Emperor Yōmei

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Emperor Yōmei (用明天皇 Yōmei-tennō?, 518–587) was the 31st emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Yōmei's reign spanned the years from 585 until his death in 587.[3]


Traditional narrative

He was called Tachibana no Toyohi no Mikoto (橘豊日尊) in the Nihonshoki. He was also referred to as Prince Ōe (大兄皇子 Ōe no Miko?, literally crown prince) and Prince Ikebe (池辺皇子 Ikebe no Miko?) after the palace in which he lived. He acceded to the throne after the death of his half brother, Emperor Bidatsu.

The influential courtiers from Emperor Bidatsu's reign, Mononobe no Moriya, also known as Mononobe Yuge no Moriya no Muraji or as Ō-muraji Yuge no Moriya, and Soga no Umako no Sukune, both remained in their positions during the reign of Emperor Yōmei. Umako was the son of Sogo Iname no Sukune, and therefore, he would have been one of Emperor Yōmei's cousins.

  • 586: In the 14th year of Bidatsu-tennō 's reign (敏達天皇14年), he died; and the succession (senso) was received by his younger brother. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Yōmei is said to have acceded to the throne (sokui).[4]

Yōmei'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, Yōmei might have been referred to as (ヤマト大王/大君) or the "Great King of Yamato."

Emperor Yōmei's reign lasted only two years; and he died at the age of 69.[5]

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