Emperor Kanmu

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Kanmu
Emperor of Japan
Emperor Kammu large.jpg
Crown Prince (親王 Shinnō?)
Reign 773–81
Coronation 773
Emperor (天皇 Tennō?)
Reign 781–806
Enthronement April 30, 781
Predecessor Emperor Kōnin
Successor Heizei
Consorts Fujiwara no Otomuro (Empress)
Princess Sakahito (minor wife)
Era name and dates
Ten'ō, Enryaku: 781–82, 782–806
Father Emperor Kōnin
Mother Takano no Niigasa
Born 737
Died February 5, 806(806-02-05) (aged 70)
Burial Kashiwabara no misasagi (Kyoto)
Kanmu

Emperor Kanmu (桓武天皇 Kanmu-tennō?, 737–806) was the 50th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2] Kanmu reigned from 781 to 806.[3]

Traditional narrative[edit]

Kanmu's personal name (imina) was Yamabe (山部?).[4] He was the eldest son of Prince Shirakabe (later known as Emperor Kōnin), and was born prior to Shirakabe's ascension to the throne.[5] According to the Shoku Nihongi (続日本紀?), Yamabe's mother, Yamato no Niigasa (later called Takano no Niigasa), was a 10th generation descendant of Muryeong of Baekje.[6]

After his father became emperor, Kanmu's half-brother, Prince Osabe was appointed to the rank of crown prince. His mother was Princess Inoe, a daughter of Emperor Shōmu; but instead of Osabe, it was Kanmu who was later named to succeed their father. After Inoe and Prince Osabe were confined and then died in 775, Osabe's sister – Kanmu's half-sister Princess Sakahito – became Kanmu's wife. Later, when he ascended to the throne in 781, Kanmu appointed his young brother, Prince Sawara, whose mother was Takano no Niigasa, as crown prince. Hikami no Kawatsugu, a son of Emperor Temmu's grandson Prince Shioyaki and Shōmu's daughter Fuwa, attempted to carry out a coup d'état in 782, but it failed and Kawatsugu and his mother were sent into exile. In 785 Sawara was expelled and died in exile.

Kanmu had 16 empresses and consorts, and 32 imperial sons and daughters.[4] Among them, three sons would eventually ascend to the imperial throne: Emperor Heizei, Emperor Saga and Emperor Junna. Some of his descendants (known as the Kanmu Taira or Kanmu Heishi) took the Taira hereditary clan title, and in later generations became prominent warriors. Examples include Taira no Masakado, Taira no Kiyomori, and (with a further surname expansion) the Hōjō clan. The waka poet Ariwara no Narihira was one of his grandsons.

Kanmu is traditionally venerated at his tomb; the Imperial Household Agency designates Kashiwabara no Misasagi (柏原陵?, Kashiwabara Imperial Mausoleum), in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, as the location of Kanmu's mausoleum.[1]

Events of Kanmu's life[edit]

Kanmu was an active emperor who attempted to consolidate government hierarchies and functioning.

Kanmu appointed Sakanoue no Tamuramaro (758–811) to lead a military expedition against the Emishi.[7]

  • 737:[4] Kanmu was born.
  • 773:[8] Received the title of crown prince.
  • April 30, 781[9](Ten'ō 1, 3rd day of the 4th month[10]): In the 11th year of Kōnin's reign, he abdicated; and the succession was received by his son Kanmu.[11] Shortly thereafter, Emperor Kanmu is said to have ascended to the throne.[12] During his reign, the capital of Japan was moved from Nara (Heijō-kyō) to Nagaoka-kyō in 784.[13] Shortly thereafter, the capital would be moved again in 794.[14]
  • July 28, 782 (Enryaku 1, 14th day of the 6th month[15]): The sadaijin Fujiwara no Uona was involved in an incident that resulted in his removal from office and exile to Kyushi.[13] Claiming illness, Uona was permitted to return to the capital where he died; posthumously, the order of banishment was burned and his office restored.[13] In the same general time frame, Fujiwara no Tamaro was named Udaijin. During these days in which the offices of sadaijin and udaijin were vacant, the major counselors (the dainagon) and the emperor assumed responsibilities and powers which would have been otherwise delegated.[16]
  • 783 (Enryaku 2, 3rd month[17]): The udaijin Tamaro died at the age of 62 years.[16]
  • 783 (Enryaku 2, 7th month[18]): Fujiwara no Korekimi became the new udaijin to replace the late Fujiwara no Tamaro.[16]
  • 793 (Enryaku 12[19]): Under the leadership of Dengyō, construction began on the Enryaku Temple.[14]
  • 794:[14] The capital was relocated again, this time to Heian-kyō, where the palace was named Heian no Miya (平安宮?, "palace of peace/tranquility").[4]
  • November 17, 794 (Enryaku 13, 21st day of the 10th month[20]): The emperor traveled by carriage from Nara to the new capital of Heian-kyō in a grand procession.[14] This marks the beginning of the Heian era.
  • 806.:[4] Kanmu died at the age of 70.[21] Kanmu's reign lasted for 25 years.

Eras of Kanmu's reign[edit]

The years of Kanmu's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name (nengō).[16]

Politics[edit]

Earlier Imperial sponsorship of Buddhism, beginning with Prince Shōtoku (574–622), had led to a general politicization of the clergy, along with an increase in intrigue and corruption. In 784 Kanmu shifted his capital from Nara to Nagaoka-kyō in a move that was said to be designed to edge the powerful Nara Buddhist establishments out of state politics—while the capital moved, the major Buddhist temples, and their officials, stayed put. Indeed there was a steady stream of edicts issued from 771 right through the period of Kūkai's studies which, for instance, sought to limit the number of Buddhist priests, and the building of temples. However the move was to prove disastrous and was followed by a series of natural disasters including the flooding of half the city. In 785 the principal architect of the new capital, and royal favourite, Fujiwara no Tanetsugu, was assassinated.[citation needed]

Meanwhile, Kanmu's armies were pushing back the boundaries of his empire. This led to an uprising, and in 789 a substantial defeat for Kanmu's troops. Also in 789 there was a severe drought and famine—the streets of the capital were clogged with the sick, and people avoiding being drafted into the military, or into forced labour. Many disguised themselves as Buddhist priests for the same reason. Then in 794 Kanmu suddenly shifted the capital again, this time to Heian-kyō, which is modern day Kyoto. The new capital was started early the previous year, but the change was abrupt and led to even more confusion amongst the populace.[citation needed]

Politically Kanmu shored up his rule by changing the syllabus of the university. Confucian ideology still provided the raison d'être for the Imperial government. In 784 Kanmu authorised the teaching of a new course based on the Spring and Autumn Annals based on two newly imported commentaries: Kung-yang and Ku-liang. These commentaries used political rhetoric to promote a state in which the Emperor, as "Son of Heaven," should extend his sphere of influence to barbarous lands, thereby gladdening the people. In 798 the two commentaries became required reading at the government university.[citation needed]

Kanmu also sponsored the travels of the monks Saichō and Kūkai to China, from where they returned to found the Japanese branches of, respectively, Tendai and Shingon Buddhism.[citation needed]

Kugyō[edit]

Kugyō (公卿?) is a collective term for the very few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan in pre-Meiji eras.[22]

In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time. These were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Kanmu's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan included:

  • Sadaijin, Fujiwara no Uona (藤原魚名), 781–782.[13]
  • Sadaijin, Fujiwara no Tamaro (藤原田麿), 783.
  • Udaijin, Ōnakatomi no Kiyomaro (大中臣清麿), 771–781
  • Udaijin, Fujiwara no Tamaro (藤原田麿), 782–783.[13]
  • Udaijin, Fujiwara no Korekimi (藤原是公), 783–789.[13]
  • Udaijin, Fujiwara no Tsuginawa (藤原継縄),790–796.[13]
  • Udaijin, Miwa ōkimi or Miwa oh (神王), 798–806
  • Udaijin, Fujiwara no Uchimaro (藤原内麻呂) (756–812), 806–812.[13]
  • Dainagon

When the daughter of a chūnagon became the favored consort of the Crown Prince Ate (later known as Heizei-tennō), her father's power and position in court was affected. Kanmu disapproved of Fujiwara no Kusuko (藤原薬子 ?-810?), daughter of Fujiwara no Tadanushi; and Kanmu had her removed from his son's household.[23]

Consorts and children[edit]

For more details on terms related to imperial consorts, see Kōkyū.

Emperor Kanmu's Imperial family included 36 children.[24]

His Empress was Fujiwara no Otomuro (藤原乙牟漏) (760–790), daughter of Fujiwara no Yoshitsugu (藤原良継)

  • Imperial Prince Ate (安殿親王) (Emperor Heizei) (774–824)
  • Imperial Prince Kamino (賀美能親王/神野親王) (Emperor Saga) (786–842)
  • Imperial Princess Koshi (高志内親王) (789–809), married to Prince Ōtomo (Emperor Junna later)

Hi: Princess Sakahito (酒人内親王) (754–829), daughter of Emperor Kōnin

  • Imperial Princess Asahara (朝原内親王) (779–817), 12th Saiō in Ise Grand Shrine (782–before 796), and married to Heizei

Bunin: Fujiwara no Tabiko (藤原旅子) (759–788), daughter of Fujiwara no Momokawa

  • Imperial Prince Ōtomo (大伴親王) (Emperor Junna) (786–840)

Bunin: Fujiwara no Yoshiko (藤原吉子) (?–807), daughter of Fujiwara no Korekimi

  • Imperial Prince Iyo (伊予親王) (?–807)

Bunin: Tajihi no Mamune (多治比真宗) (769–823), daughter of Tajihi no Nagano (多治比長野)

  • Imperial Prince Kazurahara (葛原親王) (786–853)
  • Imperial Princess Inaba (因幡内親王) (?–824)
  • Imperial Princess Anou (安濃内親王) (?–841)
  • Imperial Prince Sami (佐味親王) (793–825)
  • Imperial Prince Kaya (賀陽親王) (794–871)
  • Imperial Prince Ōno (大野親王/大徳親王) (798–803)

Bunin: Fujiwara no Oguso (藤原小屎), daughter of Fujiwara no Washitori

  • Imperial Prince Manta (万多親王) (788–830)

Nyōgo: Tachibana no Miiko (橘御井子), daughter of Tachibana no Irii (橘入居)

  • Imperial Princess Sugawara (菅原内親王) (?–825)
  • Imperial Princess Kara (賀楽内親王) (?–874)

Nyōgo: Fujiwara no Nakako (藤原仲子), daughter of Fujiwara no Ieyori (藤原家依)

Nyōgo: Fujiwara no Shōshi (藤原正子), daughter of Fujiwara no Kiyonari (藤原清成)

Nyōgo: Ki no Otoio (紀乙魚) (?–840)

Nyōgo: Kudara no Kyōhō (百済教法) (?–840), daughter of Kudara no Shuntetsu (百済俊哲)

Court lady: Fujiwara no Kamiko (藤原上子), daughter of Fujiwara no Oguromaro (藤原小黒麻呂)

  • Imperial Princess Shigeno (滋野内親王) (?–857)

Court lady: Tachibana no Tsuneko (橘常子) (788–817), daughter of Tachibana no Shimadamaro (橘島田麻呂)

  • Imperial Princess Ōyake (大宅内親王) (?–849), married to Heizei

Court lady: Sakanoue no Matako (坂上全子) (?–790), daughter of Sakanoue no Karitamaro (坂上刈田麻呂)

  • Imperial Princess Takatsu (高津内親王) (?–841), married to Emperor Saga

Court lady: Ki no Wakako (紀若子), daughter of Ki no Funamori (紀船守)

  • Imperial Prince Asuka (明日香親王) (?–834)

Court lady: Fujiwara no Kawako (藤原河子) (?–838), daughter of Fujiwara no Ōtsugu (藤原大継)

  • Imperial Prince Nakano (仲野親王) (792–867)
  • Imperial Princess Ate (安勅内親王) (?–855)
  • Imperial Princess Ōi (大井内親王) (?–865)
  • Imperial Princess Ki (紀内親王) (799–886)
  • Imperial Princess Yoshihara (善原内親王) (?–863)

Court lady: Kudara no Kyōnin (百済教仁), daughter of Kudara no Bukyō (百済武鏡)

  • Imperial Prince Ōta (大田親王) (793–808)

Court lady: Fujiwara no Azumako (藤原東子) (?–816), daughter of Fujiwara no Tanetsugu (藤原種継)

  • Imperial Princess Kannabi (甘南備内親王) (800–817)

Court lady: Sakanoue no Haruko (坂上春子) (?–834), daughter of Sakanoue no Tamuramaro (坂上田村麻呂)

  • Imperial Prince Fujii (葛井親王) (800–850)
  • Princess Kasuga (春日内親王) (?–833)

Court lady: Fujiwara no Heishi/Nanshi (藤原平子/南子) (?–833), daughter of Fujiwara no Takatoshi (藤原乙叡)

  • Imperial Princess Ito (伊都内親王) (ca. 801–861), married to Prince Abo

Court lady: Tachubana no Tamurako (橘田村子), daughter of Tachibana no Irii (橘入居)

  • Imperial Princess Ikenoe (池上内親王) (?–868)

Court lady: Kudara no Jōkyō (百済貞香), daughter of Kudara no Kyōtoku (百済教徳)

  • Imperial Princess Suruga (駿河内親王) (801–820)

Court lady: Nakatomi no Toyoko (中臣豊子), daughter of Nakatomi no Ōio (中臣大魚)

  • Imperial Princess Fuse (布勢内親王) (?–812), 13th Saiō in Ise Shrine, 797–806

Court lady: Kawakami no Manu (河上真奴), daughter of Nishikibe no Haruhito (錦部春人)

  • Imperial Prince Sakamoto (坂本親王) (793–818)

Court lady (Nyoju): Tajihi no Toyotsugu (多治比豊継), daughter of Tajihi no Hironari (多治比広成)

  • Nagaoka no Okanari (長岡岡成) (?–848), removed from the Imperial Family by receiving the family name from Emperor (Shisei Kōka, 賜姓降下) in 787

Court lady: Kudara no Yōkei (百済永継), daughter of Asukabe no Natomaro (飛鳥部奈止麻呂)

  • Yoshimine no Yasuyo (良岑安世) (785–830), removed from the Imperial Family by receiving the family name from Emperor (Shisei Kōka, 賜姓降下) in 802

Legacy[edit]

In 2001, Japan's emperor Akihito told reporters "I, on my part, feel a certain kinship with Korea, given the fact that it is recorded in the Chronicles of Japan that the mother of Emperor Kanmu was of the line of King Muryong of Baekje." It was the first time that a Japanese emperor publicly acknowledged Korean blood in the imperial line.[25] According to the Shoku Nihongi, Emperor Kammu's mother, Takano no Niigasa is a descendant of Prince Junda, son of Muryeong, who died in Japan in 513 (Nihon Shoki Chapter 17).

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. ^ a b Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 桓武天皇 (50); retrieved 2013-8-22.
  2. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Etchū" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 464; Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, pp. 61–62.
  3. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 86–95, p. 86, at Google Books; Brown, Delmer M. Gukanshō, pp. 277–279; Varley, H. Paul. Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 148–150.
  4. ^ a b c d e Brown, p. 277.
  5. ^ Titsingh, p. 86, p. 86, at Google Books; Varley, p. 149.
  6. ^ Watts, Jonathan. "The emperor's new roots: The Japanese emperor has finally laid to rest rumours that he has Korean blood, by admitting that it is true," The Guardian (London). December 28, 2001.
  7. ^ Titsingh, pp. 91–2, p. 91, at Google Books; Brown, pp. 278–79; Varley, p. 272.
  8. ^ Brown, p. 34.
  9. ^ Julian dates derived from NengoCalc
  10. ^ 天安一年四月三日?
  11. ^ Titsingh, pp. 85–6, p. 85, at Google Books; Brown, p. 277.
  12. ^ Titsingh, p. 86, p. 86, at Google Books; Varley, p. 44; a distinct act of senso is unrecognized prior to Emperor Tenji; and all sovereigns except Jitō, Yōzei, Go-Toba, and Fushimi have senso and sokui in the same year until the reign of Emperor Go-Murakami.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Brown, 278.
  14. ^ a b c d Brown, 279.
  15. ^ 延暦一年六月十四日?
  16. ^ a b c d Titsingh, p. 86, p. 86, at Google Books.
  17. ^ 延暦二年三月?
  18. ^ 延暦二年七月?
  19. ^ 延暦十に?
  20. ^ 延暦十三年十月二十一日?
  21. ^ Varley, p. 150.
  22. ^ kugyō of Kammu-tennō
  23. ^ a b Ponsonby-Fane, p. 318.
  24. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 62.
  25. ^ Guardian.co.uk

References[edit]

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Kōnin
Emperor of Japan:
Kanmu

781–806
Succeeded by
Emperor Heizei