Emperor Nintoku

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  • Born: 290
  • Died: 399
  • Japanese: 仁徳天皇 (Nintoku tennô)

Emperor Nintoku was an early legendary emperor of Japan, said to have reigned from 313 until his death in 399. He is regarded as the 16th emperor in the traditional counting. A kofun in Osaka said to be his tomb is the largest in the country, and one of the most famous.[1]

Nintoku succeeded his father Emperor Ôjin following Ôjin's death in 310.

The Nihon shoki is among the chief primary sources for the legends of Nintoku's reign. Among his many accomplishments, the Nihon shoki records that he had an embankment or earthworks called manda no tsutsumi constructed near Osaka, to help hold back the floodwaters of the Yodo River.[2]

Three of Nintoku's sons succeeded him as emperor, one after another: Emperor Richû took the throne in 400, and was followed by his half-brother Emperor Hanzei, and then by Hanzei's full-brother Emperor Ingyô.[3]

Preceded by
Emperor Ôjin
Emperor of Japan
Succeeded by
Emperor Richû


  1. At 36 meters high and 486 meters long, the kofun said to be Nintoku's tomb boasts roughly double the volume of the largest pyramid at Giza. Albert M. Craig, The Heritage of Japanese Civilization, Second Edition, Prentice Hall (2011), 7.
  2. Miyamoto Tsuneichi (ed.), Kawa no michi, Yasaka Shobô (1987): 128-134.
  3. David Lu, Japan: A Documentary History, 37.