Empress Jito, Badass Third Female Empress of Japan Who Played 3D Chess | History of Japan 30


Murder, schemes, and political maneuvering,
executed with ruthlessness and competence. That described Empress Jito, the third female
empress of Japan. She was daughter to Emperor Tenji. When Tenji died, he left the throne to his
son. Tenji’s brother didn’t like Tenji’s
son very much and thought, “Well, why don’t I just kill him?” And he did. It was called the Jinshin War, and afterwards
the brother became Emperor Tenmu. Tenmu turned out to be a skillful leader,
and so too was his beloved consort, Jito. She was 29. Yes, she married her uncle, but this was normal
for the Imperial House. From the beginning, it was clear that she
was no passive wife. Don’t ask her for sandwiches. The historical texts say she followed Tenmu
to the battlefront whenever he went to war. Although she didn’t fight herself, she addressed
the troops and mingled with the men. She and Tenmu strategized together, it was
really cute. “Shall we attack their flanks, honey?” “No, let’s use a pincer move and ram our
pincers up their–” Off the battlefield, Jito was a masterful
politician. It seems she and Tenmu governed jointly. In the historical texts, we see them announce
administrative laws, addressing their subjects jointly, like equals. Jito was a good mother. And what do all good mothers do? Tuck you into bed, make your lunches, and orchestrate the elimination of your political rivals to ensure that you sit on the throne. Jito had one son, Prince Kusakabe, and she
was determined to make him the next emperor. Now Tenmu had many consorts and children,
but he eventually made Kusakabe the crown prince, his heir to the throne. You can bet Jito had something to do with
it. They groomed Kusakabe for leadership, giving
him administrative jobs. They also made a bunch of Tenmu’s sons swear
that they agree with Kusakabe being the crown prince. Near the end of his reign, Tenmu announced
that Jito and Kusakabe would handle all state affairs. However, Kusakabe’s future was not yet secure. Kusakabe had health issues, making him a less
desirable candidate. And there was an up-and-comer, this accursed
little hotshot named Prince Otsu, who was very capable, much more than Kusakabe. This is only my guess, but Kusakabe seemed
like the spoiled son whose parents wanted him to take over the family business, but
everyone knew he’d just end up mucking everything up. That’s probably why when Emperor Tenmu died,
Kusakabe did not succeed his father. We can imagine there was opposition to him,
people may have preferred Prince Otsu instead. Jito, being the imposing figure that she was,
immediately took over the reins of government, she wasn’t even officially enthroned. She became a regent, a temporary ruler. It was bad news for the capable Prince Otsu. Jito wasted no time. She accused Otsu of plotting a rebellion and
forced him to commit suicide. Historians widely believe that these were
false charges to remove Otsu the Obstacle. Unfortunately, all her scheming was for naught. Kusakabe later died, from karma. Okay it could have been from his poor health,
it could also have been foul play. Whatever it was, Jito’s pride and joy was
gone, so she finally took the throne herself and became empress. Turned out she was a superb leader. She continued implementation of the Kiyomihara
Codes. These were laws passed under Tenmu based
on Chinese ideas of the centralized state. In the Nara Period, Japan was still in the
middle of trying to create a strong central authority that could curb the influence of
the powerful clans. She instituted wide-reaching tax and land
reforms to support raising troops and making a strong bureaucracy. She also built the first large Chinese-style
capital: Fujiwara-kyo. This was Japan’s capital before it moved
to Nara. Before Fujiwara-kyo, the capital moved whenever
a new emperor came to power, it was little more than the emperor’s residence. Fujiwara-kyo was different. It was much bigger and it became the capital
for three consecutive rulers. Now Kusakabe had a son before he died, making
him Jito’s grandson. And Jito would love nothing more than to have
her grandson rule after her. Problem was, her husband Tenmu had been very… active… when he was alive. Tenmu the Thirsty had many sons and among
them were many strong contenders for emperorship. And they all had to go, thought Jito. Killing them wasn’t an option, there were
too many, and it would be a little suspicious if Tenmu’s sons started dying randomly. No, she needed a different plan. A more clever one. She used the fact that her father Tenji was
a popular emperor. Before Tenji died, he had appointed his son
as crown prince. She and her supporters claimed that by doing
this, Tenji had wanted to establish a rule to be obeyed thereafter: a son should follow
his father as emperor. Let’s ignore the fact that her own husband,
Tenmu, took the throne from Tenji’s son. Empress Jito also created a National Memorial
Day for her dead son Kusakabe. Such a day was reserved for emperors, so she
kind of shoe-horned him in as an emperor after his death. This also meant that it made her role as empress
something like a placeholder until the next male emperor takes power. We would see future empresses follow suit
with this placeholder role. All this had a purpose. If we go by Tenji’s rule that a son should
follow the father, since Kusakabe was the previous emperor, it made only Kusakabe’s
son legitimate. This eliminated all of Tenmu’s sons. And for the coup de grace, Jito abdicated
the throne in favor of her grandson, who became Emperor Monmu. Before Jito, the next emperor usually came
to power after the previous one died. Jito didn’t wait. Again, Jito started a trend where future empresses
would abdicate the throne instead of ruling until death. This made a lot of sense, actually, if you
wanted to make sure the right person succeeded you. Empress Jito continued to be an influential
leader in court, and allied herself with the up-and-coming Fujiwara clan, particularly
Fujiwara no Fuhito. She helped them marry into the Imperial Family,
and they helped with her plans. Fujiwara power only grew from here on out. Even on her deathbed, Empress Jito reiterated
the father-to-son succession rule, always looking out for her family. Then she said, “Get me a drink, I need to relax now.” Hello lovelies! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, you
guys. Thank you everyone who watched these videos
this year, 2018, you’re part of a special group because 2018 was when I started taking
this channel seriously. You were here at the beginning, and I hope
you’ll stay. If anyone has fun holiday stories, share them
in the comments. I did something fun recently, I was invited
to a bachelorette party. I’m a guy, in case you didn’t know. So that was my first bachelorette. Huh. We have one new patron this week by the name
of Forrest. I’ve always thought that was a cool name
after seeing Forrest Gump. If you wanna help support the channel, please
check out the Patreon link in the description. Alright much love, guys, spread the knowledge!

85 thoughts on “Empress Jito, Badass Third Female Empress of Japan Who Played 3D Chess | History of Japan 30

  1. My Christmas wish is for you to follow me on Instagram or Twitter <3
    INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/linfamy
    TWITTER: http://twitter.com/linfamie

    Jinshin War: https://youtu.be/XDxS3Uxpcf0

  2. I keep watching these and anytime someone wants to know something about history, Im that one guy that can explain the whole thing.

  3. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

    15 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

  4. Now we have Princess Aiko vs. Prince Hisahito in 21st Century Japan. It is because Aiko is in the direct bloodline of Former Emperor Akihito and the current Emperor Naruhito but she is a girl that made her not legitimate to be the successor of the throne.
    Prince Hisahito is a boy but he is in the side bloodline of Akihito's younger brother Prince Fumihito, that makes him not so legitimate either.
    But it is not a problem because the Royal Family has no political power anymore due to Japan is constitutional monarchy. Who's gonna be crowned? Only the Prime Minister calls the shot.

  5. 1:23 When I was 9, my mother gave me an antique poison ring. The garnet on the top flips open to reveal a little compartment to store poison for discrete enemy-food-lacing. She anticipated me going into politics.😊

    JK, she just knew I loved history & that I would love something novel like that. Seriously, I still have it.

  6. Jito apparently doesn’t give two fucks about her brother dying
    Also why do I keep hearing her name queen Cheeto
    (Empress whoops)

  7. when i heard "kusakabe" i thought of my neighbor totoro—— lol i'm a weeb, i fact taht's why i'm watching stuff about japan

  8. n yet..they didn't want princess ai, the current emperor of japan's only daughter to take the throne..when according to their royal family history, they had several female empresses ruling..oh well..

  9. Do you know if this story has been made into a movie or TV series? I only ask because listening to it it feels very much like something I've seen before, although I recognize that it's quite possible similar situations occurred in other courts or different time periods (and it's kind of tweaking me a bit that I can't remember exactly what it was I watched because I remember I very much enjoyed it)

    Also, thanks for making these videos! 😊🤗🤗🤗

  10. Seems like women were more intelligent with comon sense than most people of today's era

    Or that could have been a rare occurrence

  11. Why do you talk so strange, usually when the last letter of a word is the same as the first letter of a next? It sometimes makes the words sound like spoken-in-a-really-robotic-manner.
    Like "Strategised-together" instead of flowing it seamlessly like "Stragetised together"?

  12. Some of my favorite Christmases included one of my city's newer traditions called "Light Up Louisville, where the government center and judicial buildings are festooned with X-mass lawn sculptures fitted with X-Mas lights. At 8:00 p.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving (the next day), the lights on all the sculptures were lit up at once, and after that, Santa Claus (the one playing him) would arrive on the lawn of the government center building in a tiny, 2-man helicopter. Pretty cool stuff.

    Then we all repaired to the stage venue a few blocks away to enjoy a famous local band, The Monarchs, who specialized in '50's and '60's Rock and Roll. Lots of fun!

  13. What was that.😂yes honey LETS DO THe pincer attack and ram the pincer in there of the battlefield was that to say ass

  14. the reason why her son died is because it was a family relationship that created the child hands making them more susceptible to diseases than other persons with more diverse that DNA

  15. My mother didn't help me rise to the throne, but all of my bullies mysteriously disappeared.

  16. I never really cared about Asian history until I found this channel! No prejudice or anything, frankly I just like the western aesthetic.

    But now I’ve gotten to learn a lot more about the homeland of sushi and am genuinely interested in it!

  17. Hated the whispering in the beginning. I would have liked the video if not for that. Gotta go watch asmr now to soothe this irrational anger.

  18. On a Christmas one year while I was in the Army some neighbors and I drank eggnog and smokes cigars and everyone kept asking to see my dick nohomo because I had it pierced with a Jacob's ladder of 3 barbells…

    That was an interesting Christmas… we got so drunk that day we thought that 3pm was 3am and didn't understand why it was so bright and sunny outside…

  19. Okay I love this series but the fucking whispering subscribe section makes me legitimately gag, it is fucking gross to hear someone whisper like that through headphones.

  20. Kind of idiotic to have your leader based on a bloodline as the world changes and what was useful on the past may not be useful on the future.
    Plainly put. There is no such thing as perfection on a changing universe. Sure democracy is far worse. But maybe a system in which people have to prove their worth (not to be confused with wealth). Right now we have next to no worthy leader. When the best leader is Donald Trump we know that as a species we are in trouble.

  21. "Empress Jito, Badass Third Female Empress of Japan Who Played 3D Chess"
    I love the title even if I know that it's like that or changed X'D

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