Emperor Sujin (崇神天皇)
Emperor Sujin (148 B.C. - January 9, 29 B.C.) was the tenth emperor of Japan (reigned from February 17, 97 B.C. to January 9, 29 B.C.) recorded in "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters) and "Nihon Shoki" (The Chronicles of Japan). The Nihon Shoki records that he was posthumously given the name Mimakiiribikoinie no Sumera no Mikoto. He is also known as Hatsukunishirasu Sumera Mikoto. The Kojiki names him as Mimakiirihikoinie. He is the first Japanese emperor that many modern scholars agree might have actually existed.
There are doubts regarding the historical validity of his exploits recorded in the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki as well as genealogical accounts of his connection to the Kesshi-Hachidai (eight undocumented emperors); however, there are still many who consider him to be the king (Yamato Sovereignty) who lived from the third century to the beginning of the fourth century. Based on a description in the Kojiki that Emperor Sujin died in the year of the Earth-Tiger in the sixty-year Chinese calendar cycle, some people believe that he died in 318 A.D. (or 258 A.D.).
The posthumous name described below has led to theories that Emperor Sujin was the first emperor of Japan, as well as theories that he was the same individual as Emperor Jinmu.
Descriptions in the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki after the enthronement of Emperor Jinmu are limited to the Kinai region (region around Kyoto and Nara) and its surrounding areas until Emperor Sujin, after whose enthronement descriptions of events in various other areas in Japan appear. Based on these descriptions, some of those who regard the eight undocumented generations of emperors as genuine historical figures argue that the ancient Yamato government was a local power during the period between Emperor Jinmu and Emperor Kaika and established its power nationwide only in the generation of Emperor Sujin. There is also the theory of the rise and fall of successive dynasties from the Katsuragi Dynasty of the Kesshi-Hachidai to the Miwa Dynasty beginning with Emperor Sujin. Each of these theories considers Emperor Sujin to have actually existed.
Posthumous names and aliases
Mimakiirihikoinie no Mikoto: Kojiki
Hatsukunishirashishi Sumera Mikoto: Kojiki
Mimakiiribikoinie no Sumera Mikoto: Nihon Shoki
Hatsukunishirasu Sumera Mikoto: Nihon Shoki
Mimaki no Sumera Mikoto: Hitachi no Kuni Fudoki (the topography of Hitachi Province)
The name Hatsukunishirasu Sumera Mikoto was also conferred upon Emperor Jinmu (whose name is given as Hatsukunishirasu Sumera Mikoto in the Nihon Shoki but written using different characters); it originally had the meaning of an emperor who governed the entire country, however, this indicates that there were two emperors who first ruled the country. "Tenka," an abstract word meaning "the world" that appears in Emperor Jinmu's title, is a concept broader in meaning than the word "kuni" (meaning a specific region) that appears in Emperor Sujin's title, and was also created later than the latter, which leads us to believe that Emperor Jinmu is a literary creation made later than Emperor Sujin by those who compiled the Teiki (Imperial Genealogy) and the Kyuji (Court Records). It is for this reason that Emperor Sujin is thought to be the first to have ruled over the country (Yamato). The Hitachi no Kuni Fudoki also refers to Emperor Sujin as Hatsukuni Shirasumiki no Sumera Mikoto.
Emperor Sujin was posthumously named Mimakiirihiko and his successor, Emperor Suinin, was posthumously named Ikumeirihiko, with both referred to as Irihiko. Irihiko and Irihime were specific titles that were used by kings and members of the royal family during this period. As it is difficult to believe that 'iri' was a later creation, this increases the likelihood that these kings and royals really existed and advocates the theory that Emperor Sujin was the progenitor of the Iri and Miwa Dynasties.
The theory that Emperor Sujin and Emperor Suinin were recorded in the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki not under their posthumous names but under their real names indicates how unique and important the Iri Dynasty was in ancient Japan.
The imperial capital was based around Shikino Mizukaki Palace (now Shikinomi agataniimasu-jinja Shrine in Kanaya, Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture). It is written in the Kojiki that "the emperor ruled the nation at Mizukaki Palace in Shiki."
Brief personal history
For convenience, dates are given according to the chronology of the Nihon Shoki.
He was born in the tenth year of the reign of Emperor Kaika (148 B.C.) and pronounced crown prince in 130 B.C. before being enthroned as emperor, the year following the death of Emperor Kaika (98 B.C.).
In the ninth month of 95 B.C., the capital was relocated to Mizukaki Palace on the western foot of Mt. Miwa.
In 93 B.C., a great plague spread across Japan and killed many people.
In 92 B.C., Amaterasu Omikami and Yamato no Okunitama no Kami, which until then were enshrined within the imperial palace were moved outside in order to suppress the plague.
Princess Toyosuki Iribime no Mikoto was charged with venerating Amaterasu Omikami at Kasanui Village (in what is now Hibara-jinja Shrine); Amaterasu Omikami was subsequently moved throughout the country before being enshrined in the naiku (inner shrine) of Ise-jingu Shrine in 5 B.C. Refer to the article 'Motoise' for more details.
Princess Nunakiiribime no Mikoto was charged with venerating Yamato no Okunitama no Kami in Nagaoka no Saki (the origin of what is now Oyamato-jinja Shrine) but she became emaciated and unable to worship.
In the second month of 91 B.C., Princess Yamatotobimomoso Hime no Mikoto was possessed by a god named Omononushi, who gave oracles. In the eleventh month, the plague ended and an abundant harvest ensued when Taneko OTA (believed to be a child or descendant of Omononushi) was appointed as the priest to perform religious rituals for Omononushi (at present-day Omiwa Shrine, which worships Mt. Miwa as its sacred deity) and Ichishi no Nagaochi as the priest for a Shinto god named Yamato no Okunitama no Kami.
In the ninth month of 88 B.C., Emperor Sujin dispatched Obiko no Mikoto to Hokurikudo (northwestern edge of Honshu), Takenuna KAWAWAKE to Tokaido (southeastern edge of Honshu), Kibitsuhiko no Mikoto to Sanyodo (southwestern edge of Honshu) and Tanbamichi nushi no Mikoto to Tanba Province (Sanindo) as General Commanders (known as the "Four Shogun") in order to conquer those who did not obey his orders. However, Obiko no Mikoto encountered a strange occurrence and returned from Wani no Saka (Tenri City, Nara Prefecture), an event which led him to become aware of the prediction made by Princess Yamatototobimomoso Hime no Mikoto that Takehani Yasubiko (the son of Emperor Kogen) was plotting an act of treason. Takehani Yasubiko attempted to attack the capital from Yamashiro Province while his wife, Princess Atahime attempted to attack from Osaka but the emperor dispatched the forces of Hiko Isaseribiko no Mikoto (Kibitsuhiko no Mikoto) to attack Princess Atahime's army while Obiko no Mikoto and Hikokunibuku (an ancestor of the Wani clan) attacked Yasubiko's forces. In the tenth month, peace was achieved within the Kinai region and the Shido Shogun once again left for their posts.
In the fourth month of 87 B.C., the Shido Shogun reported the suppression of rebels to the emperor.
In the ninth month of 86 B.C., the first survey of the population began and citizens were given their assignments. The nation was at peace and the emperor was praised as Hatsukunishirasu Sumera Mikoto.
In the first month of 50 B.C., the emperor summoned Toyoki no Mikoto and Ikume no Mikoto (Emperor Suinin) to decide which of the two would be made crown prince. In the fourth month, the emperor's younger brother, Ikume no Mikoto, was named as crown prince and Toyoki no Mikoto was ordered to subdue the east of the country.
In the seventh month of 38 B.C., Iiirine presented the sacred treasure of Izumo Taisha Shrine to the emperor. His older brother, Izumo Furune, murdered Iiirine but was himself executed by the imperial court.
In the seventh month of 33 B.C., Mimana (the Gaya confederacy of southern Korea) dispatched Sonakashichi to pay tribute to Japan's imperial court.
In the twelfth month 30 B.C., the emperor died at the age 120 (the Kojiki states that he died at the age 168 in the twelfth month of the year of the Yang Earth Tiger).
The Kojiki records that Emperor Sujin united the country, brought peace, prosperity and happiness to the people, and was the first to be praised as Mimakono Sumera Mikoto (Hatsukunishirashishi Mimakinosumera Mikoto) for governing the country. In addition, he was responsible for the digging of ponds such as Yosami-no-Ike Pond (Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka Prefecture) and Sakawori-no-Ike Pond in Karu (Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture), and is reputed to have made numerous contributions to agriculture.
He was buried in Yamanobenomichi no Magari no oka no e no Misasagi.
The Kojiki gives his burial place as 'Yamanobenomichi no Magari no oka no e.'
This tomb is believed to be the Yanagimoto Andon-yama Tomb (large keyhole-shaped tomb mound of 242 m in length) in modern-day Yanagimoto-cho, Tenri City, Nara Prefecture. However, there is also the opinion that Nishitonotsuka Tomb (large keyhole-shaped tomb mound of 220 m in length) constructed in a slightly earlier time is the actual tomb.
Andon-yama Tomb is a scallop shaped tomb (early keyhole-shaped tomb mound;
the square front part is made smaller than the ones made in later times) but this is said to have been formed during repairs that were made during the Edo period.