Prince Shotoku (574-622), a member of the imperial clan, exercised political leadership from the end of the sixth century to the beginning of the seventh century. After Empress Suiko ascended to the throne in 592 as Japan's first female monarch, Shotoku took over the reins of political power as her regent.
He created Japan's first constitution, known as the Seventeen-Article Constitution, which established rules for officials engaged in political affairs. For example, it stipulated that officials serving in the imperial court must obey the orders of the reigning monarch and that there must be fair trials.
Prince Shotoku also devoted his efforts to the spread of Buddhism in Japan, building many temples and dispatching envoys to China.