Emperor Yōmei

Emperor Yōmei (用明天皇 Yōmei-tennnō) (died 587) was the 31st emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. He ruled from 585 until his death in 587.

He was called Tachibana no Toyohi no Mikoto (橘豊日尊) in the Nihonshoki. He was also referred to as and after the palace in which he lived. He acceded to the throne after the death of his half brother, Emperor Bidatsu.


Emperor Yōmei was the fourth son of Emperor Kimmei and his mother was Soga no Kitashihime, a daughter of Soga no Iname.

In 586, Emperor Yōmei took his half-sister , whose mother was another of Iname's daughters, as his consort. Princess Hashihito no Anahobe bore him five sons, including Prince Shotoku, who would later become crown prince and regent to Empress Suiko. In addition, the Nihon Shoki records that Emperor Yōmei also had three concubines.

Yomei had three Empresses and seven Imperial sons and daughters.

Yōmei's son, Prince Umayado, is also known as Prince Shōtoku.

Events of Yōmei's life

The influential courtiers from Emperor Bidatsu's reign, Mononobe no Moriya, also known as Mononobe Yuge no Moriya no Muraji or as Ō-muraji Yuge no Moriya, and Soga no Umako no Sukune, both remained in their positions during the reign of Emperor Yōmei. Umako was the son of Sogo Iname no Sukune, and therefore, he would have been one of Emperor Yōmei's cousins.

  • 586: In the 14th year of Bidatsu-tennō's reign (敏達天皇14年), he died; and the succession (‘‘senso’’) was received by his younger brother. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Yōmei is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).

Emperor Yōmei's reign lasted only two years; and he died at the age of 69.

  • 587, in the 4th month: Yōmei died and his body was placed in a coffin, but not buried.
  • 587, in the 5th month: Armed conflict over the succession erupted. Shintoist, anti-Buddhist forces of Yuge no Moriya no Muraji (also known as Ō-muraji Yuge no Moriya) battled unsuccessfully against the pro-Buddhist forces of Prince Shōtoku and Soga Umako no Sukune. The opposition to Buddhism was entirely destroyed.
  • 587, in the 7th month: The body of former Emperor Yōmei was buried.

Because of the brevity of his reign, Emperor Yōmei wasn't responsible for any radical changes in policy, but his support of Buddhism created tension with supporters of Shintoism who opposed the introduction of Buddhism. Moriya, the most influential supporter of Shintoism, conspired with Emperor Yōmei's brother, Prince Anahobe, and after Emperor Yomei's death they made an abortive attempt to seize the throne. Although Emperor Yōmei is reported to have died from illness, this incident and the brevity of his reign have led some to speculate that he was actually assassinated by Moriya and Prince Anahobe.


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