THE seven reigns five Emperors and two Empresses commencing with the Emperor Kimmei and ending with the Empress Kogyoku, covered a period of 105 years, from 540 to 645, and are memorable on three accounts: the introduction of Buddhism; the usurpation of the great uji, and the loss of Japan's possessions in Korea.
The succession may be said to have had three aspirants at that time: first, Prince Karu, younger brother of the Empress Kogyoku; secondly, Prince Naka, her son, and thirdly, Prince Furubito, uncle of Soga no Iruka.
But the prince deemed that the course of progress still claimed his undivided attention, and therefore the Empress Kogyoku was again raised to the throne under the name of* Saimei the first instance of a second accession in Japanese history. She reigned nearly seven years, and the era is remarkable chiefly for expeditions against the Yemishi and for complications with Korea.
Prince Tamura then ascended the throne he is known in history as Jomei but Soga no Emishi virtually ruled the empire. Jomei died in 641, after a reign of twelve years, and by the contrivance of Emishi the sceptre was placed in the hands of an Empress, Kogyoku, a great-granddaughter of the Emperor Bidatsu, the claims of the son of Shotoku Taishi being again ignored.
A miyatsuko, by name Kawakatsu, had the courage to kill the designing preacher of this extravagance, and the moral epidemic was thus stayed. AFTER the fall of the Soga and the abdication of the Empress Kogyoku, her son, Prince Naka, would have been the natural successor, and such was her own expressed wish.
But they were immediately joined by practically all the nobility and high officials, and the o-omi's troops having dispersed without striking a blow, Emishi and his people were all executed. The Empress Kogyoku at once abdicated in favour of her brother, Prince Kara, her son, Prince Naka, being nominated Prince Imperial. Her Majesty had worn the purple for only three years.
The annals show that when the Empress Kogyoku built the Asuka palace, timber was obtained from several provinces; labour was requisitioned throughout a district extending from Omi in the east to Aki in the west; the floor of the "great hall" was paved with tiles; there were twelve gates, three on each of the four sides, and the whole was in the architectural style of the Tang dynasty.
In the reign of the Empress Kogyoku, witches and wizards betray the people into all sorts of extravagances; and a Korean acolyte has for friend a tiger which teaches him all manner of wonderful arts, among others that of healing any disease with a magic needle.
The 29th Sovereign, Kimmei A.D. 540-571 " 30th " Bidatsu " 572-585 " 31st " Yomei " 586-587 " 32nd " Sushun " 588-592 " 33rd " Suiko " 593-628 " 34th " Jomei " 629-641 " 35th " Kogyoku " 642-645
All this was in accord with Kamatari's carefully devised plans. They were epoch making. The story of Japan's relations with Korea throughout the period of over a century, from the accession of Kimmei to the abdication of Kogyoku , is a series of monotonously similar chapters, the result for Japan being that she finally lost her position at Mimana.