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If Jingu was invented then why?

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Rice Farmer
Rice Farmer
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 10:08 am    Post subject: If Jingu was invented then why? Reply with quote
If Jingu was invented then by whom and for what propaganda purpose?

Nihon Shoki was written in 720, based on a number of previous sources, lost except for Kojiki. The chronologies of Kojiki and Nihon Shoki differ.

The previous sources specifically referred to mostly seem to have been 7th century ones.

Now, 9 emperors from Richu to Buretsu cover, under Nihon Shoki chronology, 106 years, and 4 generations. Plausible - though the first date of Nihon Shoki that actually is confirmed by Korean records (themselves dating from 12th century) is from 461.

But before 399, the Nihon Shoki chronology goes haywire. Nintoku reigned 89 years, Ojin 110 years incl. the "regency" of Jingu.

Nihon Shoki associates Jingu with the 7 Branched Sword.

The inscription on the Seven Branched Sword dates it to year 369.

If we assume that Jingu, Ojin and Nintoku actually existed but had shorter reign, and perhaps the reign lengths of early 5th century rulers were exaggerated as well - could Jingu have been alive and ruling in early 370s to receive 7 Branched Sword?

Korean sources (repeating the disclaimer - 12th century except Gwanggaeto Stele) do mention Japanese invasions in late 4th century.

Now, regarding Ojin.

Jingu famously put a stone on her belly under her dress, and managed to be pregnant for 3 years of war. But on her return, she met her nephews rebelling against her (and treacherously killed them).

Is that legend/fiction? Or something else?

A parallel from a very distant country - Imerina realm in Madagascar.

In 1828, the Imerina realm was ruled by Radama.
Radama had several wives - but no children by any of those. He accordingly appointed his nephew (his sister´s son) Rakotobe as his heir.

His highest ranking wife was one Ramavo.
It had been a politically arranged marriage - Radama´s father Andrianampoinimerina had arranged the marriage to gain support of her influential marriage. Radama was 35 by 1828, but his queen was even older. While none of his wives had had children, it is thought that Radama was also somewhat estranged from Ramavo even compared to his other wives - among other reasons, because of his quarrels with these influential relatives. Yet she had not been openly disgraced or removed from her position as the principal queen.

When Radama died on 27th of July, Ramavo carried out a coup with support of many of the soldiers, and had Rakotobe, his family and many other rivals killed. She took the name "Ranavalona".

And in September 1829, although no longer young, she bore a son.

14 months after the death of her late husband. Yet she claimed him as her husband´s posthumous son.

Having many supporters and having killed most rivals by then, she was in the position to make the claim stick.

Since in her case, the history was not written by victors three centuries after everything else was forgotten but in a few years by outsiders who were impartial if not hostile, we have details. Like the name of her suspected lover. The suspect was a young army officer named Andriamihaja.

They quarrelled soon after, he backed wrong political direction and she had him executed when their son was one year old.

Back to Japan.

By example of Ranavalona (and, from Europe, Catherine II of Russia) it could be entirely plausible of Empress Jingu was able to seize and hold power despite the rebels raising obvious doubts about her son´s paternity. If the time of birth of her son could not be denied, her supporters could have justified their support for her with excuses like the stone under dress story (when they did not want to spell out their real reasons for supporting her, like preferring her policies or leadership to those of her rivals).

But plausible as it was, why should the writers of Nihon Shoki ever have invented anything like this? It sounds bad for the legitimacy of the Yamato dynasty - sure, Jingu was a princess by birth, but the claim of Yamato dynasty is unbroken male line, and there is no suggestion that the unknown lover of Jingu was a prince.

It seems to me that the only reason the writers of Nihon Shoki felt compelled to put the story in and not suppress it was that it was too widely known and accepted as truth by then.

Do you have any alternative explanation, except that it WAS truth?
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Forum Shogun
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Joined: 04 May 2006
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
This is something Nagaeyari will have to tackle.
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Tsushima no Kami
Tsushima no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei

Joined: 09 Apr 2007
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Location: Washington, DC, USA

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The general consensus seems to be that the further back you go in the Nihon Shoki, the more likely you are to encounter *events* that may have happened, but which are embellished. There is no guarantee that there was any such person as mentioned, but some of the stories, such as the betrayal, are quite believable. Others, like delaying a pregnancy for years, seem obvious fictions.

Without outside evidence, we have no means of bridging the gap between history and legend, and so we generally assume they are legendary.

Nagaeyari may have a better explanation, but that is my take.

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