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Emperor Suinin

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Subject: Emperor Sujin, Emperor Keikō, Emperors of Japan, List of state leaders in 25, Japanese imperial family tree
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Emperor Suinin

Emperor of Japan
Reign 29 BC – 70 (traditional)[1]
Predecessor Sujin
Successor Keikō
Born legendary
Died legendary
Burial Sugawara no Fushimi no higashi no misasagi (Nara)

Emperor Suinin (垂仁天皇 Suinin-tennō); also known as Ikumeiribikoisachi no Mikoto; was the 11th 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 29 BC–AD 70.[4]

Legendary narrative

Suinin is regarded by historians as a "legendary emperor" and there is a paucity of information about him. There is insufficient material available for further verification and study.[5] The reign of Emperor Kimmei (509?–571 AD), the 29th emperor,[6] is the first for which contemporary historiography is able to assign verifiable dates;[7] however, the conventionally accepted names and dates of the early emperors were not to be confirmed as "traditional" until the reign of Emperor Kammu (737–806), the 50th sovereign of the Yamato dynasty.[8] The name Suinin-tennō was assigned to him posthumously by later generations.[9]

Legend says that about two thousand years ago, Emperor Suinin ordered his daughter, Princess Yamatohime-no-mikoto, to set out and find a suitable permanent location from which to hold ceremonies for Amaterasu Omikami, the Sun Goddess.[4] After twenty years of searching, she is said to have settled on the area of Ise, establishing the Ise Shrine.[10] According to Asama Shrine tradition, the earliest veneration of Konohanasakuya-hime at the base of Mount Fuji was in the 8th month of the 3rd year of the reign of Emperor Suinin.[11]

Nihonshoki records the wrestling match in which Nomi no Sukune and Taima no Kehaya held during his era, as the origin of Sumai (Sumo wrestling). In the context of events like this, the Japanese have traditionally accepted this sovereign's historical existence; however, no extant contemporary records have been discovered which confirm a view that this historical figure actually reigned.[12]

Jien records that Tehiede Tuhōyō was the third son of Emperor Sujin, and that he ruled from the palace of Tamaki-no-miya at Makimuku in what will come to be known as Yamato province. Jien also explains that during the reign of Emperor Suinin, the first High Priestess (Saiō, also known as saigū) was appointed for Ise Shrine in what would become known as Ise province.[10]

Official mausoleum (misasagi) of Emperor Suinin, Nara Prefecture

Suinin is a posthumous name. It is undisputed that this identification is Chinese in form and Buddhist in implication, which suggests that the name must have been regularized centuries after the lifetime ascribed to Suinin, possibly during the time in which legends about the origins of the Yamato dynasty were compiled as the chronicles known today as the Kojiki.[12]

The legend of Kaguya-hime seems to found it's basis in Suinin's story with Kaguya-him-no-Mikoto, one of his consorts, according to Kojiki.

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

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Suinin's mausoleum. It is formally named Sugawara no Fushimi no higashi no misasagi.[13]

Suinin's tomb can be visited in Nishi-machi, Amagatsuji, Nara City.[14][15] This kofun-type Imperial tomb is characterized by a keyhole-shaped island located within a wide, water-filled moat.[16][17]

Consorts and children

Empress(first): Sahohime (狭穂姫命), daughter of Hikoimasu (彦坐王)

  • Prince Homutsuwake (誉津別命)

Empress(second): Hibasuhime (日葉酢媛命), daughter of Tanba no Michinoushi (丹波道主王)

  • Prince Inishikiirihiko (五十瓊敷入彦命)
  • Prince Ootarashihikoosirowake (大足彦忍代別尊) Emperor Keikō
  • Princess Oonakatsuhime (大中姫命)
  • Princess Yamatohime (倭姫命) Saiō
  • Prince Wakakiniirihiko (稚城瓊入彦命)

Nubataniirihime (渟葉田瓊入媛), younger sister of Hibasuhime

  • Prince Nuteshiwake (鐸石別命), ancestor of Wake clan (Wake no Kiyomaro)
  • Princess Ikatarashimime (胆香足姫命)

Matonohime (真砥野媛), younger sister of Hibasuhime

Azaminiirihime (薊瓊入媛), younger sister of Hibasuhime

  • Prince Ikohayawake (息速別命)
  • Princess Wakaasatsuhime (稚浅津姫命)

Kaguyahime (迦具夜比売), daughter of Ootsutsukitarine (大筒木垂根王)

  • Prince Onabe (袁那弁王)

Kanihatatobe (綺戸辺), daughter of Yamashiro no Ookuni no Fuchi (山背大国不遅)

  • Prince Iwatsukuwake (磐撞別命), ancestor of Mio clan (三尾氏)
  • Princess Futajiirihime (両道入姫命), wife of Yamatotakeru, mother of Emperor Chūai

Karihatatobe (苅幡戸辺), older sister of Kanihatatobe

  • Prince Oochiwake (祖別命)
  • Prince Ikatarashihiko (五十日足彦命)
  • Prince Itakeruwake (胆武別命)


  • Prince Tuburame (円目王)

See also


Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. ^ "Genealogy of the Emperors of Japan" at; retrieved 2013-8-28.
  2. ^ a b Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 垂仁天皇 (11); retrieved 2013-8-22.
  3. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). pp. 9-10.Annales des empereurs du japon, , p. 9, at Google Books; Brown, Delmer M. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 253-254; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 95-96.
  4. ^ a b Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 32.
  5. ^ Kelly, Charles F. "Kofun Culture," Japanese Archaeology. April 27, 2009.
  6. ^ Titsingh, pp. 34–36; Brown, pp. 261–262; Varley, pp. 123–124.
  7. ^ Hoye, Timothy. (1999). Japanese Politics: Fixed and Floating Worlds, p. 78; excerpt, "According to legend, the first Japanese emperor was Jimmu. Along with the next 13 emperors, Jimmu is not considered an actual, historical figure. Historically verifiable Emperors of Japan date from the early sixth century with Kimmei.
  8. ^ Aston, William. (1896). Nihongi, pp. 109.
  9. ^ Brinkley, Frank. (1915). p. 21A History of the Japanese People from the Earliest Times to the end of the Meiji Era, , p. 21, at Google Books; excerpt, "Posthumous names for the earthly Mikados were invented in the reign of Emperor Kammu (782-805), i.e., after the date of the compilation of the Records and the Chronicles.
  10. ^ a b Brown, p. 253.
  11. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1962. Studies in Shinto and Shrines, p.458.
  12. ^ a b Aston, William. (1998). Nihongi, Vol. 1, pp. 167-187.
  13. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Studies in Shinto, p. 418.
  14. ^ -- imagemisasagiSuinin's
  15. ^ -- map (mis-labelled as "Enperor Nonin s Tomb")misasagiSuinin's
  16. ^ -- see illustration #3, bottom of web pagekofunSuinin-type
  17. ^ )Hōraisan kofun -- aerial photo (also known as misasagiSuinin's


  • 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
  • Chamberlain, Basil Hall. (1920). The Kojiki. Read before the Asiatic Society of Japan on April 12, May 10, and June 21, 1882; reprinted, May, 1919. OCLC 1882339
  • Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 194887
  • ____________. (1962). Studies in Shinto and Shrines. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 3994492
  • 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

External links

  • Ise Shrine - Naiku, official website
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Sujin
Legendary Emperor of Japan
29 BC–70
(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Keikō
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