Emperor Suinin (垂仁天皇)

Emperor Suinin (January 26, 69 B.C. - August 8, 70) was the eleventh emperor according to "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters) and "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan) (reigning from February 2, 29 B.C. to August 6, 70). He was also known as Ikume Iribiko Isachi no Mikoto, or Ikume no Mikoto. His name appears in "Kojiki" (Record of Ancient Matters, "Ikume Iribiko Isachi no Mikoto"), "Hitachi no Kuni Fudoki" (Topography of Hitachi Province, "Ikume Emperor"), "Koki" (Ancient Records) quoted in "Ryonoshuge" (Commentaries on Civil Statutes; "Emperor Ikume") and "Joguki" (history book written around the 7th century, "Great King Ikumunirihiko"). Many of the accounts in "Nihon Shoki" (The Chronicles of Japan) and "Kojiki" are stories created to explain the origin of things and it is highly doubtful whether or not they are descriptions of facts.

The Imperial Palace

His palace was located at Makimuku no Tamakinomiya (presumably, present-day Anashi in Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture). It was described as 'Shiki no Tamakakinomiya' in "Kojiki."


The following accounts are based on descriptions in "Nihon Shoki."

He was born on January 25, 69 B.C. In May 50 B.C., he was appointed as Imperial Prince by revelation in a dream.

He ascended to the throne in February, 29 B.C. He decreed Saohime (Princess Sao) to be the Empress in March, 28 B.C., and transferred the capital to Makimuku in November.

In April, 27 B.C., Amenohihoko, the Prince of Silla, visited Japan in order to present sacred treasures.

In November, 25 B.C., a brother of the empress, Sahobiko, rebelled and the empress was burned to death for having obeyed her brother.

In August, 23 B.C., NOMI no Sukune kicked TAIMA no Kehaya to death in a sumo wrestling match (this match is regarded as the origin of Sumai no sechie (the imperial ceremony of sumo wrestling)).

In February, 15 B.C., he had the daughters of Tanbano Michino Ushino Mikoto enter the kokyu (empress's residence) and, in September, designated Hibasuhime to be the empress.

In April 5 B.C., he appointed Princess Yamatohime to perform rituals to worship the great sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami. After Yamatohime had been to Uda (Uda-gun, Nara Prefecture), Omi Province and Mino Province, she reached Ise Province and built a hokora (a small shrine) by the Isuzu-gawa River in order to make Ise-jingu Shrine prosperous.

In September 3 B.C., he dedicated weapons to shrines, established shrine parishes and chose families (called "jinko" or "kanbe" in Japanese) in these parishes to provide services for the shrines. In that year he also established miyake (territory under imperial control) for the first time in Kume (Kume-cho, Kashihara City).

Hibasushime died in August 3 A.D. Following NOMI no Sukune's advice, he buried a clay figure instead of following his wife to the grave (this is believed to be the origin of Haniwa, earthenware figures that line the exterior of some ancient Japanese burial mounds).
"Kojiki" stated that 'he governed 石祝 (coffin) makers and Hanishibe (a maker of clay pots and figures).'
It was said that he governed the Bemin (people who belonged to the Yamato dynasty), who made stone coffins and various pots of red clay.

On February 15 in the year 6, he is reported to have built ponds and canals in many provinces, including Takaishi-ike Pond and Chinu-ike Pond in Kawachi Province, in order to promote agriculture.

In October in the year 10, Inishiki no Mikoto presented 1,000 swords he had made to Ishigami-jingu Shrine. He subsequently appointed Inishiki no Mikoto to protect the sacred treasures of Isonokami-jingu Shrine.

In March 61 A.D., he ordered Tajimamori to go search for a rare fruit called "tokijikuno kaguno konomi" that grows in a country beyond the sea.

In July in the year 70, Emperor Suinin died. He was said to be 140 years old in "Nihonshoki," 153 years old in "Kojiki," and 139 years old in "Dainihonshi" (Great History of Japan). In January in the year 71, he was buried in Sugawara no Fushimi Mausoleum.

In "Sumiyoshi-taisha Jindaiki" (Ancient Record of Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine), it is stated that he died in his fifty-third year of reign, the year of the Metal-Sheep in the Chinese astrological calendar, but this contradicts the account given in "Nihon Shoki" (the year of Emperor Suinin's death calculated based on his 99 years of reign recorded in "Nihon Shoki" is the year of the Metal-Horse).

Misasagi (the imperial mausoleum)

According to the "Engishiki" (an ancient book for codes and procedures on national rites and prayers), he was buried in Sugawara no Fushimino Higashino Misasagi (the east mausoleum of Sugawara no Fushimi). Kojiki states that the mausoleum was in "Sugaware no Mitachino," while "Nihon Shoki" states that it was in "Sugawara no Fushimino" and "Shoku Nihongi" (Chronicles of Japan Continued) in "Kushimi-yama" (Mt. Kushimi). Today, this Misasagi is considered similar to the Horaisan-kofun tumulus (a large, keyhole-shaped tomb mound 227 meters in length) in Amagatsujinishi-machi, Nara City, Nara Prefecture.

Within the moat of the current Horaisan-kofun tumulus, there is a small island in the southeast that is said to be the grave of Tajimamori. The grave is located where the embankment of the moat used to be before the moat was expanded to collect water, resulting in the formation of an island. However, there is no grave shown on the map drawn by Tadayuki TODA when the mausoleum was repaired during the Bunkyu era.

It is near Amagatsuji Station of the Kintetsu Kashihara Line.
(The mausoleum of Emperor Suinin)

[Original Japanese]