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Emperor Bidatsu

Emperor Bidatsu

Emperor Bidatsu (敏達天皇, Bidatsu Tennō), born in 538 and died in 585 of smallpox, was the thirtieth emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, and ruled from 572 to 585.

Emperor Bidatsu Genealogy

Before his accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (iminia) was Wosada Nunakura Futo Damashiki no Mikado.

His personal name, according to the Nihon shoki, was Nunakura Futo Damashiki.

Bidatsu was the second son of emperor Kinmei by his consort Ishi-hime (Iwahime), daughter of emperor Senka.

Empresses and consorts

Emperor Bidatsu had six sons and ten daughters, with four wives:

princess Hiro Hime, daughter of prince Mate no Okinaga; empress in 572; died in 575; of whom he had:
  • princess Sakanobori ;
  • princess Uji no Shitsukahi ;
  • prince Oshisako no Hikohito no Oe, born around 556, married to princess Ohomata (Ohotomo), his aunt, daughter of emperor Kinmei and Soga no Kitashi-Hime, from whom he had a son and a daughter; to princess Nukate-hime (his half-sister), from whom he had three sons; and to princess Woharida (his half-sister), from whom he had a son and a daughter :
  • first son: prince Chinu, born c. 575 and married to princess Kibitsu-hime, from whom he had two children: princess Takara (future empress Kōgyoku), born 594, and prince Karu (future emperor Kōtoku);
  • first daughter: princess Kuhada ;
  • second son: prince Tamura (emperor Jomei), born 593 ;
  • third son: prince Nakatsu ;
  • fourth son : prince Tara ;
  • fifth son : prince Yamashiro ;
  • second daughter : princess Kasanuhi ;
Ominako no Iratsume (Kusu Kimi no Iratsuko), daughter of Kasuga no Nakatsu Kimi no Omi; second imperial consort, of whom he had four children:
  • prince Naniha ;
  • prince Kasuga ;
  • princess Kuwada ;
  • prince Ohomata ;
Unako no Otoshi (Wo-Umako no Iratsume), daughter of Ohoka no Obito no Okuma; third imperial consort, of whom he had two children:
  • princess Futohime (princess Sakurawi) ;
  • princess Nukate Hime (princess Takara or Tamura), born in 570, married to prince Oshisaka no Hikohito no Oe, her half-brother;
princess Nukatabe, born in 553, daughter of emperor Kinmei by Soga no Kitashi hime, imperial consort; empress in 576 (empress Suiko), died in 628; of whom he had seven children:
  • princess Uji no Shitsukahi (Uji no Kahitako, born 570, married to prince Shōtoku, son of emperor Yōmei and empress Anahobe;
  • prince Takeda;
  • princess Woharida, born 572, married to her half-brother Oshizaka no Hikohito no Oe ;
  • princess Umori (Karu no Mori) ;
  • prince Wohari ;
  • princess Tame, married to her nephew emperor Jomei ;
  • princess Sakurawi no Yumihari.

Biography of Emperor Bidatsu

He was appointed crown prince by his father Kinmei, and took the throne a few days after his father's death. His reign saw two empresses succeed each other. The first one, Hirohime, died in the fifth year of his reign.

To replace her, he raised one of his concubines, princess Nukatabe, to the rank of empress. This one is his half-sister by their father Kinmei. She later became the first reigning empress under the name of Suiko.

At his accession to the throne, he appointed Mononobe Yuge no Moriya no Muraji, son of Mononobe no Ogosi, regent of the empire, and Soga no Moumako, son of Soga-no Iname, prime minister.

Soon after, the emperor built a new palace in Osada no Miya of Iware in the province of Yamato. Several Buddha images and prayer books were sent to him from Hiaksai and Silla/Sinra, but although he liked Chinese literature, he did not favor Buddhist doctrine.

His nephew, Umayado no ōji (Prince Shōtoku Taishi) and the prime minister, Soga no Umako, were very attached to this religion.

At this time, the plague returned. Mononobe no Moriya, regent of the empire, having learned that Umako followed the religion of Buddha, convinced the emperor that this doctrine should be repudiated.

The monarch having agreed to this, Lord Mononobe went to the temple and destroyed it.

Bidatsu reigned during a period of great tension between the Soga and Mononobe clans over the acceptance of Buddhism in Japan.

In foreign affairs, he tried to restore Japanese influence in Korea, without much success. According to the Nihon shoki, his court established relations with the Korean kingdoms of Paekche and Silla.

Although he had many children, none of them became emperor: after him two of his brothers, Yōmei and Sushun, then his wife and half-sister Suiko, then his grandson Jomei, ascended the throne.

A letter written on raven feathers was then received from the country of Kōkuli (Goguyeo, located partly in Manchuria and modern Korea);

no one being able to read it, Ō-chin-ni held it on steam from cooked rice, which moistened the feathers, so that the letters appeared; pressing it on a piece of silk, by this means it was succeeded in being read.


  • Soga Umako no Sukune
  • Mononobe Yuge no Moriya no Muraji