Emperor Kōnin

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Kōnin
Emperor of Japan
Reign 770–781
Born 18 November 709
Died 11 January 782
Buried Tahara no higashi no misasagi (Nara)
Predecessor Shōtoku
Successor Kammu

Emperor Kōnin (光仁天皇 Kōnin-tennō?, 18 November 709 – 11 January 782) was the 49th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2] Kōnin's reign started in 770 and ended in 781.[3]

Traditional narrative[change | change source]

Before he became the monarch, this prince's personal name (imina) was Prince Shirakabe (白壁?)[4]

Kōnin had five wives and seven Imperial sons and daughters.[5]

Events of Kōnin's life[change | change source]

  • 8 September 769 (Jingo-keiun 3, 4th day of the 8th month): In the 5th year of Shōtoku's reign, she died; and Prince Shirakabe was her heir.[6]
  • 28 August 770 (Jingo-keiun 4, 4th day of the 8th month): The succession (senso) was received by Prince Shirakabe, who was the 62-year-old grandson of Emperor Tenji.[7]
  • 23 October 770 (Jingo-keiun 4, 1st day of the 10th month): Emperor Kōnin was said to have acceded to the throne (sokui) in a formal ceremony. The era name was changed to Hōki 1.[8]
  • 781 (Ten'ō 1, 4th month): In the 11th year of Kōnin's reign, he abdicated in favor of his son who became known as Emperor Kammu.[5]
  • 781 (Ten'ō 1, 12th month) : Kōnin died at the age of 73.[9]

After his death[change | change source]

Emperor Kōnin is traditionally venerated at his tomb; the Imperial Household Agency designates Tahara no Higashi no Misasagi in Nara as the location of Kōnin's mausoleum.[1]

Eras of Kōnin's reign[change | change source]

The years of Kōnin's reign are more specifically identified by more than one era name (nengō).[10]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō), 光仁天皇 (49); retrieved 2011-12-26.
  2. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 60.
  3. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, pp. 81-85; Brown, Delmer et al. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 276-277; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, pp. 147-148.
  4. Brown, p. 276; Varley, pp. 147-149.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Brown, p. 277.
  6. Brown, pp. 276-277.
  7. Brown, p. 276; Varley, p. 44, 148; 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. Compare Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō), Ceremony of Accession (Sokui-no-Rei); retrieved 2012-5-22.
  8. Titsingh, p. 81; Brown, p. 277; Varley, p. 44, 148.
  9. Brown, p. 277; Varley, p. 148.
  10. Titsingh, p. 81; Brown, p. 277.


Preceded by
Empress Shōtoku
Emperor of Japan:
Kōnin

770–781
Succeeded by
Emperor Kammu