Shiro - Newspaper from Japan -

Published in Japan - Social interactions and entertainment - 08 Feb 2016 01:17 - 6

There are two Japanese words equivalent to the English word "Emperor": tennō (天皇, lit. "heavenly sovereign"), which is used exclusively to refer to an Emperor of Japan, and kōtei (皇帝, the title used for all other foreign Emperors), which is used primarily to describe non-Japanese Emperors. Sumeramikoto (lit. "the Imperial person") was also used in Old Japanese. The term tennō was used by the Emperors up until the Middle Ages.
Originally, the ruler of Japan was known as either 大和大王/大君 (Yamato-ōkimi, Grand King of Yamato), 倭王/倭国王 (Wa-ō/Wakoku-ōKing of Wa, used externally), or 治天下大王 (ame-no-a shiroshimesu ōkimi or sumera no mikoto, Grand King who rules all under heaven, used internally) in Japanese and Chinese sources prior to the 7th century.

1) Emperor Jimmu (Jinmu Tennō; also known as: Kamuyamato Iwarebiko; given name: Wakamikenu no Mikotoor Sano no Mikoto), (born according to the legendary account in the Kojiki on the first day of the first month, 660 B.C.E., and died, again according to legend, on the eleventh day of the third month, 585 B.C.E.; both dates according to the traditional Japanese calendar), was the mythical founder of Japan and is the first emperor named in the traditional lists of emperors. The Imperial house of Japan traditionally based its claim to the throne on its descent from Jimmu.
The name "Emperor Jimmu" is treated as the posthumous name of this mythical figure. In fact, being Chinese in form and Buddhist in implication, it must have been awarded centuries after the lifetime ascribed to him, as part of the compilation of legends about the origins of the Yamato dynasty known as the Kojiki. "Jimmu" literally means "divine might." The Japanese tradition of respect, even of reverence, for the Emperor could lead to excesses, as it did during World War II when obedience to the emperor and the claim that he was divine was used to prosecute the war. On the other hand, the myth of origin has also had a stabilizing effect, ensuring that ancient traditions such as respect for ancestors, for the land itself, and loyalty to the people of the nation, have survived through into modern times.

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 Princess Konohana-Sakuya. Among their three sons was Hikohohodemi no Mikoto, also called Yamasachi-hiko, who married Princess Toyotama. She was the daughter of Owatatsumi, the Japanese sea god and brother of Amaterasu. They had a single son called Hikonagisa Takeua Fukiaezu no Mikoto. The boy was abandoned by his parents at birth and consequently raised by Princess Tamayori, his mother's younger sister. They eventually married and had a total of four sons. The last of them became Emperor Jimmu. Amaterasu is credited with bringing order to Japan after its creation as a result of the cosmic union of male and female kami, or great spirits. Establishment of the imperial system is thus also linked with the concept of order. The universe, in Shinto thought, is in a constant state of progress away from chaos towards order. Order, and progress, can be aided by the cooperation of people with good Kami against evil kami who intrude from outside. Obedience to or at least reverence for the Emperor would become an essential aspect of this worldview. So would reverence for ancestors, for tradition, for family, love of nature and a deep sense of loyalty to the people of the nation, who are "one big family."
However, since the Japanese people are, according to the myth of origins, also descended from kami, a special bond exists between people, the land and the emperor:
Great Japan is the divine land. The heavenly progenitor founded it, and the sun goddess bequeathed it to her descendants to rule eternally. Only in our country is this true; there are no similar examples in other nations. This is why our country is called the divine land.


Whether myth, or based on a real early or even first ruler of Japan, Jimmu has an honored place in Japanese tradition. The idea of a special bond between ruler, land and people helped to make governance more stable. During the periods of military rule, when Shoguns exercised power, the Emperor was still revered and remained, at least theoretically, the sovereign. Such was the respect for the institution which, according to the myth of origin, began with Jimmu, that overturning this was unthinkable.

Thank you for reading.
With respect: Shiro
                                                                         Note: Tomorrow article-Emperors and Empresses (part2)


Comments (6)

Big vote. Interesting article. Proceed with writings about Japan history please Smile
Will do sir.I found it very interesting as well so i decided to write all the way till modern age Laugh
V Thank you Smile
Nice article shiro since we are at peace now it is great to see and understand different cultures. Keep up the good work