Himiko or Pimiko (卑弥呼, c. 170–248 AD) was a shaman queen of Yamataikoku in ancient Wa (Japan). Early Chinese dynastic histories chronicle tributary relations between Queen Himiko and the Cao Wei Kingdom (220–265), and record that the Yayoi period people chose her as ruler following decades of warfare among the kings of Wa. Early Japanese histories do not mention Himiko, but historians associate her with legendary figures such as Empress Consort Jingū, who was Regent (c. 200–269) in roughly the same era as Himiko. Scholarly debates over the identity of Himiko and the location of her domain Yamatai have raged since the late Edo period, with opinions divided between northern Kyūshū or traditional Yamato province in present-day Kinki.
The shaman Queen Himiko is recorded in various ancient histories, dating back to 3rd century China, 8th century Japan, and 12th century Korea. The first historical records of Himiko from China are found in a Chinese classic text, the c. 297 Records of Three Kingdoms (Sanguo Zhi 三國志). Its "Records of Wei" (Wei Zhi 魏志), which covers the Cao Wei kingdom (220-265) history, has a Worenzhuan (倭人傳 "Account of the Wa People", Japanese Wajinden 倭人伝) section with the oldest description of Himiko (or Pimiko 卑彌呼) and Yamatai. From Korea, The oldest Korean history book, the 1145 Samguk Sagi (三國史記 "Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms") records that Queen Himiko sent an emissary to King Adalla of Silla in May 173 (Saeki 1988:35, 113, 154).
In Japan, Neither of the two oldest Japanese histories, the c. 712 Kojiki (古事記 "Records of Ancient Matters") nor c. 720 Nihon Shoki (日本書紀 "Chronicles of Japan"), mentions Queen Himiko. The circumstances under which these books were written is a matter of unending debate, and even if Himiko were known to the authors, they may have purposefully decided not to include her. However, they include three imperial-family shamans identified with her: Yamato-totohi-momoso-hime-no-mikoto, the aunt of Emperor Sujin (legendary 10th Japanese emperor, r. 97-30 BC); Yamatohime-no-mikoto, the daughter of Emperor Suinin (legendary 11th, r. 29 BC-70 AD); and Empress Jingū (r. c. 209-269 AD), the wife of Emperor Chūai (legendary 14th emperor, r. 192-200 AD). These dates, however, are not historically verified. One remarkable exception to early Japanese histories overlooking Himiko is the Nihon Shoki quoting the Wei Zhi three times. In 239, "the Queen [女王] of Wa" sent envoys to Wei; in 240, they returned "charged with an Imperial rescript and a seal and ribbon"; and in 243, "The Ruler [王 "king"] of Wa again sent high officers as envoys with tribute". It is revealing that the Nihon Shoki editors chose to omit the Wei Zhi particulars about Himiko.