Emperor Suizei (綏靖天皇)

Emperor Suizei (632 B.C. ? - June 28, 549 B.C. ?) was the second emperor (tenure: February 23, 581 B.C. ? - June 28, 549 B.C. ?) of Japan. Emperor Suizei is also called Kamunuka Kawamimi no Mikoto in both "Nihon Shoki" (The Chronicles of Japan) and "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters), although different Chinese characters are used in these two documents. It is said that the name, Emperor Suizei was given when Mifune AWAMI who was an accomplished writer during the late Nara period collectively selected names to be given in chronological order to the dead Emperors.

Emperor Suizei was one of the so-called eight generations missing from history and it is generally held that Emperor Suizei did not actually exist (however, there is also an opinion that this emperor actually existed).

Emperor Suizei celebrated his investiture as Crown Prince in 619 B.C. (?).

Emperor Jinmu died in March 585 B.C.(?)

After Emperor Jinmu died, a coup by Tagishimimi occurred.

Emperor Suizei moved the capital to Kazuraki-no-Takaoka-no-miya (presently, Mitokoro City in Nara Prefecture?).

See "Coup by Tagishimimi" for more detail.

After Emperor Jinmu, the father of Emperor Suizei died, Tagishimimi-no-mikoto who was an elder brother of his father's mistress and who had more experience and was proficient in the politics in Imperial Court politics tried to kill his younger half brothers. Kamununakawamimi no Mikoto was informed of this plan through a poem written by his mother, and together with Kamuyaimimi no Mikoto, his elder brother born of the same mother, he attacked Tagishimimi no Mikoto in his home in Kataoka (present-day Oji-cho in Kitatsuragi-gun, Nara Prefecture). It is said that, when they attacked, the hands and feet of Kamuyaimimi-no-mikoto trembled with fear and he could not shoot off any arrows and, instead, Kamununakawamimi-no-mikoto shot and killed Tagishimimi-no-mikoto (November 582 B.C.?). Kamuyaimimi-no-mikoto was ashamed of his blunder and helped his younger brother, and together they ruled the gods of heaven and earth, and it was determined that Kamununakawamimi-no-mikoto would be enthroned as emperor. In January of the following year, Kamununakawamimi-no-mikoto was enthroned at Takaoka-no-miya. Except for the conflict over the imperial succession by Emperor Suizei, descriptions given in "Kojiki" and "Nihon Shoki" about the eight emperors from Emperor Suizei to Emperor Kaika are limited to their genealogies (imperial pedigrees) and since no descriptions of their achievements (historical developments) are given, these eight generations of emperors are collectively called the "eight missing generations."

According to an anecdote in "Shintoshu" (a collection of Shinto legends), which is believed to have been compiled by the descendants of Choken AGUI during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts in Japan, Emperor Suizei had a taste for cannibalism and ate as many as seven people every day, terrifying people around him. The anecdote claims that in order to escape the danger, people confined the emperor in a cave by making him believe that fireballs were about to fall from heaven. However, this anecdote is likely to be fiction, since the existence of the emperor itself is uncertain. There is an opinion pointing out the common characteristics between the Emperor and Zahhak, a tyrant, appearing in a Persian epic "Sah Namah."

The "Kojiki" describes Emperor Suizei as having died at the age of 45 and "Nihon-Shoki" describes that he died at the age of 84 in May 549 B.C. (?).

Imperial Palace
Kazuraki-no-takaoka-no-miya (presently, Moriwaki in Mitokoro City in Nara Prefecture?)
In "Kojiki," it is 'Kazuraki-no-takaoka-no-miya,' while different Chinese characters are used.

Imperial mausoleum (location)

The Emperor Suizei was laid to rest in Tsukita-no-okanoue-no-misasagi mausoleum.
In "Kojiki," it is written that 'the mausoleum of the Emperor Suizei is located in Tsukida-no-oka.'

This mausoleum is estimated to be the Tsukayama Tumulus (a round tumulus with a diameter of 16 m) located in present-day Aza Tanotsubo, Shijo-machi, Kashihara City, Nara Prefecture. In the Medieval Ages, the mausoleum on the mountain was devastated and the records about it handed down until then lost and therefore, the search for the mausoleum during the Genroku Era produced many opinions including one asserting that the Suisenzuka tumulus (a tumulus which is a large keyhole-shaped tomb mound and is 55 meters long) in Jimyoji-cho was the mausoleum and, later on, the above mausoleum was presumed to be the actual one. During the repair of the mausoleum conducted in the end of Edo period it was finally determined to be the actual one in 1878.

[Original Japanese]