Prince Shotoku

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Sculpture of Prince Shotoku in Asuka Dera,
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Sculpture of Prince Shotoku in Asuka Dera, Asuka, Nara

Prince Shōtoku (聖徳太子 574-622) was a regent and a politician of the Imperial Court in Japan.

Shōtoku was born as the son of Emperor Yōmei. His mother was the Empress Anahobe no Hashihito no Himemiko (穴穂部間人皇女). His parents were children of Emperor Kimmei by different mothers. When the first reigning empress, Empress Suiko, took the throne, he was named as her regent and assisted the empress. She was both his aunt and his mother-in-law, because he married her daughter, Princess Udodonokaidako.

According to the Nihonshoki he succeded in establishing a centralized government during her reign. In 603, he established the twelve official ranks at court. The Seventeen-article constitution was promulgated, and is often attributed to Prince Shōtoku, though some scholars today doubt if he wrote this constitution, because of style. In 607, he sent a mission led by Ono no Imoko to the Sui Dynasty.

He was a proponent of Buddhism, and built Shitenno-ji in Naniwa province (present-day Osaka). He supported Hōryū-ji in Yamato province. The documents at Horyu-ji claim it was founded by the Suiko and Shōtoku in 607 but archeological facts don't support this claim.

He is known by several titles and the real name is Umayado no ōji (厩戸皇子, literally the prince of the stable door) since he was born in front of a stable. He is also known as Toyosatomimi (豊聡耳) or Kamitsumiyaō (上宮王). In the Kojiki, his name appears as Kamitsumiya no Umayado no Toyosatomimi no Mikoto (上宮之厩戸豊聡耳命). In the Nihonshoki, as well as Umayado no ōji, he is referred as 豊耳聡聖徳, 豊聡耳法大王, and 法主王. The most popular name Prince Shōtoku first appeared in Kaifuso written in 751, more than a hundred years after his death.

He appeared on Japan's first 10,000 yen note, issued December 1, 1958.

Template:Commonsar:شوتوكو تائيشي de:Shōtoku Taishi it:Umayado nl:Prins Shotoku ja:聖徳太子 zh:聖德太子

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