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Emperor Kōgen

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Title: Emperor Kōgen  
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Subject: Emperor Kaika, Emperor Kōrei, Takenouchi no Sukune, Emperors of Japan, Capital of Japan
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Emperor Kōgen

Emperor of Japan
Reign 214 BC – 158 BC (traditional)[1]
Predecessor Kōrei
Successor Kaika
Born legendary
Died legendary
Burial Tsurugi no ike no shima no e no misasagi (Nara)

Emperor Kōgen (孝元天皇 Kōgen-tennō), also known as Ooyamatonekohikokunikuru no Mikoto, was the eighth emperor of Japan,[2] according to the traditional order of succession.[3]

No firm dates can be assigned to this emperor's life or reign, but he is conventionally considered to have reigned from 214 BC–158 BC.[4]

Legendary narrative

Modern scholars have come to question the existence of at least the first nine emperors; Kōgen's descendant, Emperor Sujin is the first that many agree might have actually existed.[5] The name Kōgen-tennō was assigned to him posthumously by later generations.[6]

Kōgen is regarded by historians as a "legendary emperor". There is insufficient material available for further verification and study.[7] The reign of Emperor Kimmei (509?–571 AD), the 29th emperor,[8] is the first for which contemporary historiography is able to assign verifiable dates;[9] 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.[10]

In the Kojiki and Nihonshoki only his name and genealogy were recorded. The Japanese have traditionally accepted this sovereign's historical existence, and an Imperial misasagi or tomb for Kōgen is currently maintained; however, no extant contemporary records have been discovered that confirm a view that this historical figure actually reigned. He is considered to have been the seventh of eight emperors without specific legends associated with them, also known as the "eight undocumented monarchs" (欠史八代, Kesshi-hachidai).[11]

Jien records that Kōgen was the eldest son of Emperor Kōrei, and that he ruled from the palace of Sakaihara-no-miya at Karu in what would come to be known as Yamato province.[12] The Abe clan are said to have descended from a son of Emperor Kōgen.[13] It is believed that he was his father's successor, and that he was himself succeeded by his son.[14]

Kōgen is a posthumous name. 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 Kōgen, possibly during the time in which legends about the origins of the Yamato dynasty were compiled as the chronicles known today as the Kojiki.[11]

The actual site of Kōgen's grave is not known.[2] This emperor is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine (misasagi) in Nara.

The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Kōgen's mausoleum. It is formally named Tsurugi no ike no shima no e no misasagi.[15]

Consorts and Children

Empress: Utsusikome (欝色謎命), younger sister of Utsusikoo (欝色雄命)

  • Prince Oohiko (大彦命), ancestor of Abe no Omi (阿倍臣), Kashiwade no Omi (膳臣), Ahe no Omi (阿閉臣), Sasakiyama no Kimi (狭狭城山君), Tsukushi no Kuni no Miyatsuko (筑紫国造)
  • Prince Sukunaokokoro (少彦男心命)
  • Prince Wakayamatonekohikooobi (稚日本根子彦大日日尊) (Emperor Kaika)
  • Princess Yamatototohime (倭迹迹姫命)

Ikagashikome (伊香色謎命), daughter of Oohesoki (大綜麻杵)

  • Prince Hikofutsuoshinomakoto (彦太忍信命), grandfather of the Takeuchi no Sukune (武内宿禰)

Haniyasuhime (埴安媛), daughter of Kawachi no Aotamakake (河内青玉繋)

  • Prince Takehaniyasuhiko (武埴安彦命)

See also


Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. ^ "Genealogy of the Emperors of Japan" at; retrieved 2013-8-28.
  2. ^ a b Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 孝元天皇 (8); retrieved 2013-8-22.
  3. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). p. 6Annales des empereurs du japon, , p. 6, at Google Books; Brown, Delmer M.' (1979). Gukanshō, p. 252; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 92-93;
  4. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 30.
  5. ^ Yoshida, Reiji. "Life in the Cloudy Imperial Fishbowl," Japan Times. March 27, 2007; retrieved 2013-8-22.
  6. ^ Brinkley, Frank. (1915). p. 21A History of the Japanese People from the Earliest Times to the end of the Meiji Era, , p. 21, at Google Books; excerpt, "Posthumous names for the earthly Mikados were invented in the reign of Emperor Kammu (782-805), i.e., after the date of the compilation of the Records and the Chronicles.
  7. ^ Kelly, Charles F. "Kofun Culture," Japanese Archaeology. April 27, 2009.
  8. ^ Titsingh, pp. 34–36; Brown, pp. 261–262; Varley, pp. 123–124.
  9. ^ Hoye, Timothy. (1999). Japanese Politics: Fixed and Floating Worlds, p. 78; excerpt, "According to legend, the first Japanese emperor was Jimmu. Along with the next 13 emperors, Jimmu is not considered an actual, historical figure. Historically verifiable Emperors of Japan date from the early sixth century with Kimmei.
  10. ^ Aston, William. (1896). Nihongi, pp. 109.
  11. ^ a b Aston, pp. 147-148.
  12. ^ Brown, p. 252.
  13. ^ Asakawa, Kan'ichi. (1903). The Early Institutional Life of Japan, p.140.
  14. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kōgen Tennō" in , p. 542Japan Encyclopedia, p. 542, at Google Books.
  15. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, p. 418.


  • Asakawa, Kan'ichi. (1903). The Early Institutional Life of Japan. Tokyo: Shueisha. OCLC 4427686; online, multi-formatted, full-text book at openlibrary.orgsee
  • Aston, William. (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. 10-ISBN 0-520-03460-0; 13-ISBN 978-0-520-03460-0; OCLC 251325323
  • Chamberlain, Basil Hall. (1920). The Kojiki. Read before the Asiatic Society of Japan on April 12, May 10, and June 21, 1882; reprinted, May, 1919. OCLC 1882339
  • Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 10-ISBN 0-674-01753-6; 13-ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128
  • Ponsonby-Fane, Richard Arthur Brabazon. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 194887
  • Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Nihon Odai 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. 10-ISBN 0-231-04940-4; 13-ISBN 978-0-231-04940-5; OCLC 59145842
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Kōrei
Legendary Emperor of Japan
214 BC–158 BC
(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Kaika
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