|Emperor of Japan|
|Reign||30 April 781 - 9 April 806|
|Enthronement||10 May 781|
4 February 736
|Died||9 April 806(aged 70)|
Kashiwabara no misasagi (Kyoto)
|Mother||Takano no Niigasa|
Emperor Kammu (?, Kammu-tenn?, 735 - 9 April 806), or Kanmu, was the 50th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Kammu reigned from 781 to 806, and it was during his reign that Japanese imperial power reached its peak.
Kammu's personal name (imina) was Yamabe (). He was the eldest son of Prince Shirakabe (later known as Emperor K?nin), and was born prior to Shirakabe's ascension to the throne. According to the Shoku Nihongi (?), Yamabe's mother, Yamato no Niigasa (later called Takano no Niigasa), was a 10th generation descendant of Muryeong of Baekje.
After his father became emperor, Kammu's half-brother, Prince Osabe was appointed to the rank of crown prince. His mother was Princess Inoe, a daughter of Emperor Sh?mu; but instead of Osabe, it was Kammu who was later named to succeed their father. After Inoe and Prince Osabe were confined and then died in 775, Osabe's sister - Kammu's half-sister Princess Sakahito - became Kammu's wife. Later, when he ascended to the throne in 781, Kammu appointed his young brother, Prince Sawara, whose mother was Takano no Niigasa, as crown prince. Hikami no Kawatsugu, a son of Emperor Tenmu's grandson Prince Shioyaki and Sh?mu's daughter Fuwa, attempted to carry out a coup d'état in 782, but it failed and Kawatsugu and his mother were sent into exile. In 785 Sawara was expelled and died in exile.
The Nara period saw the appointment of the first sh?gun, ?tomo no Otomaro by Emperor Kanmu in 794 CE. The sh?gun was the military dictator of Japan with near absolute power over territories via the military. Otomaro was declared "Sei-i Taish?gun" which means "Barbarian-subduing Great General". Emperor Kanmu granted the second title of sh?gun to Sakanoue no Tamuramaro for subduing the Emishi in northern Honshu.
Kammu had 16 empresses and consorts, and 32 imperial sons and daughters. Among them, three sons would eventually ascend to the imperial throne: Emperor Heizei, Emperor Saga and Emperor Junna. Some of his descendants (known as the Kammu Taira or Kammu Heishi) took the Taira hereditary clan title, and in later generations became prominent warriors. Examples include Taira no Masakado, Taira no Kiyomori, and (with a further surname expansion) the H?j? clan. The waka poet Ariwara no Narihira was one of his grandsons.
Kammu is traditionally venerated at his tomb; the Imperial Household Agency designates Kashiwabara no Misasagi (, Kashiwabara Imperial Mausoleum), in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, as the location of Kammu's mausoleum.
Earlier Imperial sponsorship of Buddhism, beginning with Prince Sh?toku (574-622), had led to a general politicization of the clergy, along with an increase in intrigue and corruption. In 784 Kammu shifted his capital from Nara to Nagaoka-ky? in a move that was said to be designed to edge the powerful Nara Buddhist establishments out of state politics--while the capital moved, the major Buddhist temples, and their officials, stayed put. Indeed, there was a steady stream of edicts issued from 771 right through the period of K?kai's studies which, for instance, sought to limit the number of Buddhist priests, and the building of temples. However the move was to prove disastrous and was followed by a series of natural disasters including the flooding of half the city. In 785 the principal architect of the new capital, and royal favourite, Fujiwara no Tanetsugu, was assassinated.
Meanwhile, Kammu's armies were pushing back the boundaries of his empire. This led to an uprising, and in 789 a substantial defeat for Kammu's troops. Also in 789 there was a severe drought and famine--the streets of the capital were clogged with the sick, and people avoiding being drafted into the military, or into forced labour. Many disguised themselves as Buddhist priests for the same reason. Consequently, in 792 Kammu abolished national conscription, replacing it with a system wherein each province formed a militia from the local gentry. Then in 794 Kammu suddenly shifted the capital again, this time to Heian-ky?, which is modern day Kyoto. The new capital was started early the previous year, but the change was abrupt and led to even more confusion amongst the populace.
Politically Kammu shored up his rule by changing the syllabus of the university. Confucian ideology still provided the raison d'être for the Imperial government. In 784 Kammu authorised the teaching of a new course based on the Spring and Autumn Annals based on two newly imported commentaries: Kung-yang and Ku-liang. These commentaries used political rhetoric to promote a state in which the Emperor, as "Son of Heaven," should extend his sphere of influence to barbarous lands, thereby gladdening the people. In 798 the two commentaries became required reading at the government university.
In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time. These were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Kammu's reign, this apex of the Daij?-kan included:
When the daughter of a ch?nagon became the favored consort of the Crown Prince Ate (later known as Heizei-tenn?), her father's power and position in court was affected. Kammu disapproved of Fujiwara no Kusuko (?, d. 810), daughter of Fujiwara no Tadanushi; and Kammu had her removed from his son's household.
Emperor Kammu's Imperial family included 36 children.
Bunin: Fujiwara no Yoshiko (?; d.807), Fujiwara no Korekimi's daughter
Bunin: Tajihi no Mamune (; 769-823), Tajihi no Nagano's daughter
Bunin: Fujiwara no Oguso (?), Fujiwara no Washitori's daughter
Ny?go: Ki no Otoio (; d.840), Ki no Kotsuo's daughter
Ny?go: Kudarao no Ky?h? (; d.840), Kudara no Shuntetsu's daughter
Ny?go: Tachibana no Miiko (?), daughter of Tachibana no Irii ()
Ny?go: Fujiwara no Nakako (?), Fujiwara no Ieyori's daughter
Court lady: Tachibana no Tsuneko (; 788-817), Tachibana no Shimadamaro's daughter
Ny?go: Fujiwara no Sh?shi (?), Fujiwara no Kiyonari's daughter
Court lady: Sakanoue no Matako (?, d.790), Sakanoue no Karitamaro's daughter
Court lady: Sakanoue no Haruko (?, d.834), Sakanoue no Tamuramaro's daughter
Court lady: Fujiwara no Kawako (?, d.838), Fujiwara no ?tsugu's daughter
Court lady: Fujiwara no Azumako (?, d.816), Fujiwara no Tanetsugu's daughter
Court lady: Fujiwara no Heishi/Nanshi (?/, d.833), Fujiwara no Takatoshi's daughter
Court lady: Ki no Wakako (), Ki no Funamori's daughter
Court lady: Fujiwara no Kamiko (?), Fujiwara no Oguromaro's daughter
Court lady: Tachibana no Tamurako (?), Tachibana no Irii's daughter
Court lady: Kawakami no Manu (), Nishikibe no Haruhito's daughter
Court lady: Kudarao no Ky?nin (), Kudara no Buky?'s daughter
Court lady: Kudarao no J?ky? (), Kudara no Ky?toku's daughter
Court lady: Nakatomi no Toyoko (?), Nakatomi no ?io's daughter
Court lady (Nyoju): Tajihi no Toyotsugu (), Tajihi no Hironari's daughter
Court lady: Kudara no Y?kei (?), Asukabe no Natomaro's daughter
|Ancestors of Emperor Kanmu|
In 2001, Japan's emperor Akihito told reporters "I, on my part, feel a certain kinship with Korea, given the fact that it is recorded in the Chronicles of Japan that the mother of Emperor Kammu was of the line of King Muryong of Baekje." It was the first time that a Japanese emperor publicly acknowledged Korean blood in the imperial line. According to the Shoku Nihongi, Emperor Kammu's mother, Takano no Niigasa, is a descendant of Prince Junda, son of Muryeong, who died in Japan in 513 (Nihon Shoki, Chapter 17).