Emperor Jimmu

Infobox Monarch
name =Emperor Jimmu
title =1st Emperor of Japan

caption =Meiji era print of Emperor Jimmu
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predecessor =(none)
successor =Emperor Suizei
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dynasty =
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father =
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date of birth =January 1, 711 BCE (legend)
place of birth =
date of death =March 11, 585 BCE (legend) (aged 126)
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nihongo|Emperor Jimmu|神武天皇,|"Jinmu-tennō"; also known as: "Kamuyamato Iwarebiko"; given name: "Wakamikenu no Mikoto" or "Sano no Mikoto", born according to the legendary account in the Kojiki on January 1, 711 BCE, and died, again according to legend, on March 11, 585 BCE (both dates according to the lunisolar [http://www2.gol.com/users/stever/calendar.htm traditional Japanese calendar] ), was the mythical founder of Japan and is the first emperor named in the traditional lists of emperors. [Brown, Delmer "et al." (1979). "Gukanshō," p. 249; Varley, Paul. (1980). "Jinnō Shōtōki," pp. 84-88; Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). [http://books.google.com/books?id=18oNAAAAIAAJ&pg=PP9&dq=nipon+o+dai+itsi+ran#PRA1-PA1,M1 "Annales des empereurs du Japon," pp. 1] -3.] The Imperial house of Japan traditionally based its claim to the throne on its descent from Jimmu.

Legendary narrative

No firm dates can be assigned to this emperor's life or reign. Jimmu 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. Rather, scholars can only lament that, at this time, there is insufficient material available for further verification and study.

According to Shinto belief, Jimmu is regarded as a direct descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu. Amaterasu had a son called Ame no Oshihomimi no Mikoto and through him a grandson named Ninigi-no-Mikoto. She sent her grandson to the Japanese islands where he eventually married Konohana-Sakuya-hime. Among their three sons was Hikohohodemi no Mikoto, also called Yamasachi-hiko, who married Toyotama-hime. She was the daughter of Ryūjin, the Japanese sea god. They had a single son called Hikonagisa Takeugaya Fukiaezu no Mikoto. The boy was abandoned by his parents at birth and consequently raised by Tamayori-hime, his mother's younger sister. They eventually married and had a total of four sons. The last of them became Emperor Jimmu.

It is said that soon after the beginning of Jimmu's reign, a Master of Ceremonies ("saishu") was appointed. This office was commonly held by a member of the Nakatomi clan after the eighth century. [Brown, p. 249 n10.]

Jimmu's migration

Mythic records in the Kojiki and Nihonshoki tell us that Jimmu's brothers were originally born in Takachiho, the southern part of Kyūshū (in modern day Miyazaki prefecture), and decided to move eastward, as they found their location inappropriate for reigning over the entire country. Jimmu's older brother Itsuse no Mikoto originally led the migration, and they moved eastward through the Seto Inland Sea with the assistance of local chieftain "Sao Netsuhiko". As they reached Naniwa (modern day Ōsaka), they encountered another local chieftain, "Nagasunehiko" (lit. the long-legged man"), and Itsuse was killed in the ensuing battle. Jimmu realized that they had been defeated because they battled eastward against the Sun, so he decided to land on the east side of Kii Peninsula and battle westward. They reached Kumano, and with the guidance of a three-legged bird, Yatagarasu (lit. eight-span crow), moved to Yamato. There they once again battled Nagasunehiko and were victorious.

In Yamato, "Nigihayahi no Mikoto", who also claims to be a descendant of the Takamagahara gods, was protected by Nagasunehiko. However, when Nigihayahi met Jimmu, he accepted Jimmu's legitimacy, and Jimmu ascended to the throne.

Emperor Jimmu's official Imperial "misasagi", or tomb, can be found in Kashihara in Nara prefecture. This mausoleum is located a short distance from Kashihara Shrine.

This emperor's posthumous name literally means "divine might" or "god-warrior." It is undisputed that this identification is Chinese in form and Buddhist in implication, which suggests that the name must have been regularized centuries after the lifetime ascribed to Jimmu, possibly during the time in which legends about the origins of the Yamato dynasty were compiled as the chronicles known today as the "Kojiki". [Aston, William. (1896). [http://books.google.com/books?id=1IJrNAKBpycC&pg=RA1-PA446&dq=ashton+nihongi#PPA109,M1 "Nihongi," pp. 109] -137.]

The Emperor and Imperial expansionism

New Year's Day in the Japanese lunisolar calendar was traditionally celebrated as the regnal day of Emperor Jimmu.

In 1872, the Meiji government proclaimed February 11, 660 BCE, in the Gregorian calendar the foundation day of Japan. This mythical date was commemorated as the holiday "Kigensetsu" ("Era Day") from 1872 to 1948. The "Kigensetsu" celebration in 1940 is today considered controversial; but during that early Shōwa period, any questions were effectively side-stepped as the entire nation commemorated what was then calculated to have been 2,600 years since the accession of Emperor Jimmu. [Brownlee, John. [http://books.google.com/books?id=eatISvupicUC&pg=PA225&dq=brownlee+Japan&sig=zcGUMOkS1Gsoj-AmhGLhKURR_gM#PPA136,M1 "Japanese Historians and the National Myths, 1600-1945: The Age of the Gods," pp. 136] , 180-185.] The holiday was suspended after the end of the Pacific War, and its celebration was reinstated in 1966 as the national holiday "Kenkoku Kinen no hi" ("National Foundation Day").

Starting around 1928, Emperor Shōwa and his reign became associated with the rediscovery of "Hakkō ichiu" as an expansionist element of Japanese nationalistic beliefs. [Bix, Herbert. (2001). [http://books.google.com/books?id=zjmVltzm1kYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Hirohito+and+the+Making+of+Modern+Japan&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#PPA199,M1 "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan," p. 201.] ] The naval limitations treaties of 1921, and especially 1930, were a tragic mistake in their unanticipated effect on internal political struggles in Japan; and the treaties provided an external motivating catalyst which provoked reactionary, militarist elements to desperate actions which eventually overwhelmed civilian and liberal elements in society. [Morrison, Samuel Eliot. (1948). [http://books.google.com/books?id=BozSWv25Gd8C&pg=PA3&lpg=PA3&dq=Hakko+Ichiu:&source=web&ots=s2kXXsOHHI&sig=u62e4i_DanWP1CEW9x7xcNGKehs&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result#PPA3,M1 "History of United States Naval Operations in World War II: The Battle of the Atlantic, September 1939 - May 1943," pp. 3-10.] ] The evolution of "Hakkō ichiu" serves as a changing litmus test of these factional relationships during the next decade. [GlobalSecurity.org: [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/japan/kodo.htm "Kodo (Way of the Emperor)"] ]

In 1940, the Shōwa regime also constructed on the legendary site of Emperor Jimmu's palace, near Miyazaki, the Hakkō Tower, symbolizing the divine right of the Empire of Japan to "unify the eight corners of the world". The ancient phrase of "Hakkō ichi'u", used according to tradition by the Emperor to describe the unification of the world under his sacred rule, was an imperative to all Japan subjects. [Earhart, David C. (2007). "Certain Victory," p. 63.]



* Aston, William George. (1896). [http://books.google.com/books?id=1IJrNAKBpycC&dq=ashton+nihongi&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 "Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697."] London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner. [reprinted by Tuttle Publishing, Tokyo, 2007. 10-ISBN 0-8048-0984-4; 13-ISBN 978-0-8048-0984-9 (paper)]
* Bix, Herbert P. (2001). [http://books.google.com/books?id=zjmVltzm1kYC&dq=Hirohito+and+the+Making+of+Modern+Japan&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan."] New York: HarperCollins. 10-ISBN 0-060-93130-2; 13-ISBN 978-0-060-93130-8
* Brown, Delmer M. and Ichirō Ishida, eds. (1979). [ Jien, c. 1220] , "Gukanshō (The Future and the Past, a translation and study of the Gukanshō, an interpretative history of Japan written in 1219)." Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-03460-0
* Brownlee, John (1997). " [http://books.google.com/books?id=eatISvupicUC&dq=brownlee+Japan&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 Japanese Historians and the National Myths, 1600-1945: The Age of the Gods.] " Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. ISBN 0774806451
* Earhart, David C. (2007). [http://books.google.com/books?id=WffIAAAACAAJ&dq=Certain+Victory+Earhart&client=firefox-a "Certain Victory: Images of World War II in the Japanese Media."] Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe. 10-ISBN 0-765-61776-5; 13-ISBN 978-0-765-61776-7
* Morrison, Samuel Eliot. (1948). [http://books.google.com/books?id=BozSWv25Gd8C&dq=Hakko+Ichiu:&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 "History of United States Naval Operations in World War II: The Battle of the Atlantic, September 1939 - May 1943."] Oxford: Oxford University Press. 40 editions -- [reprinted by University of Illinois Press at Urbana, 2001. 10-ISBN 0-252-06973-0; 13-ISBN 978-0-252-06973-4]
* Titsingh, Isaac, ed. (1834). [Siyun-sai Rin-siyo/Hayashi Gahō, 1652] , "Nipon o daï itsi ran; ou, [http://books.google.com/books?id=18oNAAAAIAAJ&printsec=titlepage&dq=nipon+o+dai+itsi+ran&source=gbs_summary_r Annales des empereurs du Japon] ." Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. [http://books.google.com/books?id=18oNAAAAIAAJ&dq=nipon+o+dai+itsi+ran ...Click link for digitized, full-text copy of this book (in French)]
* Varley, H. Paul , ed. (1980). [ Kitabatake Chikafusa, 1359] , "Jinnō Shōtōki ("A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns: Jinnō Shōtōki of Kitabatake Chikafusa" translated by H. Paul Varley)." New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-04940-4

ee also

* Emperor of Japan
* List of Emperors of Japan
* Imperial cult

External links

* [http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/ANCJAPAN/JIMMU.HTM A more detailed profile of Jimmu]
* [http://www9.ocn.ne.jp/~aosima/english-yuisyo.html A detailed summary of Jimmu's descent legend]

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