Emperor Bidatsu
Emperor of Japan
Reign 572 – 14 September 585
Born 538
Died 14 September 585 (aged 47)
Buried Kawachi no Shinaga no naka no o no misasagi (Osaka)
Predecessor Kimmei
Successor Yōmei

Emperor Bidatsu (敏達天皇 Bidatsu-tennō?, 538 – September 14, 585) was the 30th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Bidastsu's reign spanned the years from 572 through 585.[3]


Traditional narrative

Bidatsu was called Nunakura no Futotamashiki (渟中倉太珠敷?) in the Nihonshoki.

Bidatstu was appointed crown prince by his father Emperor Kimmei; after Emperor Kimmei died, the new monarch ascended to the throne within a few days.

  • 572: In the 32nd year of Kimmei-tennō 's reign (欽明天皇32年?), the old emperor died, and the succession (‘‘senso’’) was received by his second son. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Bidatsu is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).[4]

Bidatsu's contemporary title would not have been tennō, as most historians believe this title was not introduced until the reigns of Emperor Tenmu and Empress Jitō. Rather, it was presumably Sumeramikoto or Amenoshita Shiroshimesu Ōkimi (治天下大王), meaning "the great king who rules all under heaven." Alternatively, Bidatsu might have been referred to as (ヤマト大王/大君) or the "Great King of Yamato."

He ruled during a tense period between the Soga and Mononobe clans regarding acceptance of Buddhism in Japan.

In external affairs, Bidatsu sought to re-establish relations with Korean Kingdoms and, according to Nihonshoki, his court successfully established relations with Baekje and Silla, two of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.

The emperor died from a disease which afflicted him with sores, apparently the first royal victim of smallpox in Japan.[5]

The actual site of Bidatsu's grave is known.[1] This emperor is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) at Osaka.

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Bidatsu's mausoleum. It is formally named Kawachi no Shinaga no naka no o no misasagi.[6]


He was the second son of Emperor Kimmei by his consort Iwahime, a daughter of Emperor Senka.

According to the Nihonshoki and Gukanshō, Bidatsu had four empresses and 16 Imperial children (6 sons and 10 daughters).[7]

Bidatsu's first empress, Hirohime, died in the fifth year of his reign. To replace her, he elevated one of his consorts, Princess Nukatabe, to the rank of empress. Nukatabe was his half-sister by their father Kimmei. Later she ascended to the throne in her own right and is today known as Empress Suiko.

Though he had many children, none of them would ever become emperor.[8] He was succeeded first by one of his brothers, Emperor Yōmei, then by another, Emperor Sushun, and then Empress Suiko, his sister and wife, before his grandson, Emperor Jomei, eventually took the throne.

  • Princess Hiro Hime, daughter of Prince Mate no Okinaga ; Empress 572; died 575 ; 3 imperial children:
    • Princess Sakanobori
    • Princess Uji no Shitsukahi
    • Prince Oshisako no Hikohito no Oe,born about 556, married (A) Princess Ohomata (Ohotomo), his aunt, daughter of Emperor Kimmei and Soga no Kitashi-Hime, by whom he had a son and a daughter ;(B) Princess Nukate-Hime (his half sister), by whom he had 3 sons ; (C) Princess Woharida (his half sister), by whom he had a son and a daughter :
      • Eldest son : Prince Chinu,born about 575, married to Princess Kibitsu-Hime, by whom he had a son and a daughter: Princess Takara (Empress Kōgyoku), born 594,and Prince Karu (Emperor Kōtoku)
      • Princesse Kuhada
      • Prince Tamura (Emperor Jomei), born 593
      • Prince Nakatsu
      • Prince Tara
      • Prince Yamashiro
      • Princesse Kasanuhi
  • Ominako no Iratsume (Kusu Kimi no Iratsuko), daughter of Kasuga no Nakatsu Kimi no Omi ; second consort ; 4 imperial children :
    • Prince Naniha
    • Prince Kasuga
    • Princess Kuwada
    • Prince Ohomata
  • Unako no Otoshi (Wo-Umako no Iratsume), daughter of Ohoka no Obito no Okuma ; third consort; 2 imperial children :
    • Princess Futohime (Princess Sakurawi)
    • Princess Nukate Hime (Princess Takara or Tamura), born about 570, married to Prince Oshisako no Hikohito no Oe, her half brother
  • Princess Nukatabe, born 553, died 628; daughter of Emperor Kimmei and Soga no Kitashi hime; imperial consort ; Empress 576,(Empress Suikō) ; 7 imperial children :
    • Princess Uji no Shitsukahi (Uji no Kahitako), born about 570, married to Prince Shōtoku, son of Emperor Yōmei and Empress Anahobe
    • Prince Takeda
    • Princess Woharida, born about 572, married to her half brother Oshisako no Hikohito no Oe
    • Princess Umori (Karu no Mori)
    • Prince Wohari
    • Princess Tame, married to her nephew Emperor Jomei
    • Princess Sakurawi no Yumihari

See also


Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. ^ a b Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 敏達天皇 (30)
  2. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 46.
  3. ^ Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 262-263; Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 36-37. at Google Books
  4. ^ Titsingh, p. 36; Brown, pp. 261-262; Varley, p. 44; n.b., A distinct act of senso is unrecognized prior to Emperor Tenji; and all sovereigns except Jitō, Yōzei, Go-Toba, and Fushimi have senso and sokui in the same year until the reign of Emperor Go-Murakami.
  5. ^ Hopkins, Donald R. (2002). The Greatest Killer, pp. 105-106. at Google Books citing Ponsonby-Fane (1959) and Aston (1896).
  6. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 419.
  7. ^ Brown, p. 262.
  8. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959) The Imperial House of Japan, p. 46.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Kimmei
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Yōmei

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