Emperor Kammu

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Emperor Kammu (桓武天皇 Kanmu-tennō?, 737–806)[1] was the 50th emperor of Japan,[2] according to the traditional order of succession.[3]

Kammu's reign spanned the years from 781 through 806.[4]

Contents

Traditional narrative

Before Kammu's ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (imina) was Yamabe-shinnō (Yama-no Bu-no shinno).[5]

Yamabe was the eldest son of Prince Shirakabe, later Emperor Kōnin.[6] According to the Shoku Nihongi (続日本紀?), Yamabe's mother Yamato no Niigasa, later Takano no Niigasa, was a descendant of King Muryeong of Baekje.[7] Yamabe was born before his father ascended to the throne.

After his father, Kōnin, became emperor, Kammu's half-brother Prince Osabe was appointed to the rank of crown prince. His mother Princess Inoe was a daughter of Emperor Shōmu; but instead of Prince Osabe, it was Kammu who was later named to succeed their father. Princess Inoe and Prince Osabe died in durance in 775 and Prince Osabe's sister Princess Sakahito—Kammu's half-sister—became Kammu's wife.

Later, when he ascended to the throne, Kammu appointed his young brother, Prince Sawara, whose mother was Takano no Niigasa, as crown prince. Prince Sawara was later expelled and died in exile in 785.

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