AS201 Japan: Age of the Gods/Kojiki Myths

Plain of High Heaven =Takamagahara

Izanagi (Male) and Izanami (Female) Deities

give birth to many deities, including the brother and sister:

Amaterasu-no-Omikoto (Sun Goddess) and

Susu-no-O (Storm God)


Ninigi-no-mikoto, Amaterasu's Grandson

Given 3 Sacred Treasures: Mirror, Sword, Jewels

and told to "Pacify the Land"


Ninigi's Grandson allegedly becomes Japan's first emperor, Emperor Jimmu or Jimmu tennô, as he is called later...but Jimmu is not historically verifiable;


and he definitely did not emerge as a ruler in 660 BC!! 9/8=5

660 BCE was still late Neolithic times in the Japanese archipelago--no agriculture, no large communities, no social stratification, no elites, no elaborate burial mounds--pretty much an egalitarian hunting, gathering, foraging socviety.



Perhaps Emperor Sujin is first verifiable ruler but most likely he ruled in the Third Century AD, 219-249, not 97-30 BC as official chronology would have it. As Kidder notes, "The construction of large mounded tombs in Japan is too coincidental with the break up of the Han dynasty (AD 220) not to be related. Some mound builders are undoubtedly among the new migrants, but without doubt, by the end of the Yayoi period, tribal groups had coalesced under security needs, the power of chieftans had become greatly inflated with land acquisitions and access to or control of metal resources, and the chieftans or their associates had gained stature by exercising their special relationship to the kami. This last was a view promoted by the rising professional class of diviners. Collections of tribes in the major population centers of north Kyushu, Izumo, Kibi, and the Kinki were under Yamato pressure to join the larger confederacy. The Wa then got their first chief among chieftans (Ôkimi), called Sujin tennô by later writers. All of this centralization of power set the stage for the building of the tombs." (J. Edward Kidder, Himiko and Japan's Elusive Chiefdom, p. 274) And later he writes: "Princess Yamato-totohi-momoso, the aunt of Emperor Sujin, the female shaman to whom the Hashikaka Tomb is attributed, fits the time period in my view." (281)

So Kidder would place Princess Himiko in the thriving Makimuku community where the first mounded tombs were built and what must have been the most thriving politial commmunity of its day, as well as the hub of a substantial trading network. (Ibid.)

Gina Barnes fundamentally agrees with Kidder that the Makimuku and later Miwa courts were constituted on the basis of ritual authority, hence the role of a shaman priestess would be central. She concludes, as does Kidder, that probably the Yamatai location mentioned in the Wei Chronicles and the female ruler Himiko can be equated with Princess Yamato who was related to the Sujin line of rulers who built tombs in the southwestern Nara Basin, and is the person buried in the Hashihaka Tomb.

Also, an online site points out that Critical analysis of Japanese, Chinese and Korean history books and some of the scripts originating form contemporary relics, researchers have come to a plausible theory that Emperor Sujin, the 10th emperor mentioned by Nihon Shoki, must have been the real founder of Japan. A monumental burial mound of Emperor Sujin still exists in Yanagimoto in the south-east area of Nara Basin or Yamato Basin. It was built in the first half of the fourth century AD.

The Hokenoyama kofun was built in the middle of 3rd century and is one of the tumuli of its type. . .Scholars share the view that these tumuli belong to the Yamato state under the first Emperors. But, to the south of Emperor Sujin's grave, in the Makimuku area, there are several older graves of the same shape, the oldest of them was built already in the second century AD, but with a particular design common only to those old mounds, and many people wonder whether the largest of those graves might belong to Himiko.

Anyhow, the latest discoveries in Makimuku, the neighborhood of those old graves, indicate that there was a large settlement with monumental constructions in the third century. Many people believe that the long lasting discussion, whether Himiko's "Yamatai" existed in North Kyushu or in Kinki District, came to an end with the conclusion that Himiko lived in Nara Basin and not in North Kyushu.

However, it is clear that the Japanese state or polity began its existence in the fourth century with its power center on the Eastern fringe of Nara Basin. There are at least four huge tumuli around here and they must belong to the kings from that time. They are "Hashihaka", "Nishi-Tonozuka", "Andon-Yama" (Grave of the first Emperor Sujin) and "Shibuya-Mukaiyama" (Grave of the third (or second) Emperor Keikou). If we agree that Emperors Sujin and Keikou were buried in the two newer tumuli, the question remains as to which kings were buried in the other two older tumuli.

Name Time of construction Length Height Burried person
Hashihaka Second half of 3C 278 30 Himiko?
Nishi-Tonozuka Late 3C or early 4C 234

Andon-Yama First half of 4C 242 23 Emperor Sujin
Shibuya-Mukaiyama Second half of 4C 310 23 Emperor Keikou


Adapted from:


Ojin Tenno 270-310, some 20 years later, might be a better candidate for the earliest Japanese monarch; he might have been a renegade Puyo aristocrat who came over from Paekche or Koguryo and took over the Sujin line and moved its base from Kyushu to the Yamato Plain


or even


Yuryaku tenno from 456-479 AD or possibly even as late as


Keitai Tenno 507-531 is the first of the monarchs to rule at the Asuka Court or palace, an historically verifable site. Possibly, he came to power AFTER the early Japanese state had formed and it was hi-jacked by people with superior military technology and state-building experience...possibly an immigrant group from the Korean Peninsula.