Episode 53 – The Sun Queen

This week, we’re going to take a look at the first figure in recorded Japanese history: Himiko, queen of Yamatai. Despite the fact that the records on her are extremely brief, she’s assumed a position of tremendous importance in our thinking about the early history of Japan. We’ll look at our records of her life, and her legacy in Japanese history and self-identity.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Kidder, Edward J. Himiko and Japan’s Elusive Chiefdom of Yamatai. 

Piggot, Joan R. The Emergence of Japanese Kingship.

Sansom, George B. A History of Japan to 1334.

Totman, Conrad. A History of Japan.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

An artists rendering from the Meiji Period of Himiko's appearance.
An artists rendering from the Meiji Period of Himiko’s appearance.
A Pinghua (vernacular) version of the Sanguozhi, the history containing the first mention of Yamatai and Himiko.
A Pinghua (vernacular) version of the Sanguozhi, the history containing the first mention of Yamatai and Himiko.
China during the Three Kingdoms Period -- Cao Wei, the kingdom which made contact with Yamatai, is the yellow one to the north.
China during the Three Kingdoms Period — Cao Wei, the kingdom which made contact with Yamatai, is the yellow one to the north.
A statue of Empress Jingu, who was considered by some as likely to be the Queen Himiko referenced in Chinese records.
A statue of Empress Jingu, who was considered by some as likely to be the Queen Himiko referenced in Chinese records.
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