The Info List - Emperor Kōtoku

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Kōtoku (孝徳天皇, Kōtoku-tennō, 596 – November 24, 654) was the 36th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2] The years of his reign lasted from 645 through 654.[3]


1 Traditional narrative

1.1 Kugyō

2 Eras of Kōtoku's reign 3 Consorts and children 4 Ancestry 5 See also 6 Notes 7 References

Traditional narrative[edit] Before Kōtoku's ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (imina)[4] was Karu (軽) or Prince Karu (軽皇子, Karu-no-Ōji).[5] He enacted the Taika Reform
Taika Reform
edicts. He was a descendant of Emperor
Bidatsu. He was a son of Chinu no ōkimi (Prince Chinu, 茅渟王) by Kibitsuhime no ōkimi (Princess Kibitsuhime, 吉備姫王). Empress Kōgyoku
Empress Kōgyoku
was his elder sister from the same parents. Chinu was a son of Prince Oshisaka hikohito no ōe, whose father was the Emperor
Bidatsu. He had at least three consorts including his Empress, Hashihito no Himemiko (Princess Hashihito), the daughter of Emperor
Jomei and his sister Empress Kōgyoku. He ruled from July 12, 645,[6] until his death in 654. In 645 he ascended to the throne two days after Prince Naka no Ōe ( Emperor
Tenji) assassinated Soga no Iruka
Soga no Iruka
in the court of Kōgyoku. Kōgyoku abdicated in favor of her son and crown prince, Naka no Ōe, but Naka no Ōe insisted Kōtoku should ascend to the throne instead.

645: In the 3rd year of Kōgyoku-tennō 's reign (皇極天皇三年), the empress abdicated; and the succession (senso) was received by her younger brother. Shortly thereafter, Emperor
Kōtoku is said to have acceded to the throne (sokui).[7]

Kōtoku's contemporary title would not have been tennō, as most historians believe this title was not introduced until the reigns of Emperor
Tenmu and Empress Jitō. Rather, it was presumably Sumeramikoto or Amenoshita Shiroshimesu Ōkimi (治天下大王), meaning "the great king who rules all under heaven". Alternatively, Kōtoku might have been referred to as (ヤマト大王/大君) or the "Great King of Yamato". According to the Nihonshoki, he was of gentle personality and was in favor of Buddhism. In 645 he created a new city in the area called Naniwa, and moved the capital from Yamato Province
Yamato Province
to this new city (see Nara). The new capital had a sea port and was good for foreign trade and diplomatic activities. In 653 Kōtoku sent an embassy to the court of the Tang dynasty
Tang dynasty
in China, but some of the ships were lost en route. Naka no Ōe held the rank of crown prince and was the de facto leader of the government. In 653 Naka no Ōe proposed to move the capital again to Yamato province. Kōtoku denied. Naka no Ōe ignored the emperor's policy and moved to the former province. Many courtiers of the court including, Empress Hashihito, followed him. Kōtoku was left in the palace. In the next year he died because of illness. After his death, Naka no Ōe would not ascend to the throne. Instead, his mother and the sister of Kōtoku, the former Empress Kogyoku ascended to the throne under another name, Empress Saimei. The system of hasshō kyakkan (eight ministries and a hundred offices) was first established during the reign of Emperor

shrine and mausoleum honoring Emperor

The actual site of Kōtoku's grave is known.[1] This emperor is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto
shrine (misasagi) at Osaka. The Imperial Household Agency
Imperial Household Agency
designates this location as Kōtoku's mausoleum. It is formally named Ōsaka-no-shinaga no misasagi.[9] Kugyō[edit] Kugyō (公卿) is a collective term for the very few most powerful men attached to the court of the Emperor of Japan
Emperor of Japan
in pre-Meiji eras. In general, this elite group included only three to four men at a time. These were hereditary courtiers whose experience and background would have brought them to the pinnacle of a life's career. During Kōtoko's reign, this apex of the Daijō-kan

Sadaijin, Abe no Kurahashi-maro (阿部倉梯麻呂) (d. 649), 645–649.[10] Sadaijin, Kose no Tokoda (巨勢徳太) (593–658), 649–658.[10] Udaijin, Soga no Kura-no-Yamada no Ishikawa-no-maro (蘇我倉山田石川麻呂) (d. 649), 645–649.[10] Udaijin, Ōtomo no Nagatoko (大伴長徳) (d. 651), 649–651.[10] Naidaijin(内臣), Nakatomi Kamako (中臣鎌子) (Fujiwara no Kamatari, 藤原鎌足) (614–669), 645–669.[10]

Eras of Kōtoku's reign[edit] The years of Kōtoku's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[11]

Taika (645–650) Hakuchi (650–655)

Consorts and children[edit] Empress: Princess Hashihito (間人皇女) (d. 665), daughter of Emperor
Jomei Hi: Abe no Otarashi-hime (阿部小足媛), daughter of Abe no Kurahashi-maro

Prince Arima (有間皇子) (640–658)

Hi: Saga no Chi-no-iratsume (蘇我乳娘), daughter of Soga no Kura-no-Yamada no Ishikawa-no-maro Ancestry[edit] [12]

Ancestors of Emperor

16. Emperor
Kinmei (509–571)

8. Emperor
Bidatsu (538–585)

17. Princess Ishi

4. Prince Oshisakanohikohito-no-Ōe

9. Hiro-hime (d. c. 575)

2. Prince Chinu

20. Emperor
Kinmei (509–571)

10. Emperor
Bidatsu (538–585)

21. Princess Ishi

5. Princess Nukate-hime (c. 570–664)

22. Ohoka no Obito no Okuma

11. Unako no Otoshi

1. Emperor

24. Emperor
Keitai (dates for Emperor
Keitai's lifespan and reign unverified)

12. Emperor
Kinmei (509–571)

25. Princess Tashiraka (d. 5??)

6. Sakurai no Miko (560–587)

26. Soga no Iname (506–570)

13. Soga no Kitashihime

3. Princess Kibitsu-hime (d. 643)

See also[edit]

of Japan List of Emperors of Japan Imperial cult


^ a b Imperial Household Agency
Imperial Household Agency
(Kunaichō): 孝徳天皇 (33) ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 50. ^ Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 266–267; Varley, H. Paul. Jinnō Shōtōki. p. 132–133; Titsinh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 47–30., p. 47, at Google Books ^ Brown, pp. 264; prior to Emperor
Jomei, the personal names of the emperors (their imina) were very long and people did not generally use them; however, the number of characters in each name diminished after Jomei's reign. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 8. ^ July 12 645 corresponds to the Fourteenth Day of the Sixth Month of 645 (isshi). ^ Titsingh, pp. 47–48; Brown, p. 266; Varley, p. 44; a distinct act of senso is unrecognized prior to Emperor
Tenji; and all sovereigns except Jitō, Yōzei, Go-Toba, and Fushimi have senso and sokui in the same year until the reign of Emperor
Go-Murakami. ^ Varley, p. 133. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 420. ^ a b c d e Brown, p. 266. ^ Titsingh, p. 47. ^ "Genealogy". Reichsarchiv. Retrieved 25 January 2018.  (in Japanese)


Aston, William George. (1896). Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan
from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner. OCLC 448337491 Brown, Delmer M. and Ichirō Ishida, eds. (1979). Gukanshō: The Future and the Past. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-03460-0; OCLC 251325323 Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial
Society. OCLC 194887 Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Nihon Ōdai Ichiran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon. Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 5850691 Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki: A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-04940-5; OCLC 59145842

Regnal titles

Preceded by Empress Kōgyoku Emperor
of Japan: Kōtoku 645–654 Succeeded by Empress Saimei

v t e

Japanese monarchs

Italics mark imperial consort and regent Jingū, who is not traditionally listed. Years given as CE / AD


Jimmu Suizei Annei Itoku Kōshō Kōan Kōrei Kōgen Kaika Sujin Suinin Keikō Seimu Chūai Jingū


Ōjin Nintoku Richū Hanzei Ingyō Ankō Yūryaku Seinei Kenzō Ninken Buretsu Keitai Ankan Senka



Kinmei Bidatsu Yōmei Sushun Suiko Jomei Kōgyoku Kōtoku Saimei Tenji Kōbun Tenmu Jitō Monmu Genmei



Genmei Genshō Shōmu Kōken Junnin Shōtoku Kōnin Kanmu



Kanmu Heizei Saga Junna Ninmyō Montoku Seiwa Yōzei Kōkō Uda Daigo Suzaku Murakami Reizei En'yū Kazan Ichijō Sanjō Go-Ichijō Go-Suzaku Go-Reizei Go-Sanjō Shirakawa Horikawa Toba Sutoku Konoe Go-Shirakawa Nijō Rokujō Takakura Antoku Go-Toba



Tsuchimikado Juntoku Chūkyō Go-Horikawa Shijō Go-Saga Go-Fukakusa Kameyama Go-Uda Fushimi Go-Fushimi Go-Nijō Hanazono Go-Daigo

Northern Court


Kōgon Kōmyō Sukō Go-Kōgon Go-En'yū Go-Komatsu



Go-Murakami Chōkei Go-Kameyama Go-Komatsu Shōkō Go-Hanazono Go-Tsuchimikado Go-Kashiwabara Go-Nara Ōgimachi



Ōgimachi Go-Yōzei



Go-Yōzei Go-Mizunoo Meishō Go-Kōmyō Go-Sai Reigen Higashiyama Nakamikado Sakuramachi Momozono Go-Sakuramachi Go-Momozono Kōkaku Ninkō Kōmei Meiji

Empire of Japan


Meiji Taishō Shōwa

(Post-war Japan)


Shōwa Akihito
(Heisei period; Reigning Emperor)

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 258170067 LCCN: n8418