Friday, May 8, 2009

Mausoleum of Emperor Tenmu and Empress Jito

"After his victory in the Jinshin War (672), Emperor Tenmu laid the foundation for the Ritsuryo legal system. His wife Empress Jito succeeded him to the throne. He was the first emperor to be cremated, and his remains were buried together with his wife's in the tumulus, known as Hinokuma-ohuchi-no-misasagi. The mound is at present circular in shape, about 58m from east to west, 45m from north to south and 9m in height. It was tunneled into and robbed in 1235, and a document of the time titled Aoki no sanryo ki describes the burial mound, outer chamber, and the interior of the burial chamber. The mound at the time was described as eight-sided and built in five layers, with stone steps around the periphery. The two stone chambers are constructed with dressed stones, and contain the remains of the Emperor Tenmu in a dry lacquer casket, and of Empress Jito in a gilt bronze ossuary."

View from the mausoleum hill

Mausoleum of Emperor Tenmu and Empress Jito

Empress Jito

The Man'yoshu (Japan's earliest collection of poetry) includes a poem said to have been composed by Jito

After Tenmu's death
Autumn leaves on divine Kamu hill
That our peace-ruling king
Was wont to behold in the evening
And would visit when morning came
Would he not this very day too
Have gone to inquire of them
Would he not then tomorrow as well
Have set his eyes upon them
As I turn my gaze to discern that hill from afar
With the day's waning I am strangely sad
And when morning comes again
I while away the hours with melancholy heart
And the sleeves of my coarse-cloth robe
Have not the time to dry


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