Land of the Setting Sun

In today’s post: A short look at Prince Shōtoku, one of Japan’s first great leaders, and how he pissed of China. Also, the Japan Daily Photo and a free iPhone wallpaper.

Fighting With China Since The Beginning

One of Japan’s first great leaders was Prince Shōtoku1, who ruled Japan as regent to Empress Suiko from 593–622. He did all kinds of firsts: including, he may have been the first person to refer to Japan as Nihon. He was a very devoted Buddhist—his support for the religion was instrumental in it spreading in Japan instead of dying out. He was a popular ruler and remains a very popular historic figure.

prince shotoku

He may also have been the first Japanese ruler to piss off the Chinese, something many Japanese leaders since have made an art of. In 605, the Sui Emperor sent a letter asking about the state of things in Japan. Prince Shōtoku replied back, ‘From the sovereign of the land of the rising sun to the sovereign of the land of the setting sun’. Needless to say, the Sui Emperor wasn’t amused at having his country refered to as ‘The Land of the Setting Sun’

Daily Photo: We All Shine On

Speaking of Setting Suns, here is a nice one I caught some time ago. If memory serves, I had been shooting the autumn leaves near the castle and was on my way home when the clouds parted to reveal this gorgeous sunset which immediately turned the sky a bright orange. As luck would have it, I was near this bridge when this happened, so I grabbed several shots. Love the sun’s reflection in the water.


  1. Maybe. Some scholars suggest that he wasn’t a real person. The primary source of his life and accomplishments comes from the Nihon Shoki, the second oldest book of Japanese history. This book is known to alter facts to make a better story and that may be the case with Prince Shōtoku. 

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