Emperor Richū

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Emperor Richū (履中天皇 Richū-tennō?) was the 17th 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 400-405.[3]


Legendary narrative

Richū is considered to have ruled the country during the early-5th century, but there is a paucity of information about him. There is insufficient material available for further verification and study.

According to Nihonshoki and Kojiki, Richū was the eldest son of Emperor Nintoku.

Richū's contemporary title would not have been tennō, as most historians believe this title was not introduced until the reigns of Emperor Tenmu and Empress Jitō. Rather, it was presumably Sumeramikoto or Amenoshita Shiroshimesu Ōkimi (治天下大王), meaning "the great king who rules all under heaven." Alternatively, Richū might have been referred to as (ヤマト大王/大君) or the "Great King of Yamato."

Some scholars identify him with King San in the Book of Song. King San sent messengers to the Song Dynasty at least twice in 421 and 425.[4]

Richū succumbed to disease in his sixth year of reign. His tomb is in Kawachi province, in the middle of present-day Osaka prefecture. He was succeeded by his younger brother Emperor Hanzei. None of his sons succeeded to the throne, although two grandsons would eventually ascend as Emperor Kenzō and as Emperor Ninken.

The actual site of Richū's grave is not known.[1] This emperor is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) in Sakai, Osaka.

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Richū's mausoleum. It is formally named Mozu no mimihara no minami no misasagi.[5] It is also identified as the Kami Ishizu Misanzai kofun (上石津ミサンザイ古墳).

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