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Emperor Kōtoku
36th Emperor of Japan
Reign 645 - 654
Born 596
Died the 10th Day of the 10th Month of Hakuchi 5 (654) (aged 58)
Place of death Toyosaki no Miya (Ōsaka)
Buried Ōsaka-no-shinaga no Misasagi (Osaka)
Predecessor Empress Kōgyoku
Successor Empress Saimei
Consort Princess Hashihito(?-665)
Father Prince Chinu
Mother Princess Kibitsu-hime

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

Contents

Genealogy

Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (his imina)[3] was Karu-no-Ōji (軽皇子), also known as Ame-Yorodzu Toyo-hi (meaning "Heaven-myriad-abundant-sun").[4]

He enacted the 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 was his elder sister from 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.

Events of Kōtoku's reign

He ruled from July 12, 645[5] 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 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3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).[6]

According to Nihonshoki he was of gentle personality and was favor in Buddhism.

In 645 he created a new city in the area called Naniwa, and moved the capital from 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 Tang Dynasty, but not all ships could reach China because of wrecking.

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 and loyals in 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 wouldn't 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 Kōtoku.[7]

Kugyō

Kugyō (公卿) is a collective term for the very few most powerful men attached to the court of the 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 included:

  • Sadaijin, Abe no Kurahashi-maro (阿部倉梯麻呂) (?-649), 645-649.[8]
  • Sadaijin, Kose no Tokoda (巨勢徳太) (593-658), 649-658.[8]
  • Udaijin, Soga no Kura-no-Yamada no Ishikawa-no-maro (蘇我倉山田石川麻呂) (?-649), 645-649.[8]
  • Udaijin, Ōtomo no Nagatoko (大伴長徳) (?-651), 649-651.[8]
  • Naidaijin(内臣), Nakatomi Kamako (中臣鎌子) (Fujiwara no Kamatari, 藤原鎌足) (614-669), 645-669.[8]

Eras of Kōtoku's reign

The years of Kōtoku's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[9]

Consorts and Children

Empress: Princess Hashihito (間人皇女) (?-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

See also

Notes

  1. ^ November 24 654 corresponds to the Tenth Day of the Tenth Month of 654 (kōin) of the traditional lunisolar calendar used in Japan until 1873.
  2. ^ Titsinh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 47-30; Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 266-267; Varley, H. Paul. Jinnō Shōtōki. p. 132-133.
  3. ^ Brown, pp. 264; n.b., Up until the time of Emperor Jomei, the personal names of the emperors (their imina) were very long and people did not generally use them. The number of characters in each name diminished after Jomei's reign.
  4. ^ Aston, William. (2005). Nihongi, p. 195-196; Brown, p. 266.
  5. ^ July 12 645 corresponds to the Fourteenth Day of the Sixth Month of 645 (isshi).
  6. ^ Titsingh, pp. 47-48; Brown, p. 266; Varley, p. 44; n.b., 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.
  7. ^ Varley, p. 133.
  8. ^ a b c d e Brown, p. 266.
  9. ^ Titsingh, p. 47.

References

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Empress Kōgyoku
Emperor of Japan:
Kōtoku

645-654
Succeeded by
Empress Saimei
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