Shotoku Taishi (Prince Shotoku) (聖徳太子)
He was the second prince of Emperor Yomei. His mother was Anahobe no Hashihito no Himemiko, a princess of Emperor Kinmei. According to the "Jogu Shotoku Hoo Teisetsu" (Biography of Shotoku Taishi), Umayato no Toyotomimi no Shotokuhoo had children including Yamashiro no Oe no O.
His real name was Umayado, meaning 'stable door,' because he was born in front of a stable door according to a legend. While one theory states that his mother Anahobe no Hashihito no Himemiko gave birth to him at her real mother Oane no Kimi's parent's house, i.e., the house of his uncle SOGA no Umako (Umako=lit. Son of Horse), and he was named after 'the residence of Umako,' the most convincing theory at present states that he was named after the place named 'Umayato' near his birth place. He was also called Toyotomimi, Toyosatomimi, or Kamitsumiyao. In the "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters), his name is described as Uhenomiya no Umayato no Toyotomimi no Mikoto. In the "Nihonshoki," his name is described as Toyotomimi Shotoku, Toyotomimi Nori no Okimi, Norinoshi no Okimi as well as Umayado no Miko. He became generally known as 'Shotoku Taishi' during the Heian period when the use of that name was widely spread; however, as it is a posthumous title, some school textbooks have adopted 'Umayatoo' instead of 'Shotoku Taishi' these days. For further details, see the section "About his names."
It is believed that the diplomatic message famous for the words '日出處天子致書日沒處天子無恙云云' written by Wao-tarishihiko contained in '卷八十一 列傳第四十六 東夷 俀國' of "Zuisho" (the Book of the Sui Dynasty) was written by several persons including Shotoku Taishi.
Due to some views in modern historical studies that deny what is believed to be his achievements or historical sources about him, some consider that the image of Shotoku Taishi described in the documents like "Nihonshoki" is fiction, while they approve of the existence of Umayado no Miko. For further details, see the section "Opinion about Shotoku Taishi as a fictitious figure."
In 574, he was born as a son of Tachibana no Toyohi no Sumera Mikoto and Anahobe no Hashihito no Himemiko. The mother of Tachibana no Toyohi no Sumera Mikoto was Kitashihime, a daughter of SOGA no Iname, and the mother of Anahobe no Hashihito no Himemiko was Oane no Kimi, another daughter of Iname; therefore, Umayado no Miko had a close blood relationship with the Soga clan.
His wisdom from his infancy and devotion to Buddhism have been so famous that various related episodes and legends have been handed down.
In 585, when Emperor Bidatsu died, his father Tachibana no Toyohi no Sumera Mikoto ascended the throne as Emperor Yomei. During this period, SOGA no Umako, who worshipped Buddhism, and MONONOBE no Moriya, who was against the introduction of Buddhism, fiercely clashed over the adoption of Buddhism. In 587, Emperor Yomei died. A power struggle for succession to the throne started, in which Umako killed Anahobe no Miko, who was backed by Moriya, under an imperial edict of Toyomikekashikiyahime no Sumera Mikoto, the wife of Emperor Bidatsu, and raised a large army with powerful regional clans and princes to defeat Moriya. Shotoku Taishi joined the army. The army attacked Moriya's residence in Shibukawa County, Kawachi Province, but was stubbornly fought back by the powerful army of the Mononobe, a military clan, with a fortress built with rice plants. The army of Umako was repelled three times. Under these circumstances, Umayado no Miko cut the tree of Nurude (Japanese sumac) and created images of Shitenno (four guardian kings) out of it, then he prayed for victory and vowed to build a pagoda and devote himself to promoting Buddhism if the army of Umako had won. The army of Umako attacked the army of Moriya, and Moriya was shot to death by TOMI no Ichii. The soldiers of Moriya were dispersed and the Mononobe clan, one of the largest regional clans, fell.
After the war, Umako enthroned Hatsusebe no Miko as Emperor Sushun. Emperor Sushun was resentful of Umako, who held de facto power, and opposed him. In 592, Emperor Sushun was assassinated by YAMATONOAYA no Koma, an assassin sent by Umako. Then, Umako backed up Toyomikekashikiyahime and enthroned her as Empress Suiko. She was the first empress regnant in the Japanese Imperial family. Umayado no Miko, who became the Crown Prince, was appointed regent on May 17, 593, and assisted the Empress with Umako.
In the same year, Umayado no Miko built Shitenno-ji Temple in Osaka, Settsu Province as he had vowed in the battle against the Mononobe clan. In 594, he proclaimed Buddhism the state religion. In 595, a Koguryo monk Eji crossed over to Japan, and as a tutor of Shotoku Taishi, taught that Sui was a great country with an established government system and that it patronized Buddhism.
In 600, he dispatched the army to conquer Silla and made them become a tribute-paying state to Japan.
In 601, he constructed the Ikaruga no Miya palace.
In 602, he raised an army to conquer Silla again.
He rallied 25,000 soldiers in Chikushi under General Kume no Miko, his younger maternal half-brother, but Kume no Miko died during the preparation for crossing the sea (According to one theory, Kume no Miko was assassinated by an assassin sent by Silla.)
Toma no Miko, Umayado no Miko's younger paternal-half brother, was appointed the successor to Kume no Miko, but Toma no Miko left for the capital under the pretext of his wife's death; therefore, the expedition was suspended. According to one theory, the main objective of this expedition to Silla was to build up the Imperial military power, and not to subjugate Silla across the sea.
On January 14, 604, Umayado no Miko established what is called the Kani juni kai (twelve grades of cap rank) system. It is said that, with this system, he managed to enhance centralization of the Imperial government by appointing the court officials on the basis of their ability instead of their hereditary clan title as in the uji-kabane system.
On May 9, 604, he promulgated the Constitution known as 'Jushichijo Kenpo' (Seventeen-Article Constitution) as described by '夏四月 丙寅朔戊辰 皇太子親肇作憲法十七條' in the "Nihonshoki." The Constitution instructed powerful regional clans how they should conduct themselves as civil servants and emphasized having loyalty to the emperor and respect for Buddhism (some scholars including Sokichi TSUDA insists that the Constitution was a later forgery).
In 605, he moved to the Ikaruga no Miya palace.
According to the "Nihonshoki," in the letter brought by Haiseisei (裴世清) was written '皇帝問倭皇' (the Sui Emperor asks the King of Wa).
In the answer to this letter was written '東天皇敬白西皇帝' (The east Emperor answers to the west Emperor), which shows that 'the King of Wa' written by the Sui Dynasty was changed to 'the Emperor.'
Umayado no Miko deeply worshiped Buddhism and authored the three books known as Sangyo Gisho until 615.
In 620, Umayado no Miko discussed with Umako and compiled "Kokki" (a National Record), "Tennoki" (a Record of the Emperors), and the like.
In 622, Umayado no Miko collapsed in the Ikaruga no Miya palace, and on April 10th, his wife Kashiwade no Hokikimi no Iratsume died while praying for the recovery of her husband, and on April 11th, Umayado no Miko died.
Umayado no Miko administered the state affairs in cooperation with SOGA no Umako, who was the head of the most powerful regional clan in those days, enhanced centralization of the Imperial government by emulating the advanced Chinese model, built up the Imperial military forces through the project for the expedition to Silla, and imported the advanced cultures and systems of the Sui Dynasty by dispatching envoys to establish and maintain diplomatic relations with the Sui Dynasty. He had many great achievements including the promotion of Buddhism, and the improvement of the status of the emperor by compiling "Kokki" and "Tennoki."
About his names
The name Shotoku Taishi was not used during his lifetime, and it is said that the name first appeared in the historical sources shown below which were written more than a century after his death.
It is believed that his name was compiled in the "Kaifuso" (Fond Recollections of Poetry) (751).
The article about Empress Suiko, a consort of the Emperor Bidatsu, in the "Nihonshoki" (720) describes '豐御食炊屋姬尊為皇后 是生二男五女 其一曰 菟道貝鮹皇女 更名 菟道磯津貝皇女也 是嫁於東宮聖德,' in which the name 'Shotoku Taishi' does not appear.
Hokijito Robanmei' cited in the "Shotoku Taishi Denshiki" (the Private Recollections on the Life of Prince Shotoku) written by Kenshin (allegedly in 706) describes 'Kamitsumiya no Taishi Shotoku no Sumera.'
Shotoku Taishi is known by various other names as Umayado no O, Umayado no Miko, Toyotomimi, Kamitsumiyao as well as Umayado no Toyotomimi no Shotoku Hoo written in the "Jogu Shotoku Hoo Teisetsu," Jogu Shotoku Hoo, and Jogu Shotoku no Miko written in the Manyoshu Vol. 3.
As the history books written during the Heian period including "Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku" (Veritable Records of Three Reigns of Japan), "Okagami" (The Great Mirror), "Todaiji Yoroku" (The Digest Record of Todai-ji Temple), and "Mizukagami" (The Water Mirror) all describe 'Shotoku Taishi' and do not use 'Umayado' and 'Toyotomimi,' it is considered the name 'Shotoku Taishi' was prevalent in this period.
The school textbooks on history, which are generally referenced for names, have his name described as 'Shotoku Taishi' (Umayado no Miko). However, some textbooks such as "Shosetsu Nihonshi" (Detailed Japanese History) by Yamakawa Shuppansha changed the description to 'Umayatoo' (Shotoku Taishi) from the authorized edition of 2002 because 'it was not used during his lifetime' as mentioned above.
Sometimes the portrait of Shotoku Taishi was printed on the front of bills (Bank of Japan notes). Among others, the most famous was the one called 'C-10,000 yen ken' issued during the High Economic Growth in Japan from 1958 to 1984; in those days, 'Shotoku Taishi' meant large-denomination bills. The portrait printed on that bill was adopted from Tohonmiei, which was considered to be the oldest portrait of Shotoku Taishi.
Legends of Shotoku Taishi
Some legendary episodes of Shotoku Taishi will be described below.
As the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki, which are the main sources of the achievements and legends of Shotoku Taishi, were compiled about a century after his death, and by taking into account the circumstances behind their compilation, it is believed that the descriptions were somewhat dramatized. Therefore, there have been a lot of studies and commentaries on them. There are a lot of temples which claim to have been built by Shotoku Taishi throughout Japan, but most of the histories are considered to have been fabricated in later ages to follow the examples of Shotoku Taishi. "Shotoku Taishi Denryaku," a biography of Shotoku Taishi written during the Heian period, introduces a lot of legends as a collection of Shotoku Taishi legends.
One day, Umayado no Miko listened to the petitions of men. No less than ten men spoke to him at a time, but it is said that Umayado no Miko correctly understood them, and judged their words and answered to them all without error.
After this event, he was also called Toyotomimi (also known as Toyosatomimi), meaning 'wise ears.'
In fact, as the most convincing theory, it is said that ten men met and complained to him one by one in order, and after having listened to them, Umayado no Miko gave them proper advice respectively, which proves his sound memory.
In the "Jogu Shotoku Hoo Teisetsu" and the "Shotoku Taishi Denryaku," the number of men was eight, which was allegedly the origin of another of his names 'Umayado no Toyotoyatsumimi no Miko' (yatsumimi = eight ears.)
In the "Nihonshoki" and the "Nihongenho Zenaku Ryoiki" (set of three books of Buddhist stories, written in the late 8th and early 9th century), the number of men was ten.
"Shotoku Taishi Denryaku" describes that he was able to understand 36 children's stories at a time when he was eleven years old.
As another theory, it is said that the above-mentioned episodes were created after Shotoku Taishi was given a name 'Toyotomimi,' which means 'having good comprehension' = 'good at understanding people' = 'wise.'
It is said that the original family name 'Toyotomi' of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI originated from 'Toyotomimi.'
Kanete Mizen wo Shiroshimesu
"Nihonshoki" describes 'Kanete Mizen wo Shiroshimesu' which means 'he knew the things that would happen in the future.'
The description became one of the reasons for the rumor in the later ages that 'Miraiki' (also known as 'Nihonkoku Miraiki,' Shotoku Taishi's prediction) existed.
In "Heike monogatari" Vol. 8, it is described that 'Miraiki written by Shotoku Taishi has it that I feel nostalgia for today.'
Masashige Tennoji no Miraiki hiken no koto' in the "Taiheiki" (The Record of the Great Peace) Vol. 6 describes that Masashige KUSUNOKI found 'Miraiki' and read that Emperor Godaigo would come back and take over direct control of the government. From the descriptions, it can be seen that the name 'Miraiki' was well-known in those days. However, as there is no evidence of the existence of 'Miraiki,' it is considered that it was just a fictitious book in a story or no more than hearsay. During the Edo period, Choon and others compiled "Sendai Kujihongi Taiseikyo" containing "Mizenhongi," which was banned by the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) as a forgery to mislead the public and compilers of which were punished; the text can be considered to be an emulation of Miraiki.
During the battle between the Soga clan and the Mononobe clan, Shotoku Taishi, who was affiliated with the Soga clan, vowed to Shitenno that he would build a temple if they had won the battle. As they were victorious, he built Shitenno-ji Temple (Tennoji Ward, Osaka City) in Osaka, Settsu Province as the first official temple in Japan.
Reincarnation of Nangaku Eshi
A theory known as 'Nangaku Eshi koshinsetsu (Eshi zenji koshinsetsu)' meaning a reincarnation of Nangaku Eshi. According to this theory, it is believed that Shotoku Taishi is a reincarnation of Kozan Eshi, who was a teacher of Tendai Chigi, the founder of the Tendaishu sect. "Shitenno-ji Shojiden (="Shichidaiki")," "Jogu Kotaishi Bosatsuden," "Shotoku Taishi Denryaku," and the like describe this theory.
The theory 'Nangaku Eshi koshinsetsu' was also known in China and there is a theory that it drove the monk Ganjin (Jianzhen) to Japan.
About the legends related to his birth
In regards to the legends of the birth of Shotoku Taishi including that 'he was born in front of a stable' and 'his mother Hashihito no Himemiko became pregnant with him when the Bodhisattva of Compassion entered her womb,' some scholars represented by Kunitake KUME insist on the possibility that 'when the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki were compiled, stories of the Bible and the like were introduced to Japan through Nestorian Christianity that had arrived in China so that the story of the birth of Jesus Christ was adopted to the legend of the birth of Shotoku Taishi as a story of the humble birth of a nobleman.'
In general, however, it is mainly believed that the legend of the birth of Shotoku Taishi was an example of the influence of Chinese thoughts and culture in those days which had absorbed a lot of other cultures. Also, the year 574 when Shotoku Taishi was born was Kinoeuma, which means the year of the horse, according to an astrological calendar and a motif of a female becoming pregnant by the power of the Bodhisattva of Compassion or the Taoist immortal might have been established in ancient China (the birth story of Shotoku Taishi also resembles the birth story of Buddha, who lived before Jesus Christ).
Legend of a starving man in Kataoka
"Nihonshoki" describes the legend as below.
In 614, when Shotoku Taishi was travelling about the place called Kataoka (hill of Kataoka), he found a starving man lying on the street. Shotoku Taishi asked the man his name, but the man was too feeble to answer the question.
Then, Shotoku Taishi offered to the man something to drink and eat and covered the man with his clothes saying to the man 'take rest.'
Shotoku Taishi composed a poem as below.
The next day, Shotoku Taishi sent his servant to see the man, the servant returned and said 'The man was dead.'
Deeply grieved to hear that, Shotoku Taishi had the man's body buried at the place and sealed the grave. A few days later, Shotoku Taishi told his attendant 'The man was not an ordinary person. He must be a Shinjin (immortal)' and sent a servant to see the grave.
The servant returned and said 'Nothing wrong could be seen about the grave. But when I opened the coffin, the man's corpse was gone. Only your clothes were folded on the coffin.'
Shotoku Taishi had his clothes brought back and wore them as he had before. People were struck with awe, saying 'It is true that a saint can recognize another saint,' and had deeper respect for Shotoku Taishi.
In the "Manyoshu," a poem shown below is contained as composed by Kamitsumiya no Shotoku no Miko.
In the "Shui Wakashu" (Collection of Gleanings of Japanese Poems), a poem shown below is contained as composed by Shotoku Taishi.
In the later ages, people began to believe that the starving man was Bodhidharma. Daruma-ji Temple was constructed at the site of the man's grave in Oji-cho, Kitakaturagi County.
The Imperial Household Agency identifies 'Eifuku-ji Kita-kofun Tumulus' in Eifuku-ji Temple in Taishi-cho, Minamikawachi County, Osaka Prefecture with the graveyard of Shotoku Taishi (known as Shotoku Taishi Gobyo, Shinagaryo). The Nihonshoki describes it as Shinaryo, but it is sometimes called Shinagabo. The tomb is Sankotsuichibyo, meaning three coffins in one mausoleum, as Shotoku Taishi is buried with Anahobe no Hashihito no Himemiko and Kashiwade no Hokikimi no Iratsume. However, there is a theory that Sankotsuichibyo was decided as such at a later time.
It is a round tomb 55 meters in diameter.
The mound is surrounded with a double circle of stones called 'Kekkaiseki.'
In 2002, the Archives and Mausolea Department of the Imperial Household Agency provided the mound with the necessary equipment to preserve the Kekkaiseki, and at that time, three parts at the foot of the mound were excavated. On November 14, 2002, the findings of the investigation were reported to the representatives of archaeologists and historians. It was pointed out that the diameter is less than 55 meters.
Eifuku-ji Temple, Yachu-ji Temple, and Taiseishogun-ji Temple, all of which are regarded as temples connected with Shotoku Taishi, are called Kaminotaishi, Nakanotaishi, and Shimonotaishi respectively and collectively called Kawachi Santaishi.
Writings of Shotoku Taishi
"Hokke Gisho" (Commentary on the Lotus Sutra) of the Sangyo Gisho in Shotoku Taishi's own handwriting is kept as an important property and the oldest existing handwritten document, which is also regarded as an important text in the history of calligraphy.
"Shitenno-ji Engi"(Legendary history of Shitenno-ji Temple), which is said to be in Shotoku Taishi's own handwriting, is kept in Shitenno-ji Temple, but it is considered to be a forgery created at a later time (the middle of the Heian period.)
"Tennoki," "Kokki," and "Omi Muraji Tomonomiyatsuko Kuninomiyatsuko Momoamariyasotomono wo Awasete Oomitakaradomono Mototsufumi," only the titles of which are described in the "Nihonshoki," no longer exist and the contents of the books are unknown.
"Sendai Kujihongi" (Original record of old matters from previous generations), states that it is written by Shotoku Taishi and SOGA no Umako in the preface, but it is believed that the book was, in fact, written in the early Heian period.
"Miraiki" is not a specific book but a group of forged books with the title 'Miraiki,' assuming the name of Shotoku Taishi, created during the Kamakura period.
There are lots of other books forged under the name of Shotoku Taishi.
Opinion about Shotoku Taishi as a fictitious figure
There is an opinion that denies the existence of Shotoku Taishi.
Seiichi OYAMA argues that 'all the achievements attributed to Umayatoo except for two things, the Kani juni kai system and Kenzuishi (a Japanese envoy to Sui Dynasty China), are complete forgeries.'
"Zuisho" describes these two things but describes neither Empress Suiko nor Umayatoo, which indicates that the existence of Umayatoo (Shotoku Taishi), the Crown Prince of Empress Suiko, is denied bibliographically; therefore, the existence of Umayatoo can be only seen in the relics of the Ikaruga no Miya palace and Ikaruga-dera Temple. Oyama classifies the historical sources about Shotoku Taishi into two groups of 'Jushichijo Kenpo' written in the "Nihonshoki" and 'the halo inscription of the statue of Yakushi Zo in Horyu-ji Temple, the halo inscription of the statue of Shaka Sanson Zo in Horyu-ji Temple, Tenjukoku Shucho (embroidery representing Tenjukoku paradise), and Sangyo Gisho' in Horyu-ji Temple, and argues that both groups were created in the ages quite after the days of Umayatoo.
Oyama does not deny the possibility of the existence of Umayatoo, a powerful member of the Imperial family, who might have lived in the Ikaruga no Miya palace and also might have constructed Ikaruga-dera Temple during the Asuka period. However, Oyama insists that the figure of Shotoku Taishi, who achieved various well known things as Prince Regent during the reign of Empress Suiko, was a fictitious character created by FUJIWARA no Fuhito, an influential man during the period when "Nihonshoki" was compiled.
Oyama's opinion was reported in the media and became a topic of conversation. Unlike the persons who insisted their opinion about Shotoku Taishi before him, Oyama was a professor with achievements in the field of ancient history, which might be the reason that his opinion created a big sensation.
There were persons, who insisted that Shotoku Taishi was a fictional character or an imaginary character, before Oyama. For example, Tsutomu TAKANO insists in his "Shotoku Taishi Ansatsuron" (1985) that Shotoku Taishi and Umayatoo were different persons, that SOGA no Zentoko, a son of SOGA no Umako, was the real Shotoku Taishi, and that SOGA no Iruka was a merciless imaginary character which was created later to hide the fact that SOGA no Zentoko was assassinated by Emperor Tenji. Shinichiro ISHIWATARI published "Shotoku Taishi ha Inakatta - Kodai Nihonshi no Nazo wo Toku" (Shotoku Taishi did not exist - solve the mystery of the ancient Japanese history) (1992), and Eiichi TANIZAWA wrote "Shotoku Taishi ha Inakatta" (Shotoku Taishi did not exist) (2004).
Going back to the past, scholars of historical artifacts during the latter half of the Edo period were first to deny that Jushichijo Kenpo was made by Shotoku Taishi. Sokichi TSUDA argued in his "Nihon Jodaishi Kenkyu" (Research in the ancient history of Japan) published in 1930 that Jushichijo Kenpo was not made by Shotoku Taishi (his four books including "Nihon Jodaishi Kenkyu" became prohibited books and Sokichi TSUDA resigned his post at Waseda University). Mitsusada INOUE and Taro SAKAMOTO (both historians) opposed Tsuda's theory.
Akira SEKI opposed those including Kensai KARIYA and Sokichi TSUDA who asserted that Jushichijo Kenpo was a forgery as 'their theories have poor evidence.'
On the other hand, Hiromichi MORI argues that Jushichijo Kenpo was created when "Nihonshoki" was compiled.
Those opposing the persons insisting that Shotoku Taishi was a fictitious figure include: Mitsuo TOYAMA, who wrote "Shotoku Taishi ha Naze Tenno ni Narenakattanoka" (Why Shotoku Taishi could not become the emperor) (2000); Kazu UEHARA, who wrote "Sekaishijo no Shotoku Taishi - Toyo no Ai to Chie" (Shotoku Taishi in the world history - Compassion and Wisdom of the East) (2002); Kojiro NAOKI, who wrote 'Umayatoo no Seijiteki-chii ni Tsuite' (About the political status of Umayatoo); Masaaki UEDA, who wrote 'Rekishi kara Mita Taishi Zo no Kyojitsu' (Fact and Fiction of the figure of Taishi from the historical view) (contained in the "Shotoku Taishi no Jitsuzo to Genzo" [Fact and Fiction of Shotoku Taishi]) (2001); Masato SONE, who wrote "Shotoku Taishi to Asuka Bukkyo" (Shotoku Taishi and Asuka Buddhism) (2007); and Tei MORITA, who wrote "Suikocho to Shotoku Taishi" (the Court of Empress Suiko and Shotoku Taishi) (2005).
Historical sources about Shotoku Taishi include "Nihonshoki" (Vol. 22, Suikoki), 'Sangyo Gisho,' 'Tenjukoku Shucho' (Tenjukoku Mandala Shucho), 'The halo inscription of the statue of Yakushi Zo in Horyu-ji Temple,' 'The halo inscription of the statue of Shaka Sanson Zo in Horyu-ji Temple,' 'The text written in sumi inside the pedestal of the statue of Shaka Sanson Zo in Horyu-ji Temple,' 'Dogo yuokahimeibun (=Iyo yuokahibun, recorded in the Iyo no Kuni Fudoki Itsubun)', 'Hokijito Robanmei,' "Joguki," and "Jogu Shotoku Hoo Teisetsu." Some persons argue that these sources were created in the ages quite after the days of Umayado no Miko or after "Nihonshoki" was compiled, and other persons advance different views and counterarguments.
Toshio FUKUYAMA, whose opinion was quoted in support of Oyama's opinion, suspects that the halo inscription of the statue of Shaka Sanson Zo in Horyu-ji Temple was added in the later age.
On the other hand, Masashi SHIMIZU says that 'the authenticity of the inscription is generally accepted now.'
Oyama insists that Dogo yuokahimeibun was forged during the Kamakura period because it first appeared as quotations in the "Manyoshu Chushaku" (Annotated Manyoshu) written during the Bunei era (1264 - 1275) by Sengaku and the "Shaku Nihongi" (Annotated Nihonshoki) written between 1274 and 1301 (Iyo no Kuni Fudoki Itsubun). On the other hand, Yoshiyuki IBARAKI asserts that Iyo no Kuni Fudoki Itsubun quoted in the above-mentioned two books was part of Fudoki (Kofudoki compiled by government order in 713).
Kenjiro MAKINO states as below:
The inscription at Iyo Dogo hot spring, the inscription at the Uji-bashi bridge in Yamashiro, and the inscription on the tomb of Funeno ono obito (船首王), and the like are the oldest inscriptions.'
The stone monument at Dogo hot spring was constructed in 596 but the monument is ruined now. The inscription is quoted in the "Shoku Nihongi" and originally contained in the "Iyo Fudoki".'
About the 'Shomangyo Gisho' (Commentary on the Sutra of Queen Srimala), Akira FUJIEDA states that it might have been created in the Northern Dynasty of China in the latter half of the sixth century, as 70% of its description is identical with 'Shomangishohongi' excavated from Dunhuang.
About the title piece (label) on the first page of 'Hokekyo Gisho' (Commentary on the Lotus Sutra), Oyama insists that the monk Gyoshin applied it to show '太子親饌.'
Biten YASUMOTO denies the theory which states that the title piece of '太子親饌' was applied to the book later, because the handwriting of the letters such as '是' and '非' in the title '此是大委国上宮王私集非海彼本' are identical with those in the text, which means that the title piece and the text were written by the same person. As the title includes the word '大委国' meaning Japan, Yasumoto also denies the theory which states that the book was made abroad.
Yong WONG (王勇), Director of the Institute of Japanese Culture Studies, states with some evidence that Sangyo Gisho was written by Shotoku Taishi, while admitting 'that the achievement made by a group was mostly announced under the name of the ruler.'
About the title written in the title piece of 'Hokekyo Gisho,' however, he states that it was added by someone at a later time, because the style of handwriting and the techniques of calligraphy of the title differ from those of the text. Shinsho HANAYAMA supposes that the notes and corrections written between the lines of 'Hokekyo Gisho' prove that Shotoku Taishi worked over the draft until the very end of his life.
About the 'Tenjukoku Shucho,' Oyama denies that it was made during the reign of Empress Suiko based on the title of emperor, which is the posthumous title of the emperor, and the like. Hideyuki KANAZAWA judges that Tenjukoku Shucho was made in 690 or after because the zodiac described in the inscription is the one according to the Gihoreki (originally known as Rintokureki) calendar that was adopted in 690 in Japan. On the other hand, Katsuaki OHASHI suggests that 'Tenjukoku Shucho' was made during the reign of Empress Suiko for several reasons including the dress code shown in the figure. Akiko YOSHIE states that it may be right to consider that the inscription of Tenjukoku Shucho was made during the reign of Empress Suiko. Hisatoyo ISHII states that the inscription could not have been made during the eighth century according to several reasons including the techniques used.
About 'Kamitsumiya no Taishi Shotoku no Sumera' described in the 'Hokijito Robanmei,' which is said to have been inscribed in 706, Oyama insists that it was a forgery because it only appears in the "Shotoku Taishi Denshiki" (Kokon Mokuroku Sho [Horyu-ji Temple version]) written by Kenshin around 1238. While it is not entirely quoted, "Taishiden Kokon Mokuroku Sho" (Shitenno-ji Temple version) written by Chumei in the East monastery of Shitenno-ji Temple in 1227 describes '法起寺塔露盤銘云上宮太子聖徳皇壬午年二月廿二日崩云云'.
Kojiro NAOKI argues 'that "Shotoku no Sumera" is not a forgery created during the Kamakura period, although the authenticity of the entire text of Robanmei including transcription errors is doubtful' based on the examples in the "Manyoshu" and the official messages written on the wooden plates discovered from the sites of Asukakyo and Heijokyo.
He also argues 'that the theory which states that Shotoku Taishi was created in the Nihonshoki is doubtful because the letters 'Shotoku no Sumera' appear on 'To Robanmei' of Hoki-ji Temple, which was made 14 years before the completion of the Nihonshoki and that Oyama's theory is largely based on supposition and lacks sufficient evidence in insisting that the Robanmei is a forgery.'
About the figure of Shotoku Taishi described in the Nihonshoki, Oyama insists that it was created by the monk Doji, who returned to Japan in 718 after having studied in the Tang Dynasty for 17 years, at the request of FUJIWARA no Fuhito and Nagaya no Okimi. However, Hiromichi MORI states that Nihonshoki Vol. 22 containing 'Suikoki' belongs to the βgroup, which is described in the Japanese phonetic system (i.e., written by the Japanese people including monks who had studied in Silla), and not the α group, which is described in the Chinese phonetic system (i.e., written by Chinese people visiting Japan). Suikoki' has a lot of incorrect Chinese characters, and errors in the meanings and the use of Chinese characters in the Chinese writings, which is the reason for criticizing Oyama who insists that 'Suikoki' was written by Doji, who had studied in China for 17 years. Hiromichi MORI argues that YAMADA no Fuhitomikata, the Doctor of Letters, started to write the β group during the reign of Emperor Monmu (697 - 707).
"Harima no Kuni Fudoki" (considered to have been completed between 713 and 717) has the description of 'Holy stone shrine' (Ishi hoden) in the Oushiko-jinja Shrine in Innami County, Okuni no sato no jo '原の南に作石あり。形、屋の如し。長さ二丈(つえ)、廣さ一丈五尺(さか、尺または咫)、高さもかくの如し。名號を大石といふ。傳へていへらく、聖徳の王の御世、弓削の大連の造れる石なり,' in which '弓削の大連' is considered to indicate MONONOBE no Moriya and '聖徳の王' (聖徳王)is considered to indicate Umayado no Miko "Nihonkotenbungaku Taikei Fudoki" (Iwanami shoten 1977), "Ishi Hoden - Kodaishi no Nazo wo Toku" by Tadahiko MAKABE and Yoshiko MAKABE (Kobeshinbunsogoshuppan center 1996); accordingly, someone insisted that Umayado no Miko was called '聖徳王 (Shotokuo)' before "Nihonshoki" was completed (720). "Koki," a commentary on the Taiho Code, (around 738) describes that the posthumous title for 'Kamitsumiya no Taishi' (Umayado no Miko) was determined to be Shotokuo.
"播磨国風土記"二鄉里驛家 大國里 '池之原 原南有作石 形如屋 長二丈 廣一丈五尺 高亦如之 名號曰 大石 傳云 聖徳王御世 廄戶 弓削大連 守屋 所造之石也'
About the genealogy written in the beginning of "Jogu Shotoku Hoo Teisetsu," Saburo IENAGA states that it is based on the source which existed before the completion of the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki as "the genealogy was established no later than the Taiho era (701 - 704)."
A theory which states that Shotoku Taishi was enthroned.
There is a theory 'that Shotoku Taishi ascended to the throne.'
Shotoku Taishi worship
Although people worshipped Shotoku Taishi as 'he is a bodhisattva' from a long time ago, particularly from the end of the Muromachi period, the day of 'Taishiko' was set on February 22nd, which was said to be the anniversary of Shotoku Taishi's death, and religious associations began to be held on that day among carpenters and woodworkers. This is because Shotoku Taishi was worshipped as a guardian deity of construction and woodworking based on the belief that Shotoku Taishi was engaged in large scale construction projects including Shitenno-ji Temple and Horyu-ji Temple, and defined various vocations. During the Edo period, Taishiko became much more popular as it began to be held not only by carpenters but also by various other groups of people in the same vocations like plasterers, coopers, and smiths.