Japanese Emperors and Empresses

Tennō (天皇) is a Japanese word for the Emperor of Japan, the head of the Imperial Family.

There are a lot of people asking if the first nine Emperors of Japan were real and if they even existed.

Historians call the earlier monarchs as “legendary emperors” since they do not have enough materials to confirm if they were real or not.

Historians believed that the first valid reign that is in history books was the reign of Emperor Kinmei (509-571 AD).

After the reign of Emperor Kinmei, there was no Emperor that was ever recorded in books until Emperor Kanmu (737-806 AD) came.

Historians considered Empress Jingu as a mythical figure, or the whole story was just a hoax.

Who Was the Badass Onna-Bugeisha?

Most articles talk about male warriors and how they fought during the warring states era. A lot of articles talk about how the great male warriors were when there was a struggle of power among the leaders.

But, no one ever talked about the Onna-Bugeisha or the female warriors who belonged to the upper class of society.

The Onna-Bugeisha was a female martial artist who most commonly fought beside men. They were part of the Bushi class or the warriors who use weapons to protect their family. These women used Naginata, Kaiken, and Tanto to defend themselves as well as their village.

Among warriors, Empress Jingu, who lifted the status of women in Japan was one of the most impressive ones.

Empress was the great-grandchild of yet another ruler Emperor Kaika. Her mother was Empress Kazuraki no Takenaka, who is a descendant of Amenohiboko (天日槍), the legendary prince of Korea. Empress Jingu has Korean descent.

Although there is no proof on the dates, Empress- Regent Jingū was the ruling empress in 201–270 AD. Empress Regent Jingu was the ruling Empress of Japan as for over 69 years.

Empress Jingu was so popular since at a young age her intelligence and wisdom shone. Thus, in the second year of Emperor Chuai, she became the Empress.

Was the Empress Real or Not?

The evidence that Empress Jingu ruled, fought and conquered Korea was few. That is why many were asking if her invasion in Korea and her legendary existence was real. But one of the data (Scroll 9) showed that Empress Jingu existed.

The scroll showed the glimpse of the Empress, from how she became the leader and how she conquered Korea.  The scroll also said that she consulted with deities before making decisions. The data showed how her image emerged as the face of the woman who would appear in an old Japanese banknote in 1881.

Two other books also confirmed her existence; the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) and Nihon Shoki (Japanese Chronicles). But, historians can not fully confirm the accuracy of it since there were missing chapters in the book.

Chinese traders who were present during the invasion of Japan in Korea said that there was no Empress named Jingu during the war. But, there was a Shaman named Himiko, many believed that the tale of Jingu only came from the story of the Shaman Queen.

How Empress Jingu Conquered the Silla Peacefully?

The Empress consulted the deities for her decisions.

When Jingu became the Empress, her talent and intelligence did not go unnoticed, especially when her husband died on 6 February 200 AD at Kasihihi palace in Tsukushi when Kumaso, the rebels attacked them.

When the Emperor died, Empress Jingu was in so much pain and blamed the Emperor for not following the instructions of the deity.

But, the Empress wanted to continue the legacy of her husband, so she invaded more territories. She also set her journey looking for the precious jewel country called Silla.  Jingu the Empress brought her force to Silla, including her unborn child named Ojin.

When they arrived, she ordered the ministers and public officials to purify the place for she will establish a new palace called Iwai.

The Craftsmen Responsible for the Japanese Sword
Sekigahara: The Rise of the New Shogun
The Meiji Period – A Time of Change & a Future of Development

After the Emperor’s death, the Empress went to the palace of Iwai and asked the deities on who killed the Emperor, but no one responded.

But she did not give up; she even focused more on praising the deities and in return, they finally answered her question.

After she received the answer, she went to Silla and dispatched her soldiers to attack them. But there was a huge wave that wiped out the enemies; the Koreans had no other choice but to surrender.

Finally, the Empress Jingu was then recognized as the first leader who set the Japanese name in Korea.

The Death of the Hard-core Empress

In the 69th year on the 10th month, on the 15th day, the Empress died and entombed in Sakinotatanami tomb.

On this day, her tomb is in  Saki no Tatanami no ike no e no Misasagi, Nara, formerly Yamato province, the imperial household.

The Undying Legacy of the Empress

Although the Empress died a long time ago,  her image is still timeless until today.

In fact, in the year 1881, the Empress appeared on a Japanese banknote. But, there was no actual image of her since researchers were not able to gather enough evidence.

The Empress also appeared on a lot of artwork such as paintings, literature, sculptures and a lot more.

The Onna-Bugeisha became the inspiration of women not only lasted in the Edo era but also until today. The Empress portrayed different narratives and became the inspiration of modern women.

How Did She Manage to Win All of Her Wars?

Empress Jingu may be a legendary or mythical figure as historians have it, but she is the picture of a woman who fought the good fight.

The Empress has wisdom on when to use her sword and when to put down it.  She knows how to use diplomacy and practice sobriety against her opponents. The Empress has a heart for those enemies who surrendered and bowed to her.

The Empress consult her decisions to the deities before implementing it. Her words and wisdom were one of her charming characteristics. Many believed that the deities gave her the power to control the tides.

Without too much bloodshed, without killing her opponents, she wins her war. The Empress only targets the wealth of the country; once she conquered the land, she will make her enemies as their ally and make them as loyal warriors.

Her wise leadership skills gave her the power to conquer Silla and even earned the respect of her people.