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VOX POPULI: Prince Shotoku a man for all seasons, and ordinary, too

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Next year marks the 1,400th anniversary of the death of Prince Umayado, better known as Prince Shotoku, who had at least four wives.

Anecdotes abound about this politician of the Asuka Period (592-710) who has been revered as a saint. But what was his private life like?

Back then, polygyny was common among men in positions of power.

Prince Shotoku’s spouses included a daughter and a granddaughter of Emperor Suiko as well as a daughter of Soga no Umako, a member of the powerful Soga clan.

Another consort, Kashiwade no Kisaki, does not appear to have resulted from a marriage of political convenience.


© The Asahi Shimbun

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