Emperor Bidatsu

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Emperor of Japan
Reign572 –585 (traditional)
Born538 (traditional)
Died585 (traditional)
Kawachi no Shinaga no naka no o no misasagi (Osaka)

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

The years of reign of Bidatsu start in 572 and end in 585; however, there are no certain dates for this emperor's life or reign.[3] The names and sequence of the early emperors were not confirmed as "traditional" until the reign of Emperor Kammu, who was the 50th monarch of the Yamato dynasty.[4]

Traditional history[change | change source]

Historians consider details about the life of Emperor Bidatsu to be possibly legendary, but probable.[5] The name Bidatsu-tennō was created for him posthumously by later generations.

He was the second son of Emperor Kimmei. His mother, Ishi-hime, was a daughter of Emperor Senka.[6]

His palace in Yamato Province was called Osada no Miya of Iware.[6]

Although he had many children, none of them would ever become emperor.[7] According to Gukanshō, Bidatsu had four empresses and 16 Imperial children (6 sons and 10 daughters).[6]

Events of Bidatsu's life[change | change source]

In the 15th year of Kimmei's reign, Bidatsu was named Crown Prince.[6]

In the 32nd year of Kimmei's reign (572), the emperor died; and his successor was Bidatsu.[8] This was confirmed in ceremonies.[9]

Bidatsu's reign was marked by power struggles about Buddhism. The two most important men in the court of Bidatsu were Soga no Umako and Mononobe no Moriya.[8] Soga supported the growth of Buddhism, and Moriya wanted to stop it.[10]

Bidatsu suffered from an unknown disease which afflicted him with sores. Probably, he was the first royal victim of smallpox in Japan.[11]

In the 14th year of Bidatsu's reign (585), he died;[12] and the succession (senso) were passed to his younger half-brother who became known as Emperor Yōmei.[13]

After his death[change | change source]

According to the Imperial Household Agency, the emperor's final resting place is in an earthen tumulus (kofun). Bidatsu is venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) which is associated with the burial mound.[1]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

The chrysanthemum symbol of the Japanese emperor and his family.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō), 敏達天皇 (30); retrieved 2013-1-31.
  2. Brown, Delmer. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 262-263; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki. pp. 124-125; Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 36-37.
  3. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2002). "Traditional order of Tennō" at pp. 962-963; excerpt, "dates ... should be treated with caution up to Emperor Bidatsu Tennō, the thirtieth on the list."
  4. Aston, William George. (1896). Nihongi, p. 109 n1.
  5. Kelly, Charles F. "Kofun Culture," Japanese Archaeology. April 27, 2009; retrieved 2013-1-31.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Brown, p. 262.
  7. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959) The Imperial House of Japan, p. 46.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Titsingh, p. 36.
  9. Varley, p. 44; compare Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō), Ceremony of Accession (Sokui-no-Rei); retrieved 2013-1-31.
  10. Brown, pp. 262-263.
  11. Hopkins, Donald R. (2002). The Greatest Killer, pp. 105-106.
  12. Martin, Peter. (1997). The Chrysanthemum Throne: a history of the Emperors of Japan, p. 35.
  13. Brown, p. 263; Varley, p. 125; Titsingh, p. 37.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Kimmei
Emperor of Japan:

Succeeded by
Emperor Yōmei