Emperor Yūryaku

Emperor Yūryaku
Emperor Yūryaku.

Emperor Yūryaku

Emperor Yūryaku (雄略天皇) is the twenty-first Emperor of Japan.

He is recorded by his court chroniclers to have been a ‘wicked man’ who came to the throne after killing all other eligible heirs, which after the reign of his son Emperor Seinei caused difficulty with succession.

Later during the reign of Emperor Kenzo, Kenzo sent the then Crown-Prince Emperor Ninken to destroy Yuyaku’s tomb due to his hatred towards him for killing all his family. However, only minimum damage was done to the tomb.1

He is said in the Nihongi to have given a speech as he died. However, this is most likely false as the speech is known to have been taken from a Chinese Emperor from the Sui Dynasty who died 125 years later.2

During his reign a man known as Ake (a part of the Haji Clan) presented to court ‘private Be members.’ Some people take this as evidence that Be members were actually slaves, though others feel they were merely subordinates.3

The Folktale Princess Glory is set during his reign.4


1. Martin, P. (1997) ”The Chrysanthemum Throne”. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing Limited.
2. Aston. W.G. (1896) “Nihongi Volume 1: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to AD697”. Tuttle Publishing.
3. Borgen, R. (1975) “The Origins of the Sugawara. A History of the Haji Family”. Monumenta Nipponica. Vol.30 No.4 pp.405-422
4. Tyler, R. (1987) “Japanese Tales.” New York: Pantheon Books.

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Emperor Yuryaku