Emperor Seimu

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Emperor Seimu.jpg
Emperor of Japan
Reign131–191 (traditional)[1]
Died191 (aged 106–107)
Saki no Tatanami no misasagi (狭城盾列池後陵) (Nara)
IssueSee below
HouseImperial House of Japan
FatherEmperor Keikō

Emperor Seimu (成務天皇, Seimu-tennō), also known as Wakatarashihiko no Sumeramikoto (稚足彦天皇) was the 13th Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.[2][3] His reign is conventionally dated as AD 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 have been real. Little is known about him.[6] The reign of Emperor Kinmei (c. 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 Kanmu (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 Yasakairihime-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] The 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, Nara Prefecture.[13]

Consorts and Children[edit]

  • Empress: Ototakara-no-Iratsume (弟財郎女), Takeoshi Yamatarine's daughter
    • Prince Wakanuke (和訶奴気王)
  • Consort: Kibi-no-Iratsume (吉備郎姫), Prince Wakayamatoneko's daughter (Emperor Sujin's great-grandson)

See also[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 Jinmu. Along with the next 13 Emperors, Jinmu is not considered an actual, historical figure. Historically verifiable Emperors of Japan date from the early sixth century with Kinmei.
  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 Kanmu (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)


  • 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. ISBN 978-0-520-03460-0; OCLC 251325323
  • Chamberlain, Basil Hall. (1920). The Kojiki. Read before the Asiatic Society of Japan on 12 April, 10 May, and 21 June 1882; reprinted May 1919. OCLC 1882339
  • Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 194887
  • Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Nihon Ōdai 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. ISBN 978-0-231-04940-5; OCLC 59145842
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Keikō
Legendary Emperor of Japan
(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Chūai