Emperor Seinei

Emperor of Japan
Reign 480–484 (traditional)[1]
Predecessor Yūryaku
Successor Kenzō
Born 444
Died 484 (aged 40)
Iware no mikakuri Palace
Burial Kawachi no Sakado no hara no misasagi (Osaka)
Father Emperor Yūryaku
Mother Katsuragi no Karahime

Emperor Seinei (清寧天皇 Seinei-tennō) was the 22nd 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 480 to 484.[4]

Legendary narrative

Seinei was a 5th-century monarch.[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]

According to Kojiki and Nihonshoki, he was a son of Emperor Yūryaku and his consort Katsuragi no Karahime. Seinei's full sister was Princess Takuhatahime. His name in birth was Shiraka. It is said that the color of his hair was white since birth.[9] After the death of his father, Seinei won the fight against Prince Hoshikawa, his brother, for the throne and so succeeded his father.

Seinei'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, Seinei might have been referred to as (ヤマト大王/大君) or the "Great King of Yamato."

Seinei fathered no children; however, two grandsons of the 17th emperor, Emperor Richū, were found—later to ascend as Prince Oke and Prince Woke. Seinei adopted them as his heirs.[10]

The actual site of Seinei'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 Seinei's mausoleum. It is formally named Kawachi no Sakado no hara no misasagi .[11]

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): 清寧天皇 (22); retrieved 2013-8-28.
  3. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 28–29; Brown, Delmer M. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 258–259; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 115–116.
  4. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 41.
  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. Titsingh, p. 29; n.b., there is speculation that this unusual hair color suggests albinism.
  10. Aston, William. (1998). Nihongi, Vol. 1, pp. 373–377.
  11. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 419.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Yūryaku
Emperor of Japan:

(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Kenzō
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