Empress Suiko

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Empress Suiko (推古天皇 Suiko-tennō (554–April 15, 628?) was the 33rd emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Suiko's reign spanned the years from 593 until her death in 628.[3]

In the history of Japan, Suiko was the first of eight women to take on the role of empress regnant. The seven women sovereigns reigning after Suiko were: (a) Kōgyoku/Saimei, (b) Jitō, (c) Gemmei, (d) Genshō, (e) Kōken/Shōtoku, (f) Meishō, and (g) Go-Sakuramachi.

Contents

Traditional narrative

Before her ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, her personal name (her imina)[4] was Mikekashiya-hime-no-mikoto.,[5] also called Toyomike Kashikiya hime no Mikoto.[6]

Empress Suiko had several names including Princess Nukatabe and (possibly posthumous) Toyomike Kashikiya. She was the third daughter of Emperor Kimmei. Her mother was Soga no Iname's daughter, Soga no Kitashihime. Suiko was the younger sister of Emperor Yōmei. They had the same mother.

Events of Suiko's life

Empress Suiko was a consort to her half-brother, Emperor Bidatsu, but after Bidatsu's first wife died she became his official consort and was given the title Ōkisaki (official consort of the emperor). She bore two sons and three daughters.

After Bidatsu's death, Suiko's brother, Emperor Yōmei, came to power for a brief period of about two years before dying of illness. Upon Yōmei's death, another power struggle arose between the Soga clan and the Mononobe clan, with the Sogas supporting Prince Hatsusebe and the Mononobes supporting Prince Anahobe. The Sogas prevailed once again and Prince Hatsusebe acceded to the throne as Emperor Sushun in 587. However, Sushun began to resent the power of Soga no Umako, the head of the Soga clan, and Umako, perhaps out of fear that Sushun might strike first, had him assassinated by Yamatoaya no Ataikoma (東漢直駒?) in 592. When asked to accede to the throne to fill the power vacuum that subsequently developed, Suiko became the first of what would be several examples in Japanese history where a woman was chosen to accede to the throne to avert a power struggle.

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