Empress Jingu (神功皇后)

Empress Jingu (A.D. 170 - June 3, A.D. 269) was a wife of Emperor Chuai. In "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), she is called Okinagatarashihime no Mikoto, while in "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters), she is called Okinagatarashi-hime-no-mikoto, Otarashihime no mikoto or Empress Otarashihimenomikoto. Her father was Okinaga no sukune no miko, who was a great-great-grandson of Emperor Kaika, and her mother was Princess Kazuraginotakanuka, the descendant of Amenohiboko. She was also a 4世孫 of Hikoimasu no miko and mother of Emperor Ojin.


According to Nihonshoki and other history books, Empress Jingu conducted political affairs from 201 to 269. After a sudden death of Emperor Chuai (in 200), although she was pregnant with the future emperor (later Emperor Ojin), she crossed the ocean and sent troops to Korean Peninsula to attack Silla by the oracle of Sumiyoshi Okami (the great gods of Sumiyoshi). Silla promised to pay tribute to the Court without fighting, and Goguryeo and Paekche also promised bringing tributes ("Sankan Seibatsu" (The Conquest of the Three Korean Kingdoms)).

It is said that when she crossed the ocean, she tied stones called Tsukinobe ishi and Chinkai seki around her abdomen with bleached cotton to delay the birth of her child by cooling her abdomen. It is said that there were three Tsukinobe ishi (Tsukinobe stone), and each of them was dedicated to Tsukiyomi-jinja Shrine in Iki City, Nagasaki Prefecture and Kyoto City, and Chinkai seki Hachiman-gu Shrine in Nijo machi, Fukuoak Prefecture, respectively. It has been reported that she gave birth to Emperor Ojin in Chikushi on her return home, and changed diapers in Shime cho. In addition, there are many traditions concerning Empress Jingu in northern part of Kyushu such as bathing her newborn baby at Ikiyunomoto-Onsen Hot Spring in Iki City, therefore, it is considered that she had strong associations with this area.

After "Sankan Seibatsu" (The Conquest of the Three Korean Kingdoms), on the way to Kinai, Kagosaka no miko and Oshikuma no miko, who were brothers by a different mother of her son (Emperor Ojin), rebelled against her and challenged her to fight, however, Empress Jingu's Army suppressed them by work of TAKENOUCHI no Sukune and Takefurukuma no mikoto.

Since the post of Emperor had been vacant for a long time in this period, Emperor Jingu was considered to be the Emperor (Empress acted as Emperor) and counted as the fifteenth Emperor, however, she was excluded from successive Emperors by Shosho (imperial edict, decree) issued in October 1926. Although there had been various discussions on Empress Jingu in the research setting since the Edo period, teachers were directed to teach that Empress Jingu was a real, existing person from the Meiji period until the defeat in the Pacific War. Today, theory of her existence and theory of her nonexistence exist together.

In volume 9 of Nihonshoki, the description on Princess of China and Princess of Wa (Japan) "According to a record keeper of Jjin Dynasty of China, the Empress of Japan paid a tribute to the Emperor Wu of Jin Dynasty on October, 266" was quoted; and there is a theory that the tradition was made up in order to link "Himiko" (first known ruler of Japan) with Yamato dynasty/Yamato (Imperial) Court, in editing the document. Kojiro NAOKI advocated the theory that she was modeled after Empress Kogyoku and Empress Jito.

There is also a view that she was a shaman princess same as Himiko. She became to be worshiped as not only one of Sumiyoshi Okami with Sumiyoshi Sanjin (Sumiyoshi three deities) but also one of the Hachimanjin (the god of Hachiman-gu Shrine). She also became an enshrined deity of several shrines such as Usa-jingu Shrine in Oita Prefecture, Sumiyoshitaisha Shrine in Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Miyajidake-jinja Shrine in Fukutus City, Fukuoka Prefecture and Furogu Shrine in Okawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture. She was also enshrined in Kashii-gu Shrine and Hakozakigu Shrine in Fukuoka City where she had close ties to, Umi-hachimangu Shrine in Umi cho Fukuoka Prefecture, and Seibo-gu Shrine in Iki City.

Imperial mausoleum

Imperial Household Agency officially designated Gozashi-kofun Tomb as Mausoleum of Empress Jingu (Sasatatanamiike no e no misasagi).

Concerning Mausoleum of Empress Jingu, there is a description that "her mausoleum is located in Sakinotatanami no e ikegami no misasagi" in Kojiki, while there is a description that "she was buried in Sakinotatanami no misasagi" in Nihonshoki. Sakinotatanami no misasagi is Sakitatenami Burial Mounds. There is a story in "Shoku Nihon Koki" (Later Chronicle of Japan Continued) that investigation into a strange matter at the tatanami no misasagi revealed in 843 that Mausoleum of Empress Jingu was confounded with Mausoleum of Emperor Seimu.

Later, Sakitatenami Burial Mounds (present Hibasuhime no mikoto ryo (The mausoleum of Princess Hibasu)) which had been called "Omihaka yama" was considered to be Mausoleum of Empress Jingu, and many people visited this place where served as wonder-working deity for a safe birth according achievements of Empress Jingu in myth. After that, with the discovery of "Keihoku Handen zu" (the map of Keihoku Jori area), it turned out that the present place was Mausoleum of Empress Jingu; Gozashi-kofun Tomb was authorized as her mausoleum in 1863.


The portrait of Empress Jingu was used for a banknote in the Meiji period and she became the first Japanese woman to be featured on the Japanese banknote, however since its original version was made by an Italian engineer, Edoardo Chiossone, she was portrayed as a beautiful woman in western style. This banknote was issued before the establishment of Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, therefore this was not Bank of Japan note but inconvertible paper currency, "government note."

[Original Japanese]