Emperor Kōan

Emperor of Japan
Reign 392 BC – 291 BC (traditional)[1]
Predecessor Kōshō
Successor Kōrei
Born 427 BC
Died 291 BC (aged 136)
Burial Tamate no oka no e no misasagi (Nara)

Emperor Kōan (孝安天皇 Kōan-tennō); also known as Yamatotarashihikokunioshihito no Mikoto; was the sixth 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; he is conventionally considered to have reigned from 392 BC through 291 BC.[4]

Legendary narrative

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

Kōan is regarded by historians as a "legendary emperor" and there is a paucity of information about him. There is insufficient material available for further verification and study.[7] The reign of Emperor Kinmei (c.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 Kanmu (737–806), the 50th sovereign of the Yamato dynasty.[10]

In the Kojiki and Nihonshoki only his name and genealogy were recorded. He is believed to be son of Emperor Kōshō; and his mother is believed to have been Yosotarashi-no-hime, who was the daughter of Okitsuyoso, and ancestress of the Owari.[11] The Japanese have traditionally accepted this sovereign's historical existence, and an Imperial misasagi or tomb for Kōan 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 fifth of eight emperors without specific legends associated with them, also known as the "eight undocumented monarchs" (欠史八代, Kesshi-hachidai).[12]

Jien records that Kōan was the second son of Emperor Kōshō, and that he ruled from the palace of Akitsushima-no-miya at Muro in what would come to be known as Yamato Province.[13]

Kōan 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 Kōan, possibly during the time in which legends about the origins of the Yamato dynasty were compiled as the chronicles known today as the Kojiki.[12]

The actual site of Kōan'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 Kōan's mausoleum. It is formally named Tamate no oka no e no misasagi.[14]

Consorts and children

Empress: Oshihime (押媛), daughter of Amatarashikunioshihito (天足彦国押人命)

See also


Japanese Imperial kamon — a stylized chrysanthemum blossom
  1. "Genealogy of the Emperors of Japan" at Kunaicho.go.jp; retrieved 2013-8-28.
  2. 1 2 Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō): 孝安天皇 (6); retrieved 2013-8-22.
  3. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 5, p. 5, at Google Books; Brown, Delmer M. (1979). Gukanshō, p.252; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 90;
  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). A History of the Japanese People from the Earliest Times to the end of the Meiji Era, p. 21, p. 21, at Google Books; excerpt, "Posthumous names for the earthly Mikados were invented in the reign of Emperor Kanmu (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 Jinmu. Along with the next 13 emperors, Jinmu is not considered an actual, historical figure. Historically verifiable Emperors of Japan date from the early sixth century with Kinmei.
  10. Aston, William. (1896). Nihongi, pp. 109.
  11. Varley, p. 90.
  12. 1 2 Aston, pp. 145–146.
  13. Brown, p. 252; Varley, p. 90.
  14. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 418.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Kōshō
Legendary Emperor of Japan
392 BC – 291 BC
(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Kōrei
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