Emperor Seimu

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Seimu
Emperor of Japan
Reign 131 – 191 (traditional)[1]
Predecessor Keikō
Successor Chūai
Father Emperor Keikō
Mother Yasakairihime
Born legendary
Died legendary
Burial Saki no Tatanami no misasagi (Nara)

Emperor Seimu (成務天皇 Seimu-tennō?); also known as Wakatarashihiko no Sumeramikoto; was the 13th 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 131–191.[4] He is credited with appointing the first provincial governors and district officials.[5]

Legendary narrative[edit]

Seimu is regarded by historians as a "legendary emperor" who might be real. Little is known about him.[6] The reign of Emperor Kimmei (509?–571), the 29th emperor,[7] is the first for which contemporary historiography is able to assign verifiable dates;[8] 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.[9]

The name Seimu Tennō was assigned to him posthumously by later generations.[10]

If Seimu did exist, there is no evidence to suggest that the title tennō was used during the time period to which his reign has been assigned. It is much more likely that he was a chieftain, or local clan leader, and the polity he ruled would have only encompassed a small portion of modern day Japan.[11]

His father was Emperor Keikō and his mother was Yasaka no Iri Bime no Mikoto, a granddaughter of Emperor Sujin and a first cousin of his father.

Memorial Shinto shrine and mausoleum honoring Emperor Seimu.

The actual site of Seimu'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 Seimu's mausoleum. It is formally named Saki no Tatanami no misasagi.[12]

Seimu's tomb can be visited today at Misasagi-cho, Nara City.[13]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. ^ "Genealogy of the Emperors of Japan" at Kunaicho.go.jp; retrieved 2013-8-28.
  2. ^ a b Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 成務天皇 (13); retrieved 2013-8-28.
  3. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 14–15, p. 14, at Google Books; Brown, Delmer M. (1979). Gukanshō, p. 254; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 99–100.
  4. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 34.
  5. ^ Martin, Peter, The Chrysanthemum Throne: A History of the Emperors of Japan, p. 23
  6. ^ Kelly, Charles F. "Kofun Culture," Japanese Archaeology. 27 April 2009.
  7. ^ Titsingh, pp. 34–36; Brown, pp. 261–262; Varley, pp. 123–124.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Aston, William. (1896). Nihongi, pp. 109.
  10. ^ Brinkley, Frank. (1915). A History of the Japanese People from the Earliest Times to the end of the Meiji Era, p. 21, 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.
  11. ^ Aston, William George. (1998). Nihongi, Vol. 1, pp. 214–216.
  12. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1953). Studies in Shinto and Shrines, p. 419.
  13. ^ Seimu's misasagi – map (lower right)

References[edit]

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Keikō
Legendary Emperor of Japan
131–191
(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Chūai