Empress Suiko

Empress Suiko
Painting of Empress Suiko.

Empress Suiko

Empress Suiko (推古天皇) was the thirty-third Emperor of Japan1, younger sister to Emperor Yomei and daughter of Emperor Kinmei.2

Prior to her Reign

Before her reign Suiko is said to have been very active in politics, especially during the reign of her brother Yomei.


She became Empress after her uncle Soga no Umako killed Emperor Sushun and installed her onto the throne, becoming the First Empress Regent in name.12 The Privy Seal was said to have been given to her, though it was already in use by then. During her reign, the word Tennō was imported from China.

She installed her nephew (Shotoku Taisha) as Crown Prince and as the de-facto leader now helped reorganised her court. The nobility was put into elaborate hierarchies, and appropriate robes and insignia were given, as well as an establishment and centralization of the administration system.1

After Shotoku Taisha died she did not appoint an heir leading to problems in court. And after her death court officials had to dedicated much attention to choosing the heir to Suiko.2

During the 35th year of her reign (627AD) the Nihongi states that a Mujina performed a song for her in Mutsu Province.3


1. Martin, P. (1997) ”The Chrysanthemum Throne”. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing Limited.
2. Tsurumi, P. (1981) “Early Female Emperors” Historical Reflections Vol.8 No.1 pp.41-49.
3. Yoda, H. and Alt, M. (2016) “Japandemonium: Illustrated: The Yokai Encyclopaedia of Toriyama Sekien.”. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

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Empress Suiko