Emperor Tenji

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Emperor Tenji (天智天皇 Tenji-tennō?, 626 – January 7, 671), also known as Emperor Tenchi, was the 38th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Tenji's reign spanned the years from 661 through 671.[3]


Traditional narrative

He was the son of Emperor Jomei, but was preceded as ruler by his mother Empress Saimei.

Prior to his accession, he was known as Prince Naka-no-Ōe (中大兄皇子 Naka-no-Ōe no Ōji?).

Events of Tenji's life

As prince, Naka no Ōe played a crucial role in ending the near-total control the Soga clan had over the imperial family. In 644, seeing the Soga continue to gain power, he conspired with Nakatomi no Kamatari and Soga no Kurayamada no Ishikawa no Maro to assassinate Soga no Iruka in what has come to be known as the Isshi Incident. Although the assassination did not go exactly as planned, Iruka was killed, and his father and predecessor, Soga no Emishi, committed suicide soon after. Following the Isshi Incident, Iruka's adherents dispersed largely without a fight, and Naka no Ōe was named heir apparent. He also married the daughter of his ally Soga no Kurayamada, thus ensuring that a significant portion of the Soga clan's power was on his side.

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