Soga and Fujiwara wombs

The violent birth of Yamato harmony

By William Wetherall

First posted 23 March 2009
Last updated 10 April 2017

Religious wars Bidatsu's disbelief and love | Yomei's belief and respect | Kotoku's respect and dislike | Shotoku Taishi's "wa"
Soga saga Karako and Koma | Iname, Umako, Emishi, Iruka | Rise of Soga | Fall of Soga | Soga family tree
Fujiwara fortunes From Nakatomi to Fujiwara | Tenchi and Tenmu lines | Fujiwara regency | Fujiwara family tree
Dramatis personae Gods | Family tree of mixed-blood gods | Tenno | Mononobe | Nakatomi | Soga | Fujiwara | Kudara | Family tree of Kudara kings and their Yamato descendants | Hata and Aya | Others

Family trees may not display well in all browsers.

Religious wars

The birth of Japan during the 6th, 7th, and 8th centuries -- as a hybrid of local and alien bloods -- was not without threats to the life of the hybrid baby. Many of the threats came from its own parents, who feuded over interests that were at once religious and political, as swords were honed on the whetstones of beliefs and rites.

The Nihon shoki, the first official history of the country, completed during its infancy in 720, is full of tales of wars of words and weapons between clannish factions of what would later be called Shinto, and between Shinto factions and the various Buddhist factions that emerged in Yamato. The chronology clearly describes the religious tastes of some of the sovereigns who witnessed the early rivalry between Shinto and Buddhism.


Bidatsu's disbelief and love

Bidatsu, the 30th sovereign (r572-585), is introduced in the Nihon shoki as a sovereign who "did not believe the Law of Buddha, and loved literature and history" (“Vc•sM•§–@AŽ§ˆ¤•¶Žj) (Nihon shoki 20, Bidatsu).

Bidatsu succeeded Kinmei, the 29th sovereign (r539-571), who is supposed to have accepted the gift of Buddhism from Kudara (Paekche) in 552, according to the Nihon shoki. Encouraged by Soga no Irame to embrace the new faith, he followed instead the advice of Mononobe no Okoshi and Nakatomi no Kamako, who warned that worshipping the barbarian gods would anger the country's gods.

See 552 confrontation for further details.

In 585, when Iname's son Soga no Umako fell ill and was led to believe that his illness was caused by a curse from Buddha, Bidatsu permitted him to worship his father's (Iname's) god, meaning an image of Buddha.

At first Bidatsu gives permission, then he calls for discontinuation of Buddha worship, and later again gives permission but only to Umako, not others. Umako rebuids a destroyed temple, and again his detractors plot its destruction.

See 585 confrontation and 587 retributions for further details.


Yomei's belief and respect

Yōmei, the 31st sovereign (r585-587), Bidatsu's half-brother and successor, is introduced in the Nihon shoki as a sovereign who "believed the Law of Buddha and respected [revered] the Way of the Gods" (“VcM•§–@‘¸_“¹) (Nihon shoki 21, Yōmei).

Yōmei's reign marks a significant departure from the vacillation and ambivalence of Kinmei and Bidatsu. His embrace of the new religion set the stage for its promotion by several of his successors, most significantly Suiko (r593-628) and her regent Shōtoku Taishi.

The promotion of Buddhism by sovereigns reached its peak during the reigns of a granddauther of Tenmu (r673-686), first as Kōken (r749-758), then as Shōtoku (r764-770). Her zealous patronage of Buddhism, fueled it seems by a love affair with an ambitious priest, posed such a threat to Shinto interests that nearly nine hundred years were to pass before another woman became a sovereign.


Kotoku's respect and dislike

Kōtoku (r645-654), the 36th sovereign, and Bidatsu's grandson, several decades later, is introduced in Nihon shoki like this (my translation, Nihon shoki 25, Kōtoku, Kōgyoku 4-6-14, 645-7-15 [12], NKBT 68:268-269, Aston 2:195).

The sovereign Ame Yorodzu Toyohi [Kōtoku] is a younger brother by the same mother of the sovereign Ame Toyotakara Akashihi Tarashihime [Kōgyoku]. [He] respected [revered] the Law of Buddha, and belittled the Way of the Gods.


Ame Yorodzu Toyohi no Sumera Mikoto ha, Ame Toyotakara Ikashihi Tarashihime no irodo nari. Hotoke no minori wo tafutobi, kami no michi wo anadzuritamafu.

An interlineal note cites this example (my translation, ibid.).

⟨The case [example] of his cutting down the trees of the shrine of Ikukunitama [in Naniwa], this is [an example of such].⟩

⟨斮¶š °ŽÐŽ÷”V—ށA¥–çB⟩

⟨Ikukunitama no yashiro no ki wo kiritamafu taguhi, kore nari.⟩

Ikukunitama shrine was a sanctuary for the spirits of the gods who gave birth to the land of the eight islands that were believed to be the dominion of the sovereigns of Yamato. The first sovereign, Jinmu, is said to have set out from Takachiho (in present-day Miyazaki prefecture), where the country was born, to find a more suitable place for his government. His fleet landed at Naniwa (Naniha), now Osaka Bay, and he and his clan fought their to Yamato (in present-day Nara prefecture).

The main text goes on to praise Kōtoku's high regard for learning and his embrace of both the noble and menial. But apparently his generosity and tolerance did not extend to the trees that protected the gods which some of his powerful rivals believed had founded the country.


Religious hybridization

Shinto was not defined as such until the arrival of Buddhist teachings -- which came, not as spiritual abstractions, but as integral parts of the political activities of their continental bearers. The world of beliefs that came to be called "Shinto" was itself a highly factional one in which all aspects of life were governed by rituals related to clannish gods.

The conflicts that divided people on the islands before the arrival of Buddhism, then, were essentially territorial. The conflicts that the bearers of Buddhism brought to the islands with them were also essentially territorial.

That this or that sect of Buddhism came into conflict with this or that pantheon of Shinto gods was never as much a matter of religion as it was a question of who controlled the government that controls the people who pay the taxes that support the governors. Arguments for embracing one and rejecting hinged on which was seen to cause a given epidemic or other calamity. But the underlying conflict was anything but religious.

While there were times when the interests behind one religion were bent on destroying the interests behind the other, for the most part the twain met under conditions that favored their syncretism -- rather than their mutual destruction or segregation. The syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism involved a hybridization of both native and exotic elements, as native practices came to be exoticized, and exotic practices became nativized.

Scratch the surface of any Shinto or Buddhist sect in Japan today, and you will find some degree of mixture of elements from both "traditions" -- a word that should be used with great caution if at all, for the beginnings of most "traditions" are fairly recent. At best one finds traces of something putatively "old" costumed in new clothes that are made to look old.

It is now impossible to find any Shinto practice that does not have exotic continental elements, while many Buddhist sects have incorporated native elements -- and all are essentially "modern" and otherwise very much "present-day". Even the rituals performed by Akihito, as head of the Ise sect of Shinto, incorporate all manner of elements that diffused from the continent, mostly via the Korean peninsula, or which evolved in Japan from imported elements -- and, inevitably, draw from contemporary technology and accommodate contemporary sensibilities.

None of this has much to do with whether Japan is a "peace loving" country or "harmonious" society today, despite all the fuss that many people continue to make about Shōtoku Taishi's cry for "harmony" -- paraphrasing the Confucian Rongo came at a time when contenders for power thought nothing of assassinating a sovereign or prince, and not a few princes were engaged in internecine succession struggles. It was, if nothing else, an exciting time.


Shotoku Taishi's "wa"

"Wa" -- usually translated "harmony" -- is the Sino-Japanese reading of ˜a, a graph read "hé" today in Beijing speech. This meaning of the graph, which is also used to mean Yamato, is best known in Japan from the first phrase of the first article of the Constitution of 17 Articles, issued by Shōtoku Taishi (c574-622) in 604, according to Nihon shoki, a 720 compilation.

There is considerable dispute as to whether the constitution reflects Buddhist or Confucianist sentiments, if not a Yamatoization of one or the other or both. But the full context of "wa" as used in Article 1 of the 604 constitution suggests that it reflects the vision of political and social order expressed in the Confucian Lúnyu (˜_Œê), called "Rongo" in Japanese and "Analects" in English.

Article 1 of 604 "constitution"

Here is the full context of Shōtoku Taishi's exhortation to hold "wa" in high esteem (my translation, Nihon shoki 22, Suiko 12 Summer 4-3, 604-5-9 [6], and other sources as noted).

Contitution in 17 Articles

Article 1

[Article] 1 says, [Let] using gentleness [harmony] be [something] to [supremely] value, and [let] absence of opposition [contravention of moral principles] be [something] to honor [as your main purpose in performing ceremonies]. People all have cliques [parties, groups]. And those who have attained [an understanding of moral principles and related ceremonies] are few. This means [therefore] some [people] do not follow [their] ruler or father. Moreover [some people] are defiant [of moral principles and related ceremonies] in [their] neighboring community [neigborhood, locality]. Should [those] above [of higher status] be gentle [harmonious] and [those] below [of lower status] be congenial, [as for] matters of conducting discussion [dialog], then [right] responses to matters [reason, common sense] will of its own accord [as a matter of course, naturally, certainly] move [along] [proceed] [without obstruction]. What matter [thereby] will not come to be [cannot be accomplished]? (Wetherall)

ˆêžHAˆÈ˜aˆ×‹MA–³œwˆ×@BlŠF—L“}B–’­’BŽÒB¥ˆÈˆ½•s‡ŒN•ƒB“áˆá˜°—×—¢B‘Rã˜a‰º–rAŒw‰—˜_Ž–A‘¥Ž–—Ž©’ʁB‰½Ž–•s¬B(NKBT 68:181)

Hitotsu ni ihaku, Yaharaka naru wo mote tafutoshi to shi, sakafuru koto naki wo mune to seyo. Hito mina tamura ari. Mata satoru hito sukunashi. Koko wo mote, aruiha kimi kazo ni shitagahazu. Mata satotonari ni tagau. Kami yaharagi shimo mutsubite, koto wo agetsurafu ni kanafu toki ha, koto onodzukara ni tsuyofu. Nanigoto ka narazaramu. (NKBT 68:180-181)

1. Harmony is to be valued, and an avoidance of wanton opposition to be honoured. All men are influenced by class-feelings, and there are few who are intelligent. Hence there are some who disobey their lords and fathers, or who maintain feuds with the neighbouring villages. But when those above are harmonious and those below are friendly, and there is concord in the discussion of business, right views of things spontaneously gain acceptance. Then what is there which cannot be accomplished! (Aston 2:129)

Note that ˜a is translated "yaharaka" (yawaraka) meaning "gentleness" or "softness" or "pliancy" as quality of behavior. This is echoed in the verbal form "yaharagu" (yawaragu), to be gentle, soft, or pliant as a behavior.

Observe also the highly parallel structure of the article, which differentiates between high and low, rulers and ruled. In this regard, note that "being gentle" is associated with higher status people, whereas "being congenial" (–r musubu) or "getting along" is something expected of lower status people.

Today, the compound ˜a–r (J. Wabaku, C. Hémù) means peace, reconciliation, harmony, concord, amity and the like, as in relations between people or countries.

Lunyu sayings on "harmony"

Lúnyu, usually called "Analects" or "Analects of Confucius" in English, was established as the primary guide to Confucian thought by the 3rd century BC. Called Rongo in Japanese today, it was probably one of the earliest Chinese works introduced to Yamato, and as such it would have been a primer for Chinese learning among the aspiring literati in Yamato.

Here is the most important pronouncement on "harmony" in Lúnyu, as related in the first chapter or book (my translation, text and puntuation according to Rongo 1-12, SKT 1:30-32, with reference to several other printed and web sources).

Book 1

Saying 12

You Zi [disciple of Confucious] says: [When] using [conducting, performing] ceremonies, harmony is [supremely] valuable. [Among] the ways of the preceding kings [rulers], this [harmony] is [supremely] beautiful. [Matters] small and large [are conducted] according to it. [However] there are places where [situations in which] [harmony] does not occur. [One may] know harmony, but harmony is [something] that, when not principled [facilitated] through ceremonies, will not be able to [cannot] occur.

—LŽqžHAâX”V—p˜a਋MB æ‰¤”V“¹AŽzਔüB¬‘å—R”VB—LŠ•ssB’m˜aŽ§˜aA•sˆÈâXß”VA–’•s‰Âs–çB

Iushi ihaku, rei no you ha kwa wo tafutoshi to nasu. Senwau no michi mo, kore wo bi to nasu. Seudai kore ni yoru mo, okonaharezaru tokoro ari. Kuwa wo shirite kuwa suredomo, rei wo motsute kore wo setsu sezareba, mata okonafu bekarazareba nari.

In other words, harmony -- notwithstanding its value and beauty -- is not achieved merely by thinking or talking about it. Rather it is realized only through the facilitation of principled rites and rituals, and other observations of propriety or protocol.

Note that that ˜a is glossed "kuwa". This represents "kwa", a wa-glide that is now "ka" in standard orthography. This was the Han (Š¿) reading, which was prevalent during the Heian period, having been introduced by Yamato envoys who had studied in Chang'an and elswhere during the Tang period. The older Wu (Œà) reading, which had come earlier from the south, was "wa". The Tang (“‚) reading, which arrived during the Song period, was "o" ("wo"). The prevalent reading today is "wa".

"Harmony" appears in several other Lunyu sayings. The following saying is perhaps the most important for understanding the meaning of "harmony" as an object in the conduct of human relations (my translation, text and puntuation according to Rongo 13-326 [13-23], SKT 1:299, with reference to several other printed and web sources).

Book 13

Saying 23

[Kong] Zi [Confucius] says: Rulers and sons [noblemen, gentlemen] harmonize but do not assimilate; small people [commoners] assimilate but do not harmonize.


Shi ihaku, Kunshi ha kuwa shite dou sezu. Seujin ha dou jite kuwa sezu.

The idea here is that ceremonies and festivals -- principled rites and rituals, and other observations of propriety or protocol -- are important. Unprincipled falling in step with others -- joining a political or social clique for the sake of being accepted, blind clanishness -- is less important than formally showing respect for differences in order to harmonize (get along) despite the differences.

Note the differentiation between high and low in terms of the behaviors that are expected of them. Here, too, "harmonization" is a prerogative and quality of rulers and others in positions of authority, in that they are expected to be gentle and pliant while not giving in the the forces of assimilation and clannishness.

Then and now

The late 6th and early 7th centuries, centuring on the years that inspired Article 1 of the the 604 constitution, were fraught with imperial intrigue. Emperors were being assassinated and their sons were battling over the throne. Prince Shō was merely admonishing his people to stop killing each other.

Today, too, harmony is most likely to be extolled during divisive times when dissension is imminent or full-blown -- meaning practically always. The "land of harmony" (˜a‚̍‘ wa no kuni) is thus a country where the constant call for getting along reflects the undercurrent of discontent and conflict that makes Japan a typical example of just another human society that, for all of its history, has been under some degree of stress.



‹g“cŒ«R (’˜ŽÒ) [annotator]
[VŽßŠ¿•¶‘åŒn 1]
“Œ‹žF–¾Ž¡‘‰@Aº˜a35”NAº˜a51”N (‰ü’ùÄ”Ì)

Yoshida Kenkō (author) [annotator]
Rongo [Analects]
[Shin'yaku kanbun taikei 1] [SKT 1]
[Newly interpreted Chinese texts collection, Volume 1]
Tokyo: Meiji Shoin, 1976 revision of 1960 edition


Soga saga

The saga of the Soga clan is one of the more familiar chapters, and arguably the most controversial, of early Japanese history. It is not the purpose here to question the credibility of historical records such as they have survived, but merely to outline the received saga of Soga's rise and fall, as told in the Nihon shoki, a 720 work which exists in a later annotated copies.

The saga in a nutshell

Very briefly and roughly.

During the decades straddling the 6th and 7th centuries, Sōtoku Taishi and Soga no Umako were allied on the side of widespread reforms, including the introduction of Buddhism and Chinese-style political organization, during the reigns of Bidatsu, Yōmei, Sushun, and Suiko.

Suiko was Yōmei's full-brother and the principle wife of her half-brother Bidatsu. Shōtoku Taishi was Yōmei's son and, during most of her realm, Suiko's regent. The most important reforms came during his regency, which lasted a quarter of a century.

After the deaths of Shōtoku Taishi in 622 and Suiko in 628, things began to unravel for Soga interests, as Soga blood began to thin in the ranks of the younger princes who were vying to be the next sovereigns. And after the death of Soga no Umako in 626, his descendants were left with less protection from Mononobe, Nakatomi, and other clans that had not forgotten how the Soga's had gained power.


Karako and Koma

The Soga clan gained prominence through its service to the Yamato court, partly as managers of its property, partly as facilitators of Chinese learning, including Sinified Buddhism, via the Korean peninsula. The clan was instrumental in introducing Buddhism to the Yamato nobility in the middle of the 6th century, when Buddhism is supposed to have been introduced to the Yamato court by envoys from Kudara (Paekche), and it dominated court politics until the middle of the 7th century.

The two most prominant patriarchs of the Soga clan, who built the foundation from which its influence rose with Iname from the middle of the 6th century, were Iname's grandfather Karako and father Koma. Both names are clearly Korean metaphors.

Soga no Karako (d465)

In 465, according to the Nihon shoki, Yamato sent military forces to the Korean peninsula to chastise Shiragi (Silla). One of the Yamato commanders, Soga no Karako no Sukune (‘h‰äŠØŽqh”H), was killed by a rival commander in a falling out within their ranks (Nihon shoki 14, Yūryaku 9-3, 9 Summer 5, NKBT 67:480-483, Aston 1:353-355).

The name probably means "Son of Kara" in the spirit of "Son of Nippon danji" (“ú–{’jŽq Nippon danji) and a number of similar expressions. The "kara" (ŠØ) of Karako (ŠØŽq) is the "han" of Hanguk (ŠØ‘ 한국) and the "kan" of Kankoku (ŠØ‘ ‚©‚ñ‚±‚­), the Sino-Korean and Sino-Japanese names for the Republic of Korea, which of course did not then exist. Here "Kara" (ŠØ) probably refers to several smaller countries on the southernmost part of the peninsula with which Yamato had been most intimately engaged. The "ko" (Žq) may mean a "child" or "offspring" without regard to sex, but in many classical and even in some present-day contexts it refers to a patrilineal male descendant or son.

See 530 Status of Karako for a full translation of an account in which "Karako" is used to mean a "Kara child" defined as a child born to a Kara woman a Yamato man has taken as his wife.

Soga no Koma

Soga no Karako was the son of Soga no Michi (‘h‰ä–ž’q) and the father of Soga no Koma (‘h‰ä‚—í). Koma, too, is a Korean metaphor.

The Yamato reading of ‚—í, was widely used at the time to mean "Korea" more generally. ‚—í was also an abbreviation for Koguryŏ (‚‹å—í), a Korean entity called Kōkuri or just Kokuri in Yamato. As the name of a Korean entity that existed from 918-1382, ‚—í is read Koryŏ in Sino-Korean and Kōrai in Sino-Japanese. (Partly based on NKBT 67, page 480 headnote note 8, and page 630 end note 12.6).


Iname, Umako, Emishi, Iruka

The descendants of Karako and Koma had already gained positions of power within the Yamato court by the time it faced the introduction of Buddhism in the middle of the 6th century.

Soga no Iname (c506-570)

Soga fortunes began to sharply rise from 536, when Soga no Koma's son, Soga no Iname (‘h‰äˆî–Ú), became the ōmi (ohomi, oomi) under Senka (r537-539), the 28th sovereign. He continued to hold this highest administrative post under Senka's half-brother and successor, Kinmei (r539-571), the 29th sovereign.

It was during Kinmei's reign that, according to received chronicles, Buddhism was introduced to Yamato from Kudara (Paekche). Iname, who favored the adoption of Buddhism, along with political reform inspired by Chinese concepts of government organization, was opposed by the Mononobe and Nakatomi clans, which sided with the political interests of what came to be called Shinto.

This marked the start of a confrontation between Buddhist and Shinto interests that has now and then precipated in violence, and to some extent continues even today.

The century that followed the introduction of Buddhism into Japan spanned the lives of four generations of Soga first sons -- Iname, Umako, Emishi, and Iruka. During this period, the Soga clan is synonymous with the Sinification and Koreanization of the Yamato aristocracy.

Soga no Umako, Emishi, and Iruka

Soga no Umako (‘h‰ä”nŽq c551-626) was the father of Soga no Emishi (‘h‰ä‰ÚˆÎ c586-645), who was the father of Soga no Iruka (‘h‰ä“üŽ­ d645). These three men were at the center of much of the violence that characterized the times.

Umako was also known as Shima no Ōmi (“ˆ‘åb), reflecting his rank as Great Minister. As the brother of two of Kinmei's more productive consorts, he was the uncle of several sovereigns. One of his daughters was a consort of Shōtoku Taishi. Another was a consort of Prince Tamura, who became Jomei (r629-641), the 34th sovereign.

Umako is credited with the assassination of the head of the Mononobe, a rival clan, and of Sushun when he attempted to reduce the Soga hold on the Yamato court.

Emishi, who succeeded his father as head of the Soga clan, was also known as Toyura no Ōmi (–L‰Y‘åb), reflecting his rank as Great Minister. During a succession struggle following Suiko's death, he preferred Prince Tamura, a grandson of Bidatsu, to Prince Yamashiro, who as Shōtoku Taishi's oldest son. Tamura was thus installed as Jomei (r629-641), the 34th sovereign. Emishi was Tamura's "brother-in-law" through a sister who had become Tamura's consort. He was also Shōtoku Taishi's brother-in-law through another sister, thus Yamashiro's "uncle-in-law".

Iruka was often referred to as Kuratsukuri (ˆÆì) or "Saddlemaker". Iruka was little more than a trouble maker, and it was mostly his penchant for violence that ended his clan's influence on the holders of sovereignty.


Rise of Soga

By the time of Iname's death, a year before Kinmei's demise, most of the princes and princesses who would immediately follow Kinmei had been fathered by Kinmei in the wombs of Iname's daughters. And Soga wombs would produce a few more sovereigns before the clan's fall from grace.

Iname gained effective control over Kinmei's descendants by becoming their grandfather through his daughters, three of which became the consorts of two sovereigns. Two, as consorts of Kinmei, were the mothers of three sovereigns.

Soga no Kitashihime (‘h‰äŒ˜‰–•Q), a consort of Kinmei, was the mother of both Yōmei (r585-587), the 31st sovereign, and Suiko (r593-628), the 33rd sovereign and the first female sovereign in conventional reckoning (discounting Jingō).

Soga no Oane no Kimi (‘h‰ä¬ŽoŒN), also a consort of Kinmei, was the mother of Sushun (r587-592), the 32nd sovereign. She was also the mother of Onahobe no Hashihito no Himemiko, who became a consort of her half-brother Yōmei and as such the mother of Shōtoku Taishi (574-622).

Bidatsu (r572-585), the 30th sovereign, was a son of Kinmei by a consort who was a daughter of Senka, his half-brother.

Much of Suiko's reign was under the regency of her nephew, Shōtoku Taishi, the son of her brother full-brother and their half-sister. One of Shōtoku Taishi's consorts was a daughter of Soga no Umako, who was a son of Iname and thus a brother of both of Shōtoku Taishi's Soga grandmothers.

Your eyes have probably crossed several times while trying to untangle the incestious ties. If keeping power in the family was supposed to maintain peace among the holders and brokers of sovereignty, it failed. The decades of Soga control turned out to be among the most violent in the country's history.

552 confrontation

In 552, when Kinmei received an image of Buddha from Kudara, he asked his ministers what they thought of worshipping Buddha. Soga no Ōmi Iname no Sukune (‘h‰ä‘åbˆî–ڏh”H) promoted such worship as all the "various countries of western barbaria" (¼”׏”‘ nishi no tonari no kuni no kuniguni) [countries of the country of the neighbor of the west] did so. However, Mononobe no Ōmuraji Okoshi (•¨•”‘å˜A”ö—` Ohomuraji Wokoshi, Oomuraji Okoshi) and Nakatomi no Muraji Kamako (’†b˜AŠ™Žq), advised Kinmei that worshipping the "barbaria god" (”אa atashikuni no kami) [god of an exotic (other, different) country] would anger the "country gods" (š _ kuni tsu kami) [gods of (this) country]. (Nihon shoki 19, Kinmei 13 Winter 10, 552-11/12, NKBT 68:102-103, Aston 2:66-67).

Later that year, during an epidemic, Okoshi and Kamako convinced Kinmei that the suffering was caused by the worshipping of Buddha. Kinmei commanded his officials to do as Okoshi and Kamako advised. The image of the Buddha was thrown in the Naniwa (Naniha) canal and the temple burned. Part of the palace was destroyed by fire.

585 confrontation

Kinmei successor, Bidatsu (r572-585), the 30th sovereign, was his son by a daughter of Senka, who had been his half-brother. When Soga no Umako took ill in 585, he was told that his illness was caused by a curse from Buddha. Hearing this, Bidatsu permitted Umako to worship his (Umako's) father's god, meaning an image of Buddha. When he did so, there was an epidemic and many people died.

Okoshi's son Mononobe no Moriya, and Nakatomi no Katsumi, who may have been Kamako's son, connected this epidemic with the one which had followed the initial embrace of Buddhism by Bidatsu's father Kinmei. Bidatsu, like his father, agreed that Buddhism should be discontinued. Moriya then burned the temple and threw the remains of the destroyed image of Buddha in the Naniwa (Naniha) canal. Some nuns were also harrassed.

Umako's illness continues, and he makes another plea to be allowed seek healing through Bhuddist images. Bidatsu allows Umako, alone, to worship as he wishes, but not others. Umako rebuilds the temple for the nuns. Moriya and Katsumi plot its destruction, but Umako opposes them.

587 retributions

Bidatsu's successor Yōmei (r585-587), the 31st sovereign, Kinmei's son by one of Soga no Iname's daughters hence a nephew of Soga no Umako, embraced Buddhism. While this pleased Umako, his rivals Mononobe no Moriya and Nakatomi no Katsumi continued to strongly oppose the inclusion of alien gods in rites that had formerly been the province of domestic gods.

At this point, a number of Yōmei's ministers and some princes plotted Moriya's destruction. Both Moriya and Katsumi prepared to defend themselves, but in this first round only Katsumi was killed. (Nihon shoki 21, Yōmei 2 Summer 4-2, 587-5-16 [14], NHBT 68:158-159, Aston 2:109-110)

In the meantime Yō died, and his younger full-brother, thus also a grandson of Iname and cousin of nephew of Umako, succeeded him as Sushun (r587-592), the 32nd sovereign. Soga no Umako set out to destroy Mononobe no Moriya and vowed to build a temple with a pagoda. Moriya and his children and others were killed. The account in Nihon shoki discloses that Umako's wife was a younger sister of Moriya, and that his plot against Moriya was in accordance with her plan. (Nihon shoki 21, Yōmei 2 Autumn 7, 587-8-12 [10], NHBT 68:164-165, Aston 2:114-115)


The fall of the Soga

643 Iruka attacks Yamashiro and his family

In 643 -- during the reign of Kōgyoku (r642-645), who succeeded Jōmei, her father, as the 35th sovereign, and was also reigned as Saimei (r655-661), the 37th sovereign -- Emishi's son, Iruka, attacked Yamashiro and his family. According to the Nihon shoki, Yamashiro declined to fight, and "in the end [with a number of his younger] offspring and siblings, and princesses and consorts, at the same time strangled themselves and together died" (my translation, NS 24, Kōgyoku 2-1, NKBT 68:252-253, Aston 2:183).

645 Iruka and Emishi meet violent ends

In the summer of 645, fate caught up with Iruka, and by turn Emishi. Emishi, Iruka's father, had criticized his son's attack on Yamashiro but was powerless to stop the forces of retribution.

Iruka's enemies, including members of the Soga clan, and Prince Naka no Ōe (’†‘åŒZ Naka no Ohoe, Ooe), the future Tenchi (r661-672), conspired to assassinate him during an audience with Kōgyoku at which envoys of the "three Koreas" (ŽOŠØ mitsu no Kara) were to offer tribute. Cut down in front of the sovereign, Iruka begged her to examine the matter.

When asked what was going on, Naka no Ōe, who was Kōgyoku's son by Jōmei and thus a full-brother of Tenmu, told her that Iruka intended to destroy the heavenly ancestors [family] (“V@ kimitachi). The sovereign stood, retired to the inner court, and the wounded Iruka was killed.

Iruka's corpse was found under some sort of screen, such was the contempt shown by his killers. Someone attributed his death to the "Koreans" (ŠØl Karahito).

The body was delivered to Soga no Emishi. Both sides prepared to fight. Many commanders who had been close to Emishi, knowing he would be executed, saw no reason to die on account of his son, and put down their arms.

Emishi and others, about to be executed, attempted to burn some chronicles about the sovereign and the country, apparently in the process of setting their quarters and themselves on fire, but the records were rescued and given to Naka no Ōe. The court permitted the bodies of the father and son, Emishi and Iruka, to be buried in a common grave (•æ haka), and people were allowed to mourn.

One of Naka no Ōe's allies in the plot against Iruka and the elimination of Emishi was Soga no Kura no Yamada no Ishikawa no Maro (d649), a son of Emishi's brother, Soga no Omikuramaro. One of Kura no Yamada's daughters, as a consort of Naka no Ōe when he became Tenchi (r661-672), the 38th sovereign, was the mother of Genmei (r707-715), the 43rd sovereign, who succeeded her son Monmu (r683-707), the 42nd sovereign, whose father was Prince Kusakabei662-689), the oldest son of Tenmu (r673-686), the 40th sovereign, and Jitō (r690-697), who succeeded her husband as the 41st sovereign. Jitō was Tenchi's daughter by another consort, and a half-brother Kōbun (r672-672), who followed his father as the 39th sovereign.

See Puzzle of the past: Who is buried in Kusakabe's tomb? for an article on the archaelogical controversy over where Kusakabe was buried.

Thus ended the Soga hold on the Heavenly Family, but the threat of a Buddhist takeover still to come.


Soga family tree

Here is what the Soga family tree looks like in relation to sovereigns from Senka (r537-539) to Kanmu (r781-806).

See Fujiwara family tree for a similar diagram of the Fujiwara house in relation to sovereigns from Kanmu (r781-806) to Murakami (r946-967).

Soga influence from Kinmei to Kanmu

Part 1: Kinmei's Soga legacy

Part 2: Tenchi and Tenmu lines


^ descent
„  biological child
F adopted child
„Ÿ siblings
== marriage
Kudara descent

Part 1: Kinmei's Soga legacy

FŒ³“Vc [8]
r214-158 BC [legendary]
Takenouchi (Takeshiuchi) no Sukune
No dates
Soga no Karako
d465 [died serving Yamato in
Soga no Koma
No dates
‘h‰äˆî–Ú             Žè”’c— ================= Œp‘Ì“Vc [26] =======================  ”ö’£–ÚŽq•Q
Soga no Iname       Tashiraka no         „      Keitai                  „              Owari no Menoko Hime
c506-570            Hime Miko            „      r507-530                „              No dates
  „                  No dates             „                   „¡----------„¨---------------„¢
  „                                       „                ˆÀŠÕ“Vc [27]                é‰»“Vc [28]
  „  [ Mothers of Oane and Kitashihime    „                Ankan                       Senka
  „    are possibly different ]           „                r531-535                    r537-539
  „¥---------------„¦----------------------„ ------------------------------„¢              „ 
‘h‰ä”nŽq         ‘h‰ä¬ŽoŒN============= ‹Ô–¾“Vc [29] ================== ‘h‰äŒ˜‰–•Q       Î•P =========== ‹Ô–¾“Vc [29]
Soga no Umako   Oane no Kimi   „       Kinmei                 „         Kitashihime    Iwahime   „      Kinmei
c551-626        No dates       „       r539-571               „         No dates       No dates  „      r539-571
  „                    „¡--------„¨-------„¢                 „¡---„¨----------„¢                      „ 
  „                 ’s“Vc [32]     ŒŠ•ä•”ŠÔlc— ====== —p–¾“Vc [31]   „ŒÃ“Vc [33] ========= •q’B“Vc [30] ======== L•P
  „                 Sushun           Anahobe no      „   Yōmei          Suiko                  Bidatsu          „     Hirohime
  „                 r587-592         Hashihito no    „   r585-587       r593-628               r572-585         „     No dates
  „                   „               Himemiko        „                                                          „ 
  „                 Line ends        d622            „                  fŽè•Pc— ====================== ‰Ÿâ•Fl‘åŒZcŽq =========== >‘å–“‰¤
  „    Umako's                                       „                  Nukade Hime no   „                Oshisaka no Hikohito  „    Ōmata no Miko
  „¥„Ÿ daughter „Ÿ>  ‘h‰ä“Ž©ŒÃ˜Y— ================= ¹“¿‘¾Žq               Himemiko         „                no Ōe no miko         „    Š¿‰¤‚Ì–…
  „                 Tojiko no Iratsume    „       Shōtoku Taishi        d664             „                No dates              „    No dates
  „                 No dates              „       c574-622                               „                                      „ 
  „                                    ŽR”w‘åŒZ‰¤                                         „               ‹g”õ•P‰¤ =========== ŠŸÙ‰¤
  „                                    Yamashiro no Ōe                                  „                Kibi Hime    „      Chinu no Ōkimi
  „                                    d643@@@@@@@@@@@    @@@@@            @ „                d643         „      Nodates
  „    Umako's                                                                          „                    „¡--------„¨--------„¢
  „¥„Ÿ Daughter „Ÿ>  ‘h‰ä–@’ñ˜Y— ================================================== ˜®–¾“Vc [34] ========= c‹É“Vc [35]        F“¿“Vc [36]
  „                  Hohote no Iratsume   „                                       Jōmei [Tamura]    „     Kōgyoku r642-645    Kōtoku
  „                  No dates             „                                       r629-641          „     Ä–¾“Vc [37]        r645-654
  „                                     ŒÃl‘åŒZ                                                    „     Saimei r655-661
  „                                     Furuhito no Ōe                                     „¡-------„¨-------„¢
  „                                     d645                                            “V’q“Vc [38]     “V•“Vc [40]
  „                                                                                     Tenchi           Tenmu
  „  Four of Umako's children                                                           r661-672         r673-686
  „  including daughters shown above.
  „  Emishi's mother was Futo no Hime (‘¾•Q)                                       [ See "Tenchi and Tenmu lines" below ]
  „  a younger sister of Mononobe no Moriya
  „  Mothers of other offspring are unkown.
‘h‰ä‰ÚˆÎ       ‘h‰ä‘q–ƒ˜C       ‘h‰ä‰Íã–º              ‘h‰ä“Ž©ŒÃ˜Y—         ‘h‰ä–@’ñ˜Y—
Emishi        Kuramaro       Kawakami no Iratsume  Tojiko no Iratsume    Hotei no Iratsume
c586-645      No dates       c575-c618             No dates              No dates
  „              „             Consort of            Consort of            Consort of
‘h‰ä“üŽ­         „             Sushun [32]           Shōtoku Taishi        Jomei [34]
Soga no Iruka   „             [See above]           Mother of             Mother of
d645            „                                   Prince Yamashiro      Prince Furuhito
  „¡-------------„¨---------„¢                        [See above]           [See above]
‘h‰ä˜AŽq                ‘h‰ä‘qŽR“c
Soga no Murajiko        Kura no Yamada
c611-664                d649
  „             „¡----------„¨------------„¢
  „           ‘h‰ä–Öº                 ‘h‰ä‰“’q–º
  „           Mei no Iratsume         Ochi no Irametsu
  „           No dates                No dates
  „           Consort of Tenchi [38]  Consort of Tenchi [38]
  „           Mother of Genmei [43]   Mother of Jitō [41]
  „           [See below]             [See below]
Soga no Masako (Shōshi)
No dates

Soga influence continued, especially through
the issue from Masako's marriage with Fujiwara no Fuhito.

See Fujiwara family tree.

Part 2: Tenchi and Tenmu lines

“V’q“Vc [38]
  „  Tenchi had numerous children by many consorts.
  „  The five children shown below all had different mothers.
  „  The mothers of Jitō and Genmei were the daughters of
  „  Soga no Kura no Yamada by different mothers.
  „  See above for details of these alliances.
  „  Note that Jitō and Niitabe became consorts of Tenchi's own
  „  younger full-brother Tenmu, while Genmei became a consort of
  „  Kusakabe, a son of Jitō and Tenmu.
Žu‹McŽq         O•¶“Vc [39]    Ž““Vc [41]     Œ³–¾“Vc [43]       V“c•”c—
Shiki no Miko   Kōbun          Jitō          @  Genmei            Niitabe no Himemiko
c668-716        r672-672       r690-697          r707-715          d699
  „                „             Consort of        Consort of        Consort of
  „              Line ends      “V•“Vc [40]      Kusakabe          “V•“Vc [40]
  „                             Tenmu             and with him      Tenmu
  „    [ Fujiwara daughters     r673-686          mother of         r673-686
  „      become consorts ]      and with him      Jitō's and        and with him
  „                             mother of         her own           mother of
  „       “¡Œ´•s”ä“™             ‘•ÇcŽq ========== successors        ŽÉle‰¤
  „       Fujiwara no Fuhito    Kusakabe    „      Monmu [42] and    Toneri Shinnō
  „       659-720               662-689     „      Genshō [44]       676-735
  „     „¡----„¨----„¢               „¡---------„¨-------„¢               father of
  „     „      “¡Œ´‹{Žq ======== •¶•“Vc [42]       Œ³³“Vc [44]       ~m“Vc [47]
  „     „      Miyako     „      Monmu              Genshō            Junnin
  „     „      d754       „      r697-707           r715-724          r758-764
  „     „                 „ 
  „   “¡Œ´Œõ–¾Žq ======= ¹•“Vc [45]
  „   Kōmyōshi     „     Shōmu
  „   701-760      „     r724-749
  „                „ 
  „              FŒª“Vc [46] Kōken r749-758
  „              Ì“¿“Vc [48] Shōtoku r764-770
Œõm“Vc (”’•Ç‰¤) [49]
Konin (Shirakabe Ō)
Šº•“Vc [50]

See Fujiwara family tree.


Fujiwara fortunes



From Nakatomi to Fujiwara

The problem of domination by the Soga clan was solved by destroying its main branch. Someone, though, had to provide princes with consorts, as there were hardly enough first cousins and half-sisters to go around.

One of the most important consequences of the victory of anti-Soga forces in the middle of the 7th century was the enabling of the most loyal branch of the Nakatomi clan to replace the Soga clan as a source of consorts for princes of the blood. This came about as a result of awarding the dying patriarch of the branch with the family name Fujiwara.

Consequently, the mothers of many future sovereigns were Fujiwara daughters. And what sovereign could refuse to reward his or her maternal grandfather and uncles and cousins with titles and privileges of authority? Hence, at times, one or another branch of the Fujiwara house wielded as much if not more control over the country's affairs than had the Soga clan.


669 Nakatomi becomes Fujiwara

Another person who joined Naka no Ōe against Iruka and Emishi was Nakatomi no Kamatari (’†bŠ™‘« 614-669). Though called Nakatomi no Kamako (Š™Žq) in Nihon shoki descriptions of Iruka's assassination, he is not to be confused with Nakatomi no Muraji Kamako (’†b˜AŠ™‘«), though as a Nakatomi concerned with protecting Shinto interests, he would not have forgiven how Iruka's father and grandfather had treated his kin.

During the reign of Kōtoku, Nakatomi no Kamatari joined Naka no Ōe, Kōtoku's crown prince and regent, to initiate what are known as the Taika reforms. He also participated in the writing of a legal code that was to be the forerunner of the Taihō and later ritsuryō codes.

Kamatari continued to serve Naka no Ōe when the prince became Tenchi, and it was Tenchi who conferred the name Fujuwara on Kamatari's house as Kamatari was dying. Nakatomi no Kamatari thus became Fujiwara no Kamatari (“¡Œ´Š™‘«), the progenitor of the Fujiwara clan that figured in the marriage politics of the court for many centuries. (Nihon shoki 27, Tenchi 8-10-15, 669-11-16 [13], NKBT 68:372-373, Aston 2:291)


Tenchi and Tenmu lines

The line of Tenmu, who was Tenchi's younger brother, continued through his son Kusakabe, who died before he could reign but left a son who became Monmu (r683-707), the 42nd sovereign, and a daughter who became Genshō (r715-724), the 44th sovereign, who thus succeeded her mother, Genmei (r707-715), the 43rd sovereign.

Tenmu's line continued with Monmu's son Shōmu (r724-749), the 45th sovereign, and ended with Shōmu's daughter, who reigned as both Kōken (r749-758) and Shōtoku (r764-770), respectively the 46th and 48th sovereigns.

Resumption of Tenchi's line

Tenmu's line ended with Kōken / Shōtoku mainly because her embrace of Buddhism, through the monk Dōkyō, posed a threat for Shinto interests, which aligned behind the more supportive Tenchi line. Thus one of Tenchi's grandsons became Kōnin (r770-781), the 48th sovereign, and one of his sons became Kenmu (r781-806), the 50th sovereign, the predecessor of all later sovereigns, including Akihito, the present (125th) sovereign.

Kenmu, whose mother was clearly acknowledged in the Shoku Nihongi to have been a descendant of a Kudara (Paekche) prince, was essentially the father of the Heian period. He became the sovereign mainly through the influence of the branch of the Fujiwara clan from which his own mother had come when she became a consort of the future Kōnin.

The Fujiwara clan had gained influence in the same way that the Soga had, by arranging for its daughters to marry the princes that stood to become sovereigns.

While the shift from the Tenmu to the Tenchi lines was brought about by factionalism within the Fujiwara clan, of interest here is the fact that the Fujiwara clan was actually the Nakatomi clan with a new name.


Fujiwara regency

The Fujiwaras took the art of control through marriage a notch or two higher than the Sogas, through the creation of two regency positions, one sesshō (Û­), the other kanpaku (ŠÖ”’). Both positions are sometimes referred to as sekkan (ÛŠÖ)

Sesshō regency

Yamato had sometimes been ruled through regency, as when Shōtoku Taishi (c574-622) acted on behalf of Suiko (r593-628) for a number of years during the late 6th and early 7the centuries. He, though was a son of Yōmei (r585-587), hence a prince of the blood, while Suiko, as Yōmei's full-sister, was his aunt. Suiko, the first female sovereign (discounting the legendary Jingū), appears to have been given the position in order to settle a dispute between male contenders after her half-brother Sushun (r587-592) was assassinated. The succession struggle resurfaced when she died.

Regency through someone who was not a member of the sovereign's family by blood began in 858, when Fujiwara no Yoshifusa (804-872) ruled in lieu of Seiwa, who was only eight when made the sovereign. Seiwa's mother was Yoshifusa's daughter. This began a long period of fairly routine regency rule by maternal male relatives of sovereigns. The regency post was dominated by one or other branch of the Fujiwara house.


The position of kanpaku was created in 884 to permit Fujiwara no Mototsune (836-891) to oversee the government of Kōkō (r884-887), who was about 55 when made the sovereign. This began the practice of appointing even adult sovereigns for appearances sake while maintaining Fujiwara control.

Regency since the Tokugawa period

Both regency positions were abolished toward the end of 1867 in the process of making the sovereign, the future Meiji, a monarch. The term sessō was reintroduced in the 1889 Imperial House Law to provide for regency should a sovereign be a minor, or be too ill or incapacitated by an accident.

Hirohito's regency

Hirohito (Shōwa) had been acting as regent for five years when he succeeded his father, Yoshihito (Taiō), in 1926, when Yoshihito died. He assumed the post of regent in 1921 when Yoshihito was declared unfit to govern on account of what was apparently a mental illness.

Akihito's regency

The 1947 revision of the Imperial House Law, in effect today, continues to provide for regency in the event a sovereign is in the event a sovereign was considered too young or otherwise incapable of government. Akihito acted as regent in effect, though not by title, when he took his father's duties when Hirohito's condition became critical.


Fujiwara family tree

Here is what the Fujiwara family tree looks like in relation to sovereigns from Kanmu (r781-806) to Murakami (r946-967). The period immediately following Murakami is even more complex.

See Soga family tree for a similar diagram of the Soga clan in relation to sovereigns from Senka (r537-539) to Kanmu (r781-806).

Fujiwara influence from Kanmu to Murakami

The beginnings of regency


^ descent
„  biological child
F adopted child
„Ÿ siblings
== marriage
Kudara descent

The beginnings of regency

Nakatomi no Kamatari and Soga no Kura no Yamada                      ‘h‰ä”nŽq
(son of Kuramaro and brother of Murajiko) joined                     Soga no Umako
Prince Naka no Ōe, the future Tenchi [38], in the                    c551-626
overthrow of Soga no Iruka and Soga no Emishi.                         „ 
Nakatomi was awarded with the palace name Fujiwara.                  ‘h‰ä‘q–ƒ˜C
Two of Kura no Yamada's daughters became Tenchi's                    Soga no Kuramaro
consorts and mothers of Jito [41] and Genmai [43].                   d649
“¡Œ´Š™‘« [’†bŠ™‘«]                                                     ‘h‰ä˜AŽq
Fujiwara no Kamatari [Nakatomi no Kamatari]                          Soga no Murajiko
614-669                                                              c611-664
  „                                                                     „ 
“¡Œ´•s”ä“™ =========================================================== ‘h‰ä©Žq
Fuhito   [ Fuhito's four sons become progenitors of four branches ]  Soga no Masako (Shōshi)
659-720  [ Nanke (south), Hokke (north), Shikike, and Kyōke ]        No dates
  „¡------ Hokke branch -------„¨------ Shikike branch ------„¢
  „  [ Miyako and Kōmyōshi are daughters by other mothers ] „ 
  „        „     „                                            „ 
“¡Œ´–[‘O   „   “¡Œ´‹{Žq ==== •¶•“Vc [42]   Îì‘ ========= “¡Œ´‰F‡ ===== ‹v•ÄŽá—
Fusaki    „   Miyako    „   Monmu         ™÷‘品Ž©      „   Umakai   „     Kume no Wakame
681-737   „   d754      „   r697-707      Ishikawa no  „   694-737  „     d780
  „        „             „                 Kunimina no  „            „ 
  „     Œõ–¾Žq ==== ¹•“Vc [45]          Ōtoji        „            „ 
  „     Kōmyōshi„  Shōmu                               „            „ 
  „     701-760 „  r724-749                            „            „ 
  „             „                                      „            „ 
  „           FŒª“Vc Kōken r749-758 [46]             „            „ 
  „           Ì“¿“Vc Shōtoku r764-770 [48]           „            „ 
  „                                  „¡----------------„£           „¤---------------------„¢
“¡Œ´^| === •SÏ‰iŒp               “¡Œ´—ÇŒp       ‚–ìVŠ} ============== Œõm“Vc [49]   “¡Œ´•Sì
Matate    „  Kudara no Nagatsugu  Yoshitsugu    Takano no Niigasa  „   Kōnin           Momokawa
715-766   „  No dates             716-777       d790               „   r770-781        732-779
  „¡-------„£                         „                              „                     „ 
“¡Œ´“à–ƒ˜C                        “¡Œ´‰³–´˜R ===================== Šº•“Vc [50] ======= “¡Œ´—·Žq
Uchimaro                          Otomuro      „            „    Kanmu            „    Tabiko
756-812                           760-790      „            „    r781-806         „    759-788
  „                                             „            „                     „ 
“¡Œ´“~Žk                                   •½é“Vc [51]    µ‰ã“Vc [52]          ~˜a“Vc [53]
Fuyutsugu                                 Heizei         Saga                  Junna
775-826                                   r806-809       r809-823              r823-833
  „¥-----------„¦------------„¢                               „ 
“¡Œ´’·—Ç     “¡Œ´—Ç–[     “¡Œ´‡Žq ========================= m–¾“Vc [54]
Nagayoshi   Yoshifusa   Nobuko (Junshi)     „             Ninmyō
802-856     804-872     809-871             „             r833-850
  „   „¡--------„¨------„¢                      „               „ 
  „   F            “¡Œ´–¾Žq ============== •¶“¿“Vc [55]      „ 
  „   F            Akirakeiko (Meishi)„    Montoku          „ 
  „   F            829-900            „    r850-858         „ 
  „¥--F--------------„¢                „                     „ 
“¡Œ´ŠîŒo            “¡Œ´‚Žq ======= ´˜a“Vc [56]          ŒõF“Vc [58]
Mototsune          Takaiko    „     Seiwa                Kōkō
836-891            842-910    „     r858-876             r884-887
  „                            „                            „ 
  „                        —z¬“Vc [57]                  ‰F‘½“Vc [59]
  „                        Yōzei                         Uda
  „                        r876-884                      r887-897
  „¥------------------„Ÿ„¢                                   „ 
“¡Œ´’‰•½            “¡Œ´‰¸Žq ============================ ‘çŒí“Vc [60]
Tadahira           Yasuko (Onshi)  „              „      Daigo
880-949            d896            „              „      r897-930
  „                                 „              „ 
Continues                      Žé“Vc [61]   ‘ºã“Vc [62]
                               Suzaku         Murakami
                               r930-946       r946-967


Dramatis personae

This section contains some family trees and lists showing some of the persons who appear on the stage of early Japanese history, including legends, in this and other articles on this website.

Sovereigns are referred to by their posthumous names without their title, whether tennō (“Vc) or c@ (kōgō). The former means "heavenly sovereign" while the latter means "sovereign's mate". The former is commonly reduced to "emperor" or "empress" in English, while the latter is rendered "empress" meaning the principle consort or wife of a reigning male sovereign.


Family tree of mixed-blood gods

From Amaterasu to Jinmu

The miscegenation of heavenly and earthly gods


^ descent
„  biological child
F adopted child
„Ÿ siblings
== marriage
Heavenly gods
Earthly gods

The miscegenation of heavenly and earthly gods

Amaterasu Ohomikami
“V”E•äŽ¨‘¸                             ‘åŽR‹__
Ame no Oshihomimi no Mikoto           Ohoyamatsumi no Kami
  „                                    Earthly god of mountains
  „                                      „ 
“V’ÕF•F‰Îàùàù‹n‘¸===================== –؉ԔVŠJ–ë•P
(çŽçŽŒ|–½)                     „        (–؉ԔV²‹v–é”ù”„)
Ama-tsu-hiko Hikoho no        „        Ko no Hana no 
Ninigi no Mikoto              „        Sakuyahime 
(“V‘·~—Õ)                     „ 
Heavenly grandchild           „ 
descends and overlooks        „  
Third born                  Second born              First born  
‰Î‰“—–½                    ‰Î–¾–½                   ‰Î茍~–½
(•F‰Î‰ÎoŒ©‘¸)                Hoakari no Mikoto        Ho no Susori no Mikoto (NS)
Howori no Mikoto            ”ö’£Ž‚Ì‘c@@             Hosusori no Mikoto (K)
(Hikoho Hodemi no Mikoto)   Owari clan progenitor    ”¹l‚Ì‘c
  „                                                   Hayato progenitor
  „  Howori prevailed in rivalry with
  „  Hosusori, who finally yielded,           ŠCK•F
  „  pledged his allegiance,                  Umesachihiko
  „  and became Howori's guard.                  „ 
  „                                      „¡-------„¨------„¢
ALSO KNOWN AS                           „               „                        
  „                                   Older sister   Younger sister
ŽRK•F============================== –L‹Ê•P          ‹ÊˆË•P (–L‹Ê”ù”„)
Yamasachihiko           „             Toyotamahime   Tamayoribime
                        „                               „ 
  „¡---------------------„£                              „ 
  „  Ugaya Fukiaezu was abandoned by parents and        „ 
  „  raised by maternal aunt Tamayoribime,              „ 
  „  with whom he fathered several children,            „ 
  „  the fourth son of which became Jinmu.              „ 
  „                                                     „ 
•F”gàq•鸕鷀‘•˜•s‡‘¸ =================================== „£       
Hikonagisatake                          „ 
Ugayafukiaezu no Mikoto                 „ 
Fourth son
Kamuyamato Iwarebiko no Mikoto
Iwarehiko Hohodemi no Mikoto
_•“Vc [1]
Jinmu tennō
r660-585 BC



In the following list, the reinging heads of Japan's sun-line clan are referred to by their posthumous names without their title, whether tennō (“Vc) or kōgō (c@). The former means "heavenly sovereign" while the latter means "sovereign's mate".

Tennō is commonly reduced to "emperor" or "empress" in English, while kōgō, which generally means the principle consort or wife of a reigning male sovereign, is usually rendered "empress". Today Japan's tennō is neither a sovereign nor an emperor, but merely a symbol of the nation and ceremonial head of state.

The following list begins with what I call the six legendary "proto sovereigns" and continues with legendary and historical sovereigns, quasi sovereigns, and would-be sovereigns.

Legendary proto sovereigns

The proto sovereigns, beginning with Amaterasu, are the gods who preceded the legendary and historical dynasty of sovereigns. The last of the proto sovereigns, Amaterasu's great-great-great grandson, thus also heads the list of legendary sovereigns as Jinmu.

01. Amaterasu Ohomikami “VÆ‘å_

The sun god, a heavenly god. Apparently a woman.

First generation sun line.

02. Ame no Oshihomimi no Mikoto “V”E•äŽ¨‘¸

Second generation sun line.

Amaterasu's son. Commanded by her to descend to earth and establish a government. The mandate was then passed to his son.

03. Ama-tsu-hiko Hikoho no “V’ÕF•F‰Îàùàù‹n‘¸

Third generation sun line.

Amaterasu's grandson. Better known as Ninigi no Mikoto (çŽçŽŒ|–½).

The "heavenly handson" (“V‘· ama-mi-ma) Ninigi descended to the peak of Mt. Takachiho and built a palace. Historians call the descent "Tenson kōrin" (“V‘·~—Õ), meaning "Heavenly grandchild descends to and overlooks [the lands on earth]".

From Takachiho he journeyed through a barren land until he reached Kasasa, which had good places to settle. There he met and married Ko no Hana no Sakuyahime (–؉ԔV²‹v–é”ùæÌ in Kojiki, –؉ԔVŠJ–ë•P in Nihon shoki). The daughter of Ohoyamatsumi no Kami (‘åŽR‹__), the mountain god and as such an earthly god.

Sakuyahime -- also known as "Ata-tsu-hime" or "princess of Ata" after the name of a place or tribe called Ata -- bore Ninigi three sons, who were thus half-heavenly and half-earthly by descent.

04. Howori no Mikoto ‰Î‰“—–½

Fourth generation sun line.

1/2 heavenly god, 1/2 earthly god (= 1/2 mountain god [Hayato]).

Also known as Hikoho Hodemi no Mikoto (•F‰Î‰ÎoŒ©‘¸) among other names. The third born according to the Kojiji account, he prevailed in an intense rivalry with the first born Hosusori no Mikoto (‰Î茍~–½). In the end, Hosusori, the progenitor of the Hayato, who were native to the Ata region, pledged his loyalty to Howori and became his guard.

Howori, now called Yamasachihiko (ŽRK•F), a name which reflected his partial descent from the mountain god, married Toyotamahime (–L‹Ê”ù”„, –L‹Ê•P), a daughter of Umesachihiko (ŠCK•F), the sea god, hence also an earthly deity, who bore him a son and heir.

05. Hikonagisatake Ugayafukiaezu no Mikoto •F”gàq•鸕鷀‘•˜•s‡‘¸

Fifth generation of sun line.

1/4 heavenly god, 3/4 earthly god (= 1/4 mountain god [Hayato], 1/2 sea god).

Ugaya Fukiaezu, abandoned by his parents, was raised by his mother's younger sister Tamayoribime (‹ÊˆË•P). His adoptive-mother cum maternal-aunt later became his wife.

06. Kamuyamato Iwarebiko no Mikoto _“ú–{”Ö—]•F‘¸

Sixth generation sun line.

1/8 heavenly god, 7/8 earthly god (= 1/8 mountain god [Hayato], 6/8 sea god).

Fourth son of Yamasachihiko and Tamayoribime. Known also as Iwarehiko Hohodemi no Mikoto (”Ö—]•F‰Î‰ÎoŒ©‘¸), among other names, he embarked from Takachiho on a journey of conquest to the east that ended with the establishment of the Yamato dynasty in present-day Nara prefecture. As its first sovereign, he was later known as Jinmu.

Legendary sovereigns

The dates of the legendary sovereigns are according to Nihon shoki. They are neither verifiable nor likely.

1. Jinmu _•“Vc 711-585 BC, r660-585 BC

Jinmu, the first of the legendary sovereigns, was the fourth son of a daughter of the sea god and a father who, by descent, was one-fourth sun god, one-fourth mountain god, and one-half sea god. The first sovereign of the Yamato dynasty was therefore three-fourths sea god, and only one-eighth heavenly god and one-eighth mountain god.

Like all sovereigns, Jinmu had a number of Yamatoesque names, some of them very long. Among these names, he is best known as Kamuyamato Iwarebiko no Mikoto (_“ú–{”Ö—]•F‘¸) and Iwarehiko Hohodemi no Mikoto (”Ö—]•F‰Î‰ÎoŒ©‘¸).

The Sino-Japanese names of the earliest sovereigns, including Jinmu, did not come into being until their legends were recorded in Chinese style, at which time they were assigned Chinese-style reign names.

2. Suizei ãV–õ“Vc 632-549 BC, r581-549 BC

3. Annei ˆÀ”J“Vc 577-510 BC, r549-510 BC

4. Itoku œò“¿“Vc 553-477 BC, r510-477 BC

5. Kōshō Fº“Vc 506-393 BC, r475-393 BC

6. Kōan FˆÀ“Vc 427-291 BC, r392-291 BC

7. Kōrei F—ì“Vc 342-215 BC, r290-215 BC

8. Kōgen FŒ³“Vc 273-158 BC, r214-158 BC

9. Kaika ŠJ‰»“Vc 208-98 BC, r158-98 BC

Legendary semi-historical sovereigns

The following sovereings, while legendary, are "semi-historical" in the sense that their stories begin to make more sense in the context of East Asian history.

10. Sujin ’_“Vc 148-29 BC, r97-29 BC

11. Suinin ‚m“Vc 69 BC - AD 70, r29 BC - AD 70

12. Keikō Œis“Vc 13 BC - AD 130, r71-130

13. Seimu ¬–±“Vc 84-190, r131-190

14. Chūai ’‡ˆ£“Vc d200, r192-200

Died in 362 according to Kojiki.

The father of Ōjin according to received accounts.

14. / 15. Jingū _Œ÷c@ 170-269

Called a "sovereign's follower" (c@ kōgō) rather than "heavenly sovereign" (“Vc tennō) in the Kojiki and Nihon shoki. The term @ (kō, go, kisaki) was often used to denote the principle wife of a male sovereign, and as such the mother of the successor, usually male sovereign. Here it denotes Jingū's status both as Chūai wife and as Ōjin's mother.

Jingū is best described as a quasi sovereign, in that received accounts treat her like a sovereign. Her dates, shown here according to Nihon shoki, are not verifiable. She is described as the wife of Chūai and the mother of Ōjin, but the tales of her feats of conquest, while carrying the future Ōjin in her womb and acting as the deceased Chūai's successor, do not inspire confidence in their historical veracity. She would appear to have been around 100 when she died, apparently still the sovereign.

Yamato period sovereigns

15. Ōjin FŒ³“Vc 201-310, r270-310

A legendary sovereign whose dates, shown here according to Nihon shoki, are not verifiable. He died in 394 according to Kojiki. The son of Chūai and Jingū and the father of Nintoku, according to the received accounts, and about 70 when he began to reign and 110 when he died.

16. Nintoku m“¿“Vc 257-399, r313-399

Another legendary sovereign whose dates, shown here according to Nihon shoki, are not verifiable. He died in 427 according to Kojiki.

Nintoku's tomb

If the Imperial Household Agency's official tomb assignment is correct, Nintoku was buried in the "Mausoleum in the Middle of Mozunomimihara" (•Sã’¹Ž¨Œ´’†—Ë Mozunomimihara no naka no misasagi), otherwise known as Daisen tomb (‘åå—Ë Daisen ryō) or Nintoku tumulus (m“¿ŒÃ•­ Nintoku kofun) among several other appelations. The burial mound is located in Sakai in present-day Osaka. At 486 meters in length and 35 meters in height, it is the largest burial mound in Japan and one of the largest in the world. While not a few archaeologists dispute the official assignment, there is no denial that the tomb was built as the place of eternal rest of a rather important and powerful person. A replica of the tomb can be seen in the garden of the grounds of Yosha Bunko in Chiba prefecture.

17. Richū —š’†“Vc c336-405, r400-405

18. Hanzei ”½³“Vc c336-410, r406-410

19. Ingyō ˆò‹±“Vc c376-453, r412-453

20. Ankō ˆÀN“Vc c401-456, r454-456

21. Yūryaku —Y—ª“Vc 418-479, r456-479

22. Seinei ´”J“Vc c444-484, 480-484

23. Kenzō Œ°@“Vc 450-487, r485-487

24. Ninken mŒ«“Vc 449-498, r488-498

25. Buretsu •—ó“Vc 489-507, r498-507

26. Keitai Œp‘Ì“Vc c450-531, r507-531

27. Ankan ˆÀŠÕ“Vc 466-536, r531-535

Asuka (538-694) [especially 592-645, mostly Askuka no Miya]

During this period, the Yamato court frequently moved, but was most often located at one or another palace in the vicinity of Asuka. Kinmei appears to be the first sovereign whose dates are confirmed by non-Yamato sources.

28. Senka é‰»“Vc 467-539, r537-539

A half-brother of his successor Kinmei. Soga no Iname became an Ōmi during his Senka's reign.

29. Kinmei ‹Ô–¾“Vc 509-571, r539-571

Among the historical sovereigns, Kinmei's reign was the third longest, following Hirohito (Shōwa, r1926-1989) and Mutsuhito (Meiji, r1868-1912), the 124th and 122nd sovereigns.

Kinmei was the reigning sovereign in 552 when Kudara (Paekche) is said to have introduced Buddhism to Yamato, and in 562 when Yamato is said to have lost Mimana (Imna) to Shiragi (Silla). He was also pivotal in the ascendancy of the Saga clan, as among the four future sovereigns he fathered, three -- Yōmei, Sushun, and Suiko -- were born to two daughters of Soga no Umako (Soga no Kitashihime and Soga no Oane no Kimi).

30. Bidatsu •q’B“Vc c538-585, r572-585

Son of Kinmei by daughter of his half-brother Senka.

31. Yōmei —p–¾“Vc d587, r585-587

Grandson of Soga no Iname and nephew of Soga no Umako, through his mother Soga no Kitashihime, Iname's daughter and Umako's sister. Full-brother of Suiko, half-brother of Sushun and Bidatsu.

Father of Shōtoku Taishi according to received chronicles.

Shōtoku Taishi ¹“¿‘¾Žq c574-622
Yōmei's son and Suiko's regent. Father of Prince Yamashiro.

Yamashiro no Ōe ŽR”w‘åŒZ‰¤ (Ohoe, Ooe) d643
Son of Shōtoku Taishi and Tojiko no Iratsume, a daughter of Soga no Umako.

32. Sushun ’s“Vc d592, r587-592

Grandson of Soga no Iname and nephew of Soga no Umako, through his mother Oane no Kimi, Iname's daughter and Umako's sister. Half-brother of Yōmei, Suiko, and Bidatsu.

33. Suiko „ŒÃ“Vc 554-628, r593-628

Granddaughter of Soga no Iname and neice of Soga no Umako, through her mother Soga no Kitashihime, Iname's daughter and Umako's sister. Full-brother of Yōmei, half-brother of Sushun and Bidatsu, and consort of Bidatsu.

The first woman in conventional reckoning (not including Jingū) to be a sovereign (“Vc tennō).

As Kinmei's daughter she was called Princess Nukatabe (Šz“c•”c— Nukatabe no Himemiko). As such she became a consort of her half-brother, the future Bidatsu. Later she became Bidatsu's principle wife and succeeded their half-brother Sushun.

Much of Suiko's reign was under the regency of her nephew, Shōtoku Taishi, the son of her full-brother Yōmei and their half-sister Princess Anahobe no Hashihito (ŒŠ•ä•”ŠÔlc— Anahobe no Hashihito no Himemiko), a daughter of Kinmei and Soga no Oane no Kimi.

34. Jomei ˜®–¾“Vc c593-641, r629-641

Also known as Prince Tamura, a grandson of Bidatsu. He was the father of both Tenchi and Tenmu, who were full-brothers as the children of his principle wife and successor Kōgyoku (Saimei).

35. Kōgyoku c‹É“Vc 594-661, r642-645

Bidatsu's granddaughter. Full-brother of Kōtoku. Jomei's consort. Mother of both Tenchi and Tenmu.

Reigned again as Saimei, r655-661, which see.

The second woman in conventional reckoning (not including Jingū) to be a sovereign (“Vc tennō).

36. Kōtoku F“¿“Vc 596-654, r645-654

Bidatsu's grandson. Full-brother of Kōgyoku (Saimei).

37. Saimei Ä–¾“Vc 594-661, r655-661

Previously reigned as Kōgyoku, r642-645, which see.

38. Tenchi “V’q“Vc 626-672, r661-672

First Tenchi-line sovereign

Son of Jomei and Kōgyoku (Saimei).

39. Kōbun O•¶“Vc 648-672, r672-672

Second Tenchi-line sovereign

Tenchi's son.

Kōbun was not recognized as a reigning sovereign, and given this posthumous reign name, until the Meiji period.

Nihon shoki calls him Prince Ōtomo (‘å—FcŽq Ohotomo no Miko), and recognizes him as Tenchi's heir apparent, but describes the succession as proceeding from Tenchi to Tenmu. The Tenmu chapter also describes a long, complex succession war that resulted in Ōtomo's death -- which can be reduced to these two acdtions (my translations, Nihon shoki 28, Tenmu 1-7-23/26, 672-8-24/27 [21/24], NKBT 68:400-401/406-407, Aston 2:315/319).

Prince Ōtomo's last stand

[Ōtomo and his allies are attacked]. Whereupon [Crown] Prince Ōtomo runs [but] there is no place to enter [take refuge]. So [he] returns and hides at Yamasaki, and of his own accord [as a matter of course] strangles [himself].


[Three days later] the generals and others head to the Fuha palace, and accordingly hold up [Crown] Prince Ōtomo's head, and present it before [the sovereign's temporary] residence.


Kōbun was not officially included in the succession of sovereigns until 1870, when he was given the posthumous reign name Kōbun. The Nihon shoki was written at a time , such have been the politics of recognition.

40. Tenmu “V•“Vc c631-686, r673-686

First Tenmu-line sovereign

Tenchi's younger full-brother, as both were sons of Jomei and Kōgyoku (Saimei).

This begins a drift away from Tenchi's line.
The drift continues for nearly a century.

Fujiwara (694-710) [Fujiwarakyō]

41. Jitō Ž““Vc 645-703, r690-697

Third Tenchi-line sovereign

Tenchi's daughter by a daughter of Soga no Kura no Yamada. However, she was also Tenmu's wife and successor, and the mother of Prince Kusakabe, who would have succeeded Tenmu had he lived.

The third woman in conventional reckoning (not including Jingū) to be a sovereign (“Vc tennō).

42. Monmu •¶•“Vc 683-707, r697-707

Second Tenmu-line sovereign

Tenmu's grandson through Prince Kusakabe and Genmei, hence also Tenchi's grandson, since Genmei was Tenchi's daughter. Full-brother of Genshō.

Nara (710-784) [mostly Heijōkyō]

43. Genmei Œ³–¾“Vc 661-721, r707-715

Fourth Tenchi-line sovereign

Tenchi's daughter, Jito's half-sister. However, she succeeded Monmu as his mother if not also as Prince Kusakabe's wife.

The fourth woman in conventional reckoning (not including Jingū) to be a sovereign (“Vc tennō). Succeeded by her daughter Genshō.

44. Genshō Œ³³“Vc 680-748, r715-724

Third Tenmu-line sovereign

Tenmu's granddaughter through Prince Kusakabe and Genmei, thus Monmu's full-sister. However, she was also Tenchi's granddaughter, since Genmei was Tenchi's daughter.

The fifth woman in conventional reckoning (not including Jingū) to be a sovereign (“Vc tennō). Succeeded her mother Genmei.

45. Shōmu ¹•“Vc 701-756, r724-749

Fourth Tenmu-line sovereign

Monmu's son, Tenmu's great-grandson.

46. Kōken (FŒª“Vc) 718-770, r749-758

Fifth Tenmu-line sovereign

Monmu's granddaughter, Tenmu's great-great-granddaughter.

Reigned again as Shōtoku, r764-770, which see.

The sixth woman (not including Jingū) to be a sovereign (“Vc tennō).

47. Junnin ~m“Vc 733-765, r758-764

Sixth Tenmu-line sovereign

Tenmu's grandson through Prince Toneri (ŽÉle‰¤ Toneri Shinnō 676-735), a younger half-brother of Prince Kusakabe.

48. Shōtoku Ì“¿“Vc 718-770, r764-770

Seventh and last Tenmu-line sovereign

Previously reigned as Kōken, r749-758, which see.

Shōtoku is the last woman to be a sovereign (“Vc tennō) until Meishō (1624-1696, r1629-1643) and Go-Sakuramachi (1740-1813, r1762-1771), the 109th and 117th sovereigns. Female sovereigns were in effect banned from the appointment of Kanmu in 781. The ban is linked with Shōtoku's possibly romantic collusion with the Buddhist monk Dōkyō (“¹‹¾ c700-772) in 769 to make him her successor.

49. Kōnin Œõm“Vc 709-782, r770-781

Fifth Tenchi-line sovereign

This marks the return to Tenchi-line sovereigns
after half a century of Tenmu-line sovereigns.

Tenchi's grandson through Prince Shiki (Žu‹McŽq Shiki no miko, c668-716).

Father of Prince Yamabe, who became Kanmu, by a consort now known as Takano no Niigasa (see box).

Kōnin's first crown prince was Osabe no Shinnō (‘¼ŒËe‰¤ c751-775), his son by Inoe Naishinnō (ˆäã“àe‰¤ 717-775) [Inohe, Inoue, Inokami, Ikami, Igami], a daughter of Shōmu and granddaughter of Tenmu. Not until after Osabe had lost his status, when his mother was charged with committing an offense against Kōnin, was his younger half-brother Yamabe, whose mother traced part of her ancestry to a Kudara (Paekche) king, made the crown prince.

Takano no Niigasa

Takano no Niigasa ‚–ìVŠ} d790

Posthumously known as Takano no Asomi Niigasa (‚–ì’©bVŠ}). Initially one of Kōnin's consorts (‘¤¨ sobameshi). Later, as birth mother of Prince Yamabe, she became a grand consort (‘å•vl daifunin). Her second son was Prince Sawara.

Niigasa was the daughter of Yamato no Fubito Ototsugu and Ooeda no Ason Maimo.

Chronology of Takano no Niigasa's life
000  Born
     Father was Yamato no Fubito Ototsugu
      (Yamato no Fubito was clan of Kudara descent)
     Mother was Hanishi no Sukune no Maimo
      (later Ooeda no Ason) Maimo
000  Becomes consort of prince Shirakabe (later Konin)
733  Gives birth to princess Noto.
737  Tenpyo 9 Gives birth to prince Yamabe (later Kanmu)
750? Gives birth to prince Sawara
770  Prince Shirakabe becomes sovereign (Konin)
     Title Yamato no Fuhito changed to Takano no Asomi
773  Prince Yamabe becomes crown prince (Taishi)
778  Officially becomes wife of sovereign (Konin)
     As such she is called Takano Fujin 
     Takano no Asomi of Junior Forth Rank
     becomes Junior Third Rank (Hoki 9-1-29)
781  Konin abdicates (Ten'ō 1-4-3) (781-5-4 [4-30])
     Prince Yamabe becomes sovereign (Kanmu) (Ten'ō 1-4-15)
     and at same time Takano Fujin becomes Kotai Fujin
       (former sovereign's wife)
782  Konin dies (Ten'ō 1-12-23) (782-1-15 [11])
     Takano now Kotaigo
       (deceased sovereign's widow, dowager)
789  Dies (Enryaku 8-12-28)
790  Given condolences and send-off name (Enryaku 9-1-14)
     Called Amataka Shiru Hi no Hime no Mikoto
790  Buried at Ooe no Sanryo (Enryaku 9-1-15)
     Posthumous name Takano no Asomi Niigasa
     Said in obituary to be descendent of
     Prince Sunta, son of Paekche King Munyong

Yamato no Fubito Ototsugu ˜aŽj‰³Œp

Niigasa's father. A lineal descendant of the Kudara prince Junda.

Ōeda no Ason Maimo ‘åŽ}’©b^–…

Niigasa's mother. The name would seem to mean that she was a "true younger sister" of the Ōeda no Ason or "Chief of Ōeda" -- Ōeda (Ooeda) being a clan name or place name (as of the tomb where Niigasa was buried), and Ason being the second highest hereditary title.

Ōeda no Ason Maimo was also known as Hanishi no Sukune no Maimo (“yŽth”H^–…), or the sister of the Hanishi clansman who held the title of Sukune, the third highest kabane under the Tenmu scheme. In other words, Hanishi no Sukune was elevated to ഄeda no Ason. The Hanishi (Haji) clan may also have been of continental origin.

Nagaoka (784-794) [Nagaokakō]
Kyoto (794-1180, 1180-1868) [Heiankō]

50. Kanmu Šº•“Vc c737/739-806, r781-806

Yamabe no Shinnō (ŽR•”e‰¤). Also known as Yamato Neko Suberagi Takarateru no Mikoto.

Son of Kōnin and Takano no Niigasa. Father of the sovereigns Heizei, Saga, and Junna, and of Prince Iyo, among many other offspring.

Became crown prince in 773, replacing Prince Tado, replaced as such because of his mother's crimes, which effectively ended Tenmu line.

When Yamabe become the sovereign later known as Kanmu, Prince Sawara, his younger brother by the same mother, became his crown prince. Sawara later lost both his status and his life when he was accused of assassinating Fujiwara no Tanetsugu and exhiled.

Sawara no Shinnō ‘—ǐe‰¤ c750-785
Younger brother of Kanmu and his crown prince, until he was implicated in the assassination of Fujiwara no Tanetsugu and exhiled to the insular province of Awaji. He apparently fasted in protest of his innocence and died in Kawachi province on his way to Awaji.

Iyo Shinnō ˆÉ—\e‰¤ d807
Son of Kanmu and Fujiwara no Yoshiko (Kisshi), a daughter of Fujiwara no Korekimi (southern branch of Fujiwara). He and his mother were charged, apparently falsely by a member of the northern branch, of plotting to overthrow Heizei, his half-brother. Confined to a temple, they fasted then killed themselves. His descendants were sent to remote provinces. A number of years later, the court restored Iyo and his descendants, and Yoshiko, to places of honor.

Manda Shinnō –œ‘½e‰¤ 788-830
Son of Kanmu. A compiler, with Fujiwara no Sonohito (“¡Œ´‰€l) and others, of Shinsen Shōjiroku, completed in 815.

51. Heizei •½é“Vc 774-824, r806-809

Son of Kanmu and Fujiwara no Otomuro (“¡Œ´‰³–´˜R), a daughter of Fujiwara no Yoshitsugu, a brother of Fujiwara no Momokawa.

52. Saga µ‰ã“Vc 786-842, r809-823

Son of Kanmu and Fujiwara no Otomuro (“¡Œ´‰³–´˜R), a daughter of Fujiwara no Yoshitsugu, who was a brother of Fujiwara no Momokawa.

53. Junna ~˜a“Vc 786-849, r823-833

Son of Kanmu and Fujiwara no Tabiko (“¡Œ´—·Žq), eldest daughter of Fujiwara no Momokawa.

54. Ninmyō m–¾“Vc 810-850, r833-850

Son of Saga and Tachibana no Kachiko (‹k‰Ã’qŽq).


Mononobe clan

Mononobe no Okoshi •¨•””ö—` (Wokoshi) dates unknown

An ōmuraji (‘å˜A ohomuraji, oomuraji) under both Kinmei and Bidatsu. Along with Nakatomi no Kamako, advised both sovereigns not to accept Buddhism. Destroyed temples and images, harrassed nuns, and otherwise plotted against the destruction of Buddhist interests.

Mononobe no Moriya •¨•”Žç‰® d587

Okoshi's son and, like his father, an Ōmuraji. Under Yōmei, though, his opposition of Buddhism encountered considerable resistance, and as a result he lost his life -- or killed himself -- when attacked by pro-Buddhist forces led by Soga no Umako.

See 587 retributions for further details.


Nakatomi clan

Nakatomi no Kamako ’†bŠ™Žq dates unknown

A muraji (˜A) under Kinmei and Bidatsu. Joined Mononobe no Okoshi in advising both sovereigns not to permit Buddhism, and participated in plots to destroy Buddhist interests.

Nakatomi no Katsumi ’†bŸŠC d587

Possibly Kamako's son. Joined Mononobe no Moriya in opposing the introduction and spread of Buddhism during reign of Yōmei. Lost his life -- killed himself -- in confrontation in 587.

See 587 retributions for further details.

Nakatomi no Kamatari ’†bŠ™‘« 614-669

Joined Prince Naka no Ōe, later Tenchi, in the assassination of Soga no Iruka and other actions against the Soga clan. Became Fujiwara no Kamatari on his deathbed, a reward from Tenchi for a lifetime of loyalty and service.

See 669 Nakatomi becomes Fujiwara for further details.


Soga clan

The Soga clan traced its ancestry from Kōgen, the 8th sovereign according to received accounts, through Takenouchi (Takeshiuchi) no Sukune (•“àh”H), who appears in a number of legends in the Kojiki (712) and Nihon shoki. The bigger than life Takenouchi served five-and-half sovereigns from Keikō to Nintoku, including Chūai, the 14th sovereign, and son Ōjin, once the 16th sovereign, now the 15th.

Between Chūai and Ōjin came the once 15th, now the uncounted quasi-sovereign Jingū, who was Chūai's consort and Ōjin's mother. Takenouchi is said to have accompanied her when, after Chūai's unexpected death around the year 200, while acting as the regent of their unborn son, she personally led an invasion of Korea, while carrying the future Ōjin -- according to received chronicles.

Only the gods know how much any of this is true. Historians and other lime gods agree only that there are lots of problems with the earliest chapters of Japanese history.

Takenouchi is supposed to have been the first person to hold the rank of Ōmi (‘åb Ohomi, Oomi < Ohoomi, Ooomi, ). The last three were Soga no Iname, his son Umako, and his grandson Emishi, all of whom figure in the rise and fall of the Soga clan at the height of its glory during the late 6th and early 7th centuries.

Emishi was the last to hold the ōmi (ohomi, oomi) rank as such. Under the ritsuryō system that was introduced after his death, the position, and hence the power invested in the position, was divided between Minister of the Left (¶‘åb sadaijin) and Minister of the Right (‰E‘åb udaijin).

Soga no Karako ‘h‰äŠØŽq d465

Son of Soga no Michi (‘h‰ä–ž’q), father of Soga no Koma.

In 465, according to the Nihon shoki, Yamato sent military forces to the Korean peninsula to chastise Shiragi (Silla). One of the Yamato commanders, Soga no Karako no Sukune (‘h‰äŠØŽqh”H), was killed by a rival Yamato commander in a falling out (Nihon shoki 14, Yūryaku 9-3, 9 Summer 5, NKBT 67:480-483, Aston 1:353-355).

Soga no Koma ‘h‰ä‚—í dates unknown

Son of Karako, father of Iname.

Soga no Iname ‘h‰äˆî–Ú c506-570

Son of Koma, father of Umako.

A grandfather of Yōmei, Sushun, and Suiko, through two daughters who became consorts of Kinmei.

Father of Soga no Kitashihime (‘h‰äŒ˜‰–•Q dates unknown). Consort of Kinmei. Mother of both Yōmei (r585-587), the 31st sovereign, and Suiko (r593-628), the 33rd sovereign.

Also father of Soga no Oane no Kimi (‘h‰ä¬ŽoŒN dates unknown). Also a consort of Kinmei. Mother of Sushun (r587-592), the 32nd sovereign.

Soga no Umako ‘h‰ä”nŽq c551-626

Son of Iname, father of Emishi.

Uncle of Yōmei, who was Shōtoku Taishi's father, and of Sushun and Suiko. Through one daughter a father-in-law of Shōtoku Taishi and thus a grandfather of Prince Yamashiro. Through another daughter a father-in-law of Sushun. And through yet another daughter a father-in-law of Jō and therefore a grandfather of both Tenchi and Tenmu.

Father of Tojiko no Iratsume (“Ž©ŒÃ˜Y—), a consort of Shōtoku Taishi, and as such the mother of Prince Yamashiro.

Also father of Hōtei no Iratsume (–@’ñ˜Y—), a consort of Prince Tamura, who became Jomei (r629-641), the 34th sovereign, and through him the mother of Furuhito no Ōe (ŒÃl‘åŒZ Ohoe, Ooe d645), who was therefore a half-brother of Tenchi and Tenmu, Jomei's sons by Kōgyoku (Saimei), the 35th and 37th sovereigns.

Also father of Kawakami no Iratsume (‰Íã–º c575-618), a consort of Sushun (r587-592), the 32nd sovereign. Kawakami no Iratsume is sometimes identified with Tojiko no Iratsume, as Shōtoku Taishi's consort and Yamashiro's mother, though apparently they were different women and sisters.

Soga no Emishi ‘h‰ä‰ÚˆÎ c586-645

Son of Umako, father of Iruka.

Soga no Iruka ‘h‰ä“üŽ­ d645

Son of Emishi.

Soga no Kura no Yamada ‘h‰ä‘qŽR“c d649

Son of Emishi's brother, Soga no Kuramaro (‘h‰ä‘q–ƒ˜C).

Father of Mei no Iratsume (–Öº), who became a consort of Tenchi (r661-672), the 38th sovereign, and as such the mother of Genmei (r707-715), the 43rd sovereign, and therefore a grandmother of both Monmu (r697-707) and Genshō (r715-724), the 42nd and 44th sovereigns, who were Genmei's son and daughter by Prince Kusakabe.

Kura no Yamada joined Prince Naka no Ōe, the future Tenchi, against his cousin Iruka and uncle Emishi.


Fujiwara house

Fujiwara no Tsugutada “¡Œ´Œp“ê 727-796

A Great Minister of the Right (Udaijin) under Kanmu. One of his wives was Kudara no Konikishi Myōshin (•SÏ‰¤–¾M d815), a daughter of Kudara no Konikishi Rihaku (•SÏ‰¤—”Œ) and granddaughter of Kudara no Konikishi Keifuku (•SÏ‰¤Œh•Ÿ 697-766). Myōshin also outlived her son, Fujiwara no Takatoshi (“¡Œ´‰³‰b 761-808). [Called "Fujiwara Tsuginawa" in Reischauer 1967.]

One of the compilers of Shoku Nihongi (‘±“ú–{‹I), completed in 797 during Kanmu's reign as the 2nd of the so-called "national histories".

Fujiwara no Yoshitsugu “¡Œ´—ÇŒp 716-777

Half-brother of Momokawa and Kiyonari.

Father of Fujiwara no Otomuro (“¡Œ´‰³–´˜R 760-790), who as a consort of Kanmu was the mother of both Heizei and Saga.

Fujiwara no Momokawa “¡Œ´•Sì 732-779

Half-brother of Yoshitsugu and Kiyonari.

An imperial advisor (sangi) with strong ties to aristocrats of Kudara descent.

His daughter, Fujiwara no Tabiko (“¡Œ´—·Žq 759-788), became a consort of Kanmu, and as such the mother of Junna.

Fujiwara no Tanetsugu “¡Œ´ŽíŒp 737-785

Tanetsugu's father was Fujiwara no Kiyonari (“¡Œ´´¬ dates unknown), who was a half brother of Yoshitsugu and Momokawa. His mother was a daughter of Hata no Imiki Chōgen, who had migrated to Yamato from the peninsula.

Tanetsugu was responsible for building the Nagaoka capital, with the help of Hata clansmen. In 785 he was assassinated, and Kanmu's younger brother cum crown prince Sawara was one of several people were implicated.

Fujiwara no Kusuko “¡Œ´–òŽq d810

Daughter of Fujiwara no Tanetsugu. Her older daughter became a consort of Prince Ate (ˆÀ“ae‰¤), Kanmu's first son and the future Heizei. Kusuko also became Ate's lover and consort, which complicated his life a bit.

Kusuko and her brother, Fujiwara no Nakanari (“¡Œ´’‡¬ 774-810), were defeated in an attempt to restore Heizei to power after illness (and perhaps other factors) forced him to abdicate in 809. She poisoned herself. Nakanari, who commanded the troops, was executed. Heizei became a monk.

Fujiwara no Sonohito “¡Œ´‰€l 756-819

A compiler, with Manda Shinnō (–œ‘½e‰¤) and others, of Shinsen Shōjiroku, completed in 815.

Fujiwara no Fuyutsugu “¡Œ´“~Žk 775-826

One of the compilers of Nihon kōki, completed in 840 as the 3rd of the so-called "national histories".

Fuyutsugu's father was Fujiwara no Uchimaro (“¡Œ´“à–ƒ˜C 756-812). His mother was Kudara no Nagatsugu (•SÏ‰iŒp dates unknown). Nagatsugu later served in Kanmu's back [inner] palace [quarters for women], and apparently she received his affection but was never recognized as a consort.

Fuyutsugu's first, second, and fifth sons, and eldest daughter, were all deeply involved with court affairs, literally and figuratively.

Fuyutsugu's eldest daughter, Fujiwara no Nobuko (“¡Œ´‡Žq Junshi 809-871), became a consort of Ninmyō (m–¾“Vc 810-850, r833-850), the 54th sovereign, and the mother of Montoku (•¶“¿“Vc 827-858, r850-858), the 55th sovereign.

Fujiwara no Yoshifusa “¡Œ´—Ç–[ 804-872

Fuyutsugu's second son. One of the compilers of Shoku Nihon kōki (‘±“ú–{Œã‹I), completed in 869 as the 4th of the so-called "national histories".

Yoshifusa's daughter, Fujiwara no Akirakeiko (“¡Œ´–¾Žq Meishi, 829-900), as a consort of Montoku (•¶“¿“Vc 827-858, r850-858), was the mother of Seiwa (´˜a“Vc 850-881, r858-876), the 56th sovereign. As Seiwa was only eight when made the sovereign, Yoshifusa became in effect his regent, though without title. This is taken to be the beginning of Fujiwara control of sovereignty through regency, which formally began with Mototsune.

Fujiwara no Mototsune “¡Œ´ŠîŒo 836-891

Born the third son of Fujiwara no Nagayoshi (’·—Ç Nagara 802-856), Fuyutsugu's oldest son. Adopted by his uncle, Fuyutsugu's second son Yoshifusa.

Mototsune was a full-brother of Fujiwara no Takako (“¡Œ´‚Žq 842-910), a daughter of Nagayoshi who, as Seiwa's consort, was the mother of Yōzei (—z¬“Vc 869-949, r876-884), the 57th sovereign. Since Yōzei was only seven when he was made the sovereign, Mototsune became his regent -- then forced him to abdicate when he was only 25. Yōzei's successor, Kōkō (ŒõF“Vc 830-887, r884-887), a son of Ninmō, reigned for only three years, during which Mototsune was the Kanpaku (ŠÖ”’) -- essentially a ruler by proxy.

Mototsune was one of the compilers of [Nihon] Montoku tenno Jitsuroku (“ú–{•¶“¿“VcŽÀ˜^), completed in 879 as the 5th of the so-called "national histories".


Kudara clan

The origin of the name "Kudara" is one of the greater of many unsolved linguistic mysteries of the period. Well upon deep well of academic ink have been splashed -- in Japanese, Korean, English and other languages -- on the origin and meaning of "Kudara" as a Yamato word used to mean a country that is written •SàZ (•SÏ) in Chinese script and "Paekche" in the McCune-Reischauer romanization of the Sino-Korean reading of these two graphs.

"Kudara" presents a problem because there is no evidence of either its meaning or its pronunciation in •SàZ. In other words, "Kudara" is not semantically linked with "Paekche" (•SàZ) in the way that "yama" is closely related with "shan" or "san" as readings of ŽR.

Language versus writing

Nihon shoki refers to one of the countries of Kara (‰Á—…) as Tara (‘½—…) (NS 9, Jingū 49-3). Kara is equated with Kaya (‰¾–ë), which is sometimes the name of a single country, sometimes a reference to serveral countries, and sometimes a synonym for Mimana (”C“ß Imna), which often embraces the Kaya or Kara countries.

The NKBT edition of Nihon shoki generally reads both ‚—í and æ» as Koma, and both ‰Á—… and ŠØ as Kara. There are many other examples in which a Yamato word is imposed on either a string of characters used for their pronunciation (‚—í and ‰Á—…), or one or more characters used for their meaning (æ» and ŠØ). But this is not the case with "Kudara" as a Yamato word associated with the graphs •SàZ, whether they are read "Paekche" in Sino-Korean, "Hyakusai" (Hyakusei) in Sino-Japanese, or "Bójĭ" (Pochi, Paichi) in Chinese.

Numerous other terms suggest that the "-ra" of Kudara is probably related to "land" or "country", as is the "-na" of Mimana. In both personal and place names, the morae "na-ra" were written many ways -- including “Þ—Ç, “Þ—…, and “ß—…. The present city of Nara (“Þ—Ç) was also written “ß—… and ”JŠy. The most poetic Korean word for "country" remains "nara" (나라), as in expressions like "my country" (내 나라 nae nara) or "our country" (우리 나라 uri nara).

Each of the several countries now divided between the two Korean states on the peninsula and parts of China to the north had its own language, or its own dialect of a related language. Writing that might have left some trace of linguistic features in these countries during the period that Paekche and its neighbors thrived did not survive. Nor is there a Rosetta stone that links the dialects of Yamato with the varieties of Korean and other languages on the peninsula.

"Middle Chinese" can to some extent be reconstructed through studies of linguistic footprints cast in Sino-Japanese script. Many Yamato words, and a number of Korean-esque and other non-Yamato and non-Chinese words, have been fossilzied in man'yōgana, the Chinese characters which Yamato scribes used to record Yamato morae and other non-Chinese sounds -- as, for example, use of the graphs “Þ—Ç to linguistically represent "na" (“Þ) and "ra" (—Ç), as opposed to, say, the use of “è to graphically represent a tree called "nara" in Yamato.

Two popular etymologies

Nothing in the body of historical linguistic evidence, as discovered to date, sheds light on the origin or meaning of "Kudara". However, imagination is free, and there is all manner of speculation about the origin and meaning of "Kudara".

One of the more popular theories in Japan is that it stems from Chinese "haku" (æ») and Korean "tara" (Ÿk) -- meaning the "remains" or "descendants" hence "country" (tara) of "bear-like beasts" (haku) -- whence "kutara" and "kudara". Apart from lack of any evidence for the existence of such a compound, the reduction of "haku" to "ku" in Yamato is not attested.

The term •SÏ, sometimes written ”ŒÏ, is itself a problem. One common explanation is that it means "the many who crossed" [and established a country] since •S means one-hundred and Ï means "ferry" or "crossing" as over a river or sea. The Korean term for ferry or crossing is "naru" (나루), and it is thought to be related to "nara" in the sense of a settlement that results from migration.

The graph æ» (C mò MC maek, SK maek, SJ baku, haku) was used in early China to refer to a people who lived to the northeast, so-named because they were said to be the descendants of this wild animal, a divine beast that could have been a cross between a bear and a dog. These people, also called âqæ» (Ch Huìmò, MC Yemaek, SJ Waihaku) in some Chinese texts, are associated with several Korean tribes, including those referred to in Yamato texts as "Koma" (, ‚—í) if not "Kōkuri" (‚‹å—í).

The stone lionesque dogs that are commonly seen guarding Shinto shrines are called "komainu" (Œ¢, ‚—팢) in Japanese. The Korean and Japanese words for bear -- "kom" (곰) and "kuma" (‚­‚Ü) -- are thought to share the same "kum" roots.

Kudara no Konikishi

In reference to Paekche, •SÏ‰¤ is read "Paekche wang" in Sino-Korean, meaning "king of Paekche", but is typically read "Kudara no kokishi" in Yamato, meaning perhaps "ruler" or "sovereign" of Kudara.

As a clan name for someone in Yamato, however, •SÏ‰¤ is usually read "Kudara no Konikishi" and suggests that the bearer is a descendant of someone from Paekche on the male side of the family. Kudara (•SÏ) also appears as a place name in early Yamato chronicles and gazetteers, and survives today as a place name in Japan.

However, there is no suggestion in early Yamato texts and chronologies that people bearing the clan name "Kudara no Konikishi" were other than Yamatoites. Despite their presumed descent from a refugee or other migrant from Kudara, they could not have been aliens. For the clan name was evidence that the clan's progenitor from Kudara had submitted to the Yamato court, which conferred the name in recognition of his change of allegience.

That the origin and meaning of "Kudara" remains a mystery suggests that the ties between the islands and the peninsula were far older, and much more complex and intimate, than those described between Yamato and Kudara in Nihon shoki, which reflects only the most recent and politically convenient aspects of the relationship. The spread of Kudara as a place name within the islands very likely began before the emergence the described relationship.


Family tree of Kudara kings and their Yamato descendants

Some Paekche kings and their Yamato descendants

Shown here are some of the Paekche kings, and their Yamato descendants, who appear in the accounts in Reports from early records: Natives and barbarians at the dawn of Japanese history.

Note that not all siblings have been shown, nor have the full, half, or step relationships between siblings been shown. All of the following lines may therefore be presumed to have branch lines.

‹ßÑŒÃ [ÑŒÃ] [13]
Kŭnch'ogo (Shōko) [Kinshōko
r346-375 (d375)
‹ß‹wŽñ (‹M{) [‹wŽñ] [14]
Kŭngusu (Kwisu) [Kinkyūshu]
r375-384 (d384)
–—¬ (–—¬) [15]                    ’CŽz (’CŽz) [16]  
Ch'imnyu (Tomuru) [Chinryū]        Chinsa (Shinshi)
r384-385 (d385)                    r385-392 (d392)
ˆ¢莘 (ˆ¢‰Ô) [17]
Asin (Akwe)
r392-405 (d405)
 [22]        [  ]
  „            „ 
 [23]        [24] 
•”J [25] 
Muryŏng (Bunei)
r502-523 (462-523)
  „¥ --------- „¢
  „      ƒ陁 (ƒ‘É) (~陁) (~‘É)
  „      Sunta (Junda)
  „      d513 [NS 17, Keitai 7] 
  „        ^
  „      ˜aŽjŽ
  „      Yamato no Fubito clan 
  „        ^  @@@@@@@@  @
  „      Kanmu's maternal grandfather and grandmother
  „      ˜a‰³Œp ================= “yŽth”H^–… ¨ ‘åŽ}’©b^–… @      
  „      Yamato no Ototsugu  „    Hanishi [Haji] no Sukune no Maimo
  „      No dates            „    ¨ Ooeda [Ōeda] no Ason Maimo  
  „                          „    No dates
  „                          „  
  „      Kabane (©)         „    In 790, Kanmu changed
  „      later changed to    „    his maternal grandmother's title
  „      ‚–ì’©b             „    from “yŽth”H (Hanishi no Sukune)
  „      Takano no Asomi     „    to ‘åŽ}’©b (Ohoe [Ōe] no Asomi)
  „                          „    (SN 40, Enryaku 9-12-1, 791-1-13 [9])    
  „                          „              
  „                        Kanmu's mother        Kanmu's father
  „                        ‚–ìVŠ}=============== Œõm“Vc [49]
  „                        Takano no Niigasa  „    Kōnin tennō
  „                        d790               „    r770-781
  „                                           „ 
  „                                         Šº•“Vc [50]
  „                                         Kanmu tennō
  „                                         r781-806
  „                                           ^ 
¹ [26]                                     –¾m [125]
Sŏng (Sei)                                  Akihito
r523-554 (d554)                             r1988-present
  „  528 -- Sŏng makes Buddhism Paekche's official religion.
  „  552 -- Sŏng introduces Buddhism to Yamato [NS 19, Kinmei 13]
  „¥-- --------„¢
 [27]        [28]
  „¡--- -------„£
‹`Žœ [31]
Ŭija (Giji)
r641-660 (c599-c660)
  F  ‘×  —²  ‰‰  (•}éP) –L(àö) [–LÍ]         —E (‘PŒõ) (‘TL)
                  K. (Puyŏ) P'ung(jang)     K. Yong (Sŏngwang)
                  J. (Fuyo) Hō(shō)         J. Yō (Zenkō)
                  No dates (dc663-668)      c617-c700
Kudara no Konikishi Shōsei
Kudara no Konikishi Ryōgu
Kudara no Konikishi Keifuku (Kyōfuku)
—”Œ                •‹¾
Rihaku              Bukyō
No dates            No dates
  „                   „ 
  „                 Continues
r“N                –¾M ============== “¡Œ´Œp“ê
Shuntetsu           Myōshin  „     Fujiwara no Tsugutada 
d795                d815     „     727-796
  „                           „ 
Continues                  “¡Œ´‰³‰b             
                           Fujiwara no Takatoshi
Hōshō and Zenkō

The received texts and interpretive scholarly and popular literature on Kudara (Paekche) migrations to Yamato are full of vague, puzzling, if not conflicting accounts who came when from where. Accounts concerning Hōshō (P'ungjiang) and Zenkō (Sŏngwang), apparently sons of the last Kudara (Paekche) king Ŭija (Giji), are a case in point.

Here is most of what Nihon shoki (NS) says about these two men.

631   Uiji sends his son [prince] P'ungjang to Yamato as hostage (NS 23, Jomei 3).

660   Paekche falls to Tang forces. Uiji, with his wife, son, and some ministers, are captured. Survivors regroup and ask Yamato to send the king-son [prince] P'ungjang back to rule the country. An interlineal remark states that one book says "The sovereign [of Yamato] made [prince] P'ungjang stand and become king (“Vc—§–Làöˆ×‰¤)." (NS 26, Saimei 6-10)

661   The king-son [prince] P'ungjang is given the younger sister of Ōe no Omi Komoshiki as a wife. He is also provided with a military escort of over 5,000 men in the command of two generals, one of whom is Echi no Hada no Miyatsuko Takutsu. to help him rescue Paekche from Silla and Tang forces (NS 27, Tenchi [Saimei 7-9]).

662   The [sovereign of Yamato] directed and ordered [his commanders] to take P'ungjang and make [him] succeed to its [the country of Paekche's] [head] position (é’ºAˆÈ–Làö“™ŽgŒp‘´ˆÊ). (NS 27, Tenchi 1-5).
As related in the Nihon shoki, P'ungjang became Uija's successor by order of the sovereign of Yamato, namely Tenchi. His title until this is •SÏ‰¤Žq (Kudara no Seshimu) or "king-son [prince] of Paekche". After this it is •SÏ‰¤ (Kudara no Kokishi) or "king of Paekche".
Both Paekche (Kudara) and Koryŏ (Koma) are under assault from Tang and Silla forces. The situation worsens as P'ungjang is forced to execute his principle minister and commander for treason. Yamato commits numerous arms, boats, and men to Paekche's cause. All sides jostle for position in preparation for a major naval battle.

663   The battle begins. The Yamato commander Echi no Takutsu dies but not before taking many enemy with him. P'ungjang and a few others escape by boat to Koma, which is also under the protection of Yamato forces. The Nihon shoki says nothing further about P'ungjang. (NS 27, Tenchi 2-8)

664   Zenkō and others are settled in Naniwa (NS 27, Tenchi 3-3).
It is not clear whether Zenkō arrived earlier, or had recently come as a refugee. An obituary in Shoku Nihongi on the death in 766 of Kudara no Keifuku states that Keifuku was a descendant of Giji, who had sent two sons, Hōshō and Zenkō, to Yamato.

668   During this year, Silla completed its conquest of all countries on the peninsula, including Koma.

King Uija's line

King Uija ‹`Žœ‰¤ (Ŭija-wang) c599-c660, r641-660

King Uija was the 31st and last Paekche king according to the Samguk sagi (ŽO‘Žj‹L), an early 12th century work.

Uija and some family members and ministers were captured. Legend has it that three-thousand concubines threw themselves into the river at the bottom of the Nakhwa ravine.

Puyŏ P'ungjang (Fuyo Hōshō) •}éP–Làö No dates

King Uija's 5th son –L (P'ung, Hō). Known by several names, including éP–Làö (Yŏ P'ungjang, Yo Hōshō) and –LÍ (P'ungjang, Hōshō).

P'ungjang was sent by his father to Yamato in 631 as a pawn or hostage -- i.e., as royal collatoral for Yamato assistance in its defense against Silla and Tang. He left Yamato for Paekche in 661, escorted by Yamato forces to both protect him and help him revive Paekche, which had fallen to Tang and Silla in 660. Tenchi had him succeed his father as king of Paekche in 662.

Presumably P'ungjang died sometime after 663, when he was said to have escaped a battle lost by his Yamato defenders, and by 668, the year Silla completed its conquest of the peninsula.

Kudara no Konikishi Zenkō •SÏ‰¤‘PŒõ (‘TL) c617-700

Apparently King Uiji's 6th son —E (K Yong, J Yū). He and some others are reported to have been settled in Naniwa in 664. Whether he had recently come as a refugee, or whether he had come as earlier, if not in 631 with his brother Hōshō (P'ungjang), is not clear.

An obituary in Shoku Nihongi on the death in 766 of Kudara no Keifuku states that Keifuku was a descendant of Giji, who had sent two sons, Hōshō and Zenkō, to Yamato. Apparently Zenkō received the title "Kudara no Konikishi" (King of Kudara) posthumously, in recognition of his status as one of Uiji's sons and the next in line to be king of Paekche after his brother Hōshō.

Kudara no Konikishi Shōsei •SÏ‰¤¹¬ d674

Son of Zenkō, father of Ryōgu.

Kudara no Konikishi Ryōgu •SÏ‰¤˜N‹ñ 661-737

Served as deputy governor of the province of Settsu (Û’Ã), one of the five main provices of the Yamato domain, now divided between Ōsaka and Hyōgo prefectures.

Kudara no Konikishi Keifuku (Kyōfuku) •SÏ‰¤Œh•Ÿ 697-766

Son of Ryōgu, grandchild of Zenkō.

Became Minister of Justice under Kanmu.

Keifuku's obiturary in the Shoku Nihongi states that he was a descendant of Giji, the Paekche king who sent two sons to Yamato, Hōshō and Zenkō. See 766 Kudara Keifuku dies.

Kudara no Konikishi Rihaku •SÏ‰¤—”Œ No dates

Son of Keifuku, brother of Bukyō.

Kudara no Konikishi Shuntetsu •SÏ‰¤r“N d795

A son of Rihaku and brother of Myōshin.

Shuntetsu served several posts as a military commander and governor in a number of territories, but particular in the north during the campaings against Emishi and others who were resisting Yamato control.

Kudara no Konikishi Myōshin •SÏ‰¤–¾M d815

A daughter of Rihaku and sister of Shuntetsu.

Myōshin became the wife of Fujiwara no Tsugutada (“¡Œ´Œp“ê 727-796) around 754. During the reign of Kanmu, she was appointed Naishi no Kami (®Ž˜), and as such was in charge of Kanmu's coterie of wives and consorts. Myōshin's fortunes began to fall after Kanmu's death in 806.

One of Kanmu's sons succeeded him as Heizei. In 807, Prince Iyo, Heizei's half-brother, and Iyo's mother, committed suicide when charged with plotting to overthrow Heizei. Myōshin's son, Fujiwara no Takatoshi (“¡Œ´‰³‰b 761-808), was also thought to have been involved. He died the following year, apparently of natural causes. Myōshin thus outlived both her husband and son. Her death is recorded in the Nihon kōki (.

Kudara no Konikishi Bukyō •SÏ‰¤•‹¾ late 8th century

Son of Keifuku, brother of Rihaku.

Served as governor of the province of Dewa (o‰H), now divided between Yamagata and Akita prefectures. Became the Minister of Justice under Kanmu in 799.


Hata and Aya clans

Hata no Imiki Chōgen `Šõ¡’©Œ³

Younger son the monk Bensei (•Ù³) and a Tang woman. Bensei, sent to Tang China as an envoy to study in 702, died in China, as did Chōgen's older brother, Chōkei (’©Œc). In 718, Ch#333;gen was brought to Yamato by a group of returning envoys. The following year he was given the kabane Imiki (Šõ¡), and in 721 he was awarded for the medical skills he had learned in China. In 730 he was ordered to train two disciples as interpretors. He was sent to Tang with a group of envoys in 733, returned to Yamato two years later, after which he held a succession of posts. He lived until at least 746.


Other figures