Emperor Kōshō

Emperor of Japan
Reign 475 BC – 393 BC (traditional)[1]
Predecessor Itoku
Successor Kōan
Born 506 BC
Died 393 BC (aged 113)
Burial Wakigami no Hakata no yama no e no misasagi (Nara)

Emperor Kōshō (孝昭天皇, Kōshō-tennō); also known as Mimatsuhikokaeshine no Mikoto; was the fifth 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 475 to 393 BC,[4] but he may have lived in the early 1st century.[5]

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.[6] The name Kōshō-tennō was assigned to him posthumously by later generations.[7]

Kōshō is regarded by historians as a "legendary emperor". There is insufficient material available for further verification and study.[8] The reign of Emperor Kimmei (c.509 – 571 AD), the 29th emperor,[9] is the first for which contemporary historiography is able to assign verifiable dates;[10] 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.[11]

In the Kojiki and Nihonshoki only his name and genealogy were recorded. He is believed to be the oldest son of Emperor Itoku; and his mother is believed to have been Amanotoyototsu-hime, who was the daughter of Okishimimi-no-kami.[12] The Japanese have traditionally accepted this sovereign's historical existence, and an Imperial misasagi or tomb for Itoku 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 fourth of eight emperors without specific legends associated with them, also known as the "eight undocumented monarchs" (欠史八代, Kesshi-hachidai).[13]

Emperor Kōshō was the eldest son of Emperor Itoku.[4] Jien records that he ruled from the palace of Ikekokoro-no-miya at Waki-no-kami in what would come to be known as Yamato Province.[14]

This posthumous name literally means "filial manifestation". 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 Kōshō, possibly during the time in which legends about the origins of the Yamato dynasty were compiled as the chronicles known today as the Kojiki.[13]

The actual site of Kōshō'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 Kōshō's mausoleum. It is formally named Wakigami no Hakata no yama no e no misasagi.[15]

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): 孝昭天皇 (5); retrieved 2013-8-22.
  3. Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, pp. 4–5., p. 4, at Google Books; Brown, Delmer M. (1979). Gukanshō, p. 251; Varley, H. Paul. (1980). Jinnō Shōtōki, p. 89;
  4. 1 2 Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, p. 30.
  5. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kōshō Tennō" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 564, p. 564, at Google Books.
  6. Yoshida, Reiji. "Life in the Cloudy Imperial Fishbowl," Japan Times. March 27, 2007; retrieved 2013-8-22.
  7. 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.
  8. Kelly, Charles F. "Kofun Culture", Japanese Archaeology. April 27, 2009.
  9. Titsingh, pp. 34–36; Brown, pp. 261–262; Varley, pp. 123–124.
  10. 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.
  11. Aston, William. (1896). Nihongi, pp. 109.
  12. Varley, p. 90.
  13. 1 2 Aston, pp. 144–145.
  14. Brown, p. 251; Varley, p. 90.
  15. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 418.


Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Itoku
Legendary Emperor of Japan
475 BC – 393 BC
(traditional dates)
Succeeded by
Emperor Kōan
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