EMPEROR JIMMU (神武天皇, Jinmu-tennō) was the first Emperor of
Japan , according to legend. His accession is traditionally dated as
660 BC. According to
Japanese mythology , he is a descendant of the
Amaterasu , through her grandson Ninigi , as well as a
descendant of the storm god
* 1 Name and title
* 2 Legendary narrative
* 2.1 Migration
* 3 Modern veneration * 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 References * 7 External links
NAME AND TITLE
Jimmu is recorded as Japan's first ruler in two early chronicles,
Kojiki (712) and
Nihon Shoki (721).
Nihon Shoki gives the dates of
his reign as 660–585 BC. In the reign of
Emperor Kanmu (737–806),
the eighth-century scholar
Ōmi no Mifune designated rulers before
Ōjin as tennō (天皇, "heavenly sovereign"), a Japanese pendant to
the Chinese imperial title Tiān-dì (天帝), and gave several of
them including Jimmu their canonical names. Prior to this time, these
rulers had been known as sumera no mikoto/ōkimi. This practice had
According to the legendary account in the
The story of Jimmu seems to rework legends associated with the Ōtomo clan , and its function was to establish that clan's links to the ruling family, just as those of Suijin arguably reflect Mononobe tales and the legends in Ōjin's chronicles seem to derive from Soga clan traditions. Jimmu figures as a direct descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu via the side of his father, Ugayafukiaezu . Amaterasu had a son called Ame no Oshihomimi no Mikoto and through him a grandson named Ninigi-no-Mikoto . She sent her grandson to the Japanese islands where he eventually married Konohana-Sakuya-hime . Among their three sons was Hikohohodemi no Mikoto , also called Yamasachi-hiko , who married Toyotama-hime . She was the daughter of Ryūjin , the Japanese sea god. They had a single son called Hikonagisa Takeugaya Fukiaezu no Mikoto . The boy was abandoned by his parents at birth and consequently raised by Tamayori-hime , his mother's younger sister. They eventually married and had four sons. The last of these, Kan'yamato Iwarebiko, became Emperor Jimmu.
Depiction of a bearded Jimmu with his emblematic long bow and an accompanying wild bird. This 19th century artwork is by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi .
According to the chronicles
Nihon Shoki , Jimmu's brothers
were born in Takachiho , the southern part of
Kyūshū in modern-day
In Yamato, Nigihayahi no Mikoto , who also claim descent from the
According to the Kojiki, Jimmu died when he was 126 years old. This
emperor's posthumous name literally means "divine might" or
"god-warrior". It is undisputed that this identification is Chinese in
form and Buddhist in implication, which suggests that the name must
have been regularized centuries after the lifetime ascribed to Jimmu.
It is generally thought that Jimmu's name and character evolved into
their present shape just before the time in which legends about the
origins of the
There are accounts written earlier than either Kojiki and Nihon Shoki that present an alternative version of the story. According to these accounts, Jimmu's dynasty was supplanted by that of Ōjin , whose dynasty was supplanted by that of Keitai . The Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki then combined these three mythical dynasties into one long and continuous genealogy.
The traditional site of Jimmu's grave is near Unebiyama in Kashihara .
Veneration of Jimmu was a central component of the imperial cult that formed following the Meiji Restoration . In 1873, a holiday called Kigensetsu was established on February 11. The holiday commemorated the anniversary of Jimmu's ascension to the throne 2,532 years earlier. After World War II, the holiday was criticized as too closely associated with the "emperor system." It was suspended from 1948 to 1966, but later reinstated as National Foundation Day .
Between 1873 and 1945 an imperial envoy sent offerings every year to the supposed site of Jimmu's tomb. In 1890 Kashihara Shrine was established nearby, on the spot where Jimmu was said to have ascended to the throne.
Before and during
World War II
The same year numerous stone monuments relating to key events in
Jimmu's life were erected around Japan. The sites at which these
monuments were erected are known as "
* Ancient Japan portal
* ^ Kelly, Charles F. "Kofun Culture", Japanese Archaeology. April 27, 2009.
* ^ Kitagawa, Joseph. (1987). On Understanding Japanese Religion, p.
145, p. 145, at
Google Books ; excerpt: "emphasis on the undisrupted
chronological continuity from myths to legends and from legends to
history, it is difficult to determine where one ends and the next
begins. At any rate, the first ten legendary emperors are clearly not
reliable historical records."
Boleslaw Szczesniak, "The Sumu-Sanu Myth. Notes and Remarks on the
Jimmu Tenno Myth", in
Monumenta Nipponica , Vol. 10, No. 1/2 (1954),
pp. 107–126. * ^ A B "Jimmu", Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia
(1993), Kodansha, ISBN 978-4069310980 .
* ^ A B Aston, William . (1896). Nihongi, pp. 109–137.
* ^ Jacques H. Kamstra Encounter Or Syncretism: The Initial Growth
of Japanese Buddhism, Brill 1967 pp. 65–67.
* ^ 神倭伊波礼琵古命, OJ pronunciation:
Kamu-Yamatö-ipare-biko (nö-mikötö) Donald Philippi, tr.Kojiki,
University of Tokyo Press, 1969 p. 488
* ^ Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi, University of Hawai'i Press, 1995 pp.
* ^ Nussbaum, "Jindai" at p. 421, p. 421, at
Google Books .
* ^ Jacques H. Kamstra, Encounter Or Syncretism: The Initial Growth
of Japanese Buddhism, Brill 1967 pp. 69–70.
* ^ Nussbaum, "Chijin-godai" at p. 111, p. 111, at
Google Books .
* ^ Kennedy, Malcolm D. A History of Japan. London. Weidenfeld and
* ^ Ooms, Herman. Imperial Politics and Symbolics in Ancient Japan:
the Tenmu Dynasty, 650–800. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press,
Imperial Household Agency
* Aston, William George. (1896). Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697, Volume 1. 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 * Brownlee, John S. (1997). Japanese Historians and the National Myths, 1600–1945: The Age of the Gods. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press . ISBN 0-7748-0645-1 * Chamberlain, Basil Hall. (1920). The Kojiki. Read before the Asiatic Society of Japan on April 12 10 May, and June 21, 1882; reprinted, May 1919. OCLC 1882339 * Earhart, David C. (2007). Certain Victory: Images of World War II in the Japanese Media. Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-0-7656-1776-7 * Kitagawa, Joseph Mitsuo. (1987). On Understanding Japanese Religion. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691073132 ; ISBN 9780691102290 ; OCLC 15630317 * Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press . ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5