Ono no Imoko

Ono no Imoko

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was a Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese politician and diplomat in the late 6th and early 7th century, during the Asuka period
Asuka period
The , was a period in the history of Japan lasting from 538 to 710 , although its beginning could be said to overlap with the preceding Kofun period...

.

Ono was appointed by Empress Suiko
Empress Suiko
was the 33rd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.Suiko's reign spanned the years from 593 until her death in 628....

 as an official envoy (Kenzuishi
Japanese missions to Sui China
Japanese missions to Sui China represent a lens for examining and evaluating the relationships between China and Japan in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries...

) to the Sui court
Sui Dynasty
The Sui Dynasty was a powerful, but short-lived Imperial Chinese dynasty. Preceded by the Southern and Northern Dynasties, it ended nearly four centuries of division between rival regimes. It was followed by the Tang Dynasty....

 in 607 (Imperial embassies to China
Imperial embassies to China
The Japanese Missions to Imperial China were diplomatic embassies which were intermittently sent to the Chinese court. Any distinction amongst diplomatic envoys sent from the Imperial Japanese court or from any of the Japanese shogunates was lost or rendered moot when the ambassador was received in...

), and he delivered the famous letter from Japan's Prince Shōtoku
Prince Shotoku
, also known as or , was a semi-legendary regent and a politician of the Asuka period in Japan who served under Empress Suiko. He was a son of Emperor Yōmei and his younger half-sister Princess Anahobe no Hashihito. His parents were relatives of the ruling Soga clan, and was involved in the defeat...

 which began "The Son of Heaven where the sun rises (Japan), to the Son of Heaven where the sun sets (China), may good health be with you." Emperor Yang
Emperor Yang of Sui
Emperor Yang of Sui , personal name Yang Guang , alternative name Ying , nickname Amo , known as Emperor Ming during the brief reign of his grandson Yang Tong), was the second son of Emperor Wen of Sui, and the second emperor of China's Sui Dynasty.Emperor Yang's original name was Yang Ying, but...

 was angered at being addressed in this way, although it is not clear whether he was angered more by the insult of Sui being referred to as the land of the setting sun, or by the use of Son of Heaven
Son of Heaven
Son of Heaven may refer to:* Emperor of China* Emperor of Japan* Emperors of Vietnam* Son of God* Son of Heaven , book on Guangxu Emperor by Princess Der Ling...

 to refer both to himself and to the emperor of what China considered to be nothing more than a relatively insignificant barbarian state to the northeast.

Nevertheless, Emperor Yang was probably more interested in obtaining Japan's support in his campaigns against Goguryeo
Goguryeo
Goguryeo or Koguryŏ was an ancient Korean kingdom located in present day northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula, southern Manchuria, and southern Russian Maritime province....

 than in matters of decorum, and despite the insult, he sent his own envoy, Pei Shiqing (裴世清), back to Japan with Ono.

Ono was then appointed envoy to Sui for a second time in the fall of 608 and accompanied Pei Shiqing on his return trip to China. Ono returned to Japan from his second mission in 609 and then largely disappeared from the historical record.

Ono no Imoko is often cited as an example of an official who achieved promotion under the new meritorious Twelve Level Cap and Rank System
Twelve Level Cap and Rank System
, established in 603, was the first of what would be several similar cap and rank systems established during the Asuka period of Japanese history. It was adapted from similar systems that were already in place in Sui dynasty China, Paekche and Koguryŏ. The officials wore silk caps that were...

 implemented by Prince Shōtoku in 603. When Ono first appeared in the historical record and was appointed envoy to Sui, his rank was listed as Greater Propriety (5th rank), but he was later promoted to the top rank of Greater Virtue, largely due to his successful missions to the Sui court.

Ono no Imoko's family was notable for linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 and scholarship
Scholarship
A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further education. Scholarships are awarded on various criteria usually reflecting the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award.-Types:...

, and the descendants of the family include Ono no Komachi
Ono no Komachi
was a famous Japanese waka poet, one of the Rokkasen—the Six best Waka poets of the early Heian period. She was noted as a rare beauty; Komachi is a symbol of a beautiful woman in Japan. She also figures among the Thirty-six Poetry Immortals....

, beautiful female poet; Ono no Takamura
Ono no Takamura
also known as was an early Heian period scholar and poet.-Life:Takamura is a descendant of Ono no Imoko who served as Kenzuishi, and his father was Ono no Minemori. He is the grandfather of Ono no Michikaze, one of the...

, poet and scholar; and Ono no Michikaze
Ono no Michikaze
was a prominent Shodōka who lived in the Heian period . One of the so-called Sanseki 三跡 , along with Fujiwara no Sukemasa and Fujiwara no Yukinari...

, calligrapher.