Princess Iwa

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Princess Iwa (磐之媛命 Iwa no hime mikoto?), sometimes known as Empress Iwa no hime (磐姫皇后 Iwa no hime kōgō?), was a poet and the Empress consort of Emperor Nintoku, who was the 16th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.[1] She was a descendant of Emperor Kōgen.[citation needed]

No firm dates can be assigned to Emperor Nintoku's life or reign, nor to that of his first wife. Nintoku is considered to have ruled the country during the late-fourth century and early-fifth century, but there is a paucity of information about him. There is insufficient material available for further verification and study.[citation needed]

Princess Iwa's poetry, or poems attributed to her, are included in the Kojiki, the Nihon shoki and the Man'yōshū. Her tomb is said to be located in Nara Prefecture.


Poems which Iwa-no hime is said to have exchanged with her husband are related in the Kojiki and in the Nihon shoki.[2] Nintoku is reported to have suffered the resentment of the Iwa-no hime during a period in which he stopped the collection of taxes, which meant that even ordinary repairs to the palace were also deferred.[3]

Poetry attributed to Iwa is collected in the Man'yōshū,[2] the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry believed to have been collected by Ōtomo no Yakamochi (大伴 家持). In her four songs she expressed love and longing for her husband.[4] Some modern scholars, however, advise a healthy skepticism in these difficult to verify attributions.[5]

Longing for Emperor Nintoku (君が行き 日長くなりぬ 山たずね 迎へか行かむ 待ちにか待たむ).[6]

Burial mound tomb[edit]

The Imperial tomb of Iwa-no hime no Mikoto is said to be located in Saki-chō in the city of Nara.[8] Both kofun-type Imperial tombs are characterized by a keyhole-shaped island located within a wide, water-filled moat.[9]


  • Prince Ooe no Izahowake (大兄去来穂別尊) Emperor Richū
  • Prince Suminoe no Nakatsu (住吉仲皇子)
  • Prince Mizuhawake (瑞歯別尊) Emperor Hanzei
  • Prince Oasatsuma wakugo no Sukune (雄朝津間稚子宿禰尊) Emperor Ingyō


  1. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 22-24; Varley, Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 110-111.
  2. ^ a b Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). "Iwa no Hime," Japan encyclopedia, p. 409.
  3. ^ Brownlee, John S. and Tarō Sakamoto. (1991). The Six National Histories of Japan, p. 64.
  4. ^ Sato. p. 16.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Hall, John Whitney et al. (1993). The Cambridge History of Japan: Ancient Japan, p. 474.
  6. ^ Poem No. 2-85, Man'yōshū Best 100;
  7. ^ Cranston, Edwin A. (1998). A Waka Anthology: The Gem-Glistening Cup, p. 51.
  8. ^ Iwa-no hime no Mikoto's misasagi -- map (upper right)
  9. ^ see kofun context of kofun-like elements


See also[edit]