Emperor Kinmei (欽明天皇, Kinmei-tennō, 509–571) was the 29th
emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of
His reign is said to have spanned the years from 539 through 571.
Kinmei is the first Japanese emperor for whom contemporary
historiography is able to assign verifiable dates.
1 Traditional narrative
1.1 Events of Kinmei's life
4 See also
Kinmei's contemporary title would not have been tennō, as most
historians believe this title was not introduced until the reigns of
Emperor Tenmu and Empress Jitō. Rather, it was presumably
Sumeramikoto or Amenoshita Shiroshimesu Ōkimi (治天下大王),
meaning "the great king who rules all under heaven." Alternatively,
Kinmei might have been referred to as (ヤマト大王/大君) or the
"Great King of Yamato".
Events of Kinmei's life
Because of several chronological discrepancies in the account of
Emperor Kinmei in the Nihon Shoki, some believe that he was actually
ruling a rival court to that of Emperors Ankan and Senka.
Nevertheless, according to the traditional account, it was not until
the death of Emperor Kinmei's older brother
Emperor Senka that he
gained the throne.
According to this account,
Emperor Senka died in 539 at the age of
73; and succession passed to the third son of Emperor Keitai. This
Imperial Prince was the next youngest brother of Emperor Senka. He
would come to be known as Emperor Kinmei. He established his court at
Shikishima no Kanazashi Palace (磯城嶋金刺宮) in Yamato.
The emperor's chief counselors were:
Ōomi (Great Imperial chieftain):
Soga no Iname no Sukune, also known
as Soga no Iname.
Ōmuraji (Great Deity chieftain): Monotobe Okoshi no Muraji, also
known as Mononobe no Okoshi.
Ōmuraji (Great Deity chieftain): Ōtomo Kanamura Maro, also known
as Otomo no Kanamura.
Although the imperial court was not moved to the Asuka region of Japan
until 592, Emperor Kinmei's rule is considered by some to be the
beginning of the
Asuka period of Yamato Japan, particularly by those
who associate the
Asuka period primarily with the introduction of
Japan from Baekje.
According to the Nihon Shoki,
Emperor Kinmei received a bronze statue
of Buddha as a gift from the king of Paekche King Song Myong
(聖明王, Seimei Ō) along with a significant envoy of artisans,
monks, and other artifacts in 552. (However, according to the Jōgū
Shōtoku Hōō Teisetsu,
Buddhism was introduced in 538.) This episode
is widely regarded as the official introduction of
Buddhism to the
With the introduction of a new religion to the court, a deep rift
developed between the Mononobe clan, who supported the worship of
Japan's traditional deities, and the Soga clan, who supported the
adoption of Buddhism.
According to the Nihon Shoki,
Emperor Kinmei ruled until his death in
571 and was buried in the Hinokuma no Sakai Burial Mound
(桧隈坂合陵). An alternate stronger theory holds that he was
actually buried in the Misemaruyama Tumulus (見瀬丸山古墳)
located in Kashihara City (橿原市).
This emperor is traditionally venerated at a memorial
(misasagi) at Nara. The
Imperial Household Agency
Imperial Household Agency designates the Nara
location as Kinmei's mausoleum. It is formally named Hinokuma no
saki Ai no misasagi; however, the actual sites of the graves of the
early emperors remain problematic, according to some historians and
Emperor Kinmei's father was
Emperor Keitai and his mother was Emperor
Ninken's daughter, Princess Tashiraka (手白香皇女, Tashiraka
Ōjo). In his lifetime, he was known by the name Amekuni Oshiharaki
Kinmei had six Empresses and 25 Imperial children (16 sons and 9
daughters). According to Nihongi, he had six wives; but Kojiki only
gives five wives, identifying the third consort to the sixth one. The
first three were his nieces, daughters of his half brother Senka; two
others were sisters, daughters of the
Omi Soga no Iname
Princess Ishi-Hime (or Iwa-hime), daughter of
Emperor Senka by his
Empress Tachibana no Nakatsu; Empress 540 ; Grand Empress 572; 3
imperial children :
Imperial Prince Yata no Tamakatsu no Oe (eldest son)
Imperial Prince Nunakura Futotama-Shiki (Emperor Bidatsu); born 538
Imperial Princess Kasanui (also named Princess Satake)
Princess Kura Wayaka-Hime, daughter of
Emperor Senka by his Empress
Tachibana no Nakatsu; second consort; 1 imperial Prince :
Imperial Prince Iso no Kami, born 539/540
Princess Hikage, daughter of
Emperor Senka probably by a concubine;
third consort; 1 imperial Prince:
Imperial Prince Kura (Prince Soga no Kura)
Soga no Kitashihime, daughter of Soga no Iname ; fourth consort;
died before 612; 13 imperial children :
Imperial Prince Oe or Ikebe (Emperor Yōmei); born 540 (fourth son)
Imperial Princess Ihane-hime or Ihakumo, Ise Virgin; had to resign her
charge being convicted of intrigue with her half brother Imperial
Imperial Prince Atori
Imperial Princess Nukatabe (Empress Suiko), born 553, died 626
Imperial Prince Maroko
Imperial Princess Ohoyake
Imperial Prince Iso no
Kami Be (Imigako)
Imperial Prince Yamashiro
Imperial Princess Ohotomo or Ohomata; born about 560; married to her
nephew Prince Oshisako no Hikohito no Oe, son of Emperor Bidatsu
Imperial Prince Sakurawi
Imperial Princess Katano
Imperial Prince Tachibana Moto no Wakugo
Imperial Princess Toneri, born about 565; died 603; married to her
nephew Prince Tame Toyora, son of Emperor Yomei
Soga no Oane hime, daughter of Soga no Iname ; fifth
consort ; 5 imperial children:
Imperial Prince Mubaragi
Imperial Prince Katsuraki
Imperial Princess Hasetsukabe no Anahobe no Hashihito, born about 560;
died 621; married (A) to her half brother Emperor Yomei; married (B)
to her nephew and stepson Prince Tame Toyora, son of Emperor Yomei
Imperial Prince Amatsukabe Anahobe (Prince Sume-Irodo), killed 7 VI
Imperial Prince Hatsusebe (Emperor Sushun)
Nukako no Iratsume, daughter of Kasuga no Hifuri no Omi ;sixth
consort; 2 imperial children:
Imperial Princess Kasuga no Yamada no Iratsume
Imperial Prince Tachibana no Maro
Ancestors of Emperor Kinmei
Emperor Keitai (dates for Emperor Keitai's lifespan and reign
1. Emperor Kinmei
3. Princess Tashiraka (d. 5??)
Emperor of Japan
List of Emperors of Japan
^ a b
Imperial Household Agency
Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 欽明天皇 (29);
^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). pp. 34–36; Brown, Delmer. (1979).
Gukanshō, pp. 261–262; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). pp. 123–124;
Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 45.
^ 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.
^ Varley, p. 121.
^ a b c d e f Brown, p. 262.
^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 419.
^ "Genealogy". Reichsarchiv. Retrieved 25 January 2018. (in
Aston, William George. (1896). Nihongi: Chronicles of
Japan from the
Earliest Times to A.D. 697. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner.
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
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
Emperor of Japan:
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