Emperor Suizei

Emperor Suizei (綏靖天皇, Suizei-tennō[a]), also known as Kamununakawamimi no Mikoto (神沼河耳命), was the second legendary emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession.[4][5] Very little is known about this Emperor due to a lack of material available for further verification and study. Suizei is known as a "legendary emperor" among historians as his actual existence is disputed. A legendary account from the Kojiki states that Suizei became emperor after receiving the title of crown prince by his half brother due to his bravery regarding a murder plot. Suizei's reign started in 581 BC, he had one wife and a sole son who supposedly became the next emperor upon his death in 549 BC.

Emperor Suizei
Suizei thumb 1.jpg
Picture of Suizei
Emperor of Japan
Reign581 BC – 549 BC (traditional)[1]
Born632 BC[2]
Died549 BC (aged 83)
Tsukida no oka no e no misasagi (桃花鳥田丘上陵) (Kashihara) (legendary)
SpouseIsuzuyori-hime [ja]
IssueEmperor Annei
Posthumous name
Chinese-style shigō:
Emperor Suizei (綏靖天皇)

Japanese-style shigō:
Kamu-nunakawamimi no Sumeramikoto (神渟名川耳天皇)
HouseImperial House of Japan
FatherEmperor Jimmu

Legendary narrativeEdit

While the Kojiki provides little information about Suizei, it does state his name, genealogy, and a record about his accession to the throne. He was born sometime in 632 BC, and was one of the sons of Emperor Jimmu and his chief wife Himetataraisuzu-hime.[2][6] The account in the Kojiki states that Suizei's older brother Kamuyaimimi was originally the Crown-prince. When Jimmu died, another of his sons named Tagishimimi attempted to seize the throne by murdering those in his way. Tagishimimi was given birth to by a lesser wife named Ahiratsu-hime, and was older than Jimmu's legitimate heir. When Himetataraisuzu-hime learned of the plot she tried in vain to warn her sons by way of songs and poems.[7] While Suizei encouraged Kamuyaimimi to slay Tagishimimi, he could not find it in him to murder his own half brother. Suizei pleaded with his older brother for the weapon he was going to use, and upon receiving it accomplished the deed for him. Kamuyawimimi ceded his rights as crown prince shortly after to Suizei as he believed his braver younger brother should be the new Emperor.[8]

Emperor Suizei's pre-ascension name remains unknown, but the Kojiki records that he ruled from the palace of Takaoka-no-miya (葛城高岡宮)[b] at Katsuragi in what would come to be known as Yamato Province.[6] While another more expansive account exists in the Nihon Shoki, the section is more steeped in myth. Suizei is conventionally considered to have reigned from 581 to 549 BC.[6][9] He wed Isuzuyori-hime [ja] at an unknown date, and the two had one son. Emperor Suizei allegedly died in 549 BC and his gravesite is formally named Tsukida no oka no e no misasagi.[5] He was succeeded by his only son, Prince Shikitsuhikotamatemi who became Emperor Annei.

Known informationEdit

The existence of at least the first nine Emperors is disputed due to insufficient material available for further verification and study.[10] Suizei is thus regarded by historians as a "legendary Emperor", and is ranked as the first of eight Emperors without specific legends associated with them.[11][c] The name Suizei-tennō was assigned to him posthumously by later generations, and literally means "joyfully healthy peace".[13] His name might 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] While the actual site of his grave is not known, an Imperial misasagi or tomb for Suizei is currently maintained in Kashihara.[4] The first emperor that historians state might have actually existed is Emperor Sujin, the 10th emperor of Japan.[14] Outside of the Kojiki, the reign of Emperor Kinmei[d] (c. 509 – 571 AD) is the first for which contemporary historiography is able to assign verifiable dates.[17] The conventionally accepted names and dates of the early Emperors were not confirmed as "traditional" though, until the reign of Emperor Kanmu[e] between 737 and 806 AD.[12]

Consorts and childrenEdit

Himetataraisuzu-himeEmperor JimmuAhiratsu-hime
Kamuyaimimi [ja]Hikoyai [ja]Emperor SuizeiTagishimimiKisumimi

‡ not in the Nihon Shoki

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sometimes romanized as Suisei[3]
  2. ^ In the Nihon Shoki as 葛城高丘宮
  3. ^ Also known as the "eight undocumented monarchs" (欠史八代, Kesshi-hachidai).[12]
  4. ^ The 29th Emperor[15][16]
  5. ^ Kanmu was the 50th sovereign of the Yamato dynasty


  1. ^ "Genealogy of the Emperors of Japan" (PDF). Kunaicho.go.jp. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Kenneth Henshall (2013). Historical Dictionary of Japan to 1945. Scarecrow Press. p. 487. ISBN 9780810878723.
  3. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric (2002). Japan Encyclopedia. Harvard University Press. p. 32. ISBN 9780674017535. successor to Suisei Tennō
  4. ^ a b "綏靖天皇 (2)". Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō) (in Japanese). Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Ponsonby-Fane, Richard (1959). The Imperial House of Japan. Ponsonby Memorial Society. p. 29 & 418.
  6. ^ a b c Brown, Delmer M. and Ichirō Ishida (1979). A Translation and Study of the Gukanshō, an Interpretative History of Japan Written in 1219. University of California Press. pp. 250–251. ISBN 9780520034600.
  7. ^ Norinaga Motoori (2007). The Poetics of Motoori Norinaga: A Hermeneutical Journey. University of Hawaii Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-8248-3078-6.
  8. ^ Chamberlain, Basil. The Kojiki. Read before the Asiatic Society of Japan on April 12, May 10, and June 21, 1882, reprinted in 1919. p. 184.
  9. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Nihon Ōdai Ichiran (in French). Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. p. 3.
  10. ^ Kelly, Charles F. "Kofun Culture". www.t-net.ne.jp. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  11. ^ Shillony, Ben-Ami (2008-10-15). The Emperors of Modern Japan. BRILL. p. 15. ISBN 978-90-474-4225-7.
  12. ^ a b c Aston, William George. (1896). Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697, Volume 2. The Japan Society London. pp. 109, 138–141. ISBN 9780524053478.
  13. ^ Brinkley, Frank (1915). A History of the Japanese People from the Earliest Times to the end of the Meiji Era. Encyclopaedia Britannica Company. p. 21. 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.
  14. ^ Yoshida, Reiji. (March 27, 2007). "Life in the Cloudy Imperial Fishbowl". Japan Times. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  15. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Nihon Ōdai Ichiran (in French). Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. pp. 34–36.
  16. ^ Brown, Delmer M. and Ichirō Ishida (1979). A Translation and Study of the Gukanshō, an Interpretative History of Japan Written in 1219. University of California Press. pp. 261–262. ISBN 9780520034600.
  17. ^ Hoye, Timothy. (1999). Japanese Politics: Fixed and Floating Worlds. Prentice Hall. p. 78. ISBN 9780132712897. 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.

Further readingEdit

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