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Emperor Suinin
11th Emperor of Japan
Reign legendary
Born legendary
Died legendary
Buried Sugawara no Fushimi no higashi no Misasagi (Nara)
Predecessor Emperor Sujin
Successor Emperor Keikō

Emperor Suinin (垂仁天皇, Suinin-tennō ?); also known as Ikumeiribikoisachi no Mikoto; was the 11th Emperor of Japan to appear on the traditional list of emperors.[1] Emperor Suinin is considered by most historians to be a legendary figure, and the name Suinin Tennō was assigned to him posthumously by later generations.


Legendary narrative

No firm dates can be assigned to this emperor's life or reign. Suinin is regarded by historians as a "legendary emperor" because of the paucity of information about him, which does not necessarily imply that no such person ever existed. There is insufficient material available for further verification and study. If Suinin did exist, there is no evidence to suggest that the title tennō was used during the time period to which his reign has been assigned. It is much more likely that he was a chieftain, or local clan leader, and the polity he ruled would have only encompassed a small portion of modern day Japan.

Legend says that about two thousand years ago, Emperor Suinin ordered his daughter, Princess Yamatohime-no-mikoto, to set out and find a suitable permanent location from which to hold ceremonies for Amaterasu Omikami, the Sun Goddess.[2] After twenty years of searching, she is said to have settled on the area of Ise, establishing the Ise Shrine.[3] According to Asama Shrine tradition, the earliest veneration of Konohanasakuya-hime at the base of Mount Fuji was in the 8th month of the 3rd year of the reign of Emperor Suinin.[4]

Nihonshoki records the wrestling match in which Nomi no Sukune and Taima no Kehaya held during his era, as the origin of Sumai (Sumo wrestling). In the context of events like this, the Japanese have traditionally accepted this sovereign's historical existence; however, no extant contemporary records have been discovered which confirm a view that this historical figure actually reigned.[5]

Jien records that Suinin was the third son of Emperor Sujin, and that he ruled from the palace of Tamaki-no-miya at Makimuku in what will come to be known as Yamato province. Jien also explains that during the reign of Emperor Suinin, the first High Priestess (Saiō, also known as saigū) was appointed for Ise Shrine in what would become known as Ise province.[3]

Official mausoleum (misasagi) of Emperor Suinin, Nara Prefecture

Suinin is a posthumous name. It is undisputed that this identification is Chinese in form and Buddhist in implication, which suggests that the name must have been regularized centuries after the lifetime ascribed to Suinin, possibly during the time in which legends about the origins of the Yamato dynasty were compiled as the chronicles known today as the Kojiki.[5]

Although the final resting place of this legendary sovereign is said to remain unknown, Suinin's officially designated Imperial misasagi or tomb can be visited today in Nishi-machi, Amagatsuji, Nara City.[6] [7] This kofun-type Imperial tomb is characterized by a keyhole-shaped island located within a wide, water-filled moat.[8][9]

Consorts and Children

Empress(first): Sahohime (狭穂姫命), daughter of Hikoimasu (彦坐王)

  • Prince Homutsuwake (誉津別命)

Empress(second): Hibasuhime (日葉酢媛命), daughter of Tanba no Michinoushi (丹波道主王)

  • Prince Inishikiirihiko (五十瓊敷入彦命)
  • Prince Ootarashihikoosirowake (大足彦忍代別尊) Emperor_Keikō
  • Princess Oonakatsuhime (大中姫命)
  • Princess Yamatohime (倭姫命) Saiō
  • Prince Wakakiniirihiko (稚城瓊入彦命)

Nubataniirihime (渟葉田瓊入媛), younger sister of Hibasuhime

  • Prince Nuteshiwake (鐸石別命), ancestor of Wake clan (Wake_no_Kiyomaro)
  • Princess Ikatarashimime (胆香足姫命)

Matonohime (真砥野媛), younger sister of Hibasuhime

Azaminiirihime (薊瓊入媛), younger sister of Hibasuhime

  • Prince Ikohayawake (息速別命)
  • Princess Wakaasatsuhime (稚浅津姫命)

Kaguyahime (迦具夜比売), daughter of Ootsutsukitarine (大筒木垂根王)

  • Prince Onabe (袁那弁王)

Kanihatatobe (綺戸辺), daughter of Yamashiro no Ookuni no Fuchi (山背大国不遅)

  • Prince Iwatsukuwake (磐撞別命), ancestor of Mio clan (三尾氏)
  • Princess Futajiirihime (両道入姫命), wife of Yamatotakeru, mother of Emperor_Chūai

Karihatatobe (苅幡戸辺), older sister of Kanihatatobe

  • Prince Oochiwake (祖別命)
  • Prince Ikatarashihiko (五十日足彦命)
  • Prince Itakeruwake (胆武別命)


  • Prince Tuburame (円目王)

See also


  1. ^ Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 253-254 ; Varley, Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 95-96; Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 9-10.
  2. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 32.
  3. ^ a b Brown, p. 253.
  4. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1962. Studies in Shinto and Shrines, p.458.
  5. ^ a b Aston, William. (1998). Nihongi, Vol. 1, pp. 167-187.
  6. ^ Suinin's misasagi -- image
  7. ^ Suinin's misasagi -- map (mis-labelled as "Enperor Nonin s Tomb")
  8. ^ Suinin-type kofun -- see illustration #3, bottom of web page
  9. ^ Suinin's misasagi -- aerial photo (also known as Hōraisan kofun)


External links

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Sujin
Legendary Emperor of Japan
29 BC-AD 70
(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Keikō


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