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Emperor Kōshō
5th Emperor of Japan
Reign legendary
Born legendary
Died legendary
Buried Wakigami no Hakata no yama no e no Misasagi (Nara)
Predecessor Emperor Itoku
Successor Emperor Kōan

Emperor Kōshō (孝昭天皇, Kōshō-tennō ?); also known as Mimatsuhikokaeshine no Mikoto; is the 5th emperor of Japan to appear on the traditional list of emperors.[1] No firm dates can be assigned to this emperor's life or reign.[2]


Legendary narrative

Kōshō is regarded by historians as a "legendary emperor" because of the paucity of information about him, which does not necessarily imply that no such person ever existed. There is insufficient material available for further verification and study. The reign of Emperor Kimmei (509?-571), the 29th emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, is the first for which contemporary historiography are able to assign verifiable dates;[3] however, the conventionally accepted names and dates of the early emperors were not to be confirmed as "traditional" until the reign of Emperor Kammu (737–806), the 50th sovereign of the Yamato dynasty.[4]

In Kojiki and Nihonshoki only his name and genealogy were recorded. He is believed to be oldest son of Emperor Itoku; and his mother is believed to have been Amanotoyototsu-hime, who was the daughter of Okishimimi-no-kami.[5] The Japanese have traditionally accepted this sovereign's historical existence, and an Imperial misasagi or tomb for Itoku is currently maintained; however, no extant contemporary records have been discovered which confirm a view that this historical figure actually reigned. He is considered to have been the fourth of eight emperors without specific legends associated with them, also known as the "eight undocumented monarchs" (欠史八代, Kesshi-hachidai ?).[6]

Later generations may have included this name to the list of emperors of Japan, thus making him posthumously an emperor and assigning him as one of the early sovereigns and ancestors of the dynasty that has reigned unbroken since time immemorial. If he lived, at his time the title tenno was not yet used, and the polity he possibly ruled did certainly not contain all or even the most of Japan. In the chronicle which encompasses his alleged successors in beginnings of historical time, it becomes reasonable to conclude that Kōshō, if he existed, might have been a chieftain or a regional king in early Yamato tribal society.

Emperor Kōshō was the eldest son of Emperor Itoku.[2] Jien records that he ruled from the palace of Ikekokoro-no-miya at Waki-no-kami in what will come to be known as Yamato province.[7]

This posthumous name literally means "filial manifestation". It is undisputed that this identification is Chinese in form and Buddhist in implication, which suggests that the name must have been regularized centuries after the lifetime ascribed to Kōshō, possibly during the time in which legends about the origins of the Yamato dynasty were compiled as the chronicles known today as the Kojiki.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, p. 251; Varley, Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 90; Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 4-5.
  2. ^ a b Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 30.
  3. ^ Titsingh, pp. 34-36; Brown, pp. 261-262; Varley, pp. 123-124.
  4. ^ Aston, William. (1896). Nihongi, pp. 109.
  5. ^ Varley, p. 90.
  6. ^ a b Aston, pp. 144-145.
  7. ^ Brown, p. 251; Varley, p. 90.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Itoku
Legendary Emperor of Japan
475 BC-393 BC
(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Kōan

Simple English

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