Posthumous name

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A posthumous name is an honorary name given to someone after their death. This type of name was common with naming royalty in the countries of Japan and China. They were also sometimes used in Vietnam and Korea.

History[change | change source]

This idea was created during the Zhou Dynasty in China. The first person to be named in this way was Ji Chang, named by his son. His son, Ji Fa of Zhou, called his father the "Civil King". This meant that he found his father to be good and sympathetic to the people he ruled.

These sort of names were not used during the Qin Dynasty. During that time, these names were not thought to show respect. Posthumous names were used again during the Han Dynasty.

Chinese emperors[change | change source]

Chinese posthumous names, for rulers, end in one or both symbols for "emperor", Huángdì. This can be shortened to .

These names were sometimes very long. They can be good names or bad. Good names are called respectful names (or zūn hào in Chinese). Some of these names are:

  • "pitiful", for those who were often sad during their rule.
  • "lamentable", for those who lose their spouse's and pass away at an early age.
  • "civil", for those who had sympathised with their people. This is one of the most honorable names.
  • "majestic", for those who showed virtue to the people.

Japanese emperors[change | change source]

The posthumous names of Japanese emperors are called teigō. Some names are given a long time after their death. Others are given right after the emperor had died.

Some of these names tell about the place they were born or lived in, or traits they had that their people admired.

Some also put together two previous emperors' or empresses' names, like Empress Meishō. The empresses before her were called Gemmei and Genshō. So her name became Meishō.

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