Empress Suiko

Empress of Japan from 592 to 628

Empress Suiko (推古天皇, Suiko-tennō) (554–628) was the 33rd Emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2] Her reign started in 593 and ended in 628.[3] Historians consider details about the life of Empress Suiko to be possibly legendary, but probable.[4] The name Suiko-tennō was created for her posthumously by later generations.

Empress of Japan
Reign593–15 April 628
Shinaga no Yamada no misasagi (Osaka)

The conventionally accepted names and sequence of the early emperors were not to be confirmed as "traditional" until the reign of Emperor Kammu, who was the 50th monarch of the Yamato dynasty.[5]

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

Traditional history


Suiko was the third daughter of Emperor Kimmei. She was the half-sister of Emperor Yōmei and Emperor Sushun.

Suiko was also a wife of Emperor Bidatsu.

Events of Suiko's life


When Suiko became empress, she ended a power struggle for the throne after the deaths of emperors who were her brothers.

Prince Shōtoku was the most important man in Suko's court.

In 599, an earthquake destroyed buildings in Yamato province which is now known as Nara Prefecture.[8]

The reign of this empress was marked by the opening of relations with the Sui court in 600.

The use of the Sexegenary cycle calendar (Jikkan Jūnishi) in Japan is credited to Empress Suiko in 604.[9]

  • 604: In the 12 year of Suiko's reign (the Suiko period), Japan organized its earliest Imperial calendar.[10]

Suiko ruled for 35 years. She abdicated in 628.[11]

After her death

Memorial Shinto shrine and mausoleum honoring Empress Suiko.

Suiko died in 628.[11] This empress' official name after her death (her posthumous name) was regularized only after death. Her reign name means "to reason from antiquity."[12]

The actual site of Suiko's grave is known.[1] This empress is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) at Osaka.[1]

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Suiko's mausoleum. It is formally named Shinaga no Yamada no misasagi.[13]



The chrysanthemum symbol of the Japanese emperor and his family.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 推古天皇 (33)
  2. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 48.
  3. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 39-42; Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 263-264; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 126-129; Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric et al. (2002). "Traditional order of Tennō" in Japan encyclopedia, pp. 962-963.
  4. Kelly, Charles F. "Kofun Culture," Japanese Archaeology. April 27, 2009; retrieved 2011-10-18.
  5. Aston, William George. (1896). Nihongi, pp. 109.
  6. Titsingh, p. 39; Brown, pp. 263-264; Varley, p. 126-127.
  7. Varley, p. 44; compare Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō), Ceremony of Accession (Sokui-no-Rei); retrieved 2011-12-23.
  8. Hammer, Joshua. (2006). Yokohama Burning: The Deadly 1923 Earthquake and Fire that Helped Forge the Path to World War II, p. 62-63.
  9. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Jikkan Jūnishi" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 420.
  10. National Diet Library (NDL), "The Japanese Calendar", "Calendar history/The Source"; NengoCalc, "(596) 推古 Suiko" Archived 2016-08-13 at the Wayback Machine; online conversion of Japanese dates into their Western equivalents. based on tables from Paul Yachita Tsuchihashi. (1952). Japanese Chronological Tables from 601 to 1872 A. D. (邦暦西暦対照表) and Reinhard Zöllner (2003), Japanische Zeitrechnung; retrieved 2012-11-14.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Nussbaurm, "Suiko Tennō" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 910.
  12. Aston, William George. (1895), Nihongi, p. 121.
  13. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 420.

Other websites


  Media related to Empress Suiko at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Emperor Sushun
Empress of Japan

Succeeded by
Emperor Jomei