Empress Jitō

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Jitō
Hyakuninisshu 002.jpg
Reign686–697
Born645
Died703
Place of deathFujiwara-kyō, Japan
BuriedHinokuma-no-Ōuchi no misasagi (Nara)
PredecessorTemmu
SuccessorMommu

Empress Jitō (持統天皇, Jitō-tennō, 645 – December 22, 702) was the 41st Emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Jitō's reign started in 686 and ended in 697.[3] Historians consider details about the life of Empress Jitō to be possibly legendary, but probable.[4] The name Jitō-tennō was created for him posthumously by later generations.

The conventionally accepted names and sequence of the early emperors were not to be confirmed as "traditional" until the reign of Emperor Kammu, who was the 50th monarch of the Yamato dynasty.[5]

In the history of Japan, Jitō was the third of eight women to be empress. The two female monarchs before Jitō were (a) Suiko and (b) Kōgyoku/Saimei. The five women monarchs after Jitō were (c) Gemmei, (d) Genshō, (e) Kōken/Shōtoku, (f) Meishō, and (g) Go-Sakuramachi.

Traditional narrative[change | change source]

Before she became the monarch, this princess's personal name (imina) was Unonosarara or Unonosasara (鸕野讚良), or alternately Uno.[6]

Princess Uno was the daughter of Emperor Tenji and she was the wife of Emperor Temmu, who was Tenji's brother.[7]

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

In this period, the court and the government was centered at Fujiwara Palace in Yamato.[7]

Memorial Shinto shrine and mausoleum honoring Empress Jitō

After her death[change | change source]

The actual site of Jitō's grave is known.[1] This empress is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) at Nara.

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Jitō's mausoleum. It is formally named Ochi-no-Okanoe no misasagi.[13]

Poetry[change | change source]

The Man'yōshū includes a waka poem said to have been composed by Jitō

After the death of the Emperor Temmu[14]
Oh, the autumn foliage
Of the hill of Kamioka![15]
My good Lord and Sovereign
Would see it in the evening
And ask of it in the morning.
On that very hill from afar
I gaze, wondering
If he sees it to-day,
Or asks of it to-morrow.
Sadness I feel at eve,
And heart-rending grief at morn --
The sleeves of my coarse-cloth robe
Are never for a moment dry.

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): 持統天皇 (41)
  2. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 54.
  3. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, p. 59; Brown, Delmer. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 269-270.
  4. Kelly, Charles F. "Kofun Culture," Japanese Archaeology. April 27, 2009; retrieved 2011-10-18.
  5. Aston, William George. (1896). Nihongi, pp. 109.
  6. Brown, p. 270.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Varley, H. Paul. Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 137.
  8. Titsingh, pp. 59–60; Brown, p. 270.
  9. Titsingh, p. 60; Brown, p. 270.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Titsingh, pp. 60.
  11. Varley, p. 44; a distinct act of senso is unrecognized prior to Emperor Tenji; and all sovereigns except Jitō, Yōzei, Go-Toba, and Fushimi have senso and sokui in the same year until the reign of Emperor Go-Murakami. Compare Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō), Ceremony of Accession (Sokui-no-Rei). Retrieved 2011-12-23.
  12. Titsingh, pp. 62.
  13. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 420.
  14. Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkōkai, (1940). Man'yōshū. p. 18; this waka is numbered 42.
  15. Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkōkai, p. 18 n1; this would be the so-called "Thunder Hill" in the village of Asuka near Nara.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Emperor Jitō at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Emperor Temmu
Empress of Japan:
Jitō

686–697
Succeeded by
Emperor Mommu