Emperor Shōmu

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Emperor Shōmu (聖武天皇 (Shōmu-tennō 701 – June 4, 756?) was the 45th emperor of Japan,[1] according to the traditional order of succession.[2]

Shōmu's reign spanned the years 724 through 749.[3]


Traditional narrative

Before his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name (imina)[4] is not clearly known, but he was known as Oshi-hiraki Toyosakura-hiko-no-mikoto.[5]

Shōmu was the son of Emperor Mommu and Fujiwara no Miyako, a daughter of Fujiwara no Fuhito.[6]

Shōmu had four Empresses and six Imperial sons and daughters.[7]

Events of Shōmu's reign

Shōmu was still a child at the time of his father's death; thus, Empresses Gemmei and Gensho occupied the throne before he acceded.[6]

  • 724 (Yōrō 8, 1st month): In the 9th year of Genshō-tennō 's reign (元正天皇9年), the empress abdicated; and her younger brother received the succession (‘‘senso’’). Shortly thereafter, Emperor Shōmu is said to have acceded to the throne (‘‘sokui’’).[8]
  • January 31, 724 (Jinki 1): The era name is changed to mark the accession of Emperor Shōmu.[9]

Shōmu continued to reside in the Hezei Palace.[6]

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