Emperor Jimmu, (original birth name of Shinto, Kamu-Yamato-Iware-Biko no Mikoto, was the first Emperor of Japan, according to legend. His accession is dated as 660 BC. According to Japanese mythology, he is a descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu, through her grandson Ninigi and he launched a military expedition from Hyuga near the Inland Sea, captured Yamato, and established this as his center of power. In modern Japan, Jimmus accession is marked as National Foundation Day on February 11, Jimmu is recorded as Japans first ruler in two early chronicles, Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. Nihon Shoki gives the dates of his reign as 660–585 BC, prior to this time, these rulers had been known as sumera no mikoto/ōkimi. This practice had begun under Empress Suiko, and took root after the Taika Reforms with the ascendancy of the Nakatomi clan. According to the account in the Kojiki, Emperor Jimmu was born on February 13,711 BC. Both the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki give Jimmus name as Kamu-yamato Iware-biko no mikoto, iware indicates a toponym whose precise purport is unclear. The Imperial House of Japan traditionally based its claim to the throne on its descent from the sun-goddess Amaterasu via Jimmus great grandfather Ninigi. In Japanese mythology, the Age of the Gods is the period before Jimmus accession, Jimmu figures as a direct descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu via the side of his father, Ugayafukiaezu. Amaterasu had a son called Ame no Oshihomimi no Mikoto and through him a grandson named Ninigi-no-Mikoto and she sent her grandson to the Japanese islands where he eventually married Konohana-Sakuya-hime. Among their three sons was Hikohohodemi no Mikoto, also called Yamasachi-hiko, who married Toyotama-hime and she was the daughter of Ryūjin, the Japanese sea god. They had a son called Hikonagisa Takeugaya Fukiaezu no Mikoto. The boy was abandoned by his parents at birth and consequently raised by Tamayori-hime and they eventually married and had four sons. The last of these, Kanyamato Iwarebiko, became Emperor Jimmu, according to the chronicles Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, Jimmus brothers were born in Takachiho, the southern part of Kyūshū in modern-day Miyazaki Prefecture. They moved eastward to find a more appropriate for administering the entire country. Jimmus older brother, Itsuse no Mikoto, originally led the migration, as they reached Naniwa, they encountered another local chieftain, Nagasunehiko, and Itsuse was killed in the ensuing battle. Jimmu realized that they had been defeated because they battled eastward against the sun, so he decided to land on the east side of Kii Peninsula and they reached Kumano, and, with the guidance of a three-legged crow, Yatagarasu, they moved to Yamato
Image: Tennō Jimmu detail 01
Depiction of a bearded Jimmu with his emblematic long bow and an accompanying wild bird. This 19th century artwork is by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.