Emperor Keikō

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Emperor Keikō (景行天皇, Keikō-tennō?); also known as Ootarashihikooshirowake no Sumeramikoto, was the 12th, 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 71-130.[3]

Contents

Legendary narrative

Keikō is regarded by historians as a "legendary emperor" because of the paucity of information about him, which does not necessarily imply that no such person ever existed. There is insufficient material available for further verification and study.[4] The reign of Emperor Kimmei (509-571), the 29th emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, is the first for which contemporary historiography are able to assign verifiable dates;[5] however, the conventionally accepted names and dates of the early emperors were not to be confirmed as "traditional" until the reign of Emperor Kammu (737–806), the 50th sovereign of the Yamato dynasty.[6] The name Keikō-tennō was assigned to him posthumously by later generations.[citation needed]

His legend was recorded in Kojiki and Nihonshoki, but the accounts of him are different in these two sources. In Kojiki he sent his son Yamatotakeru to Kyūshū to conquer local tribes. In Nihonshoki Keikō himself went there and won battles against local tribes. According to both sources, he sent Yamatotakeru to Izumo province and eastern provinces to conquer the area and spread his territory.[7]

According to traditional sources, Yamato Takeru died in the 43rd year of Emperor Keiko's reign (景行天皇43年).[8] The possessions of the dead prince were gathered together along with the sword Kusanagi; and his widow venerated his memory in a shrine at her home. Sometime later, these relics and the sacred sword were moved to the current location of the Atsuta Shrine.[9] Nihonshoki explains that this move occurred in the 51st year of Keiko's reign, but shrine tradition also dates this event in the 1st year of Emperor Chūai's reign.[10]

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