Emperor Kōtoku

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Emperor Kōtoku (孝徳天皇 Kōtoku-tennō?, 596 – November 24, 654) was the 36th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

The years of his reign lasted from 645 through 654.[3]


Traditional narrative

Before Kōtoku ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (imina)[4] was Karu (?) or Prince Karu (軽皇子 Karu-no-Ōji?).[5] As empress, her name would have been Ame-Yorodzu Toyohi no mikoto.[6]

He enacted the Taika Reform Edicts.

He was a descendant of Emperor Bidatsu. He was a son of Chinu no ōkimi (Prince Chinu, 茅渟王) by Kibitsuhime no ōkimi (Princess Kibitsuhime, 吉備姫王). Empress Kōgyoku was his elder sister from same parents. Chinu was a son of Prince Oshisaka hikohito no ōe whose father was the Emperor Bidatsu. He had at least three consorts including his Empress, Hashihito no Himemiko (Princess Hashihito), the daughter of Emperor Jomei and his sister Empress Kōgyoku.

He ruled from July 12, 645[7] until his death in 654.

In 645 he ascended to the throne two days after Prince Naka no Ōe (Emperor Tenji) assassinated Soga no Iruka in the court of Kōgyoku. Kōgyoku abdicated in favor of her son and crown prince, Naka no Ōe, but Naka no Ōe insisted Kōtoku should ascend to the throne instead.

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