Emperor Ōjin

Emperor of Japan

Emperor Ōjin
Reign 270–310 (traditional)[1]
Predecessor Chūai
Successor Nintoku
Born 200
Umi (Fukuoka)
Died 310 (aged 110)
Karushima no Toyoakira (Nara)
Burial Eega no Mofushi no oka no misasagi (Osaka)
Spouse Nakatsuhime
House Yamato dynasty
Father Emperor Chūai
Mother Empress Jingū

Emperor Ōjin (応神天皇 Ōjin-tennō), also known as Homutawake or Hondawake (誉田別), was the 15th emperor of Japan,[2] according to the traditional order of succession.[3]

No firm dates can be assigned to this emperor's life or reign, but he is conventionally considered to have reigned from 270 to 310.[4]

Legendary narrative

Ōjin is regarded by historians as a "legendary emperor" of the 5th century.[5] The reign of Emperor Kinmei (c.509 – 571 AD), the 29th emperor,[6] is the first for which contemporary historiography is able to assign verifiable dates;[7] however, the conventionally accepted names and dates of the early emperors were not to be confirmed as "traditional" until the reign of Emperor Kanmu (737–806), the 50th sovereign of the Yamato dynasty.[8]

The name Ōjin Tennō was assigned to him posthumously by later generations. Ōjin is also identified by some as the earliest "historical" emperor.[9]

According to the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki, Ōjin was the son of the Emperor Chūai and his consort Jingū. As Chūai died before Ōjin's birth, his mother Jingū became the de facto ruler. The history book written to the 8th century, alleged that the boy Ōjin was conceived but unborn when Chūai died. His widow, Jingū, then spent three years in conquest of a promised land, which is conjectured to be Korea, but the story is largely dismissed by scholars for lack of evidence. Then, after her return to Japanese islands, the boy was born, three years after the death of the father.

Either a period of less than nine months contained three "years" (some seasons), e.g. three harvests, or the paternity is just mythical and symbolic, rather than real. Ōjin was born (in 200 according to the traditional, but untrustworthy TC date, timetable; realistically sometime in the late 4th century) in Tsukushi on the return of his mother from the invasion of the promised land and named him Prince Hondawake. He became the crown prince at the age of four. He was crowned (in 270) at the age of 70 and reigned for 40 years until his death in 310, although none of the TC dates around his reign have any historical basis. He supposedly lived in two palaces both of which are in present-day Osaka.

Ōjin was traditionally identified as the father of Emperor Nintoku, who acceded after Ōjin's death.[10] Ōjin has been deified as Hachiman Daimyōjin, regarded as the guardian of warriors. The Hata Clan considered him their guardian Kami.

Memorial Shinto shrine and mausoleum honoring Emperor Ōjin.

The actual site of Ōjin's grave is not known.[2] This emperor is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) at Osaka.

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Ōjin's mausoleum. It is formally named Eega no Mofushi no oka no misasagi.[11]

Consorts and children

Empress: Nakatsuhime (仲姫命), daughter of Homudamawaka (品陀真若王)

Takakiirihime (高城入姫命), older sister of Nakatsuhime

Otohime (弟姫命), younger sister of Nakatsuhime

Miyanushiyakahime (宮主宅媛), daughter of Wani no Hifure no Omi (和弭日触使主)

Onabehime (小甂媛), younger sister of Miyanushiyakahime

Okinaga mawakanakatsuhime (息長真若中比売), daughter of Kawamatanakatsuhiko (河派仲彦)

Itohime (糸媛), daughter of Sakuraitabe no Muraji Shimatarine (桜井田部連島垂根)

Himuka no Izumi no nagahime (日向泉長媛)

Kagurohime (迦具漏比売), daughter of Sumeiro Ōnakahiko (須売伊呂大中日子王女)

Katsuragi no Irome (葛城野伊呂売), daughter of Takenouchi no Sukune ?

Ehime (兄媛), younger sister of Kibi no Mimotowake (吉備御友別)

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Emperor Ōjin.


Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. "Genealogy of the Emperors of Japan" at Kunaicho.go.jp; retrieved 2013-8-28.
  2. 1 2 Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 応神天皇 (15); retrieved 2013-8-26.
  3. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 19–22; Brown, Delmer M. (1979). Gukanshō, p. 255–256; Varley, Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 103–110.
  4. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 36.
  5. Kelly, Charles F. "Kofun Culture," Japanese Archaeology. 27 April 2009.
  6. Titsingh, pp. 34–36; Brown, pp. 261–262; Varley, pp. 123–124.
  7. Hoye, Timothy. (1999). Japanese Politics: Fixed and Floating Worlds, p. 78; excerpt, "According to legend, the first Japanese emperor was Jinmu. Along with the next 13 emperors, Jinmu is not considered an actual, historical figure. Historically verifiable Emperors of Japan date from the early sixth century with Kinmei.
  8. Aston, William. (1896). Nihongi, pp. 109.
  9. Wakabayashi, Tadashi. (1995) Japanese loyalism reconstrued, p. 108., p. 108, at Google Books
  10. Aston, William George. (1998). Nihongi, p. 254–271.
  11. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 419.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Chūai
Emperor of Japan:

(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Nintoku
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