter half of the fourth century. From articles on genealogy written in "the Kojiki and Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan)," there is a theory which claims that it is reasonable to think that Ojin was made up by combining influential persons of the time in the royal line. With this uncertainty of his actual existence, there have been proposed many theories regarding real images of the great king. They include a theory which regards Ojin to be actual because his Japanese-style posthumous name, 'Homuda,' is extremely different from the embellished ones of the Emperors before the eighth, a theory which postulates that he is the founder of the conquering dynasty in the rotation theory of three dynasties, a theory to regard him as the god (Usa Hachiman) enshrined as an ancestor of the Imperial Family in relation to relocation of the Yamatai-Koku Kingdom to the east, a theory to regard him as the founder of the Kawachi dynasty, etc. Also, from relative comparisons with historical materials abroad, there is a theory which identifies him with San of the five kings of Wa, who appear in "Sungshu (Book of the Sung dynasty)" and "Book of the Liang dynasty" (in addition, there are theories which identify Nintoku or Richu with San) and a possibility has been pointed out that he might have directed the advancement of Wakoku (Japan) to Korea,which is written in "Gwanggaeto Stele."

Posthumous Name

In "Nihonshoki," it appears as Homuta no Sumeramikoto or according to Chapter 1, Homutawake no Sumeramikoto obtained by exchanging names with Kehi no Okami and in the note is described as Izasawake no mikoto. Also, from the time he was in the womb of his mother, he was destined to accede to the Imperial throne and, thus, he has a title of honor of Emperor Taichu (Emperor residing in the womb).

In "Kojiki," it appears as Homudawake no mikoto, with another name, Otomowake no mikoto. It is said that this another name derives from the fact that, when he was born, the muscle of his arm was bulging like a Tomo (a tool to be wound around the left arm when shooting an arrow).

In "Harimanokuni Fudoki" (Records of the culture and geography of the Harima Province), it is written as Homuda no Sumeramikoto.

In the surviving fragment of 'Joguki' (Record of the Crown Prince), it is written as Homutawake no miko.

Posthumous Name or Real Name?

There is a theory that 'Homudawake' (in "Nihonshoki" and "Kojiki," Chinese characters used are different) which is thought to be the posthumous name of Emperor Ojin was a real name used when he was alive. According to descriptions of Nihonshoki after it increased certainty, it seems to be after the middle of the sixth century when it began to give a Japanese-style posthumous name to the Emperor. Especially, the posthumous names from Emperor Ojin through Emperor Keitai are generally simple and there are ones such as Wakatakeru, which were clearly proven to be the real names when alive. An obviously Japanese-style posthumous name can be seen as in Shiraka no takehirokunioshiwakayamatoneko no Sumeramikoto of the twenty-second Emperor Seinei (according to "Nihonshoki") but this rather suggests a possibility that Emperor Seinei is a fictional Emperor who was later included in the imperial line (however, there is a theory which proposes that there is a high possibility that Emperor Seinei actually existed because his Japanese-style posthumous name is based on a real name).

In "Nihonshoki," there appears a name, Mitomowake as the ancestor of the Kibi clan and, in "Kojiki," there can be seen a name, Otamuwake as the ancestor of the Yasu no Kuni no miyatsuko (local ruling families in ancient Japan) in Omi Province, with constitution of the names of these local ruling families are exactly the same with 'Homudawake.'
From these considerations, names having the term 'wake' (written in several ways by Chinese characters) existed from fourth to fifth century irrespective of Imperial family or local ruling families, showing that this was a name used universally. As a matter of fact, the posthumous names for Emperors Keiko, Richu, and Hanzei include 'wake' and there is a high possibility that these are Japanese-style posthumous names based on real names. From these points, the above hypothesis assumes that 'Homudawake' of Emperor Ojin was also a real name.

In addition, as to the meaning and origin of this 'wake,' there are too many theories to be clarified. According to "Kojiki," it is a name of a government post of a local official which Emperor Keiko established and is a title for local ruling families who separated from the Imperial family and were given lands in various regions. However, this may be an ideological explanation.

It is said that his father was Ex-Emperor Chuai and his mother was Empress Jingu, namely Okinagatarashihime no mikoto, but there are many different opinions. The reason is that his birth was delayed abnormally. There is a view that his father was Sumiyoshi Okami or Takeuchi no Sukune, there being with the former a description that 'the Empress had a secret relationship with Okami' (Records of the Age of the Gods from the Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine). Some people argue that this mysteriousness of his birth suggests that Emperor Ojin fundamentally had no blood line connection to the previous dynasty and was regarded as the founder of a new dynasty.

Imperial Palace

The capital was Karushima no toyoakira no miya (probably, present-day Okaru Town, Kashihara City, Nara Prefecture). In "Kojiki," it is described as Karushima no haruno miya. According to "Nihonshoki," there was also built, in Osaka, Osumi no miya (present-day Osumi, Higashi Yodogawa Ward, Osaka City, or, according to one theory, Chuo Ward of Osaka City).


On her way back from sankan-seibatsu (the conquest of three countries in old Korea), Empress Jingu gave birth to him at Umi (Umi Town, Kasuya County, Fukuoka Prefecture). In 204, there was an investiture of the Crown Prince. In 270, he acceded to the throne at the age of 71 and passed away in 310 at the age of 111. "Kojiki" has it that he passed away at the age of 130.

According to "Kojiki," in his reign, he established Amabe, Yamabe, Yama no moribe, and Isebe (groups of people related respectively to sea products, mountains, mountain management, and Ise Province. He had Tsurugi no ike-Pond built. Also, people of Silla came over. For this reason, he let Takeucho no Sukune lead the people and go to Tsutsumiike to build Kudara (Paekche) no ike-Pond.
In "Nihonshoki" also, a similar story appears and the paragraph titled September, 274 says that 'he sent an order to all countries and determined diver groups and mountain guardian groups' and the paragraph titled November, 280 says that 'he had Tsurugi no ike-Pond, Karu no ike-Pond, Shishikaki no ike-Pond, and Umaya no saka no ike-Pond built.'
The Tsurugi no ike-Pond is said to be the Ishikawaike-Pond in Ishikawa Town, Kashihara City, Nara Prefecture.

In "Kojiki," it is described that King Shoko of Kudara (Paekche, King Geunchogo) presented horses, one male and one female, which accompanied Achikishi. This Achikishi was the founder of Achiki no fubito. The King also presented a sword and a large mirror.
Further, because the Emperor asked 'if there were a wise man, bring him as a tribute, 'in response to his order, sent as a tribute was Wanikishi. Accompanying this man, there were presented 10 volumes of Rongo Analects and 1 volume of Senjimon, total 11 volumes. This Wanikishi was the ancestor of Humi no obito, etc. Also sent as tributes were two people, a blacksmith named Takuso and a weaver, Saiso.'
There are similar stories in the paragraphs titled August, 284 and March, 285 of "Nihonshoki." Furthermore, the paragraph titled October, 289 describes that 'Achi no omi, the ancester of Yamato no aya no atai, his son Tsuka no omi, and his relatives from seventeen provinces came over,' suggesting that there were many settlers.

In later years, together with Empress Jingu, he was related to Hachimanshin (God of War) and was enshrined as Imperial ancestor and bushin in Hachiman-gu Shrines in various places.

Imperial Mausoleum

"Kojiki" describes that 'Misasagi (Imperial mausoleum) is located on Mofushi Hill in Ega, Kawachi Province.'
In "Nihonshoki," there is no description of the name of the mausoleum but in Yuryakuki (a volume on Emperor Yuryaku), there appears 'Konda Mausoleum on Ichibiko no oka (hill).'
In the paragraph on Shoryoryo (the Bureau for managing imperial mausoleums) in "the Engishiki" (an ancient book for codes and procedures on national rites and prayers), there appears Ega no Mofushi no oka Mausoleum. At present, the mausoleum is identified with Konda gobyoyama tumulus (a large keyhole-shaped tumulus, 425 m in total length and 36 m in height of the rounded part, originally surrounded by double moats).
It is a large keyhole-shaped tumulus built in early fifth century, next (second in size) to the Daisenryo Tumulus (Mausoleum of Emperor Nintoku),
However, it is to be noted that a conclusive age in archeology is always floating unless there appears an exceptionally strong historical material, etc.

[Original Japanese]