Emperor Temmu

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Emperor Temmu (天武天皇 Tenmu-tennō?, c. 631 — October 1, 686)[1] was the 40th emperor of Japan,[2] according to the traditional order of succession.[3]

Temmu's reign lasted from 672 until his death in 686.[4]


Traditional narrative

Temmu was the youngest son of Emperor Jomei and Empress Saimei, and the younger brother of the Emperor Tenji. His name at birth was Prince Ōama (大海人皇子:Ōama no ōji). He was succeeded by Empress Jitō, who was both his niece and his wife. During the reign of his elder brother, Emperor Tenji, Temmu was forced to marry several of Tenji's daughters because Tenji thought those marriages would help to strengthen political ties between the two brothers. The nieces he married included Princess Unonosarara, today known as the Empress Jitō, and Princess Ōta. Temmu also had other consorts whose fathers were influential courtiers.

Temmu had many children, including his crown prince Kusakabe by Princess Unonosarara; Princess Tōchi; Prince Ōtsu and Princess Ōku by Princess Ōta (whose father also was Tenji); and Prince Toneri, the editor of Nihonshoki and father of Emperor Junnin. Through Prince Kusakabe, Temmu had two emperors and two empresses among his descendents. Empress Shōtoku was the last of these imperial rulers from his lineage.

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