According to the traditional order of succession, the mythical Jimmu became the first Emperor of Japan on February 18, 660 BC and ruled the new nation until April 9, 585 BC.
Ever since, the Imperial House of Japan has based its claim to the throne on its descent from Jimmu.
Today, no historically firm dates can be assigned to this early emperor’s life or reign, nor to the reigns of his early successors.
Emperor Kimmei (509?–571 AD), the 29th Emperor of Japan, is the first for which contemporary historians are able to assign verifiable dates.
Modern scholars question the existence of at least the first nine emperors. Jimmu’s descendant Emperor Sujin is the first that many agree may have existed, in the third or fourth century.
The conventionally accepted names and dates of the early emperors of Japan were not to be confirmed as “traditional” until the reign of Emperor Kanmu (737–806), the 50th sovereign of the Yamato dynasty.
According to the legendary Japanese account in the Kojiki, Emperor Jimmu would have been born on February 13, 711 BC (the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar), and died, again according to legend, on April 9, 585 BC at the age of 126. (both dates according to the lunisolar traditional Japanese calendar).
Today, the indigenous spirituality of the people of Japan is referred to as Shinto.
According to their Shinto belief, Emperor Jimmu is regarded as a direct descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu.
The Sun Goddess Amaterasu had a son called Ame no Oshihomimi no Mikoto and through him a grandson named Ninigi-no-Mikoto.
She sent her grandson to the Japanese islands where he eventually married Konohana-Sakuya-hime.
Among their three sons was Hikohohodemi no Mikoto, also called Yamasachi-hiko, who married Toyotama-hime.
She was the daughter of Ryūjin, the Japanese sea god. They had a single son called Hikonagisa Takeugaya Fukiaezu no Mikoto. The boy was abandoned by his parents at birth and consequently raised by Tamayori-hime, his mother’s younger sister.
They eventually married and had a total of four sons.
The last of these sons, Kan’yamato Iwarebiko, became Emperor Jimmu.
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