Emperor Ōjin

, or rather Ōjin ōkimi was the 15th imperial ruler of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. No firm dates can be assigned to this emperor's life or reign. Ōjin is regarded by historians as possibly a "legendary emperor" because of the paucity of information about him, which does not necessarily imply that no such person ever existed. Rather, scholars can only lament that, at this time, there is insufficient material available for further verification and study.

It is somewhat probable that he (or the chieftain upon whose life the legend about Ōjin is built) flourished in early 5th century.

Ōjin is his Chinese-style posthumous name. His real name was Homutawake or Hondawake (誉田別).

He is the earliest historical emperor. He has been deified as Hachiman Daimyōjin, regarded as the guardian of warriors. The Hata Clan considered him their guardian Kami.

According to the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki, Ōjin was the son of the Emperor Chūai and his consort Jingū. As Chūai died before Ōjin's birth, his mother Jingū became the de facto ruler. The legend, presumably concocted much later, alleged that the boy Ōjin was conceived but unborn when Chūai died. His widow, Jingū, then spent three years in conquest of a promised land, which is conjectured to be Korea, but the story is largely dismissed by scholars for lack of evidence. Then, after her return to Japanese islands, the boy was born, three years after the death of the father. Either a period of less than nine months contained three "years" (some seasons), e.g. three harvests, or the paternity is just mythical and symbolic, rather than real. Ōjin was born (in 200 according to the traditional, but untrustworthy TC date, timetable; realistically sometime in the late 300's) in Tsukushi on the return of his mother from the invasion of the promised land and named him Prince Hondawake. He became the crown prince at the age of four. He was crowned (in 270) at the age of 70 and reigned for 40 years until his death in 310, although none of the TC dates around his reign have any historical basis. He supposedly lived in two palaces both of which are in present day Osaka.

He was recorded as the father of Emperor Nintoku, who became Ōjin's successor.


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