Emperor Chūai

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Emperor Chūai (仲哀天皇 Chūai-tennō?); also known as Tarashinakatsuhiko no Sumeramikoto; was the 14th 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 192-200.[3]

Contents

Legendary narrative

Chūai is regarded by historians as a "legendary emperor". According to the Kojiki and Nihonshoki, he was the father of Emperor Ōjin. Ōjin is generally believed to have existed, based on archaeological evidence;[4] but details of his life are scant.

Chūai's father was Yamato Takeru, whose story is problematic. Chūai is also said to have been a grandson of Emperor Keikō, a Yamato monarch. Chūai's wife was Jingū.

According to these same legends, his wife was suddenly possessed by some unknown gods. The gods promised Emperor Chūai rich lands overseas. Chūai then looked to the sea, but he could see nothing and denounced his belief in the promises of the gods. The gods were enraged by this and declared that he would die and never receive the promised land. Instead they would go to his conceived but unborn son. The legend then states that Chūai died soon after and his widow, Jingū, conquered the promised land, which is conjectured to be part of modern day Korea. According to one version of the legend, Chūai's son was born three years after the death of Chūai, which lends further support to the notion that the stories surrounding him are based on myth rather than actual events. This legend also has many other flaws (it claims that Jingū was flown into the middle of the promised land and then conquered into Japan) which have largely discredited the story among historians.[5]

The actual site of Chūai's grave is not known.[1] This emperor is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) at Nara.

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Chūai's mausoleum. It is formally named Ega no Naganu no nishi no misasagi.[6]

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