Emperor Ōjin

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Emperor Ōjin (応神天皇 Ōjin-tennō?), also known as Homutawake or Hondawake (誉田別?), was the 15th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

No firm dates can be assigned to this emperor's life or reign, but he is conventionally considered to have reigned from 270-310.[3]


Legendary narrative

Ōjin is regarded by historians as a "legendary emperor". The name Ōjin Tennō was assigned to him posthumously by later generations. Ōjin is also identified by some as the earliest "historical" emperor.[4]

According to the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki, Ōjin was the son of the Emperor Chūai and his consort Jingū. As Chūai died before Ōjin's birth, his mother Jingū became the de facto ruler. The legend, presumably concocted much later, alleged that the boy Ōjin was conceived but unborn when Chūai died. His widow, Jingū, then spent three years in conquest of a promised land, which is conjectured to be Korea, but the story is largely dismissed by scholars for lack of evidence. Then, after her return to Japanese islands, the boy was born, three years after the death of the father.

Either a period of less than nine months contained three "years" (some seasons), e.g. three harvests, or the paternity is just mythical and symbolic, rather than real. Ōjin was born (in 200 according to the traditional, but untrustworthy TC date, timetable; realistically sometime in the late 4th century) in Tsukushi on the return of his mother from the invasion of the promised land and named him Prince Hondawake. He became the crown prince at the age of four. He was crowned (in 270) at the age of 70 and reigned for 40 years until his death in 310, although none of the TC dates around his reign have any historical basis. He supposedly lived in two palaces both of which are in present day Osaka.

Ōjin was traditionally identified as the father of Emperor Nintoku, who acceded after Ōjin's death.[5] Ōjin has been deified as Hachiman Daimyōjin, regarded as the guardian of warriors. The Hata Clan considered him their guardian Kami.

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