Imperial Princess Asahara (朝原内親王)

Imperial Princess Asahara, also pronounced Ashitahara (779 - May 18, 817) was the Princess of Emperor Kanmu and Imperial Princess Sakahito. She became a Itsukinomiya (unmarried princess sho, in former times, was sent by the emperor to serve at Ise Shrine), then she became Emperor Heizei's Empress.

It was decided for her to become Itsukinomiko (an unmarried princess who, was sent by the emperor to serve at Ise Shrine) based upon the advice of a fortune-teller on September 16, 782, when she was just four years old. On October 5, 785, a ceremony to send off Itsukinomiko was held in the former city, Heijokyo (the ancient capital of Heijo), Emperor Kanmu went from Nagaokakyo (the ancient capital of Nagaoka) to the former city, Heijokyo to see Imperial Princess Asahara off on her trip to Ise. On October 18, Imperial Princess Asahara went to Itsukinomiya of Ise after having Emperor Kanmu and many other aides see her off. She arrived at Itsukinomiya on October 26.

On April 1, 796, an Imperial messenger arrived at the Shinto shrine in Itsukinomiya to give Itsukinomiko some time off from her position, there were other Imperial messengers, Sashoben and Sahyoenosuke, TACHIBANA no Asomi Irii, who were sent from Heijokyo (the ancient capital of Heijo), to have Itsukinomiko return to Kyoto on April 30. After some Imperial messengers were sent to Itsukinomiya, Imperial Princess Asahara returned to Heiankyo (the ancient capital of Heian). After returning to Heiankyo on August 20, she was designated as Sanbon (the third rank of an Imperial Princess), she was one of the first to receive Sanbon among Emperor Kanmu's Princesses. On January 20, 797, Emperor Kanmu came to visit Imperial Princess Asahara's Palace on his way to visit Kyoto, she gave gifts to people who were more than Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade). Later on she made an Imperial consort's bridal entry into court to her half older brother, Imperial Prince Ate (later called Emperor Heizei).

On November 5, 798 Imperial Princess Asahara was given two hundred fifty cho (about 610 acres) of rice fields in Echigo Province. After Emperor Kanmu died on April 13, 806, Emperor Heizei succeeded to the throne in May and July and she became the Empress. However Emperor Heizei passed the throne to his younger brother, Emperor Saga in May and June 809. There was 'the Kusuko Incident' that happened in 810. At the Kusuko Incident, Imperial Princess Asahara did not accompany the Retired Emperor Heizei, she resigned the position of Empress, and her half sister, Imperial Princess Oyake also left her position as Empress at the same time in June and July 812.

She became ill on April 29, 817. Although Emperor Saga sent six monks to pray for Imperial Princess Asahara's illness, she died on May 18, when she was thirty nine years old. She left her will to donate all her private land to Todai-ji Temple, to organize Daihannyakyo (the Great Sutra of the Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) for the sake of her father, Emperor Kanmu in spring, and to chant Kongohannyakyo (the Diamond Sutra) for her mother, Imperial Princess Sakahito in Autumn.

[Original Japanese]