Tashiraka no Himemiko (手白香皇女)

Tashiraka no Himemiko was a member of the Imperial family who lived during the Kofun period (tumulus period), and was the empress of Emperor Keitai. She was the Imperial princess of Emperor Ninken, and her mother was Kasuga no Oiratsume no Himemiko, the Imperial princess of Emperor Yuryaku. Her older (or younger) maternal half-brother was Emperor Buretsu. She was the mother of Emperor Kinmei.

Before she was born, her father, Emperor Ninken escaped and hid himself because her paternal grandfather, Prince Ichinobe no Oshihano, was murdered by Emperor Yuryaku, who was her maternal grandfather. Afterwards, since Emperor Seinei who was the Imperial prince of Emperor Yuryaku did not have children, her father, Emperor Ninken was received by the Imperial court, and was enthroned.

Later, Emperor Ninken who had collateral lineage, received Kasuga no Oiratsume no Himemiko who was the Imperial princess of his enemy Emperor Yuryaku, as his empress, and ironically, the imperial lines that have been split into two since the times of his grandfathers were, unexpectedly, unified. The children born between them included Emperor Buretsu and Princess Tashiraka.

As an emperor of having genealogy of the two imperial lines and being the only son, Emperor Buretsu was supposed to maintain the imperial line, but he died young without having children. In addition, as a result of purging blood line by Emperor Yuryaku, there were no other members of the Imperial family. For this reason, Odoo (Emperor Keitai) that had remote collateral lineage, who was the grandson of the fifth generation of Emperor Ojin, was received from Echizen Province. Afterwards, Tashiraka no himemiko became his empress, and the reign by Emperor Keitai began.

It is regarded that the reason for Princess Tashiraka becoming an empress to Emperor Keitai was largely due to political reasons that were to bring legitimacy to an Emperor of collateral lineage such was as her mother, Kasuga no Oiratsume no Himemiko. In other words, Emperor Keitai who had quiet a remote collateral lineage, displayed his legitimacy in a kind of irimuko (man who takes his wife's premarital family name) by making Princess Tashiraka as his empress, who was the younger sister of the former emperor with the right genealogy. For that fact, before Emperor Keitai came to Yamato, he had many consorts and had many children where he lived, and Amekunioshiharakihironiha no mikoto (the later Emperor Kinmei) who was a prince born to Princess Tashiraka was decided unofficially as the legitimate successor.

Thus, Emperor Kinmei, who was born to Emperor Keitai and Princess Tashiraka, became the ancestor of the Imperial Family which continues for long up till now. The presence of Princess Tashiraka was strong, for it was she who saved the crisis of Imperial lineage, and although not in the male line, handed down the direct lineage.

[Original Japanese]