Emperor Suizei

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Suizei thumb 1.jpg
Picture of Suizei
Emperor of Japan
Reign581 BC – 549 BC (traditional)[1]
Born632 BC
Died549 BC (aged 83)
Tsukida no oka no e no misasagi (桃花鳥田丘上陵) (Kashihara) (legendary)
IssueEmperor Annei
HouseImperial House of Japan
FatherEmperor Jimmu

Emperor Suizei (綏靖天皇, Suizei-tennō), sometimes romanized as Suisei,[2] and known as Kamununakawamimi no Mikoto (神沼河耳命) was the second Emperor of Japan,[3] according to the traditional order of succession.[4]

No firm dates can be assigned to this Emperor's life, but he is conventionally considered to have reigned from 581 to 549 BC.[5]

Legendary narrative[edit]

Modern scholars have come to question the existence of at least the first nine Emperors; Suizei's descendant, Emperor Sujin is the first that many agree might have actually existed.[6] The name Suizei-tennō was assigned to him posthumously by later generations.[7]

Suizei 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.[8] The reign of Emperor Kinmei (c. 509 – 571 AD), the 29th Emperor,[9] is the first for which contemporary historiography is able to assign verifiable dates;[10] 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.[11]

In the Kojiki, little more than his name and genealogy are recorded. The Nihon Shoki is more expansive, though the section is mythical. An Imperial misasagi or tomb for Suizei is currently maintained, despite the lack of any reliable early records attesting to his historical existence. He is ranked as the first of eight Emperors without specific legends associated with them, also known as the "eight undocumented monarchs" (欠史八代, Kesshi-hachidai).[12]

The Kojiki does, however, recorded his accession to the throne. According to its account, Suizei was the younger son of Emperor Jimmu's chief wife, Himetataraisuzu-hime. His older brother, Kamuyaimimi was originally Crown-prince. On Jimmu's death, Tagishimimi, a son of Emperor Jimmu by a lesser wife, Ahiratsu-hime, attempted to seize the throne. Suizei encouraged Kamuyaimimi to slay Tagishimimi, but since he was overcome by fright at the prospect, Suizei accomplished the deed. On this, Kamuyawimimi ceded his rights and declared that Suizei, being braver, should be Emperor.[13]

The Kojiki records that Suizei was one of the sons of Emperor Jimmu, and that he ruled from the palace of Takaoka-no-miya (葛城高岡宮, and in the Nihon Shoki as 葛城高丘宮) at Katsuragi in what would come to be known as Yamato Province.[14]

The Emperor's posthumous name literally means "joyfully healthy peace". It is suggested that the name must have been regularized centuries after the lifetime ascribed to Suizei, 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 actual site of his grave is not known.[3] The Emperor is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) in Kashihara. The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as his mausoleum. It is formally named Tsukida no oka no e no misasagi.[15]

Consorts and Children[edit]

  • Empress: Isuzuyori-hime (五十鈴依媛命), Kotoshironushi's daughter
    • Prince Shikitsuhikotamatemi (磯城津彦玉手看尊), later Emperor Annei

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. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Annei Tennō" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 32, p. 32, at Google Books.
  3. ^ a b Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 綏靖天皇 (2); retrieved 2013-8-22.
  4. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 29.
  5. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 3–4., p. 3, at Google Books; Brown, Delmer M. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 250–251; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 88–89.
  6. ^ Yoshida, Reiji. "Life in the Cloudy Imperial Fishbowl", Japan Times. March 27, 2007; retrieved 2013-8-22.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Kelly, Charles F. "Kofun Culture", Japanese Archaeology. April 27, 2009.
  9. ^ Titsingh, pp. 34–36; Brown, pp. 261–262; Varley, pp. 123–124.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Aston, William. (1896). Nihongi, p. 109.
  12. ^ a b Aston, pp. 138–141.
  13. ^ Chamberlain, Basil. (1919). The Kojiki, p. 184.
  14. ^ Brown, p. 250.
  15. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 418.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Jimmu
Legendary Emperor of Japan
581 BC – 549 BC
(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Annei