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Emperor Ninken

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Title: Emperor Ninken  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Emperor Kenzō, Emperor Richū, Ichinobe-no Oshiwa, Emperor Yūryaku, Emperor Ankan
Collection: 498 Deaths, 5Th-Century Births, 5Th-Century Monarchs in Asia, Japanese Emperors, People of Kofun-Period Japan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Emperor Ninken

Emperor of Japan
Reign 488 – 498 (traditional)[1]
Predecessor Kenzō
Successor Buretsu
Born legendary
Died legendary
Burial Hanyū no Sakamoto no misasagi (Osaka)

Emperor Ninken (仁賢天皇 Ninken-tennō), also known as Ninken-okimi, was the 24th emperor of Japan,[2] according to the traditional order of succession.[3] No firm dates can be assigned to this emperor's life or reign, but he is conventionally considered to have reigned from 488–498.[4]


  • Legendary narrative 1
  • Ninken's reign 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5

Legendary narrative

Ninken is considered to have ruled the country during the late-5th century, but there is a paucity of information about him. There is insufficient material available for further verification and study.

In his youth, he was known as Prince Oyoke. Along with his younger brother, Prince Woke, Oyoke was raised to greater prominence when Emperor Seinei died without an heir. The two young princes were said to be grandsons of Emperor Richū. Each of these brothers would ascend the throne as adopted heirs of Seinei, although it is unclear whether they had been "found" in Seinei's lifetime or only after that.[5]

Okyoke's younger brother, who would become posthumously known as Emperor Kenzo, ascended before his elder brother. This unconventional sequence was in accordance with an agreement made by the two brothers.[6]

Ninken's reign

When Emperor Kenzo died without heirs, Prince Oyoke succeeded him as Emperor Ninken.

Ninken's contemporary title would not have been tennō, as most historians believe this title was not introduced until the reigns of Emperor Tenmu and Empress Jitō. Rather, it was presumably Sumeramikoto or Amenoshita Shiroshimesu Ōkimi (治天下大王), meaning "the great king who rules all under heaven." Alternatively, Ninken might have been referred to as (ヤマト大王/大君) or the "Great King of Yamato."

Ninken married to Emperor Yūryaku's daughter Kasuga no Ōiratsume no Himemiko, a second cousin of him. Their daughter Tashiraka was later married to Keitai, successor or possibly usurper after her brother, and became mother of Kimmei, a future monarch and lineal ancestor of all future monarchs of Japan. There apparently was also another daughter, princess Tachibana, who in turn is recorded to have become a wife of Senka and mother of princess Iwahime, who herself became a consort of Kimmei and bore Bidatsu, a future monarch and lineal ancestor of current monarchs of Japan.

Ninken was succeeded by his son, who would accede as Emperor Buretsu.[7]

The actual site of Ninken's grave is not known.[2] This emperor is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) at Osaka.

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Ninken's mausoleum. It is formally named Hanyū no Sakamoto no misasagi.[8]

See also


Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. ^ "Genealogy of the Emperors of Japan" at; retrieved 2013-8-30.
  2. ^ a b Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 仁賢天皇 (24); retrieved 2013-8-30.
  3. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). p. 30Annales des empereurs du japon,;Brown, Delmer M. (1979). p. 259-260Gukanshō,; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 117.
  4. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 42.
  5. ^ Titsingh, p. 29.
  6. ^ Titsingh, pp. 29-30.
  7. ^ Aston, William George. (1998). Nihongi, Vol. 1, pp. 393-398.
  8. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 419.


  • Aston, William George. (1896). Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner. OCLC 448337491
  • Brown, Delmer M. and Ichirō Ishida, eds. (1979). Gukanshō: The Future and the Past. Berkeley: University of California Press. 10-ISBN 0-520-03460-0; 13-ISBN 978-0-520-03460-0; OCLC 251325323
  • Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 194887
  • Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Nihon Odai Ichiran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon. Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 5850691
  • Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki: A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns. New York: Columbia University Press. 10-ISBN 0-231-04940-4; 13-ISBN 978-0-231-04940-5; OCLC 59145842
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Kenzō
Emperor of Japan:

(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Buretsu
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