Emperor Seimu

Emperor of Japan
Reign 131–191 (traditional)[1]
Predecessor Keikō
Successor Chūai
Born 84
Died 191 (aged 107)
Burial Saki no Tatanami no misasagi (Nara)
Father Emperor Keikō
Mother Yasakairihime

Emperor Seimu (成務天皇 Seimu-tennō) was the 13th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.[2][3] He also known as Wakatarashihiko no Sumeramikoto. His reign is conventionally dated as AD 131–191.[4] He is credited with appointing the first provincial governors and district officials.[5]

Legendary narrative

Seimu is regarded by historians as a legendary emperor who might have been real. Little is known about him.[6] The reign of Emperor Kinmei (c.509 – 571), the 29th emperor,[7] is the first for which contemporary historiography is able to assign verifiable dates;[8] 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.[9]

The name Seimu Tennō was assigned to him posthumously by later generations.[10]

If Seimu 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.[11]

His father was Emperor Keikō and his mother was Yasaka no Iri Bime no Mikoto, a granddaughter of Emperor Sujin and a first cousin of his father.

Memorial Shinto shrine and mausoleum honoring Emperor Seimu

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

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Seimu's mausoleum. It is formally named Saki no Tatanami no misasagi.[12]

Seimu's tomb can be visited today at Misasagi-cho, Nara City.[13]

See also


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): 成務天皇 (13); retrieved 2013-8-28.
  3. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 14–15, p. 14, at Google Books; Brown, Delmer M. (1979). Gukanshō, p. 254; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 99–100.
  4. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 34.
  5. Martin, Peter, The Chrysanthemum Throne: A History of the Emperors of Japan, p. 23
  6. Kelly, Charles F. "Kofun Culture", Japanese Archaeology. 27 April 2009.
  7. Titsingh, pp. 34–36; Brown, pp. 261–262; Varley, pp. 123–124.
  8. 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.
  9. Aston, William. (1896). Nihongi, pp. 109.
  10. Brinkley, Frank. (1915). A History of the Japanese People from the Earliest Times to the end of the Meiji Era, p. 21, p. 21, at Google Books; excerpt, "Posthumous names for the earthly Mikados were invented in the reign of Emperor Kanmu (782–805), i.e., after the date of the compilation of the Records and the Chronicles.
  11. Aston, William George. (1998). Nihongi, Vol. 1, pp. 214–216.
  12. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1953). Studies in Shinto and Shrines, p. 419.
  13. Seimu's misasagi – map (lower right)


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Keikō
Legendary Emperor of Japan
(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Chūai
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