Emperor Sushun (崇峻天皇)

Emperor Sushun (Year of birth unknown - December 12, 592), the thirty-second Japanese Emperor, was in power from September 9, 587 to December 12, 592.

His younger brother, Emperor Hasetsube no Wakasasagi, lived in the palace of Shibakaki at Kurahashi and governed the country for four years. (Annotation: he died on November 13, the year of Mizunoe-Ne [one of the Oriental Zodiac years].) His mausoleum sits on the hill of Kurahashi ("Kojiki"). The palace of Shibakaki at Kurahashi is located in Shiki County, Nara Prefecture.


The 12th Prince of Emperor Kinmei. His mother is Oane no kimi, the daughter of SOGA no Iname, and Emperor Bidatsu, Emperor Yomei and Empress Suiko are his paternal elder half-brothers.


He took over the throne with the backing by SOGA no Umako, Oomi (Japan) (a highest officer in national politics of the Yamato dynasty). The Mononobe clan of Omuraji (the most powerful of Muraji [one of the highest family names]) attempted to enthrone Prince Anahobe no Miko who, in reverse, was killed by SOGA no Umako. Later, SOGA no Umako killed MONONOBE no Moriya, which eventually ruined the Mononobe clan.

Prosperity of Buddhism

The fall of the Mononobe clan settled the controversy which had started in Emperor Kinmei's time over whether to worship or to abandon Buddhism, and Emperor Sushun actively undertook the construction of temples, including Hoko-ji Temple (Asuka-dera Temple) and Shitenno-ji Temple. But he gradually became discontent about the fact that Umako continued to remain at the political helm even after his enthronement.

Assassination of the Emperor

On October 4, 592 (on the old calendar), a man presented Emperor Sushun with a wild boar. Emperor Sushun drew his kogai (Japanese hairpin sword), thrusted it into the eye of the boar and said, "someday, like slashing the throat of this boar, I want to slash the man I hate." Umako heard about this incident and became wary that the Emperor might detest him, so he commanded his subordinate to assassinate the emperor. He invited the Emperor to a false ceremony by saying he would present him with products of Togoku (eastern provinces), and it was there that the Emperor was assassinated by YAMATO no Aya no Koma.
This is the only confirmed case of an Emperor being killed by his vassal. (There is an unconfirmed case of Emperor Komei who was allegedly poisoned to death. Also, Emperor Anko was allegedly killed by one of the members of the Imperial family, but his case is often excluded due to its low historicity.)
There is no other emperor who was brried on the day of his death and who has no imperial property or imperial tomb guard.

The Imperial Mausoleum

In "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), the chapter on November, 592 has the following entry: 'Umako Sukune (third highest of the eight hereditary titles) deceived his subordinates, saying "today, I will present the Emperor with products of Togoku." He made YAMATO no Aya no Ataikoma kill the Emperor.
The Emperor was buried in Kurahashino Okano Misasagi Mausoleum on that day.'

"Engishiki" (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers) says 'his mausoleum had no imperial property or imperial tomb guard.'

Now, Sushun Mausoleum is located in a koaza (small administrative unit) called 'Tenno Yashiki' (Emperor's residence) which has been said to be the former property of the palace of Shibakaki at Kurahashi in Kurahashi, Sakurai City. The quarter was designated as the mausoleum land of Emperor Sushun in 1889 because of Konpuku-ji Temple, where his Buddhist mortuary tablet was enshrined, was located on the same land.

It was authorized and repaired in 1876.

But the authorization lacks foundation, and in recent years, Koichi MORI's view that Akasaka Tennozan Tumulus, a giant square tumulus in Kurahashi, Sakurai City is Sushun's Mausoleum is most prevalent. This is a square tumulus built between the late 6th century and early 7th century, measuring 44.5m from east to west, 42.2m from north to south, with a horizontal stone chamber about 9.1m tall and 17m long.

There is yet another theory that the person buried in Fujinoki Tumulus in Horyuji, Ikaruga-cho Town is Emperor Sushun.

[Original Japanese]