Conference on the Succession
Emperor Jomei as the grandson of Emperor Bidatsu, the son of Imperial Prince Hikohito no Oe. His mother was called Imperial Princess Arate. In the 29th year of the reign of Empress Suiko, the crown prince Toyotomimi no Mikoto [Prince Shotoku] died. Afterwards no crown prince was decided.
In her 36th year, third month of her reign, the Empress died. In the ninth month, the funeral ceremonies finished. Still no heir had been decided.
At that time, Soga no Emishi no Omi was made Senior Minister and wanted to establish an heir himself, but looking back on the idea feared the ministers would not go along with it, and so he and Ahe no Maro no Omi held counsel together, and gathered all of the ministers, and had a banquet for them in the Senior Minister’s house. After they had finished eating and were going to disperse, the Senior Minister ordered Ahe no Omi to say to the ministers, “Now the Empress has died and there is no heir. If we do not make a plan quickly, the situation will be dreadful and there will be chaos. Now what prince should succeed? On the day the Empress fell ill, she proclaimed to Imperial Prince Tamura [Emperor Jomei], ‘The realm is a great assignment, and cannot be lightly spoken of. You, Imperial Prince Tamura, look carefully at things, and you cannot be leisurely about it.’ Then she said to Yamashiro no Oe, ‘You should not speak out with in fighting words on your own, but must follow the words of the ministers, and truly not be contentious.’ Thus the Empress willed. Now, who will become the Emperor?”
At that time, the ministers were quiet and did not respond. Again he asked, and they did not respond. Then he forcefully questioned them, and Otomo no Kujira no Muraji said, “We have heard the order from the Empress’ will, and now need not wait on the words of ministers.”
Then Ahe no Omi accordingly asked, “What say you? Open your heart more clearly.”
He replied, “The Empress said her thoughts, and proclaimed to Imperial Prince Tamura ‘The realm is a great assignment, and you cannot be leisurely about it.’ Therefore with these words, the succession is already decided. Who is against it?”
At that time Uneme no Omi Mareshi, Takamuka no Omi Uma, Nakatomi no Muraji Mike, and Naniwa no Kishi Musashi, the four of them all said, “We accord to the words of the Otomo no Muraji, and do not go against.”
Then Kose no Omi Omaro, Saeki no Muraji Azumahito, and Ki no Omi Shiote, the three of them said, “Imperial Prince Yamashiro no Oe should be be made Emperor.” Then Soga no Kuramaro no Omi (also called Omasa) said on his own, “I cannot now say, and will have to think it over.” Then the Senior Minister knew that the ministers’ opinions were not in agreement and that this would not succeed, and so retired.
Previously, the Senior Minister had privately asked Sakabe no Marise no Omi, “Now the Empress is dead, and there is no heir. Who should become Emperor?”
He answered, “Yamashiro no Oe should become the Emperor.”
Reply from Yamashiro no Oe
At that time, Yamashiro no Oe was in Ikaruga palace, and heard a leak about this conference, and dispatched two messengers, Prince Mikuni and Sakurai no Omi Wajiko, to secretly ask the Senior Minister, “According to rumor, uncle wants Imperial Prince Tamura to become the Emperor. I hear these words, and think and think about it, but cannot figure out the reason. I wish my uncle would let me know his thoughts clearly.”
Then, the Senior Minister got the message from Yamashiro no Oe, but could not reply on his own. Accordingly he summoned Ahe no Omi, Nakatomi no Muraji, Ki no Omi, Kawabe no Omi, Takamuka no Omi, Uneme no Omi, Otomo no Muraji, and Kose no Omi, and others, and told them the words of Yamashiro no Oe.
On top of that, he told the ministers, “You ministers together go to Ikaruga Palace and tell Imperial Prince Yamashiro no Oe ‘Why am I, lowly though I am, on my own trying to establish the succession? I only received the will of the late Empress, and told it to the myriad ministers. The myriad ministers all said that ‘If we do like the Empress willed, Imperial Prince Tamura should become the heir. Who says otherwise?’ This is what the myriad ministers said, not something of my own unique design. Of course I have my own private thoughts, however I am fearful and cannot pronounce it by message, but will say it to you directly.’”
Then all the ministers received the words of the Senior Minister and together went to Ikaruga Palace and made Prince Mikuni and Sakurai no Omi tell the words of the Senior Minister to Yamashiro no Oe. At that time Yamashiro no Oe made Mikuni and Sakurai ask all the ministers, “What was the Empress’ proclamation of her will?”
They replied, “We don’t know in detail. Only we could get the words of the Senior Minister, that on the day the Empress fell ill, she pronounced to Imperial Prince Tamura, ‘You cannot lightly talk about the administration of the country to come. Thus you, Imperial Prince Tamura, must be cautious in your words, and cannot slack off.’ Then she proclaimed to Imperial Prince Oe, ‘You are still young, and must not simply assert yourself, but must follow the words of the myriad ministers.’ The nearby princesses and ladies in waiting all know this, and you yourself saw it.”
Then, Imperial Prince Oe asked them, “The proclamation of the will, what kind of people are those that heard it?”
They replied, “We do not know such secrets.”
Then Yamashiro no Oe further said to the ministers, “That my beloved uncle labors in thought over me, and did not send only one messenger, but dispatched such important servants, shows his conciousness. For this I am extremely thankful. However now what the myraid ministers say as the Empress’ will and order is a little different from what I know to have heard. I heard the Empress was sick, and raced to attend her at the lower gate. At that time Nakatomi no Muraji Mike came out and told me, ‘The Empress summons you.’ Accordingly I went forth through the inner gate. The lady in waiting of Kurukuma, Kurome, met me in the courtyard, and led me into the great hall. Then inside Prince Kurumoto was leading the ladies in waiting, Me no Warawa no Shibime and eight others, all together some tens of people, and they were waiting at the Empress’ side, and Imperial Prince Tamura was there. Then the Empress fell into illness, and could not see me. Then Prince Kurumoto said to the Empress, ‘You summoned Imperial Prince Yamashiro no Oe, and he is come.’ Then the Empress got up and faced me, and said, ‘I am weakened from many years of labor in the great enterprise, and now my era is coming to an end, and I cannot conceal my illness. Therefore you who were always near my heart I see favorably, there is no other than this. The realm and its great foundation is not only for my generation, but always striven for. You are young, so be careful with your words.’ Then at that time the nearby retainers completely knew this. Therefore I was covered with a great kindness, and accordingly was afraid, and accordingly was sad, and my heart danced in joy, and I did not know what to do. The maintenance of the realm is a great task, and I was young and not knowledgeable, how could I dare to be chosen? At that time, I wanted to tell my uncle and you myriad ministers, however it was not the right time to do so, so did not speak.
A while back, I was going to visit my uncle when he was sick, and making for the capital stayed in Toyura Temple. That day, the Empress dispatched the lady in waiting of Yakuchi, Shibime, who told me the proclamation, ‘Your uncle the Senior Minister has always been worried about you, and saying that after 100 years [sometime] how can you not succeed to the throne? Therefore be careful of your actions, and watch out for yourself.’ Then I understood clearly, for what was there to doubt? However that I would take over the realm was not for sure, only revealed to me, and the gods of heaven and earth will together prove this. Therefore, I want to know the correct version of the Empress’ testament, and as the Senior Minister dispatched you myriad ministers, like a stern lance piercing through things, (ikashihoko is read I-ka-shi-ho-ko,伊箇之倍虚), I want you to tell my uncle this as such.”
However, Imperial Prince Hatsuse no Naka summoned Nakatomi no Muraji and Kawabe no Omi and told them, “My father and his children[those of Shotoku Taishi] are all born from the Soga, and it is known in the realm that the Soga are like a high mountain to depend on. I ask you to not speak offhand of the succession.” Then he ordered Prince Mikuni and Sakurai no Omi to go with the myriad ministers and dispatched them, saying, “I want to hear the reply.”
Reply from Senior Minister Soga
At that time, the Senior Minister dispatched Ki no Omi and Otomo no Muraji and had them ask Prince Mikuni and Sakurai no Omi, “Since the words said yesterday, nothing has changed. However why would I dare to look down on some princes and esteem others?”
After a few days, Yamashiro no Oe dispatched Sakurai no Omi to ask the Senior Minister, “Yesterday’s events were only what I heard. How can I oppose my uncle?”
That day, the Senior Minister fell ill, and could not reply to Sakurai no Omi directly.
The next day, the Senior Minister summoned Sakurai no Omi, and dispatched Ahe no Omi, Nakatomi no Muraji, Kawabe no Omi, Oharida no Omi, and Otomo no Muraji, to say to Imperial Prince Yamashiro no Oe, “From the days of Emperor Shikishima no Miyaniame no Shitashirashishi [Kimmei] to now, all the myriad ministers are intelligent. Only I am not so, and by chance when there were few people around, by some mistake I became higher than the myriad ministers. We have not been able to establish the succession, but this is an important task, and I cannot be done at whim. Therefore though I am aged and labored, I want to speak to you directly. However, to go against the order of the late Empress is not my intention.”
However, the Senior Minister used Ahe no Omi and Nakatomi no Muraji to again ask Sakaihe no Omi, “Which prince should become the Emperor?”
He replied, “Previously, on the day the Senior Minister asked me, and I said it. Why now should I say it again?” And in great anger, he stood up and departed. By chance at that time, the Soga clan members all were gathered to together, and made a tomb for Senior Minister Shima, and were in the tomb.
Defiance of Marise no Omi and Death of Sakaihe no Omi
Then Marise no Omi wrecked the lodging at the tomb, then retreated to the private land of the Soga, and would not make attendance. At that time the Senior Minister was angry with him, and dispatched Musa no Kimi Katsushi and Nishikori no Obito Akai to instruct him saying, “I knew the words you said were incorrect, but due to the ritual of tree and branches [relatives], I cannot injure you. If what other people say is wrong and you are right, I will necessarily go against the others and follow you, and if others are right and you are wrong, I will defy you and follow the others. Then if in the end you will not follow, I and you have defects [in our relationship], and the country will revolt. If that is the case then later generations will say that we two destroyed the country, and we will have a bad name in future generations. Be careful and do not raise a counter heart.” However he still would not follow, and went to Ikaruga, and stayed in the palace of Imperial Prince Hatsuse.
Then the Senior Minister was further angered, and dispatched the myriad ministers to say to Yamashiro no Oe, “Nearby, Marise is defying me and hiding in the palace of Imperial Prince Hatsuse. I want you to get Marise, for I want to investigate his reasons.”
Then Imperial Prince Oe replied, “Marise was favored by the sage-emperor [Shotoku], and has just come here for a bit. How can he be going against my uncle’s feelings? I wish you to not cause defect in your relations.”
Then he asked Marise, saying, “You have not forgotten the grace of the previous ruler and come, and I love that about you. However, because of just you, the realm will be plunged into chaos. When the previous king was facing his plunge, he asked all of his children, saying, ‘All of you, do not make evil, all of you go forth attending in goodness.’ I recevied these words, and forever give them heed. Therefore even if I have my own private feelings, I have patience and do not hold a grudge. I cannot go against my uncle. I want you, from now on, to reform your thoughts without reservation, and follow the ministers, and not go into retirement.”
Then, the myriad ministers all instructed Marise, saying, “You cannot go against the order of Imperial Prince Oe.” Then Marise no Omi went forth and did not have any place to stay. So crying he returned to his house and ten or so days later, Imperial Prince Hatsuse suddenly fell ill and died.
Then, Marise no Omi said, “Who can I rely on?”
The Senior Minister was going to kill Sakaihe no Omi, and raised soldiers and dispatched them. Sakaihe no Omi heard the army coming, and led Nakara no Aya, and went out of the gate, and sat down indian-style and awaited them. When the army came, at the order of Kume no Mononobe no Ikui, father and son were killed together. They were buried in the same place. Only the oldest son, Ketsu, fled and hid inside the tiled building of a temple, and raped one or two nuns.
Then, one nun was jealous and ratted him out. Soldiers surrounded the temple to capture him, but he went out into Mt. Unebi. Therefore they searched the mountain, and Ketsu had no place to go, so he stabbed himself in the neck and died in the mountain. At that time people sang, “blah blah blah.”
Accession of Emperor Jomei
First year, spring, first month. On the fourth day, The Senior Minister and the myriad ministers together presented the imperial regalia to Imperial Prince Tamura.
Then taking them he said, “Maintaining the realm is a heavy task. I am still unwise, how can I dare to do it?”
Then all the ministers bowed and insisted, “The great king was loved by the last Empreror, and the hearts of the gods and people are with him. You should succeed to the throne, and shine down on all the people.” That day, he became the Emperor.
Summer, fourth month. On the first day, the Emperor dispatched Tabe no Muraji (name absent) to Yakushima. The year was 629.
Second year, spring, first month. On the 12th day, Imperial Princess Takara [later Empress Kogyoku] was made Empress. She gave birth to two boys and one girl. The first was called Imperial Prince Kazuraki (Emperor Ame no Shitarashira Shimeshishi [Tenji] of Omi no Otsu Palace). The second was called Imperial Princess Hashihito [future wife of Emperor Kotoku]. The third was called Imperial Prince Oshi Ama no Miko (Emperor Ame no Shitarashira Shimeshishi [Temmu] of Kiyomihara Palace).
His consort Hote no Iratsume, the daughter of Senior Minister Soga no Shima, gave birth to Imperial Prince Furuhito, also called Imperial Prince Oe.
Also, he took as consort Kaya no Uneme from the country of Kibi. She gave birth to Imperial Prince Kaya.
Envoys from Korea and Arrival of Pungjang
Third month. On the first day, the Ambassador of Goguryeo Yeon Jabal and his Deputy Ambassador Yakdeok, and the Ambassdor of Baekje Onsotsu Soja and his Deputy Ambassador Tokusotsu Mudeok came to the court with tribute.
Autumn, eighth month. On the fifth day, Dainin Inukami no Kimi Mitasuki and Dainin Kusushi Enichi were dispatched to Tang. On the eighth day, the Emperor had a banquet for the guests from Goguryeo and Baekje in the court.
Ninth month. On the fourth day, the guests from Goguryeo and Baekje returned to their countries. That month, Tabe no Muraji and his envoy returned from Yakushima.
Winter, tenth month. On the 12th day, the Emperor moved to near Asuka Hill and called the place Okamoto Palace. That year, the foreign guest houses of Naniwa district for the three kingdoms of Korea were renovated.
Third year, second month. On the tenth day, people from Yakushima naturalized.
Third month. On the first day, the King of Baekje Uija offered the prince Pungjang as a hostage.
Autumn, ninth month. On the 19th day, the Emperor visited the hot spring of Arima in the country of Tsu.
Winter, 12th month. On the 13th day, the Emperor came home from the hot spring.
Return of Min and Envoy from Tang
Fourth year, Autumn, eighth month. Tang dispatched Gao Biaojin to escort Mitasuki. They stayed together in Tsushima. At that time, the scholar-monks Reiun and Min along with Suguri no Torikai and escort messengers from Silla came following them.
Winter, tenth month. On the fourth day, the Ambassador of Tang Gao Biaojin and the others stayed in the port at Naniwa. Accordingly Otomo no Muraji Umakai was dispatched to greet them at the river’s mouth. 32 ships were prepared, and drums, whistles, and banners were all prepared in decoration. Then they said to Gao Biaojin, “We heard that a messenger had come at the order of the Emperor [of Tang] and was coming to the imperial court. We came to greet him.”
At that time Gao Biaojin replied, “On this cold, windy day, in decoration ships were prepared to greet me, and I am happy and awed.” Then Naniwa no Kishi Otsuki and Oshi Kochi no Atai Yafushi were ordered to be his guides and they arrived before the foreign guest house. Then the Emperor dispatched Iki no Fubito Oto and Naniwa no Kishi Yatsushi to guide the guests into the foreign guest house. That day, the guests were provided with divine wine.
Fifth year, spring, first month. On the 26th, Gao Biaojin and the other guests from Tang returned home. Kishi no Omaro and Kuromaro were sent as to see him off, and went as far as Tsushima before returning.
Strange Celestial Activity
Sixth year, autumn, eighth month. A comet was seen in the south. At that time people called it hahaki-boshi.
Seventh year, spring, third month. The comet went around and was seen in the east.
Summer, sixth month. On the tenth day, Baekje dispatched Tatsusotsu Yu and others to the court with tribute.
Autumn, seventh month. On the seventh day, the Emperor had a banquet for the guests from Baekje in the court. That month, a rare flower bloomed in Lake Tsurugi. There was only one stem but two flowers.
Eighth year, spring, first month. There was a solar eclipse.
Third month. Those who had raped ladies in waiting of the palace were completely investigated and all punished. At that time, Miwa no Kimi Osazaki suffered intense questioning, and stabbed himself in the neck and died.
Summer, fifth month. There was heavy rain and flooding.
Sixth month. There was a fire at Okamoto Palace. The Emperor moved to Tanaka Palace.
Autumn, seventh month. On the first day, Prince Omata said to Senior Minister Toyura, “The myriad ministers and hundred bureaus are derelict in their attendance at court. From now on, let attendance start at six in the morning, and finish at ten in the morning, and therefore ring a bell as a signal.” However the Senior Minister did not go along with this. That year, there was a drought and a famine in the realm.
Ninth year, spring, second month. On the 23rd day, a giant shooting star went from east to west, and there was the sound of thunder. People at that time said, “It is the sound of the shooting star.” Others said, “It’s thunder.” But the monk Min said, “It’s not the shooting star, it’s the heavenly dog whose groaning sounds like thunder.”
War with the Emishi
Third month. On the second day, there was a solar eclipse. That year, the Emishi revolted and did not attend the court. Therefore Dainin Kamitsukeno no Kimi Katana was made shogun, and ordered to attack them. However, he was defeated by the Emishi and fled to his base, and in the end was surrounded by the rebels. The soldiers all leaked out and the castle was empty, and the shogun did not know what to do.
At that time it was dusk, and he wanted to jump the wall and flee. Then Katana no Kimi’s wife sighed, saying, “How tragic, that we will be killed by the Emishi.”
Then she said to her husband, “Your ancestors crossed the blue sea, and treading 10,000 ri, and pacify the governments of the countries on the water, and their powerful warrior spirit went on to future generations. Now you will stain the name of your ancestors, and you will certainly be laughed at by future generations.” Then she poured wine, and made him drink it, then on her own took her husband’s sword, and strung ten bows, and ordered ten or so other women to pluck their strings. Then her husband woke up and took his weapons and advanced. The Emishi thought the army was large, and so retreated. Then the scattered soldiers again collected, and took their formations. The Emishi suffered great loss, and were completely captured.
Tenth year, autumn, seventh month. On the 19th day, there was a great wind, and a tree broke and fell into the building.
Ninth month. There was heavy rain, and the peaches and plums bloomed.
Winter, tenth month. the Emperor visited his palace at the hot springs of Arima.
That year, Baekje, Silla, and Gaya submitted tribute.
Death of the Emperor
11th year, spring, first month. On the eighth day, the Emperor’s carriage came back from the hot spings. On the 11th day, the feast of first fruits was held. (Probably, because the Emperor went to Arima, they didn’t have the feast of first fruits [the year before]). On the 12th day, there was thunder but no clouds. On the 22nd day, there was high winds and rain. On the 25th day, there was a comet seen in the northwest. At that time the monk Min said, “There is a hahaki-boshi. That means a famine will occur.”
Autumn, seventh month. The Emperor proclaimed, “This year, we will build a great palace and a great temple.” Accordingly, a place for the palace was set near the Kudara river. People from the west built the palace, and people from the east built the temple. Also, Fumi no Atai Agata was made foreman for this work.
Autumn, ninth month. The student-monks who had gone to Tang, Eon and Eun, came back to the capital following the messenger sent from Silla.
Winter, 11th month. On the first day, the Emperor had a banquet for the guests from Silla in the court. They were given one grade of cap rank.
12th month. On the 14th day, the Emperor visited the hot springs of Iyo. This month, a nine-story pagoda was built near the Kudara river.
12th year, spring, second month. On the seventh day, a star went into the moon.
Summer, fourth month. On the 16th day, the Emperor came home from Iyo and stayed in Umayasaka Palace.
Fifth month. On the fifth day, there was a great saie. The monk Eon was asked to decipher the Muryoju sutra.
Winter, tenth month. On the 11th day, the student-monk who went to Tang, Seian, and the student Takamuka no Ayahito Genri came back by passing through Silla. Baekje and Silla’s tribute messengers came together following them to the court, and were each presented with one grade of cap rank. That month, the Emperor moved to Kudara Palace.
13th year, winter, tenth month. On the ninth day, the Emperor died in Kudara palace. On the 18th day, the temporary burial was held in the north of the palace. This was called the great temporary burial of Kudara. At that time, Imperial Prince Hirakasuwake of the Eastern Palace was 16 years old, and he delivered the eulogy.