Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Suiko, Empress

(554-628). The 33rd sovereign in the traditional count (which includes several non-historical emperors); reigned 593-628. The third daughter of Emperor Kimmei (r 531 or 539 to 571), her mother came from the Soga family. She became empress to Emperor Bidatsu (r 572-585), her half-brother. Later, she ruled with the help of her nephew Prince Shōtoku. Suiko's reign saw the promulgation of the Seventeen Article Constitution, the beginning of diplomatic contact with the Sui dynasty of China, the building of the Hōryūji and other temples, and a general flowering of Buddhist arts. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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